Illinois woman drops lawsuit against Greg Mortenson and "Three Cups of Tea"

Illinois woman drops lawsuit against CAI and Greg Mortenson

CAI passed out bumpersickers at the NEA convention in Chicago which read:



APNewsBreak: Woman drops 'Three Cups of Tea' suit

By MATT VOLZ, Associated Press – 2 days ago


HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An Illinois woman has dropped her lawsuit against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson, leaving just one legal claim that millions of people were duped into buying Mortenson's books and donating to his charity based on lies.

Former teacher Deborah Netter dropped her lawsuit Friday in Illinois federal court. She had sued Mortenson, his co-author and his publisher over claims that she bought the book based on her belief that it contained the truth as to how Mortenson became involved in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She cited reports from "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer this spring that alleged Mortenson lied about events in the best-selling book. The reports also questioned whether he financially benefited from the institute and whether his Central Asia Institute built the number of schools it claimed.

Mortenson has denied fabricating stories or profiting from the charity.

Netter's Chicago attorney, Larry Drury, said Wednesday that Netter voluntarily dropped the case but declined to say why. She was weighing her options, which include joining the first lawsuit filed against Mortenson in Montana, he said.

Mortenson, who is rehabilitating in Montana after open-heart surgery, was not available for comment, family friend and CAI interim director Anne Beyersdorfer said.

"We are relieved that he is relieved of the Illinois action," Beyersdorfer said.

Montana plaintiffs Michele Reinhart and Dan Donovan are trying to start a class-action lawsuit against Mortenson, co-author David Relin and their publisher, Penguin Group, claiming that if the plaintiffs had known portions of the book were fabricated they would not have given their money to Mortenson and the charity.

Another plaintiff, Jean Price, dropped out of the lawsuit last month.

They are asking a federal judge in Missoula to place all the money from Mortenson book purchases — at least $5 million — into a trust to be used for humanitarian purposes.

"Three Cups of Tea" was released in 2006 and sold more than 3 million copies, helping Mortenson grow the Central Asia Institute by generating more than $50 million in donations."


***There was an error in the original AP story that said it was Montana Rep. Jean Price and Donovan who were continuing to attempt to sue, but that was an error.  Jean Price dropped out because she never bought the book, it is Rep. Michelle Reinhart and Donovan who continue to press the suit. 

I have a copy of the lastest amendment to their class action suit and saw the error, called a friend at AP in Bismarck and even though it was 1 a.m. their time, Dale was working and emailed Matt Volz, the AP writer in Bozeman, (who is busy covering the oil spill) but he corrected the story immediately).  Goes to show you the professional media does strive for accurracy.

As for Blewett, he had a comment, but if you want to read anything coming out of his pocket, you can Google the story and read his response.  He's not quitting, he hasn't been paid yet....

---------------------------------------------and has political aspirations for his son, the senator from Montana....

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Comment by Susan Hale Whitmore on July 9, 2011 at 6:42pm
This is an excellent article for everyone to read -- and can't wait for Ms Netter to tell us all WHY she dropped it...
Comment by Kathryn on July 9, 2011 at 7:27am
Things are looking up.  CAI is exempt from any and all class actions suits.  GM had a more serious heart condition than they knew (found an anyerism) but is on the mend.  Dury knew there was no money in it, so she has no comment because he dropped her...
Comment by Lisa Schnaidt on July 9, 2011 at 7:19am
My book group read Three Cups of Tea when it first came out and loved it so I was disheartened to hear about the ugly controversy in the news awhile ago. I enjoyed this update.
Comment by Kathryn on July 8, 2011 at 8:00pm

My small contribution, buy hey, the original story had an error in it (a women sends me copies of the legal docs and i could see the error (they mixed up Jean Price and Michele Reinhart, and it's Reinhart who wants the political push she thinks this suit will give her) so I called a friend who works at AP(1 a.m there time, but he was there, and contacted the AP writer in MT who emailed back immediately (he was still up too) and they made the correction.


So, go me!  And my big brown eagle eyes!

Comment by Linda Seccaspina on July 8, 2011 at 7:11pm

Thank God it's dropped.

Two great stories you did today..



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