Apr 30, 2012 2:23 PM by Erin Schattauer (KBZK Bozeman)
A federal judge has dismissed fraud, deceit and other claims against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson in a lawsuit filed by people who purchased his books.
U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon rejected the civil lawsuit in an order filed Monday.
The legal action was filed by people who claimed the books should not be categorized as nonfiction and that Mortenson and others, including the Central Asia Institute (CAI), Penguin Group and co-author David Oliver Relin, "entered into a fraudulent scheme to falsely portray Mortenson as a hero in order to boost book sales."
In his ruling, Haddon calls the nature of the claims "in part flimsy and speculative."
Haddon dismissed claims of fraud and deceit, saying they lack factual support. Haddon also dismissed claims of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and others. He says that there is nothing to support alleged racketeering activity either.
Early this month, Mortenson and CAI made headlines when it was announced that a settlement agreement had been reached with Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock. The agreement stated that Mortenson would pay more than $1 million in restitution and would not hold any position of financial oversight at the CAI.
The investigation found that Mortenson failed to fulfill his responsibilities as executive director and a member of the board of directors. It also found that the board of directors was "too close to Mortenson" and did not exercise the degree of oversight required, Bullock said.