Watchdog urges caution as 'Three Cups of Tea' charity reports uptick in donations


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HELENA, Montana — Central Asia Institute officials say donors are starting to come back to the Bozeman, Montana-based charity after contributions plummeted amid mismanagement allegations against co-founder Greg Mortenson, who wrote "Three Cups of Tea."

The organization that supports education in Central Asia says more than 1,270 donors who stopped giving it money over the past two years have contributed this year.

Donations dropped from $22 million in 2010 to $2.7 million in 2013 over accusations that Mortenson fabricated much of the best-selling book and used the charity to enrich himself. Mortenson has denied lying in the book but said some passages were "compressed."

The charity reorganized as part of a 2012 settlement with Montana's attorney general.

One watchdog organization isn't ready to sign off on its rehabilitation.

Chief among CharityWatch's concerns is Mortenson's continued employment with the Central Asia Institute, though he is no longer a voting board member.

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