10-23-2019  2:54 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Ecology Director Objects to EPA’s Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Ecology Director Maia Bellon submitted formal objections in which she calls the proposal ill-advised and illegal

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

NEWS BRIEFS

U.S. Census Bureau Hosts Job Recruitment Events in Portland

There are several opportunities to ‘Meet the Employer’ today through Saturday for more information or to apply for 2020 census...

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Woman sues Oregon clinic over claims of past abuse by doctor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman who says she was repeatedly sexually abused by her pediatrician has filed a jumi million lawsuit against the doctor's former medical clinic in Oregon.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that the woman says the abuse occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s at...

Police: Body found is missing university student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a body found near the St. Johns Bridge in Northwest Portland is a missing University of Portland freshman.Police on Tuesday evening said that the medical examiner's office had conducted an autopsy and positively identified the body as Owen...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Willie Edwards Jr., a black truck driver, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen who forced him to jump off a bridge in Alabama in 1957. Two years earlier, white men had bludgeoned black teenager Emmett Till to death in Mississippi. No one went to prison for either...

Farewells to US Rep. Elijah Cummings to begin in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — Constituents, friends and other mourners are set to gather at a historically black college in Baltimore to honor the life of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in the first of a series of planned services.The Maryland congressman and civil rights champion died Thursday of...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most unusual places, trying to win over Hispanic voters in states not known for them, like Pennsylvania.His second campaign, far better financed and organized than his first, is pressing every...

ENTERTAINMENT

Liam Gallagher talks solo rise, family feud and rock music

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spend a few minutes with Liam Gallagher and it's clear the rocker hasn't lost any of his bravado, right down to counting himself among the greats in rock history.But Gallagher does acknowledge that one band breakup — not, Oasis, but rather the demise of Beady Eye in...

Lori Loughlin, other parents charged again in college scheme

BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband and nine other parents faced new federal charges Tuesday in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.A...

Celebrities to get drag makeovers in RuPaul's new VH1 series

LOS ANGELES (AP) — RuPaul is giving a dozen celebrities the chance to get drag makeovers for charity and bragging rights.VH1 said Tuesday that "RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race" will air as a limited series next year.Each of the four episodes will feature a trio of stars competing for best drag...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Soto, Nationals top Cole, Astros 5-4 in World Series opener

HOUSTON (AP) — Juan Soto and the Washington Nationals quickly derailed the Cole Express.A 20-year-old...

39 people found dead in truck container in southeast England

LONDON (AP) — Police in southeastern England said 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most...

Q&A: How a woman's death got tangled in Hong Kong politics

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Around Valentine's Day last year, the decomposing body of a pregnant Hong Kong woman,...

Botswana votes as ruling party faces surprising challenge

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Polls opened in Botswana on Wednesday as the long-peaceful southern African...

UK prime minister mulls early election over Brexit impasse

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to be pushing Wednesday for an early general...

McMenamins
Matt Volz the Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Two Montana lawmakers are trying to start a class-action lawsuit against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson, claiming they were duped into buying Mortenson's best-selling book and donating to his charity based on lies they thought were true.

The claim filed Thursday in federal court in Missoula is the latest fallout from reports by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer last month that alleged that Mortenson lied in "Three Cups of Tea" about how he became involved in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reports also questioned whether Mortenson financially benefited from his charity, Central Asia Institute, and whether CAI built the number of schools it claimed.

The complaint, which tells only one side of a legal argument, alleges Mortenson and CAI induced state Rep. Michele Reinhart of Missoula to buy the book and Rep. Jean Price of Great Falls to donate to the charity. Reinhart and Price claim Mortenson and the charity engaged in fraud, deceit, breach of contract and racketeering under a statute normally used for prosecuting mobsters.

The Democratic legislators are seeking class-action status, saying the lawsuit potentially could be joined by millions of people who bought Mortenson's books, heard his speeches or donated to his charity.

"They purchased the book because of his heart-wrenching story which he said was true," said Great Falls attorney Alexander Blewett, who is representing Reinhart and Price. "If people had known all of this was fabricated, they would not have given the money."

Mortenson was in his Bozeman home awaiting word on whether he could safely undergo surgery to repair a hole in his heart, according to a statement by his doctor posted on the Central Asia Institute's website.

Anne Beyersdorfer, a Mortenson family friend who is running the charity in Mortenson's absence, told The Associated Press that officials at CAI have not seen the complaint and she could not comment on the particulars. But, she said, Mortenson has done nothing wrong and he is looking forward to refuting the accusations against him when his health improves.

"He's weak, his oxygen levels are low and he's not well," Beyersdorfer said. "He is not able to speak because of his health issues, but he (will be) ready to tell his version of the story, which is very important."

Mortenson has previously denied any wrongdoing, though he has admitted some of the events in his book were compressed over different periods of time. CAI has pledged full transparency and posted years of financial statements on its website.

Reinhart heard Mortenson speak at the University of Montana in 2007 and bought "Three Cups of Tea" in 2009. Price heard a presentation by Mortenson or CAI in Great Falls in 2009 and made a donation "relying on the truthfulness of his statements," according to the complaint.

Neither immediately returned calls for comment. Their attorney, Blewett, is the father of another Democratic state lawmaker, Sen. Anders Blewett.

The plaintiffs are asking a judge to rule that Mortenson and CAI violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO. They made the RICO claim because Price gave CAI a second donation after receiving a solicitation in the mail, which Alexander Blewett said constitutes mail fraud.

The racketeering claim allows the plaintiffs to seek triple the amount Mortenson and CAI have made from book sales, speeches and donations.

The complaint asks the judge to place the money into a trust administered by a court-appointed charity that would direct it to schoolchildren in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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

The fallout from the "60 Minutes" and Krakauer reports prompted Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock to open an inquiry into the charity last month.

Blewett said a class-action lawsuit represents the best way for the public to find out the truth because it could result in Mortenson's sworn testimony.

"We welcome the opportunity to let Mr. Mortenson testify under oath to all these things. To us, it seems overwhelmingly false and we will give him ample opportunity to explain away all of the falsehoods," Blewett said.

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