Directors of the Council of Churches of the city of New York disregarded a report of their own fact-finding committee and agreed not to fire the Council, executive director despite charges that he was a slumlord.
Last fall, an Albany, N.Y., newspaper reported that Dr. Dan Potter had been cited for about 70 violations and fined more than $300 in court cases related to properties he owns in Albany.
Potter was accused by some civic and religious leaders of being a slumlord and was urged by his critics to resign his council post. At a meeting in October, the council's board voted to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate the charges.
The committee's report, which has not been made public, reportedly states that Potter has lost a lot of money on his Albany houses but that properties he maintains there are not "fit for human habitation."
In its report to the board, the ninemember committee presented several recommendations, including formation of a new committee to establish goals and objectives of the council and a search committee to find new executive leadership to help promote such goals.
In addition, the report urged that Potter be asked to relinquish his post when new leadership is found but that he be retained as a consultant to the council until his contract expires at the end of 1980.
Isidore Martinez, a member of the fact-finding committee, presented a minority report recommending that Potter be cotinued as executive director. The board adopted that recommendation.
The Council of Denominational Executives in New York City, whose members are. on the Council of Churches' board, expressed dismay at the council's action.
Gordon M. Brown, president of the Council of Churches, stressed that "the issue is not a closed one," while asserting that Potter's housing operations are "a private matter" Brown indicated that the council will attempt to assess how the controversy has affected the image and work of the ecumenical agency.