Habitat Founder

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Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller says he'll start a new group if that's what it takes for him to continue in the home-building ministry.

As negotiations continue over his future role with Habitat, The Alabama native said yesterday that he won't let his firing last month deter him from doing what he feels is his life's work.

Fuller said any organization he forms would not work in competition with Habitat for Humanity but would harmoniously encourage support for what he called a "God-ordained ministry."

Fuller said filing lawsuits or starting a rival nonprofit are not options. He said he doesn't want to "impugn or embarrass" the organization he worked so hard to build.

The Habitat board's executive committee decided last month to fire the 70-year-old Fuller and his wife and co-founder, Linda, after a dispute over allegations that Fuller acted inappropriately with a female staff member. The charge was never substantiated and Fuller denies it.

Habitat interim CEO Paul Leonard says the group's leaders hope to reconcile with the Fullers, but the resolution likely will not involve their reinstatement.