PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Standing up for his mentor Joe Paterno has already cost Franco Harris an endorsement with the Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that it should also cost him his position as chairman of the board of the Pittsburgh Promise.

The board of directors met for four hours Thursday night behind closed doors in the Hill District. Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril said that Harris will remain on the board as a full voting member, but voluntarily stepped aside as board chairman.

KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti reports:

The new board chairman is David Malone, president and CEO of Gateway Financial.

“It was quite a meeting, but we have some great board members,” Harris said.

Before the meeting, Harris didn’t back down in his support for Paterno.

“Joe Paterno – this guy – high morals – and this guy is tough,” he said. “And I tell people that if he was in charge of the investigation, believe me, things would have got done, but he was not in charge of it.”

After the meeting, Mayor Ravenstahl told reporters that he was satisfied all board members were committed to helping victims of sexual abuse.

KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti asked Ravenstahl if some of his criticism of Harris had anything to do with the fact that Harris’ son Dok ran against him in the 2009 election.

“That’s so far from the truth – Franco knows that,” Ravenstahl said. “I made Franco the chair of this board when it started. Franco remained the chair of this board while his son ran against me for mayor.”

KDKA’s Heather Abraham reports:

Meanwhile, in State College, Penn State’s Acting Athletic Director Dr. David Joyner will be holding a news conference at 10:30 a.m. in the Schwab Auditorium.

Stay with KDKA for the latest developments.

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