'Grandview Five' members reject settlement offer of golf membership, lessons
At least three members of the "Grandview Five" say they were insulted by a settlement offer made last month by former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister.
While the two parties have differing recollections of what the offer was, what's certain is that it included a golf membership and lessons at Grandview Golf Club in Dover Township — the same place where Chronister last year called police on five women after they had been accused of slow pace of play.
The incident involving the five African American women garnered national attention after they alleged discrimination. It also prompted a two-day hearing by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. But the matter remains unresolved.
"It is insulting," said Hanover Mayor Myneca Ojo, one of the five women. "Why would we want to deal with him? As long as he's owner of the golf course, we'll never step foot on that golf course and we will not work with him in any capacity."
The PHRC also seems to be "wiggling out" of the situation, Ojo said, as it hasn't followed protocol by including the women at the bargaining table.
"I'm not sure how they ended up making an offer without us being at the table," Ojo said.
An official with PHRC declined to comment Friday.
Chronister, who never attended the PHRC hearings, on Friday asserted he offered the women more than two years' worth of membership and lessons in talks with PHRC investigators, who are handling the case.
Chronister also insisted he isn't racist, and if that were true, that would have come up when the women first bought the memberships prior to last year's incident.
Lawyers for the women previously wanted $500,000 each, which Chronister likened to extortion. Chronister maintains the women made everything up and were just looking for a racial battle to get money.
"Why would I give them money if we didn't do anything wrong?" Chronister said. "We had our character and business under a microscope nationwide. The truth will come up. This was a money grab from the very beginning. We want to see the PHRC ruling on this and we'll move from there."
York NAACP President Sandra Thompson, another woman from the group, said she was told it was a one-year membership and lessons. She was also told employees would undergo sensitivity training.
Either way, Thompson said the offer clearly demonstrates Chronister's inability to apologize and take responsibility for his actions.
"It was just ridiculous," Thompson said. "It was indicative of why we experienced what we experienced. Every time this issue comes up, I have to continually defend my own character and defend myself, defend the fact that I suffered unwanted acts. It has an emotionally draining toll."
Because of that toll, Sandra Harrison — another member of the group — said she's ready to move on, despite initially wanting to speak to Chronister about the situation.
"It doesn't make sense," Harrison said. "They're not trying to change. ... But I'm not worried about it. I have to move forward. I can't hurt anymore. I can't let him have that much power in my life."
The news follows the fourth PHRC York Town Hall to address racism in York County. The event on Thursday addressed racial flyers and letters attacking Ojo that were distributed in March.
The event stayed positive, and the residents were supportive and willing to engage. Those are the things that need to be happening, instead of trying to change people who don't want to change, Thompson said.
The remaining two women, Karen Crosby and Carolyn Dow, could not be immediately reached.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.