'Grandview Five' case headed to mediation, parties say

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Four members of the  "Grandview Five" - Karen Cosby, Myneca Ojo, Carolyn Dow and Sandra Harrison - take part in a rally at the Dover United Church of Christ featuring state Sens. Art Haywood and Vincent Hughes, both from Philadelphia, Monday, June 11, 2018.  John A. Pavoncello photo

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has apparently found probable cause that discrimination was evident in the 2018 incident at Grandview Golf Course, an incident that made waves nationally, according to those on both sides of the matter.   

The Feb. 11 mediation, which is likely to be behind closed doors, will address an April 2018 incident where former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister twice called police on five African American women at the course in Dover Township after they had been accused of slow pace of play. 

"It's long overdue for progress that should have been had back in 2018," said Sandra Thompson, one of the women in the group known as Sisters in the Fairway. "But I don't know what it means until they actually do something."

More:'Grandview Five' members reject settlement offer of golf membership, lessons

Video footage that surfaced from the 2018 incident quickly went viral, grabbing attention nationwide. The PHRC then presided over hearings to address the matter, none of which Chronister attended.

Renee Martin, spokeswoman for the PHRC, declined to comment Thursday. 

But Chronister, who has an advisory role at the golf course that is co-owned by his son, also confirmed the mediation will take place on Feb. 11. He, too, acknowledged Thursday that probable cause had been established by the PHRC. 

Chronister declined further comment.

>>Like what you’re reading? Not a subscriber? Click here for full access to The York Dispatch’s hard-hitting news, local sports and entertainment.

The outcome of the mediation isn't likely to result in any serious charges, as the PHRC has limited enforcement power. It can, however, levy civil penalties against an individual if it finds they engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices.

In the past, Chronister has rejected the women's accounts of the incident and insisted he isn't racist. If that were true, he argued, his prejudice would have come up when the women first tried to buy memberships prior to the incident.

The upcoming mediation will be the most recent development in the story since July 2019, when members of the Sisters in the Fairway rejected a settlement proposed by Chronister that included free golf memberships and lessons.

Three of the women said the offer was insulting.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.