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Friday hearing halted after Grandview court filing

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The Grandview 5 listen intently to Jerry Higgins' testimony during the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission's June 19 hearing. From left to right: Myneca Ojo, Sandra Harrison, Karen Crosby, Carolyn Dow and Sandra Thompson.
The Grandview 5 listen intently to Jerry Higgins' testimony during the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission's June 19 hearing. From left to right: Myneca Ojo, Sandra Harrison, Karen Crosby, Carolyn Dow and Sandra Thompson. - (Photo / )

A petition filed by Brew Vino LLC has put a halt to a state panel's hearing, scheduled for Friday, on alleged discrimination at Grandview Golf Club in York County.

On Monday, Brew Vino, parent company for the Dover Township-based golf course, filed a petition for review and an emergency stay in Commonwealth Court with regard to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s hearing. The motion has been assigned to Judge Patricia A. McCullough.

The hearings were investigating an incident at the golf course on April 21 when five female golfers were asked to leave the course for playing too slowly. 

The commission has postponed its scheduled hearing until further notice, said the agency’s executive director, Chad Lassiter.

"The ultimate goal of the commission was to hear from both sides, which is why we called for an additional hearing," he said.

Key stakeholders in the Grandview incident had been subpoenaed ahead of the hearing. As a result of the court filings, all witnesses have been released. Lassiter declined to identify who was subpoenaed.

Initially, the commission planned to hold a two-day probe to allow Grandview an opportunity to testify about what took place at the golf club.

Management at Grandview called the police twice on five women golfers, identified as Sandra Thompson, 50, Myneca Ojo, 56; Karen Crosby, 58; and sisters Sandra Harrison, 59, and Carolyn Dow, 56, and asked them to leave. Prior to the 911 calls, management told them they were playing golf too slowly. The women testified on June 19 and 20, alleging that they were targeted because of their race and gender at Grandview.

Commissioners also heard testimony from Jerry Higgins, a golfer on the course who was playing behind the women. He indicated that the women maintained a normal pace. Since the hearing, Higgins has decided not to play at the course any more.

The panel also heard testimony from two police officers and from an expert on implicit bias and racism. Members also viewed video footage provided by Thompson and Ojo.

Because Grandview chose not to participate in the June hearings, commissioners decided that additional testimony was needed, said M. Joel Bolstein, chairperson of the state panel.  

Though he is not certain if the hearing will be rescheduled, Lassiter said that he still believes the situation can be used as a teachable moment. In the future, he hopes to hold a town hall discussion to discuss the multiple challenges that York City is facing.

"We wanted to make sure Grandview was heard from, so that all perceptions, real, perceived or imagined could have been shared, but that has not happened," he said. "There are racial elephants that we do know exist in York and we’re excited to work with the mayor to help the community explore that and come together."

 

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Emily Thurlow

Emily Thurlow

​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter @localloislane.

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