Women allege harassment at Minneapolis Golf Club
- Article by: ABBY SIMONS
- Star Tribune
- April 3, 2012 - 12:11 AM
An ex-bartender and three former servers are suing the Minneapolis Golf Club, alleging a pattern of unchecked sexual harassment by brothers who supervised the four women.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Hennepin County District Court, charges Carlos and Marlon Gray with behavior against the women ranging from uninvited touching to sexual propositions. In one case, Marlon Gray allegedly cornered one of the women inside a building near the sixth tee, grabbed and kissed her.
The plaintiffs -- Jill Arvin, 34, Heidi Hoffman, 30, Mallorie Jones, 25, and Alyson Sullivan, 22 -- worked at the private St. Louis Park club in separate stints from 2008 to 2011.
The lawsuit claims that their complaints to the club's general manager and human resources director were ignored, and that all four were fired or forced to quit after facing retaliation.
The plaintiffs' attorney, Lori Peterson, said they filed the suit in hopes of stopping the Grays' behavior.
"The impression I get is that it just keeps happening over and over," Peterson said Monday in an e-mail.
Carlos Gray, 47, is the club's food and beverage director, and Marlon Gray, 39, is an events captain who supervised the women. Club spokeswoman Julie Sprau confirmed the brothers are still employed there and said the club "denies all allegations vigorously and will continue to defend itself."
The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in damages for seven counts against the brothers and the club, ranging from sexual harassment to negligent infliction of emotional distress for not responding to complaints.
The club's attorney, Lee Lastovich, said Monday that it intended to fight the allegations. "The club's position is that the case is without merit," he said.
Peter Van Bergen, who represents Carlos Gray, and Mark Berhow, who represents Marlon Gray, could not be reached for comment.
Peterson's lawsuit claims the women repeatedly asked the Gray brothers to stop, and that the club's general manager and human resources director refused to listen to an alleged tape recording of the sexual harassment. One of the women said she was told that club members would be upset if Carlos Gray was fired.
Peterson said some of the women have undergone therapy as a result of the alleged misconduct and that all lost income and feared for their safety, particularly the woman allegedly assaulted at the sixth tee building.
Peterson said she's baffled as to why the Gray brothers were still employed at the club and why a suit was necessary after so many complaints.
"How many women have to accuse them of sexual misconduct before the women are believed?" Peterson said.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
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