As York County and the Culture and Heritage Foundation prepare to go to court over 340 acres of land and disclosure of financial records, state Sen. Wes Hayes says hes willing to step in and help the two parties resolve their dispute.
The Rock Hill Republican said Friday he has been asked if hes willing to be a mediator between the foundation and the county.
The county and its museum commission sued the foundation six weeks ago, claiming that foundation leaders have violated their own bylaws, refused to hand over financial records and have left museum officials out of important decisions.
Hes on standby for now, Hayes said, and is waiting to hear whether both sides will accept him as a mediator.
Hayes said he is neutral on issues related to the lawsuit and has friends on both sides of the issues.
With no dog in the fight, Hayes said, he can help the two sides save money that would be spent on fighting the court battle and find a solution in the best interest of everyone in York County.
People on both sides have probably made mistakes but have the best interest of the community at heart, he said.
York County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell said Hayes working as an arbitrator is a good idea.
Hayes is level-headed, Blackwell said, and could probably bring the two sides together.
Jim Sheedy, attorney for the foundation, said Friday that he was not aware of any named parties in the lawsuit asking Hayes if he is a certified court mediator under the states alternative dispute resolution rules.
Hes never heard of Hayes mediating a pending matter or mediating a litigation matter, Sheedy said.
I would recommend Wes as a mediator if his mediation fulfilled the requirements under the rules, he said.
The South Carolina Bar Association defines alternative dispute resolution as a way for parties to settle legal issues through arbitration, mediation and other ways outside of courts.
Alternative dispute resolution can reduce costs and stress, save time and preserve business and personal relationships harmed by lawsuits, the bar association says.
The process resolves legal issues without a judge or jury and keeps confidential information private that would otherwise be made public in a courtroom.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068