WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - According to ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalistic organization, Harlan Crow, a conservative mega-donor, purchased three properties owned by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and his family. The transaction was worth over $100,000, but Thomas did not report it.
The 2014 real-estate deal sheds new light on Thomas’s longstanding relationship with Crow, an influential real estate investor and financier of conservative causes. This relationship, as well as the material benefits Thomas received from it, has fueled calls for a formal ethics investigation.
ProPublica revealed in a previous report that Crow gifted Thomas and Ginni hundreds of thousands of dollar worth of vacations and trips each year for decades. This included international cruises aboard his mega-yachts, private jet flights, and stays at Crow’s invitation-only Adirondack resort. The 2014 real estate transaction is the first evidence of a financial transaction between them.
ProPublica cited state tax documents as well as property deeds to report that Crow's company paid $133.363 for a home in Savannah Georgia, where Thomas's mother lived, and two adjacent vacant lots owned by Thomas' family. Thomas' mother continued to live in the house, which underwent renovations worth tens and thousands of dollars.
Supreme Court Justices and other federal officials are required to report the details of real estate transactions worth more than $1,000. Thomas wouldn't be required to disclose the purchase if it was the primary residence of his or her spouse, but the stipulation doesn't apply to the purchase Thomas didn't report.
Thomas and Crow both released statements that downplayed the importance of the gifts. Thomas maintains that he wasn't required to disclose these trips. Crow released a statement with ProPublica in response to the latest revelation. He said that he approached Thomas with the intention of honoring Thomas' legacy.
The statement stated, "My intention is to create a museum dedicated to telling our nation's story of the second black Supreme Court justice at the Thomas house one day." The story of Justice Thomas represents the best in America.