Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says he will amend his financial disclosure forms to account for a 2014 real estate deal involving billionaire Harlan Crow that he failed to report, but he still has said nothing about the more than $3 million in luxury travel he has accepted from Crow.
ProPublica reported April 6 that Thomas has accepted multiple trips and lodging stays from Crow for at least 20 years but never reported them. Checks & Balances Project examined the details in the ProPublica report, matched them with publicly available travel and accommodation rates and calculated that Crow spent more than $3 million on Thomas.
Thomas says Crow is a personal friend who has no business before the court and that unnamed advisers told him he didn’t have to report Crow’s generosity.
Join the Court and see the world
The more than $3 million in travel and accommodations Crow gave Thomas included private jet flights and sailing trips aboard Crow’s 162-foot luxury yacht in Indonesia, New Zealand and the Greek Islands.
Crow also flew Thomas multiple times on his Bombardier Global 5000 jet, which costs about $15,000 an hour to charter. The total cost of the jet flights is at least $540,000.
Some of Crow’s generosity can’t be estimated. Thomas has spent a week a year at Crow’s Topridge compound in New York’s Adirondack mountains. The closest thing ProPublic could find was a Rockefeller-owned resort where rooms started for $2,250 a night.
Crow also hosted Thomas at the secretive Bohemian Grove club in Monte Rio, Calif., a private club with an all-male membership. There is no comparable resort in California, and outsiders can’t gain entrance unless they’re invited by a member.
ProPublica also reported that in 2014, Crow bought properties in Georgia “for $133,363 from three co-owners — Thomas, his mother and the family of Thomas’ late brother, according to a state tax document and a deed dated Oct. 15, 2014, filed at the Chatham County courthouse.”
Thomas never reported the transaction.
After Crow bought the property, where Thomas’ mother still lived, he paid for multiple upgrades for the home.
Ray Locker is the executive director for Checks & Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.
You may also want to read:
How we calculated Thomas’ travel costs
How much would you pay to travel in luxury like Clarence Thomas? $3 million, a C&BP analysis shows