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Texas Billionaire Accused of Concealing Real Estate Deal with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

WASHINGTON: When Texas industrialist and billionaire Harlan Crowe’s company Georgia bought a housing chain in Savannah in 2014, no one thought it was unusual. The company bought a two-storey house and two plots on the same street. But when you know who sold the property, it feels strange. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, his mother and relatives of the justice’s deceased brother sold their properties to the company for $1,33,363. Filed October 15, 2014 at the Chatham County Court House.

Crowe’s company, known as a mega-donor to the Republican Party, has now been accused of concealing the information from the conservative Justice. It is sure to be weaponized by the Democratic Party as the election campaign heats up next year. Justice’s mother still lives in the house. Crowe’s company owns the documents. The company spent thousands of dollars renovating the house. Roof and fence repaired. A carport was also built.

Federal law requires that real estate sales over a thousand dollars must be reported. Justice Thomas did not inform the authorities of this sale. Four ethics legal experts told ProPublica that this was a violation of the law. Justice Thomas has yet to respond. In his explanation, Crowe said that he bought the Justice’s family property to preserve it for future generations. Crowe said his intention is to build a museum there. But Crowe did not explain why he bought two more vacant properties nearby. Crowe said these plots were later sold to someone else.

Ethics experts said Crowe’s explanation for covering up the Justice sale was insufficient. A financial deal with Justice and Crowe has come to light. Another allegation is that Justice Crow received lavish trips and private jets every year. International cruises, superyacht travel and regular stays at private Adiron resorts were all allegedly at Crowe’s expense. Some cartoons like this have also appeared. Justice and Crowe responded that the gifts were all insignificant. The justice said there was no need to disclose his excursions.

It is not clear whether Crow paid market value when he bought the items. The media say that Crowe may have underpaid. The properties were purchased under the name of Savannah Historic Developments LLC, which Crowe recently launched. Savannah Historic Developments is managed by HRC Family Branch GP, a Delaware LLC. The company manages assets including Crowe’s private jet. The CEO of the Delaware company is Harlan Crowe.

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