Clarence Thomas amends financial disclosure form to reflect sale to GOP megadonor


(CNN) Judge Clarence Thomas plans to amend his financial disclosure form to reflect a real estate deal he made with a Republican megadonor in 2014, admitting the deal should have been disclosed almost a decade ago. , a source close to Thomas told CNN.

The deal between Thomas and Harlan Crowe, a Dallas real estate mogul and longtime friend of Thomas, included three properties in Georgia, including the house where Thomas’ mother, Leora Williams, 94, currently lives. includes the sale of two properties.

Sources say Thomas always filled out forms with the help of an aide, and it was an oversight to not report the real estate transaction. Sources said Thomas lost money on his deal, so he didn’t believe he needed to disclose.

Thomas will review his form and make adjustments if necessary, sources said.

The real estate deal was first reported by ProPublica, a non-profit news organization investigating the relationship between Thomas and Crow. Donate and support efforts to move justice to the right.

Thomas has also been accused of failing to report the luxury trips he and wife Ginny Thomas took with the Clowes, including trips on donor yachts and private jets. He defended his decision not to, saying in a rare statement that he was advised at the time that he did not need to report.

The latest revelations about Thomas and Crowe’s relationship have come as pundits say Supreme Court justices should be more transparent about their lives off the bench. Members of Congress have repeatedly asked the court to adopt a formal code of ethics, but the court has refused.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Hank Johnson of Georgia led about 20 Democrats to urge Chief Justice John Roberts to launch an investigation, and congressional decision-making bodies. I am calling for a judicial conference. Court — Refer Thomas to the US Attorney General for possible violations of the Government Ethics Act of 1978.

In a joint statement, the White House and Johnson said, “Judge Thomas deliberately ignored the disclosure requirement to report the sale of his ownership interest in the Savannah estate to conceal the extent of his financial relationship with Crowe. There is at least reasonable reason to believe that,” the statement said.

The transaction in question involved the sale of three properties in Savannah, Georgia that Thomas owned. his mother, Leora Williams, and his late brother’s family. Crowe purchased Thomas’ mother’s house at 542 East 32nd Street in Savannah, and two of his houses that he rented temporarily.

As part of the negotiated sale price, Williams, who was 85 at the time of the deal, was given an occupancy contract that would allow her to live in the home for the rest of her life, sources said. I live rent-free, but I am responsible for paying property taxes and insurance.

Crow said in a statement to CNN last week that he purchased the property “so that, one day, Thomas’ home will have a public museum to tell the story of our country’s second black Supreme Court justice.” Because,” he said.

He added that it was purchased at a “market price based on many factors such as size, quality and livability of the residence.”

Crowe still owns Thomas’ mother’s house, but the remaining two houses were later sold.

Sources say that Thomas and his wife invested $50,000 to $70,000 in his mother’s home, and once the sale was completed, Thomas’ earnings were $44,000. He didn’t think Thomas needed to report because there was no profit, sources said.

However, Section VII of the Financial Disclosure Form clearly states that “transactions” must be listed regardless of whether there was a loss.

Gabe Ross, who heads Fix the Court, which advocates for greater transparency in courts, said failing to disclose real estate transactions appears to violate federal law, the Government Ethics Act of 1978. said.

“He should have listed the transaction in Part VII of the 2014 disclosure, but he didn’t,” Roth said in an email.

“If you are a Supreme Court Justice and you sell property that you own, you must list the transaction in your Annual Disclosure. Even if it was, that’s the law. One day,” Ross said.

“The public has every right to know when high-ranking officials buy and sell real estate,” Ross added.

Mike Davis, former clerk of Judge Neil Gorsuch, who also worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s nominating committee, called the criticism of Thomas “repackaged slander.”

“Judge Clarence Thomas is a great man, and the Democrats’ recent political attack has simply denigrated a 31-year campaign of hate to punish and outlaw black justice for self-thinking conservatives. It is repackaged.

Thomas has yet to comment publicly on the real estate deal. said.

This isn’t the first time Thomas has had to revise financial disclosures. In 2011, he amended his previous form to reflect the income his wife earned from his 1998-his 2003 period from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. In a statement at the time, Thomas said the information was “carelessly omitted”.

In 2017, Thomas stopped reimbursement related to hours he taught at Creighton University School of Law. Revised disclosure. Thomas made these changes after being contacted by the group Fix the Court.

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