Photo Credit: Photo credit: Alex Wong / Staff
Justice Clarence Thomas Accused of Accepting Luxury Trips and Getaways
Clarence Thomas is back in the news over accusations that he has accepted luxury gifts from GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, according to reports. The Associate Justice of the Supreme Court has been island hopping in Indonesia on luxury yachts, staying at private resorts in upstate New York, and flying on private jets. The investigation uncovered over two decades of extravagant trips that spokespeople for Thomas claim were just gifts. In addition, Thomas is under scrutiny for not reporting any of his private flights.
Reps for Thomas claim that his relationship with Crow is a long-standing friendship between the families and that he never asked for any of the luxuries that were given to him. In a statement provided to ProPublica, the GOP donor claims that he and Thomas are “very dear friends” and that he has always placed a priority on spending time with friends and family. But what influence did these gifts have on Thomas sitting on the Supreme Court? And what exactly constitutes “luxury gifts?”
Here’s a look at some of Clarence Thomas’s luxury getaways
Camp Topridge in The Adirondack Mountains
Camp Topridge is a historic Great Camp located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Initially built in the early 20th century for Marjorie Merriweather Post, a wealthy socialite and businesswoman, the camp is known for its grand rustic architecture and stunning natural setting on the shores of Upper St. Regis Lake. The camp features numerous buildings, including a main lodge, guest cabins, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and a boathouse. It was designed to be a luxurious retreat for Post and her guests, and was used for many high-society events during the early 1900s. Today, Camp Topridge is owned by Harlan Crow and is occasionally used for events. The home also features three boathouses, a clay tennis court, 25 fireplaces, batting cage, and a replica of Harry Potter’s Hagrid hut.
The Michaela Rose Yacht
Justice Thomas was gifted an expensive trip by Mr. Crow, which involved traveling through the Indonesian islands on the luxurious yacht, Michaela Rose. According to ProPublica, this excursion was estimated to be worth over $500,000, and the yacht features four cabins that can accommodate up to eight guests. The cabins include a master suite, a VIP cabin, and two twin cabins. The Rose has a modern and elegant exterior design, with numerous outdoor living spaces such as a dining area and a spacious lounge area with a Jacuzzi on the main deck, and a sunbathing area, a bar, and another dining area on the upper deck.
Flying On Private Jets
Flying on a private jet is not a budget-friendly option, and this fact is widely known. However, it appears that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t seem to mind occasionally using Harlan Crow’s private jet, despite publicly stating his preference for camping in an RV with his family. While the cost of flying privately varies depending on several factors, such as the type of aircraft, distance, and flight duration, it is generally not considered ethical for a US Supreme Court Justice to do so.
For example, small private jets like the Cessna Citation or Phenom 100 can cost anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 per hour. Midsize jets such as Hawker 800 or Learjet 60 can range from $3,500 to $8,000 per hour, while larger jets like the Gulfstream G550 or Global Express range from $6,000 to $12,000 per hour. Additional costs such as landing fees, fuel surcharges, catering, ground transportation, and taxes can also add up to several thousand dollars.
It is worth noting that these figures are merely estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on the specific details of the flight. Although flying privately can be costly, it does offer some advantages over commercial airlines. Private flights provide greater flexibility in scheduling and can often land at smaller airports closer to the final destination. Moreover, passengers on private jets can enjoy greater privacy and avoid the crowds and long lines commonly associated with commercial airports.