Billionaire real estate magnate Harlan Crow, who is a well-known GOP megadonor, paid for Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas’ grandnephew, Mark Martin’s private school fees, according to a new report by ProPublica.
The report comes after an initial report by ProPublica which revealed that Crow had given lavish presents to Thomas who was nominated by President George H. W. Bush in 1991. According to ProPublica, Thomas and his wife took a nine-day cruise to Indonesia on a ship owned by Crow in June 2019, immediately following the Supreme Court’s final decision of the term.
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Now, the latest report says that Martin had lived with the justice and his wife in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. When Martin was 6 years of age, Thomas had taken his legal custody and had recently told an interviewer he was “raising him as a son.”
Martin attended boarding schools Hidden Lake Academy in Georgia as well as Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia. According to the report, tuition at Hidden Lake was more than $6,000 a month. Thomas reportedly did not cover the bill. Court documents reveal a $6,200 wire payment from Crow’s company to the school in 2009. There were also additional payments made to the school by Crow, according to the ProPublica report.
Crow’s office denied doing Thomas’ relative any sort of special favor by claiming in a statement that he and his wife, Kathy, have supported many students by funding scholarships.
“Tuition and other financial assistance is given directly to academic institutions, not to students or to their families,” Crow’s office said. “These scholarships and other contributions have always been paid solely from personal funds, sometimes held at and paid through the family business. It’s disappointing that those with partisan political interests would try to turn helping at-risk youth with tuition assistance into something nefarious or political.”
Who is Mark Martin?
Not much is known about Mark except that he is presently in his 30s. He told ProPublica that he was not aware Crow paid his tuition.
However, he also defended the relationship between Thomas and Crow, saying he believed there was no ulterior motive in the billionaire helping his granduncle out. “I think his intentions behind everything is just a friend and just a good person,” he said.
He added that during his childhood, he and Thomas vacationed with the Crows “at least once a year,” including visits to Camp Topridge, which is Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks, and cruises on Crow’s superyacht in the Caribbean and the Baltics.