Washington (CNN) The firm is associated with Republican megadonor Harlan Crowe, a longtime friend of Clarence Thomas He paid for luxury trips for the Supreme Court judge and his wifeThe business was before the Supreme Court in the mid-2000s, records show.
Crowe is not named in the lawsuit, which concerns a dispute over a copyrighted architectural drawing, and his office said neither Crowe nor his company was involved in or discussed the matter with Thomas.
But the revelation challenges both men’s insistence that their relationship is entirely separate from Thomas’ role as a Supreme Court justice and will be included in the scrutiny of his ethical conduct. Lately, judges have been under pressure to be more forthcoming about their activities and finances, and Thomas’s trips paid for by Crowe were not disclosed on his financial disclosure forms. Additionally, in a statement released by Thomas in April, Crowe said it “doesn’t do business before the court.”
In January 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Womack+Hampton Architects v. Metric Holdings Limited refused to listen to the partnership. Docket On the court’s website. If a judge had been excluded from participating in the case, it would have been observed. There are no such references.
Crow is not named in the lawsuit title, but Metric Holdings’ corporate parent is Trammell Crow Residential Company, according to a corporate disclosure statement filed. According to a statement from Harlan Crowe’s office, the Crow family held a non-controlling interest in Trammell Crowe Residential at the time.
“At the time of this litigation, Trammel Crow Residential operated completely independently of Crow Holdings with a separate management team and its own independent operations,” Crow’s office said in the statement.
“Crow Holdings had a minority interest in the parties involved in this case and therefore had no control over any of these companies. Neither Harlan Crow nor Crow Holdings had knowledge of or involvement in this case. In this case, Harlan Crow never discussed this or any other case with the judge,” the office said.
When the architecture firm appealed to the Supreme Court, Harlan was chief executive officer and chairman of its board at Crow Crow Holdings, a position he still holds. He stepped down as CEO in 2017 Bloomberg NewsIt first reported the case and relationship to the Crow.
Thomas, through a Supreme Court spokeswoman, declined to comment for this story.
Earlier this month, after ProPublica first reported on Crowe’s paid trips, Thomas explained in a statement that he did not disclose the trips because he was advised at the time that he did not have to report them under ethics rules.
In a rare statement, Thomas and his wife, conservative activist Ginny Thomas, said they considered Crowe and his wife “dear friends.”
Thomas said the trips were “personal hospitality from close personal friends,” which he advised did not require disclosure. Noting that the rules were changed recently, he added, “It is my intention to follow this guideline in the future.”