Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was essentially given a luxury motorhome worth more than a quarter of a million dollars by a wealthy businessman, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.
The committee released a report Wednesday claiming Anthony Welters lent $267,230 to Thomas for a luxury Prevost Marathon motor coach in 1999 at a 7.5% interest rate, then called it even in 2008 with the loan’s principal still intact. The Senate committee found Thomas paid interest on the loan for a short time, but “never repaid a substantial portion of the loan.”
A handwritten note from Thomas to Welters — written on Supreme Court stationery and dated Dec. 6, 1999 — referenced the agreement between the pair, the committee said.
“Regular Americans don’t get wealthy friends to forgive huge amounts of debt so they can buy a second home,” the committee wrote in its findings. “Justice Thomas should inform the committee exactly how much debt was forgiven and whether he properly reported the loan forgiveness on his tax returns and paid all taxes owed.”
The 40-foot vehicle comes from “a brand favored by touring rock bands and the super-wealthy,” according to The New York Times, whose August story prompted the Senate investigation. Welters told the Times that Thomas’ loan was “satisfied” in 2008.
Thomas, 75, joined the Supreme Court in 1991 after being nominated by former President George H.W. Bush. The conservative jurist’s ethics came under question in April when ProPublica reported that Thomas has been the beneficiary of dozens of luxury vacations footed by wealthy supporters while serving on the nation’s highest court.
“During his three decades on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas has enjoyed steady access to a lifestyle most Americans can only imagine,” that report concluded.
Thomas has not addressed the Senate committee’s findings.