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Justice Thomas responds to report donor funded relative's education, says money went to school

Because Martin's tuition payments were made directly to the school on his behalf, Thomas did not need to report the gift, his attorney said.

May 4, 2023 10:23am

Updated: May 4, 2023 10:23am

An attorney for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and wife Ginny Thomas is responding to a news report Thursday about how billionaire Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow paid for the education of their relative, saying, in part, the money never went directly to the Thomases. 

Thomas has been under scrutiny for his friendship with Crow, who has taken the justice and his wife on multiple luxury vacations, and a ProPublica report Thursday states that Crow paid for the education of Mark Martin, Thomas' great grandnephew that he took custody of when he was 6.

"Justice Thomas and his wife made immeasurable personal and financial sacrifices and poured every ounce of their lives and hearts into giving their great nephew a chance to succeed," Mark Paoletta, an attorney for the Thomases, said on Twitter in response to the report.

When Martin was a teenager in 2006, the Thomases were unsure where to send him for school, and Crow recommended he be sent to his alma mater, Randolph Macon Academy, according to Paoletta.

Crow had supported the school and funded scholarships there for decades at that point, so he "offered to pay the first year of Justice Thomas’s great nephew’s tuition in 2006, and that payment went directly to the school," the attorney also said. 

"After some time, Randolph Macon recommended the great nephew attend a boarding school in Georgia for one year. Harlan offered to pay the first year of tuition for their great nephew at the Georgia school, and again, those tuition payments went directly to the school."

Because Martin's tuition payments were made directly to the school on his behalf, Thomas did not need to report the gift, Paoletta also said. Additionally, Thomas never asked for Crow to pay Martin's tuition.

"This malicious story shows nothing except for the fact that the Thomases and the Crows are  kind, generous, and loving people who tried to help this young man," Paoletta concluded.

Martin, who is now in his 30s, told ProPublica that he was unaware that Crow paid his tuition and he defended the billionaire and Thomas. "I think his intentions behind everything is just a friend and just a good person," he said.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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