While We Wait for Election Returns, Look at NY Times's Front-Page Story About Harlan Crow

I'm killing time at this point ... and this bottle of Old Fitzgerald. And while we wait for the county to update its election totals, I'm reading tomorrow's New York Times, which is full of local-interest stories -- more than our own daily, probably. Like this nice piece about Dallas Mavericks' founder and owner Don Carter, who trips down Amnesia Lane while recalling Dick Motta and Roy Tarpley ("Next to one hand he had $25 million and near the other he had a six-pack of beer. He chose the six-pack, figuring the money would still be there"). Or this one "by" Nancy Brinker.

Ah, but neither of those is likely to get the attention that this story will receive: an A1'er about the love affair between Unfair Park's across-the-street neighbor Harlan Crow and United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for whom Crow's done myriad fiscal favors, the most recent involving a museum in Georgia. It's a lengthy read, but right now I've got nothing but time.

(Oh, wait ... new results were just posted: Rawlings 22,027; Kunkle 16,707. And: Sandy Greyson 2,659; Donna Starnes 2,209.)

Anyway. Like I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted: It's a long story about the justice and Tom Leppert's one-time nemesis, speaking of mayoral races (which Crow stayed out of). But here's an excerpt:

The two men met in the mid-1990s, a few years after Justice Thomas joined the court. Since then, Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group. They have also spent time together at gatherings of prominent Republicans and businesspeople at Mr. Crow's Adirondacks estate and his camp in East Texas.

In several instances, news reports of Mr. Crow's largess provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a rising debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow's financing of the museum, his largest such act of generosity, previously unreported, raises the sharpest questions yet -- both about Justice Thomas's extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct for federal judges.

Read all about it.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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