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RV Loan Was 'Sweetheart Deal' for Justice Thomas, Expert Says

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas faces more scrutiny on the money on the RV he bought thanks to a loan from his wealthy friend Anthony Welters, who made his fortune in the health care industry. “This was, in short, a sweetheart deal” that made no logical sense from a business perspective, Michael Hamersley, a tax lawyer who has served as a congressional expert witness, told The New York Times.

After Thomas bought the 40-foot luxury motor coach he made annual interest-only payments for five years. But he failed to repay a “significant portion” — or perhaps any — of the $267,230 principal, according to a new report by Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee. Then, nearly nine years later, after Justice Thomas had made an unclear number of the interest payments, the outstanding debt was forgiven, an outcome with ethical and potential tax consequences for the justice. Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat who leads the Senate Finance Committee, called on Justice Thomas to “inform the committee exactly how much loan was forgiven and whether he properly reported the loan forgiveness on his tax return and paid all taxes owed.”


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