Harlan Crow: How Powerful is Clarence Thomas’ (Maybe) BFF?
4:28 pm, June 18th | by Amy Tennery
By now you may have stumbled across today’s damning profile on the alleged “friendship” between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and southern real estate scion Harlan Crow from the New York Times. The piece focuses on Crow’s funding of a Georgia museum that’s a pet project of Thomas’ — and lists a cavalcade of outlandish gifts Crow has given to the justice during their roughly two-decade-long acquaintance, including a $15,000 bust of Abraham Lincoln and a Bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, valued at $19,000.
The profile pays special attention to whether this would constitute a violation of ethics among Supreme Court justices, as well it should.
But this story raised one question that was of particular interest to us over at Mogulite: Exactly how wealthy and powerful is this Crow guy?
Well, according to the curiously titled story from a couple years back, “Who is Harlan Crow, and Why Are People Saying All Those Mean Things About Him?” (seriously) from D Magazine, “no living person has done more to build downtown Dallas than Harlan Crow… he is a man of integrity.” Oh, that’s sweet. A 1996 profile from the Times, meanwhile, described Crow as a shrewd businessman who helped his father’s company, Trammell Crow, survive the 80s, the “worst real estate crash of modern times” (if only they could see into the future roughly 12 years, maybe they’d change their tune).
It would seem that Crow has long been as much of a hometown hero to Dallas as Mark Cuban is right now. He was Mark Cuban-status before the Mavericks were even a glimmer in that mogul’s crazed little eyes.
And how much influence does this guy wield? Tons, apparently. According to the Crow Holdings website, where Crow is CEO and chairman, the total equity capital from his real estate funds alone has reached $2.1 billion. And that’s not counting his financial investments and other real estate holdings. The guy’s sort of got the market cornered on being super rich and doing whatever the heck he wants in Dallas.
Oh, and he does it in style, too! The guy lives in a $24.1 million house, the fifth most expensive one in Dallas, as of 2009. Also, did we mention that he owns a 162-foot yacht? And, of course, if he grows tired of that Texan villa, he can get away from it all at Camp Topridge, a 207-acre retreat in the Adirondacks, which he owns, that’s currently on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
With all this on his plate, we’re surprised he even had time to end up in a political maybe-scandal.