Sunday, October 1, 2023

Clarence Thomas’s Close Friend Says ProPublica Story about Billionarie Yacht Trip is Bogus

'He has never ever laid eyes on this boat...'

(Corine GattiHeadline USA) The leftist media’s latest hit piece on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas highlighted his alleged voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas—none of which happened, according to insiders.

ProPublica reported that a chauffeur of oil baron Paul “Tony” Novelly claimed to have driven Thomas to the marina where Novelly’s luxurious yacht was often docked.

Moreover, it was reported that Novelly’s former yacht workers said Thomas came on board Novelly’s yachts “multiple times.”

However, a close friend of the justice, Mark Paoletta, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the justice denied having ever seen the boat.

“ProPublica’s claim that Justice Thomas was a passenger on any yacht owned by Tony Novelly, including the Le Montrachet, is completely false,” Paoletta told the Daily Caller. “He has never ever laid eyes on this boat. Moreover, Justice Thomas has never been in the Bahamas with Tony Novelly.”

The last visit he had to the Bahamas was during the 1980s, “long before he went on the Supreme Court and long before he met Mr. Novelly,” Paoletta continued. “There is not a shred of truth to this story.”

ProPublica receives the bulk of its funding from the the same dark-money foundations that have underwritten activist organizations seeking to pack the court and otherwise attempt to delegitimize it for political purposes.

The outlet—which has specifically targeted the court’s two most conservative justices, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito—claimed the alleged yacht trip was one of 38 destination vacations and gifts Thomas received from wealthy friends in possible violation of ethics rules.

The justices have maintained that there were no ethical reporting violations in accordance with the court’s policies at the time, nor any conflicts of interest involving pending cases that would have required them to recuse themselves due to their personal relationships.

Paoletta disputed more elements of ProPublica’s story about Thomas. He challenged the claim that Thomas had received a standing invitation to an exclusive golf club, as well as the value of the football game he attended with former top executive at Berkshire Hathaway David Sokol, worth $40,000 for a luxury suite.

Paoletta said that the Nebraska Athletic Department confirmed that the ticket price for Thomas’s seats was $65 and that he attended the game as well. He also claimed Thomas never accepted the golf club invitation extended by billionaire Wayne Huizenga.

In spite of the discrepancies in the account, ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg stood by the story, taking Thomas’s own refusal to cooperate as confirmation of his guilt.

“Our reporting on Justice Thomas’ trip to the Bahamas was based on multiple firsthand sources,” Engelberg told the Daily Caller.

“We asked Justice Thomas about this trip and he did not respond,” Engelberg added. “We take any allegation of error seriously and our policy is to correct any inaccuracies as quickly as possible.”

ProPublica acknowledged in its article that individuals including Huizenga, Sokol and Novelly had not had any legal cases at the Supreme Court during their relationships with Thomas, despite their involvement in industries that are greatly affected by the court’s rulings.

After reviewing Federal Election Commission records, the Daily Caller found ProPublica’s biggest donors funded groups calling for an investigation of Thomas like the Sandler Foundation, which supported several groups calling for Thomas to be investigated or to resign.

Moreover, experts cited by ProPublica in stories on Supreme Court justices had histories of donating to Democratic campaigns and left-wing causes.

Most damningly perhaps, while teeming with indignation over the personal dealings of the court’s second black justice, ProPublica and other media have ignored similar ethical concerns surrounding liberal justices including Sonia Sotomayor and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Democrats and their media allies also have remained mum regarding President Joe Biden’s vacations at the homes of wealthy left-wing donors, including his stay this week at the Lake Tahoe retreat of megadonor Tom Steyer.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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