By Elise Viebeck
The Washington Post
The veil of privacy was lifted Saturday off a remote West Texas ranch where Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suddenly died.
Cibolo Creek Ranch, a luxury compound built around three 19th-century forts, has played host to movie stars and European royalty lured by the spare beauty of the desert.
Now, it will be known as the place where Scalia, a firebrand conservative whose vacancy on the Supreme Court launched an immediate political fight, spent his final hours.
The 30,000-acre resort, located less than an hour from the Mexican border crossing at Ojinaga, is tucked into the Chinati Mountains, 33 miles south of Marfa, Tex.
For the well-heeled, getting to the ranch is convenient by private jet: four miles from the main office, it offers a private airport.
The combination of convenience and privacy has attracted celebrities, reportedly including Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Bruce Willis and Tommy Lee Jones, to Cibolo over the years.
Jones used the property, which is located inside the crater of an extinct volcano, to shoot scenes for his 2005 film, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” according to IMDB.com.
A tabloid-worthy legal brawl adds to the resort’s Hollywood allure. In 2010, the ranch sued Randy Quaid, an actor best known for supporting roles in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” films and “Independence Day,” for an unpaid bill totaling $24,859 after a 10-month stay.
Hollywood figures are among a wider group of international jet-setters who frequent the ranch, once featured in Vogue magazine, where rooms can cost above $500 per night.
In 2010, according to local news source CultureMap Houston, 53 members of an international hunting society gathered at Cibolo to take advantage of its shooting. (Minor royalty was on hand: Archduke Andreas Salvatore Hapsburg-Lothrengin, the Prince of Tuscany and Royal Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, “came in from Spain for the festivities,” the site reported.)
Guests can organize bird hunts — pheasant and chukar are plentiful on the property — as well as pursue bigger game, from deer and elk to buffalo, javelinas and mountain lions.
The ranch is named after a Spanish term for bison used in the Old West, the era that most informs the rustic atmosphere of the resort.
In addition to the old forts, which have been converted to luxury accommodations, the compound is comprised of low-lying buildings surrounded by stone-built walls that give way to desert scrub.
It is unclear where on the compound Scalia was staying when he died. He was at the ranch for a private event.
Owner John Poindexter obtained the property in 1988 and undertook an extensive renovation of the forts and outbuildings. A third-generation Texan, Poindexter runs a Houston-based manufacturing company, J.B. Poindexter & Co. and is a leader in the Order of St. Hubertus, the 17th-century hunting society whose members gathered at the resort in 2010.
Poindexter has occasionally made political donations to Democrats, according to the Federal Election Commission. Beneficiaries of his wealth included former representatives Ciro Rodriguez (D-Tex.) and Pete Gallego (D-Tex.), the latter of whom was defeated by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) in 2014.
In 2009, President Obama presented a Presidential Unit Citation, the highest military honor for a U.S. military unit, to a force commanded by Poindexter in Vietnam. The award was made for the unit’s “extraordinary heroism” in rescuing more than 70 soldiers from a North Vietnamese force in March 1970, the New York Times reported.