What a sleaze!
A Florida man who is being sued by the parents of a 23-year-old man killed in a car crash adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend in what attorneys — and the judge — call an unprecedented move to shield his assets, the Palm Beach Post reports.
John Goodman, the founder of the International Polo Club, filed the paperwork to adopt Heather Laruso Hutchins in October, legally entitling her to a third of the assets in a trust fund he set up for his two biological children.
He is being sued by Lili and William Wilson, whose son, Scott Patrick Wilson, was killed when Goodman ran a stop sign and hit the 23-year-old. Tests taken after the crash revealed he had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, according to the newspaper.
“The Court cannot ignore reality or the practical impact of what Mr. Goodman has now done,” Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley wrote in a legal order, according to the Palm Beach Post. “The Defendant has effectively diverted a significant portion of the assets of the children’s trust to a person with whom he is intimately involved at a time when his personal assets are largely at risk in this case.”
Kelly had previously ruled that the trust could not be considered part of Goodman’s assets.
Goodman’s attorney said Hutchins’ adoption had nothing to do with the civil suit, according to the newspaper.
Instead, he said, it was meant as a savvy financial move to ensure his family’s investments.
Kelly seemed doubtful.
“The events which serve as the grounds for the relief sought by the Plaintiffs border on the surreal and take the Court into a legal twilight zone,” he said.