A wealthy man from Florida has adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend as a daughter. Many people say his move is to safeguard his property during an upcoming lawsuit in connection with a fatal car accident.
John Goodman, 48, the founder of Polo Club Palm Beach, adopted his longtime partner Heather Laruso Hutchins in October, reports the Palm Beach Post.
The move could have stemmed after a lawsuit filed by the parents of Scott Patrick Wilson, who was killed in a car accident in 2010 when Goodman allegedly crossed a stop sign. The trial is scheduled to begin March 27, the Associated Press reports.
Goodman has already set up a trust in the names of his two children who are still minors. If the lawsuit is won by Wilson's parents, with this move, they will not be able to receive any compensation money from the trust.
Hutchins, as Goodman's third legal child, is now entitled to one-third of the money in the trust.
Wilson family lawyer claims that the move is a tactic for Goodman to safeguard his money and keep it for himself. However, Goodman's lawyer, Dan Bachi, told the Palm Beach Post that the adoption had got nothing to with the lawsuit and was done just to guarantee his children's future.
Apparently, Charlotte Danciu, a Florida Attorney said in an interview with WPEC TV that Goodman was abusing the state's adoption law, which is designed to create parent-child relationships, reports the Huffington Post.
Judge Glenn Kelley, who approved Goodman's adoption application in Miami-Dade County, described the request as border[ing] on the surreal, and added that it put the court in a legal twilight zone, says the report.
Tests have revealed that Goodman, who has pleaded not guilty, had a blood-alcohol level two times above the legal limit while driving on the night Wilson died.
Also, apart from the civil case, Goodman faces a March trial for vehicular homicide, DUI, manslaughter and fleeing the scene of crime. The charges put together can get him up to 30 years in prison.