Less than four months before the Penn State sex abuse scandal erupted, Joe Paterno transferred full ownership of his Pennsylvania home to his wife Suzanne for $1, plus love and affection, according to county records.
They bought the house for $58,000 in 1969, and it now has a value of $59,448,440, according to records.
Paterno's lawyer told The New York Times that the move was part of an estate planning program and had nothing to do with the scandal. But other attorneys speculated to the Times that the move may have been made to shield the property from civil lawsuits.
However, the move may not protect Paterno if any civil suits are filed against the property.
If the intent of the transfer was to defraud creditors, the transfer could be voided, Howard Rubin, a New York-based attorney with Goetz Fitzpatrick LP, told IBTimes.
On the other hand, said Rubin, the Paternos aren't in that much danger of losing the house even if a lawsuit is filed, because in a case of joint tenancy, one of the tenants would have to die before full ownership passes to the other. In other words, under the previous arrangement, Paterno's wife would have to die before lawsuits could seek the property as damages, said Rubin.
In a recent, infamous case, Bernie and Ruth Madoff both consented to giving up their many homes after revelations of Madoff's ponzi scheme broke.
No charges have yet been filed against Paterno, but he has testified in the ongoing investigation against his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.