New York, Oct 3: The billionaire founder of the International Polo Club, who was about to go on trial for DUI manslaughter, has adopted his own girlfriend as his third child in an attempt to protect his massive fortune in the wrongful-death lawsuit.
Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kelley said that 48-year-old John Goodman's adoption of his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, of four years is "surreal" and moves the case into "a legal twilight zone," the New York Post reported.
Authorities said that Goodman's action stems from the incident where he, under influence, ran a stop sign in Wellington, Florida, and struck the Hyundai of Scott Patrick Wilson, killing Wilson in the process.
After the victim's parents sued Goodman, Judge Kelley ruled that the trust fund that Goodman had set up for his two kids was inaccessible if a jury awards money to the Wilsons.
So, Goodman finalized a legal adoption of Hutchins that made her entitled to one-third of the trust, which is believed to be worth at least 200 million dollars.
His attorney has, however, denied that the adoption has anything to do with the lawsuit currently pending against his client.
The lawyer said that the adoption was done for estate-planning purposes and to ensure protection of both his and her minor children and the stability of all the family investments. (ANI)