A WEALTHY POLO club founder has adopted his adult girlfriend to be his legal child in Florida, as part of a lengthy legal battle.
Court records show International Polo Club Palm Beach founder John Goodman legally adopted 42-year-old Heather Laruso Hutchins. Hutchins says the couple have been dating since 2009.
The controversy stems from a 2010 car crash in which a man was killed. Attorneys for the family of the victim tell the Palm Beach Post the adoption is an attempt by Goodman, 48, to shield some his assets from potential lawsuit damages.
“Adult adoptions happen often. This is certainly a unique situation,” local attorney Elisha Roy told CBS News.
It’s thought the move will allow Hutchins to claim some of the income from a trust set up for Goodman’s children. The judge in the case wrote in a ruling that “the events border on the surreal and take the court into a legal twilight zone.”
Goodman’s lawyer says it’s aimed at ensuring the future stability of his assets.
Goodman also faces criminal DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and other charges in the crash that killed 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson. Goodman has pleaded not guilty. The criminal trial is March 6.
– Additional reporting Michael Freeman