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  1. #1
    Breck4x4[John]'s Avatar
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    Question Houston millionaire adopts girlfriend

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...sh-2932135.php
    In the strangest wrinkle yet in a legal drama that pits the state of Florida and a car crash victim against a polo-obsessed Houston millionaire, the girlfriend of John Goodman is now his daughter.

    The heir to an air-conditioning fortune, Goodman, 48, has legally adopted 42-year-old Heather Laruso Hutchins, whom he began dating since 2009.

    The adoption, which took place in October 2011 but was not publicly disclosed until Tuesday, potentially allows Hutchins to control a third of the assets of a trust fund he set up for his two other children.

    A Florida judge called the action "surreal" and a step into a "legal twilight zone" in a recent related ruling. The purpose of the adoption, however, is likely rooted in practical financial matters.

    Because of her age, Hutchins can avoid the legal stipulation that does not allow beneficiaries to take from the fund until they are 35.

    Lawsuit, criminal case

    Whether the move could have any effect on a civil trial brought by the parents of Scott Wilson, killed in a collision with Goodman's Bentley in February 2010, is uncertain. An engineering graduate, Wilson was 23 when Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign and knocked Wilson's car into a drainage ditch. He drowned.

    Wilson's parents filed a wrongful death suit against Goodman that is set for trial in late March. The state has charged Goodman with vehicular homicide, claiming that Goodman had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit when he allegedly ran a stop sign and ran into Wilson.

    That trial, too, is scheduled for March. Goodman, also charged with driving under the influence manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, faces up to 30 years in prison.

    Florida Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley ruled in October 2011 that the civil jury should not be told of the trust fund, saying it might encourage jurors to impose a larger financial penalty than they would otherwise, even though Goodman has no access to the irrevocable trust.

    A jury award inflated by awareness of the trust might end up bankrupting Goodman, the judge ruled, and that would violate Florida law. Lawyers for Lili and William Wilson have appealed that ruling.

    How the adoption might affect the exposure of Goodman's assets to a potential jury award is unclear, as the trust money already is off limits. It's also a matter of speculation whether a future probate court will recognize Hutchins as a legitimate trust beneficiary.

    Kelley said that for the purposes of the civil trial, he will recognize the adoption as legitimate. One effect that seems apparent is that Goodman has the potential to achieve some immediate benefit of the money set aside for his children. The trust reportedly requires disbursement of 70 percent of the sum to which the beneficiary is entitled once they turn 35.

    "By way of this adoption, John Goodman now effectively owns one third of the trust assets," the William Wilsons' attorney, Scott Smith, told the Palm Beach Post. "It cannot go unrecognized that he chose to adopt his 42-year-old adult girlfriend as opposed to a needy child."

    Investment stability

    Dan Bachi, Goodman's civil attorney, told the Post the odd maneuver was undertaken to assure the stability of investments.

    "It has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him," Bachi said.

    Kelley called the adoption "unprecedented," though legal experts have cited cases of adult adoption, most done for reasons pertaining to inheritance and estate planning.

    Goodman's wealth came courtesy of his father. Harold V. Goodman founded the Goodman Manufacturing Co. and pioneered the use of flexible ductwork, later becoming a major manufacturer of air-conditioning systems.

    John worked for the company after gaining a marketing degree, but business interested him less than polo. Over the last two decades he has been one of polo's largest American benefactors.
    This is kinda creepy, does an adult adopted daughter fall under incest?

    and pic
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    The way it sounds to me is that he has a huge trust set up for his kids. He is going to go to jail for 30 years for a DUI and manslaughter. That will lock down his estate so there won't be any money for his kids, with the exception of the trust, which the kids can't likely access until some age, such as 35. In order for his girlfriend to take care of his kids, he has to give her access to money so, if he adopts her, she can access the trust, which has been ruled as untouchable by the courts in this case.
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  4. #4
    So - if he adopted her...as his daughter...will the state now go after him for incest too??
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  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Yucca-Man View Post
    So - if he adopted her...as his daughter...will the state now go after him for incest too??
    Depends on whether:

    1. Incest between consenting adults is a crime in that state. It may or may not be.

    2. Incest laws apply to non-blood relatives. If you look at the justification behind incest laws (preventing genetic mutations) it makes no sense to characterize incest when there is no blood relationship between the parties.

    3. Above laws could survive a challenge in light of Lawrence v. Texas, which generally prohibits laws that regulate sex between consenting adults.

    and most importantly

    4. Whether a prosecutor wants to waste the taxpayer's money on such a pointless prosecution.

    BTW, before gay marriage became a thing it wasn't unusual for gay couples to stage an adoption of the younger member of the couple by the older member, to ensure that a familial relationship was maintained and also to ensure that assets owned by one party would pass by laws of intestacy to the other party in the event of one of them dying (particularly a concern during the height of the AIDS epidemic.) AFAIK these arrangements were generally upheld by the courts.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Camp View Post
    The way it sounds to me is that he has a huge trust set up for his kids. He is going to go to jail for 30 years for a DUI and manslaughter. That will lock down his estate so there won't be any money for his kids, with the exception of the trust, which the kids can't likely access until some age, such as 35. In order for his girlfriend to take care of his kids, he has to give her access to money so, if he adopts her, she can access the trust, which has been ruled as untouchable by the courts in this case.
    Yep. Not a stupid decision. He knows he's going away.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Yucca-Man View Post
    So - if he adopted her...as his daughter...will the state now go after him for incest too??
    Believe it or not, laws are more lenient on incest. There is a graphic that shows "states that allow gay marriage" and it's a couple states and then a map that shows "states that allow marriage between first cousins" and it's a whole bunch.

    Gross...
    It's almost as if our society values opinions more than it values knowledge

  9. #9
    It's just not incest...It's not blood. The laws can't change that biological fact.

  10. #10
    It's still incest regardless of whether or not they're blood relatives. Incest is by definition "close relative" / "sibling".

  11. #11
    ni0h's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potter View Post
    It's still incest regardless of whether or not they're blood relatives. Incest is by definition "close relative" / "sibling".
    Damnit, don't make me defend it, because it's creepy, but "close relative" / "sibling" means blood. Saying an adoption magically changes their DNA is like saying an addadictomy changes a woman to a man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gags View Post
    I say some stupid sh!t here.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by potter View Post
    It's still incest regardless of whether or not they're blood relatives. Incest is by definition "close relative" / "sibling".
    Only if that's what the law says.

    In Colorado it could be considered incest:
    18-6-301. Incest.

    (1) Any person who knowingly marries, inflicts sexual penetration or sexual intrusion on, or subjects to sexual contact, as defined in section 18-3-401, an ancestor or descendant, including a natural child, child by adoption, or stepchild twenty-one years of age or older, a brother or sister of the whole or half blood, or an uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the whole blood commits incest, which is a class 4 felony. For the purpose of this section only, "descendant" includes a child by adoption and a stepchild, but only if the person is not legally married to the child by adoption or the stepchild.
    ...Though he could cure that by marrying her.

    HOWEVER - there is an open question about whether such a prosecution could survive a Constitutional challenge in light of Lawrence v. Texas. For those who don't remember, Lawrence was the case where the SCOTUS determined that laws against "sodomy" with regard to homosexual conduct were unconstitutional because they violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution (i.e the acts that were prohibited between same-sex couples were not prohibited between male/female couples) as well as the Substantive due process clause (i.e. the fundamental right to privacy.)

    Here's an excerpt from Lawrence:

    The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter. The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. "It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter." Casey, supra, at 847. The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.
    Scalia, in his dissent, argued that the majority rule in Lawrence could be used to strike down laws against incest. AFAIK it has not done so but the possibility remains.

    Of course the difference here is that the state could argue that, contrary to Lawrence, it does have a compelling state interest in outlawing incest, that is, that it is common knowledge that children born of incestuous conduct are more likely to suffer from birth defects and other genetic diseases, but the question then would be whether that concern is sufficient to justify the state's intrusion into the private lives of consenting adults.
    Last edited by ZappBranigan; February 2nd, 2012 at 10:42 AM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ni0h View Post
    addadictomy


    I need a new keyboard.
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  14. #14
    Whether the move could have any effect on a civil trial brought by the parents of Scott Wilson, killed in a collision with Goodman's Bentley in February 2010, is uncertain. An engineering graduate, Wilson was 23 when Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign and knocked Wilson's car into a drainage ditch. He drowned.

    Florida Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley ruled in October 2011 that the civil jury should not be told of the trust fund, saying it might encourage jurors to impose a larger financial penalty than they would otherwise, even though Goodman has no access to the irrevocable trust.

    A jury award inflated by awareness of the trust might end up bankrupting Goodman, the judge ruled, and that would violate Florida law. Lawyers for Lili and William Wilson have appealed that ruling.
    I'm pretty sure the fact that the guy was driving a BENTLEY will probably influence the jury enough...
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  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    I've got a really weird boner right now.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by scottycards View Post
    I've got a really weird boner right now.

    Dammit! Put down that Pic of Obama!


    Sorry Dude I had to. You left that one right open.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zillacon View Post
    Dammit! Put down that Pic of Obama!


    Sorry Dude I had to. You left that one right open.
    I was thinking Steve jobs.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    I was thinking Steve jobs.
    Jobs/Obama slash fic?
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  20. #20
    So why wouldn't he just marry her?Wouldn't that do the same thing?
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  21. #21
    Oscar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheepin View Post
    So why wouldn't he just marry her?Wouldn't that do the same thing?
    Cause the judge ruled the trust fund was not part of the possible settlement a wife would not have access to that.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Cause the judge ruled the trust fund was not part of the possible settlement a wife would not have access to that.
    Ah.Guess I should have read it not just skimmed it.Na no time for that.lol

  23. #23
    Man the way people find loopholes in almost every law is unreal

  24. #24
    Breck4x4[John]'s Avatar
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    Basically from my layman's perspective he just gave her full access to deplete 1/3 of the trust set up for his legitimate children. Who really thinks this blonde is going to sit by while he is Bubba's girlfriend in jail? Even if he gets probation, I'll bet within a year she is off on a beach getting tanned and stretched out.

    It will serve him right to have his Hoochie-daughter skip off with the money that was set aside for his children.

  25. #25
    The kids could call JG Wentworth, "It's my money and I want it now!!!".
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    I was thinking Steve jobs.
    Whatever gives you your weird boner.

  27. #27
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