When you hear the term "girlfriend," you think of a particular relationship. You think, if things progress, that the phrase might be replaced by "fiance" or "wife."
However, one Florida man has made his girlfriend his "daughter."
Polo magnate John Goodman, 48, is being accused of adopting his girlfriend in an attempt to protect his assets during a legal battle with the family of a man he allegedly killed while drunk driving.
Goodman acquired his fortune when he inherited his family's heater and
air-conditioner business and sold it in 2004 for a reported $1.43 billion.
He then invested in what would become a successful polo club with an impressive reputation.
On the morning of Feb. 12,
2010, police say Mr. Goodman was purportedly driving home when he ran a stop sign, crashing
into 23-year-old Scott Wilson.
Wilson, a recent college graduate, rolled into a canal. Police reports say that Goodman allegedly left the
scene, leaving Wilson to drown. Goodman called the police about an hour after the incident occurred. Police say that when they arrived, Goodman's eyes were bloodshot, his breath reeked of alcohol and his speech was slurred.
Goodman's blood-alcohol level was 0.177% — more than twice the legal limit.
While it has not been made public how much money the victims family of the victim is seeking, those opposing Goodman are worried that he is using his girlfriend, Heather Colby Hutchins, whom he adopted last year, to maintain control over the money currently in his trust. The trust was established for Goodman's two biological children in 1991; it
is estimated to be worth more than $300 million.
"Nothing in this arrangement with Ms. Hutchins is illegal," said Daniel Bachi, one of Goodman's attorneys.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Goddess, a guardian for Goodman's biological children's interests, has formally requested that the adoption be dissolved.
Mr. Goodman is bound to Ms. Hutchins, and feels as though he would like
to protect her and take care of her financially, the obvious solution
would be to marry her — not to make her his child," said Goddess' attorneys in court.