Florida Polo Tycoon Legally Adopts His 42-Year-Old Girlfriend

Melissa Knowles
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John Goodman is a 48-year-old Florida businessman in a legal battle, but there is another reason he is getting so much attention. On October 13, 2011, Goodman legally adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Laruso Hutchins. In February 2010, Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign while drunk and struck and killed 23-year-old Patrick Wilson. Goodman allegedly had a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit in Florida of .08. He is scheduled to face charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of a crash when his trial begins in March. If he is convicted in criminal court, he could get up to 30 years in prison. In addition to the criminal charges, Goodman is being sued by Wilson's family in civil court for wrongful death. Scott Smith, the attorney for the family, said the adoption is a sham. Smith told the Palm Beach Post that Goodman is using the adoption to shield his assets. Goodman's attorney, Dan Bachi, told the Palm Beach Post that the adoption "has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him." Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley called the adoption a "legal Twilight Zone" in response to an order granting attorneys for the Wilson family the right to information concerning Goodman's adoption. Still, Goodman's legal counsel insists that his client is simply trying to insure his family's stability. Kelley previously ruled that two trust funds the businessman set up for his two minor, biological children could not be part of his net worth when calculating damages in the wrongful death suit. As for how Goodman made his fortune, he is the founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach. People on Twitter have called Goodman a "creep" and "selfish." As his legal daughter, Hutchins is now entitled to one-third of Goodman's net worth.

Now for a little bit of economics and art. Painter and graffiti artist David Choe will reportedly be making $200 million for a mural he painted seven years ago. So did Choe paint the next Mona Lisa? Not exactly. In 2005, Choe was asked by then-Facebook President Sean Parker to create a mural for the first Facebook offices in Palo Alto. Choe was given two options: get paid thousands of dollars on the spot or take his payment in Facebook stock. Luckily for Choe, he picked the stock. Facebook filed the paperwork to go public yesterday, with an initial public offering of $5 billion. That means that a ton of people who are associated with the company are instant millionaires--including Choe, whose stocks are predicted to be worth hundreds of millions. Perhaps the most ironic facet of this story is that at the time Choe was painting the mural, he tells the New York Times, he thought Facebook was "pointless and ridiculous." People on Twitter may be hating a little bit, with one person saying that Choe is "about to be the world's most resented artist." But clearly Choe won't be the only one to cash in on Facebook going public. Peter Thiel, who invested $500,000 in Facebook in 2004, stands to make over $2 billion. And Sheryl Sandberg, the company's chief operating officer, could make over $2 billion, making her the one of the richest women in Silicon Valley.