Giving the bride away. (I’m my own grandpa)
Personally, I don’t believe that rich folks are any sleazier, say, than poor folks.
It’s just that, when the sleaze involves the kind of money that only PowerBall winning poor folks get to see, the sleaze is more fascinating. A sleazy poor person may snatch a couple of bucks from the church poor box. Yawn! A sleazy rich guy: now you’re talking!
Thus, I view the heart-felt adoption of a 42 year old “girl” by her48 year old boyfriend (father figure?) through the twin prisms of sleaze and fascination.
John Goodman – the new dad – is the founder of the International Polo Club of Palm Beach. So, of course, I am benevolently disposed towards him already. He made his polo-ing money the old-fashioned way, inheriting it from his hard working old man, who made it big in the air conditioning biz. Johnny, apparently, didn’t give a chukka about AC, but he did like the ponies, and he’s devoted most of his adult life to the polo cause. To his philanthropic portfolio he’s now added adopting someone who was probably a little hard to place.
Goodman now faces up to 30 years in the slammer because of a drunk driving accident in which he and his Bentley allegedly ran a stop sign and ended up slamming someone’s 23 year old son and his non-Bentley into a ditch, where he drowned.
With the prospect of both criminal jail time and the prospect of a wrongful death suit facing him, Goodman decided that the time was right to add to his family – he has two children by his former wife – by adopting his girlfriend Heather Laruso Hutchins. This entitles Hutchins to one third of the $300M trust fund that Goodman had established for his heirs.
The trust was off limits in the wrongful death suit, so it’s not a direct dodge. As his lawyer is eager to assure:
Dan Bachi, Goodman's civil attorney, said Hutchins' adoption was done to ensure the future stability of his children and family investments.
"It has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him," Bachi said. (Source:Palm Beach Post .)
But in case a good chunk of Goodman’s remaining assets are wiped out by said suit, he’s likely hedging that his loving and devoted 42 year old daughter will take dear old dad in, and support him in the polo style to which he became, thanks to his daddy dearest, accustomed.
This sets off all sorts of questions:
If, at some point – when wrongful death suits are in the next Bentley’s rear view mirror – Goodman decides to propose to Hutchins, does he have to ask himself for his daughter’s hand in marriage?
Does he get to walk her down the aisle?
If they have a child, is he the father, the grandfather, or both?
Is Hutchins the half-sister to Goodman’s other two kids, and does she become their step-mother if she and Goodman marry.
Who do you turn to for the answer to such questions? Other than Woody Allen and Soong Yi, that is.
Meanwhile, Goodman’s teenage – as opposed to 42 year old – children are challenging the adoption. They’re doing so through their guardian, Jeff Goddess. (How fun would it be to be in court for Goddess vs. Goodman?)
[Goddess] claims that Goodman, 48, defrauded the court by a move that a local judge called a "surreal" step into a "legal twilight zone." (Source: Houston Chronicle.)
“Surreal” is right.
I’d love to be a horsefly on the wall of the International Polo Club of Palm Beach if Dad decides to take the best little girl in the world to lunch some Sunday…
Other Info Source: HuffPo.
And a tip of the polo helmet to my cousin Mary Beth, currently visiting Florida, perhaps in search of a non-sleazy rich man to adopt her. Having known her for most of her life, I can attest to the fact that she would make someone an excellent child.