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Entries in Polo (5)

Wednesday
Mar272013

Polo Tycoon Cannot Adopt Adult Girlfriend, Florida Court Says

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A Miami appeals court Wednesday reversed a ruling that allowed Florida polo tycoon John Goodman to adopt his longtime adult girlfriend.

Florida's Third District Court of Appeals Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz wrote that the adoption of a "paramour" or lover was "so contrary to the beneficent purposes of such an action" that it could not be confirmed by the court, according to court documents.

Goodman, a 49-year-old multimillionaire who founded the International Polo Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., made headlines when he adopted his girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, 42, in an attempt to preserve part of his fortune for her while negotiating a civil suit settlement.

Carroll Goodman, John Goodman's ex-wife and the mother of their two children, filed the appeal, according to court records.

Attorneys for Goodman and his ex-wife could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2011, a trial court in Palm Beach County approved the adoption. As a result, Hutchins was recognized as another one of Goodman's "children" under the trust fund that had been set up by him and Carroll Goodman for their biological children in 1991.

According to court documents, John Goodman and Hutchins entered an adoption agreement contract that paid her $5 million immediately at the signing of agreement, another $3 million by the end of 2012, and lifetime payments valued at an estimated $8.75 million -- a total of $16.75 million over time. The agreement also allowed Hutchins to request additional amounts from the trust.

While the adoption earned national attention, Goodman found himself in the spotlight again in May 2012 when he was sentenced to 16 years in prison and fined $10,000 for killing a man in a drunk-driving crash.

On May 11, 2012, a Florida judge said in court that Goodman "left to save himself" after his Bentley slammed into 23-year-old Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent the car into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in the February 2010 accident.

Wilson, an engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

At the time of the court case, Judge Jeffrey Colbath granted that Goodman could be released on a $7 million bond pending his appeal. As conditions for his release, he was placed under house arrest and monitored 24 hours a day with a GPS device, and could not apply for a new passport. His driver's license was also permanently revoked.

A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide last March.

Goodman claimed in court that his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

Prosecutors said Goodman left the scene of the accident without calling 911.

"Scott Wilson's death was senseless," Colbath told the court at the time.

"His conduct from the moment the crash happened to the time he came to be in the custody of law enforcement was to save himself," the judge said. "It wasn't to go get help and it wasn't because he was disoriented. It was because he wanted to figure out a way to save himself. He had an opportunity to try to save Mr. Wilson."

"I believe what the jury believed -- that he knew he pushed [Wilson's] car in the canal. He knew there was someone in the canal and he left to try to save himself," Colbath said.

Last April, court documents revealed that Goodman agreed to a $46 million payment to Wilson's parents, Lili and William Wilson. Each received $23 million in the settlement.

In his decision Wednesday to void Goodman's adult adoption of Hutchins, Schwartz cited the crash, the trust fund John and Carroll Goodman had set up in 1991 for their two biological children, and that Goodman gave his ex-wife "no notice of the adoption proceeding."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

Polo Tycoon John Goodman Sentenced to 16 Years

Hemera/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Polo tycoon John Goodman was sentenced to 16 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 by a Florida judge Friday for the drunk driving death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

Goodman's Bentley slammed into Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, an engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

Goodman, 48, also made headlines by adopting his girlfriend in an attempt to preserve part of his fortune for her while negotiating a civil suit settlement.

A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March.

Goodman, the multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, claimed in court that his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash. Goodman also left the scene of the accident without calling 911.

On Thursday, State Attorney Ellen Roberts filed the state's sentencing memorandum, asking that Goodman be sentenced to 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence was 30 years.

"What Goodman allegedly did for polo, maybe Scott Wilson would have done for science. The world will never know because of Goodman's sense of self preservation," Roberts wrote. "Scott's family will never know the answer to the rhetorical question ... what if Goodman had tried to save Scott?"

"[Goodman] called someone to help him out of this mess," she wrote, referring to the phone calls Goodman made after the accident, instead of calling 911. "He gave absolutley no thought to Scott Wilson who ever so slowly was being deprived of oxygen trapped upside down in his car in that dirty canal. He took his last breath trapped in his car which was rammed into the canal by Goodman."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr202012

Polo Tycoon John Goodman in $46 Million Settlement for DUI Death

Palm Beach Sheriff's Office(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Convicted polo tycoon John Goodman agreed to a $46 million settlement with the parents of 23-year-old Scott Wilson who died in a drunken driving accident perpetrated by Goodman, according to court documents.

Lili and William Wilson, Scott Wilson's parents, will each receive $23 million in the settlement, the same age their son was when he was killed.

All parties involved had previously been tight-lipped about the settlement amount in the civil suit over the crash after Goodman adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate in the civil suit.

The amount was disclosed in a motion for bond filed Wednesday.

The attorneys filed the motion in hopes of being able to get Goodman out of prison pending his appeal and the outcome of his motion for a new trial. Earlier this week, Goodman's attorneys filed a motion for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct.

A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March. He could face up to 30 years in prison when sentenced April 30.

Goodman's Bentley slammed into Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

The multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach claimed his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

Attorneys for both Lili and William Wilson did not respond to ABC News requests for comment Friday.

But Christian Searcy, Lili Wilson's attorney, told the Palm Beach Post that the money did not come from Goodman's fortune, but, rather, from insurance companies. He also noted that $6 million of the settlement came from The Player's Club, the restaurant where Goodman had been drinking before the crash.

The motion filed Monday in a Palm Beach County court, asked for a new trial or for Goodman's convictions to be overturned.

In the motion, an alternate juror reported the alleged instances of misconduct to Goodman's lawyers, saying "it was clear" to her the jurors had made up their minds before the end of the trial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr162012

Polo Tycoon's Lawyer Alleges Juror Misconduct in John Goodman Conviction

Hemera/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Attorneys for convicted polo tycoon John Goodman filed a motion Monday for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

An alternate juror reported the alleged instances of misconduct to Goodman's lawyers, saying "it was clear" to her the jurors had made up their minds before the end of the trial.

A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March. He could face up to 30 years in prison when sentenced April 30.

Goodman's Bentley slammed into Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

The multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach claimed his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

The motion, filed Monday in a Palm Beach County court, asks for a new trial or for Goodman's convictions to be overturned.

"The defendant bases these requests on several strains of jury misconduct that were recently reported to counsel, unsolicited, by an alternate juror," according to the motion.

The defense claims that jurors "repeatedly disobeyed their oaths and instructions from the court" in several ways, including by discussing evidence before the end of the case, by making derogatory comments about Goodman's wealth throughout the trial, and by ignoring instructions about not reading media coverage of the case.

It was allegedly an alternate juror that called the court at the end of March, "wishing to report the various forms of misconduct she had witnessed during the trial," the motion said.

When the court did not respond, the motion stated, the alternate juror called the office of Goodman's attorneys and told them of the alleged misconduct.

Defense attorney Roy Black's office said they have no comment at this time: "The motion speaks for itself."

Goodman has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar212012

Polo Tycoon John Goodman Testifies at His Vehicular Homicide Trial

Hemera/Thinkstock (WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Polo tycoon John Goodman took the stand in his vehicular homicide trial on Wednesday and said that he was "absolutely not" drunk when his Bentley malfunctioned and slammed into a car, killing 23-year old Scott Wilson.

Goodman, 48, crashed into Wilson's Hyundai in February 2010, knocking the car into a canal where Wilson, 23, drowned.

The multi-millionaire is being tried on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. He has pleaded not guilty, and faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted.

Goodman testified that he went to two gatherings earlier that night with friends and had four drinks: a vodka tonic at the White Horse Tavern and then two shots of tequila and a shot of Grey Goose vodka at the Players Club.

His Players Club bill shows a tab for more than 10 tequilas and other drinks, but Goodman said he bought a round for friends.

When asked if he was impaired, the 6-foot-1 and 220 pound man said, "Absolutely not."

Goodman said he was on his way to a Wendy's restaurant about midnight for a late night frosty when the crash occurred.

"I was travelling down and I began to apply my brakes and the car did not seem to be stopping as easily as I was used to, and I slowed near a stop sign and I applied the brake," he testified.

"I took my foot off the brake and that was the last thing I remember," he said.

Goodman's $200,000 Bentley raced through the stop sign, slamming into Wilson's vehicle.

Goodman said that when he got out of the car he was dazed and didn't know where he was.

"I looked around and didn't see what I had hit.... I had a broken wrist and a fractured chest, my back was horrible, and I had a head injury. I was in pain," he said.

Goodman said he didn't see any other vehicles, and walked away, looking for a phone because his cell phone had died.

Wilson's Hyundai had landed upside down in a nearby canal with the engineering graduate still strapped into the driver's seat.

When asked by his attorney Roy Black what he would have done if he knew a car had been knocked into the canal, Goodman replied, "If I knew there was another vehicle in the canal I would have gone in and done whatever I could."

Goodman said he wandered away from the accident in the dark, and came upon a barn with a light on. When no one answered his banging, he entered and went upstairs into a furnished office looking for a phone, he said.

When he couldn't find a phone, he sat down on a couch, and spotted a bottle of alcohol, he testified.

"I grabbed a bottle of liquor, thinking it would help with my pain," he said. "I was in excruciating pain. I was in a lot of pain."

Goodman said he went outside and spotted a light on a trailer in the distance. It was there, at the home of Lisa Pembleton, where he called 911, nearly an hour after the accident. The medical examiner testified earlier in the trial, that that time was the difference between life and death for Scott Wilson.

Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.

The trial has drawn national attention. Throughout, jurors have heard from the elite in the world of polo, including the face of Ralph Lauren and international polo star Ignacio "Nacho" Figueras. Figueras saw Goodman earlier that night at a polo charity event, where the model was serving as a celebrity bartender.

"He looked fine. When he said he was leaving, I walked with him to the door," Figueras said. He testified that he did not smell any alcohol on Goodman. Other defense witnesses said the same.

Goodman's defense team says that the crash was not Goodman's fault, arguing that he was sober and that his Bentley malfunctioned, accelerating through the intersection.

His lawyers have said that Goodman hit his head when his Bentley's side air bag did not deploy, and that he had a concussion and was confused in the hours after the accident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio