In February, 2010, a motor vehicle accident took the life of a young man by the name of Scott Wilson, a recent college graduate with a degree in Engineering. The driver of the car which struck Wilson’s was 49 year old John Goodman, a founder of the International Polo Club of Palm Beach and the heir to a Houston air conditioning company. Mr. Goodman’s Bentley hit and rolled Wilson’s car into a canal where the young man drowned. If these facts were not tragic enough, the actions of Mr. Goodman and his legal team have made things even worse.
Mr. Goodman has been charged with DUI, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. Goodman’s criminal defense attorney, Roy Black, has claimed that the Bentley somehow malfunctioned, making it impossible for his client to maintain control of it. The defendant says that he was not drunk at the time of the crash, but, rather, started to drink afterwards from the stress of the ordeal and the pain of his own wrist injury. Witnesses, however, observed Goodman consume no less than eight cocktails called “Mind Erasers” during the two hours prior. I looked up the recipe for the “Mind Eraser” and it is as follows: 2 ounces of vodka, 2 ounces of Kahlua and 2 ounces of tonic water. This means that Mr. Goodman successfully ingested at least a quart of alcohol in less than two hours.
Wilson’s parents also filed a civil suit against Goodman seeking damages for the loss of their son. This is where Mr. Goodman and his attorneys turned this case into a circus. You see, during the proceedings, Goodman decided that he wanted to adopt his 42 year old girlfriend, Heather Laruso Hutchins. It was a move to protect the hundreds of millions of dollars held in a trust in his name, from the Wilsons and their claim. It also managed to decrease the amount that his own biological children would eventually have a right to upon his passing. By adding this new, third “child”, Goodman has seen to it that Ms. Hutchins will be entitled to a third of the trust money.
The Wilsons have reportedly settled their suit with Goodman, and although such things are rarely revealed, it has been estimated that they will receive around $10 million. That still leaves the Goodman clan with their own legal entanglements. The natural children of the millionaire are going after their father and new “sister” in an attempt to have the adoption overturned. There’s going to be a ton of money spent on attorneys while this little family squabble is worked out. I can’t wait to see how next Thanksgiving goes in that mansion down in Wellington, Florida. Meanwhile, a young man with a very bright future is gone and another bunch of the one per centers is finding new ways to hide and squander money they never even had to earn.