HOUSTON A Houston millionaire who adopted his adult girlfriend is being sued by his teenage children, the Houston Chronicle reported.
John Goodman, 47, adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, after he was charged in a crash that killed a 23-year-old man in Florida two years ago.
According to police, Goodman was drunk when he crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai Sonata in West Palm Beach, pushing the Sonata into a canal and killing Scott Patrick Wilson, a recent college graduate.
The Wilson family sued Goodman after the crash, and if he loses, he could be forced to pay them a lot of money.
But because of the adoption, Hutchins is now entitled to a big piece of the $300 million trust fund that was established in 1991 for Goodman s biological kids.
In their lawsuit, Goodman s kids claim their father s adoption of Hutchins is an abuse of the law, and that Goodman never told the judge he was being sued over a fatal wreck.
KHOU 11 News legal analyst Gerald Treece said he does not think the adoption will hold up.
I will guarantee you it will be challenged, Treece said. Even if the adoption is valid, that s not the end of the question. The question is, whether or not this vehicle was fraudulently created to avoid judgment creditors.
But Goodman s attorney defended the action.
Nothing in this arrangement with Ms. Hutchins is illegal, Daniel Bachi said in a written statement. Everything that has been done by Mr. Goodman was done with the intention to preserve and grow the assets of the trust for his two minor children, even should he personally be unable to continue his historical role in achieving these goals.
Bachi also denied that Goodman would have access to the trust-fund money.
Mr. Goodman cannot have a beneficial interest in the trust nor can he derive financial benefit from the trust, Bachi s statement said. The legal adoption of Ms. Hutchins does not change that in any way.
Goodman, a Houston native, grew up in River Oaks and owns the Goodman Holding Company. Goodman Holding Company is the world s largest privately held manufacturer in the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning industry. He s also well-known on the polo scene, according to longtime Houston society columnist Shelby Hodge.
We are taking millions and millions maybe not quite the billionaire level, but plenty of money to be very comfortable, Hodge said of Goodman s fortune.