Billionaire divorcee and polo player John Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, sued in civil court in Florida for wrongful death
BACKGROUND: On February 12, 2010, John Goodman allegedly killed Scott Wilson in Wellington Florida, after John’s Bentley smashed into the young man’s Hyundai. John is suspected to have been intoxicated when the accident — the impact of which plunged Scott’s car into a canal in which the young man drowned — occurred.
Back in February, the Palm Beach Post first broke the story. It is a complicated story that has resonated in rural Florida community of Wellington, pitting rich against poor. As founder of the International Polo Club in Wellington (the billionaire made his money when he sold a Houston-based family business for $1.4 billion according to the Palm Beach Post), Mr.Goodman has led a privileged and posh life and has rubbed noses with luminaries such as Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and Madonna, among others. That fateful night when he allegedly took the life of a poor Florida lad by the name of Scott Wilson, he was, ostensibly, driving under the influence after having several drinks at the Players Club Bar and Restaurant.
It seemed a travesty that Mr. Goodman was able to walk away from the scene of the accident with minor injuries while Scott Wilson perished. Yet Goodman made no attempt to call law enforcement or help Scott out of the water that night. And those who did call law enforcement complain that the police didn’t question them at the scene as they expected. Many feel this is a case of a cover up to enable Mr. Goodman to get away with homicide.
Goodman allegedly attended two parties before the crash. Investigators believe he passed out at the wheel, overshot a turn off leading to his house and continued through the stop sign. They are considering whether drugs and alcohol were involved. John was called a cocaine addict in paper work filed in his divorce last year.
People are angry about how the Palm Beach Police has handled this investigation. For one thing, they seem to believe the investigation is taking too long, and that charges against Mr. Goodman should already have been filed. The fact that he was not given a breathalyzer test at the time is troubling for some folks, even though toxicology reports are pending at this time. The fact that Mr. Goodman walked away from the scene of an accident, and is responsible for the death of a promising young man is really difficult for many in their community to accept. Many feel if the tables were turned and Mr. Goodman had been killed by Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson would have already been arrested and would rot in jail for vehicular homicide and DUI. They are pleased that Mr. Wilson’s parents have brought a civil suit against the billionaire.
Mr. Goodman, as mentioned earlier, has a history of substance abuse. His divorce decree back in 2008 strongly indicates he’s had a problem for some time, one so acute that his ex-wife insisted on him receiving counseling in the divorce decree, but likewise did not insist on spousal or child support (since she is also wealthy.) Houston Press on a post-divorce motion brought by Goodman’s wife Carroll:
“Respondent has a history of substance abuse, namely cocaine use. Because of this, both Movant [Carroll] and Respondent [John] agreed that Respondent would submit himself for the purpose of the random drug screen for cocaine as requested by Dr. Altschuler.” The motion goes on to state that John Goodman did not return Altschuler’s phoned attempts to set up the drug screen. The motion makes note of the standard visitation schedule for the children, and then goes on to state: “Movant is fearful for the safety and well-being of her children while they are in the possession of Respondent because of his history of substance abuse and his refusal to submit himself for drug screening.”
Of course, that does not prove that Mr. Goodman was driving under the influence on the night of February 12 in Wellington Florida when the tragic accident occurred. His ex-wife has been silent, but she is expected to stand by him if criminal charges are ever filed. In the meantime, he is facing civil charges. It is unclear at this time if there is a sum certain that the Wilson family is requesting as compensation for wrongful death of their son. It is not as if all the money in the world will bring Scott back from the grave. But they are expected to seek at least USD $100,000,000 dollars. Perhaps they intend to donate it all to charity?