John B. Goodman (industrialist/polo magnate)

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John B. Goodman, a Houston, Texas native is a multi-millionaire and polo player whose wealth originates in the family appliance and air conditioning businesses and became more widely known in the United States for his legal difficulties stemming from a manslaughter conviction in 2012.

John Bailey Goodman was one of five children, born into a privileged Texas family, 18 September 1963.[1][2] His father, Harold Goodman amassed a fortune in air conditioning manufacturing and also raised race horses. Young John Goodman, according to The Houston Post, was an aimless youth, involved primarily in sport while in school. First football; while attending boarding school, he played lacrosse.

"He can't remember ever having a goal as a child. Goodman always knew there was room for him in his father's business. From his Massachusetts boarding school, he went to his Delaware college. After graduating from Wesley, Goodman came back home to Texas with a brand-new marketing degree and an abiding love for lacrosse," wrote the Post's Randall Patterson in 1998.

Upon returning home, Goodman worked for the family firm in a variety of different positions, starting as its president of international sales. He ultimately served as president and chairman of Goodman Global Holding, Inc.[3] The company grew to become the largest privately held air conditioning and heating equipment manufacturer in the United States.

The manufacturing firm, a little-known but well positioned company, had been started in 1975 and run by Harold V. Goodman since its inception with precise acumen. It was launched by the elder Goodman based on his decades of experience as an air conditioning contractor and concentrated on making flexible ducts.[4] For example, Goodman purchased Amana from Raytheon in 1997, then sold its microwave and appliance divisions to Maytag in 2001 for a reported $325 million. The son was given control of the company before his father's death in 1995.

John Goodman sold the company in 2004 for approximately $1.43 billion. At the time, it was the second largest air conditioning manufacturer in the United States.[5][6]

He is reported to own interests in polo and golf clubs, but those are believed to be held in trusts for his children and Goodman has no management involvement or participation in them.

Personal life[edit]

Goodman married Isla Carroll Reckling, whose family has ties to Exxon oil—she is a descendant of Frank Sterling and philanthropist Isla Carroll Sterling Turner [7] --, in December 1986.[1] The couple, who have two children, became estranged and originally filed for divorce in 2005, but reconciled. The Goodmans' divorce was finalized in November 2008 after 22 years of marriage. Isla Carroll Goodman later alleged in 2009 court documents that her husband was addicted to cocaine.[2]

Goodman has been refused by courts the right to adopt his girlfriend and make her his daughter.[8]

Involvement in Polo[edit]

In about 1989, Goodman took up the sport of polo and became quickly enamored of the sport and its lifestyle. Goodman became a member of the United States Polo Association in 1989. He was also a member of board of directors of the Houston Polo Club and served as its president in 1994 and 1995.

Goodman was also founder and owner of the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. The club, which opened in 2004, regularly hosts numerous tournaments throughout the polo season, including the U.S. Open Polo Championship. He told Palm Beach Life in 2004 that the club was specifically designed to attract South American players as well as wealthy individuals and celebrities from nearby Miami and Palm Beach.

He also owned, founded, and played on the polo team Isla Carroll. The organization was named for his wife. The team roster has included elite-ranked players such as Memo Gracida, Nacho Figueras, Owen Rinehart, and Todd Offen. (His estate is called Isla Carroll as well.)

Goodman was also involved in publishing. He provided start up funds for Cowboys & Indians magazine, later becoming sole owner of Westchester Media. The company also published Polo, the official publication of the United States Polo Association. The publication was tangled in a lengthy lawsuit with Ralph Lauren concerning brand confusion.

Automobile collision[edit]

Goodman gained notoriety following a DUI Manslaughter arrest after involvement in a hit-and-run automobile collision on February 12th, 2010 at about 1:00 AM, while under the influence of alcohol. He was driving a Bentley near the polo club he founded when he disregarded a "STOP" sign and collided with a car driven by Scott Patrick Wilson, 23. Goodman left the scene of the accident without calling emergency services. Wilson's Hyundai Sonata ended up overturned in a canal and he drowned. Goodman broke his wrist. Goodman hired well-known criminal defense attorney, Roy Black, best known for high-profile trials involving William Kennedy Smith and Rush Limbaugh.

During the civil trial proceedings, Goodman attempted to adopt his adult girlfriend, 42-year-old Heather Ann Hutchins, in a ploy to protect some of his assets from being attached by Wilson's family. This was not allowed by the courts.

While testifying in the criminal case, Goodman said the luxury car malfunctioned, which was the cause of the crash. He denied being drunk or under the influence of drugs; however, his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

He was found guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March 2012. In May 2012, Goodman was sentenced to 16 years in prison and fined $10,000.

Judge Jeffrey Colbath stated that Goodman could be released on a $7 million bond pending his appeal. Among the varied conditions of his release, Goodman would be monitored 24 hours a day with a GPS device and cannot apply for a new passport. His driver's license was also permanently revoked. Goodman would remain under house arrest.

"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. 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," ABC News quoted Colbath as stating in the sentencing..

"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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "John Bailey Goodman". 23 February 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Jason Shultz (22 February 2010). "Wellington Polo mogul Goodman faces scrutiny after fatal wreck". Palm Beach Post. 
  3. ^ [1], additional text.
  4. ^ "Goodman Manufacturing". 
  5. ^ The Victoria Advocate. 22 November 2004 http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=861&dat=20041122&id=PQJZAAAAIBAJ&sjid=C0YNAAAAIBAJ&pg=6091,5175866 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Tom Fowler (20 November 2004). "GOOD DEAL FOR GOODMAN / Company goes for a cool $1.43 billion / Air conditioner maker, a family-owned firm, expects no big changes". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Betty Ewing (3 May 1990). "Four generations share legacy of giving". HOUSTON CHRONICLE. p. 3. 
  8. ^ Effron, Lauren; Ng, Christina; Folmer, Kaitlyn (2013). "Polo Tycoon Cannot Adopt Adult Girlfriend, Florida Court Rules - ABC News". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 

Jul 8 2010, Broward Palm Beach New Times, http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2010-07-08/news/sudden-death/ Accessed 15 October 2012.