Paterno Transferred Home to Wife for $1 in July

Experts think deal may have been attempt to shield assets from suits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2011 12:24 AM CST
Updated Nov 16, 2011 6:26 AM CST
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his wife, Sue Paterno, at their Pennsylvania home last week.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – Joe Paterno transferred full ownership of his $594,000 home to his wife, Sue, for $1 a few months before the Penn State scandal exploded, the New York Times finds. Legal experts believe that the football coach—who was fired last week and admitted that he could have done more when he learned of an alleged sexual assault on a boy by one of his top assistants—could face civil actions, and suspect the July transfer may have been an attempt to shield Paterno's assets.

A law professor at the University of Pittsburgh says he has never heard of a home being transferred to a spouse for $1 for tax reasons. "I can’t see any tax advantages,” he added. “If someone told me that, my reaction would be, ‘Are they hoping to shield assets in case of personal liability?’ It sounds like an attempt to avoid personal liability in having assets in his wife’s name." A lawyer for Paterno says the transfer had nothing to do with the scandal, and was simply one element in a "multi-year estate planning program."

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