Every detail, no matter how small it might seem, is under the intense spotlight in State College, Pa.
Joe Paterno's recent real estate transaction, reported by Mark Viera and Pete Thamel of the New York Times, has led some to speculate he knew his world was going to come crumbling down around him at Penn State. The winningest coach in major college football history quietly transferred complete ownership of his house to his wife for $1 less than four months before the bombshell sex abuse scandal erupted.
Some legal experts believe the move was made to financially shield the Pennsylvania pigskin legend.
The Times uncovered documents that show Paterno, who had joint possession of the home, handed control of his residence over to his wife, Sue Paterno, for a dollar plus "love and affection."
JoePa's home was originally purchased for $58,000 in 1969; the home's fair-market value in 2011 was listed at $594,484.40.
It's a development that has at least two explanations, depending on your point of view.
A lawyer for Paterno told the Times that the 84-year-old former football coach transferred the home to his 71-year-old wife as part of a "multiyear estate planning program," and the move, which was made on July 21, had absolutely nothing to do with the public embarrassment the child sex scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky brought to the beloved football program.
Not everyone agrees.
Lawrence A. Frolik, a law professor who specializes in elder law at the University of Pittsburgh, feels that possible lawsuits from victims against Paterno might have inspired the real estate shift.
"I can't see any tax advantages," Frolik told the paper. "If someone told me that, my reaction would be, 'Are they hoping to shield assets in case if there’s personal liability?'" He added, "It sounds like an attempt to avoid personal liability in having assets in his wife’s name."
Paterno isn't facing any criminal charges at this time, despite not reporting to police what he knew about the alleged sexual abuse of children in 2002. That was a clear violation of moral laws, in the eyes of many, but not state laws in Pennsylvania, since he passed the information on to his bosses.
Paterno is in line for an annual pension of more than $500,000 a year after spending more than 60 years in the Pennsylvania system.
When last seen publicly, Joe Paterno said he's praying for the alleged victims.
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