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Why Did Joe Paterno Transfer Ownership of House to Wife in July?

Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno transferred complete ownership of his home to wife, Sue, for $1 back in July. The move was made less than four months before a child sex scandal rocked the institution and eventually resulted in Paterno’s termination.

As per documents filed in Centre Country, Pa. and retrieved by The New York Times, Paterno’s house was turned over to “Suzanne P. Paterno, trustee” for a single dollar plus “love and affection” on July 21 of this year. Prior to mid-July, the pair held joint ownership of the house which they bought in 1969.

The same papers indicate that the home’s current fair-market value was $594,484.40, about ten times its original worth.

In an e-mail exchange with The Times, a lawyer working for Paterno insisted that his client had been engaged in a “multiyear estate planning program” and that the incident had nothing to do with a looming child sex scandal.

Generally, it’s been acknowledged that Paterno could at the very least be subject to civil action by alleged victims of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, even though it has been determined that Paterno lived up to his legal responsibilities when it came to reporting the crime.

What makes Paterno's decision to transfer home ownership even more puzzling is that it holds no real tax benefits for his family. The only plausible reason it would occur would be to shield the home from being used as a chip in lawsuits.

Paterno has not yet issued a comment on the matter.

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