The move came less than four months before the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal rocked Paterno’s Penn State football program and caused Paterno to be fired Nov. 9.
Documents obtained by the Times show that on July 21, he sold his share in the house to “Suzanne P. Paterno, trustee” for $1 plus “love and affection.” The Paternos, who bought the State College, Pa., house in 1969 for $58,000, had jointly owned the home, now valued at $594,484.40.
The transfer, according to Paterno’s attorney, was unrelated to the grand jury investigation of the allegations that Sandusky, Paterno’s defensive coordinator until 1999, had abused young boys for years, at times in the showers at the football facility. The grand-jury investigation began in 2009.
The property transfer was part of a “multiyear estate planning program,” Wick Sollers, Paterno’s lawyer, told the Times in an e-mail. The exchange “was simply one element of that plan.”
However, with the identity of six of the eight victims known and others coming forward to allege abuse by Sandusky, Paterno is likely to be a target of civil lawsuits.
Paterno, who will turn 85 next month, is in line for a pension of more than $500,000 as a state employee who had worked at Penn State since 1950, according to an Associated Press report. The formula for determining benefits gives him a pension equal to 100 percent of the average of his three highest-salaried years. Over the last three years, Paterno’s pay increased from $541,000 to $568,000 annually.
The exact amount of the pension will depend on decisions Paterno makes, including whether to designate a survivor to receive benefits after his death and whether to obtain a one-time, lump-sum payment. The AP reports that there also is a supplement based on lengthy service that could give Paterno 110 percent of his final average salary.
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