The Dirt on FOX's 'Joe Millionaire'

01/06/2003 7:29AM

Monday's premiere of FOX's nutty new reality show "Joe Millionaire" has thrown the spotlight on the man in the middle of it all -- 28-year-old Evan Marriott.

The premise of the program is that, in a twist on ABC's "The Bachelor," this guy gets to pick a mate from 20 eligible young women. The snag is, they all think that the sharp-looking Joe/Evan is a rich guy who's just inherited $50 million. Truth is, he's a construction worker who earns a mere $19,000 a year.

Then again, according to The Smoking Gun Web site, there's even less to Joe/Evan than meets the eye.

According to the site, California Highway Patrol officers cited Marriott last Sept. 25 for "toll evasion" on State Road 73 near Irvine, Calif.

The most Marriott was trying to avoid paying was $2.50.

The toll could have been as low as 50 cents, depending on where the young pseudo-millionaire commenced the trip in his 2001 Ford truck.

In the end, that would have been even cheaper than it sounds. Marriott reportedly pleaded guilty and paid a fine -- of $104.

Meantime, Marriott tells USA Today that "everybody had a good time" during the experience. "That was the goal," he says. "The girls, whether they were picked or not picked, had a good time.

"It was a helluva good experience and a great trip."

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