'NYPD Blue' Creator David Milch Gambled Away Millions

By McCarton Ackerman 02/19/16

The creator of NYPD Blue and Deadwood is a former heroin addict who has been clean and sober since 1999, but it’s gambling that has remained his biggest vice.

Image: 
David Milch
Photo via Shutterstock

David Milch, 70, is the subject of a new lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Milch's wife, Rita, is seeking $25 million in damages from the couples' former business managers, Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno LLP (NKSFB), for failing to inform her of the full extent of her husband’s financial ruin. The lawsuit indicates that David lost $25 million from gambling between 2000 and 2011 alone. Since then, she has made “sure that David is unable to gamble, providing him with only $40 per week in cash.”

Rita claims that she was only given information about David’s gambling debts in March 2011, when NKSFB employees advised her to transfer the title of the couple’s Martha’s Vineyard home into her name, and she probed for more information. The lawsuit notes that “defendants always assured Rita that their finances were fine, and she reasonably relied on their reassurances." When she asked why she was never informed before, the lawsuit alleges an NKFSB employee told her “we were afraid we’d be fired.”

Milch is a former heroin addict who has been clean and sober since 1999, but it’s gambling that has remained his biggest vice. A 2010 profile of him in Daily Racing Form revealed that when he was asked how often he went to the racetrack, he replied, “It depends on who I’m lying to.” An acquaintance of Milch’s told The Hollywood Reporter that “he was crazy. He’d bet thousands and thousands of dollars. He’d bet every race.”

However, the couple appears primed to eventually get back in the black. David earns a low seven-figure salary as part of a development deal with HBO and still collects residuals from his former hit shows. They have also worked out a payment plan with the IRS and have already sold one of the two homes they put on the market. David and Rita now live in a rental in a modest part of Santa Monica.

But despite everything that has happened to David, his closest supporters are fervently sticking by him.

"We have always felt very lucky to have had David in our family," said HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler. "It is obvious to everyone that he is a preternatural talent…Over many years, I've watched him treat everyone throughout the company with enormous respect, no matter what their title. He takes time to show his appreciation to everyone. It's why he has so many fans.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
McCarton.JPG

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

Disqus comments