Deadwood, NYPD Blue Creator loses $25m on Horse Betting

David Milch rose to the top of Hollywood circles after producing such hit shows as Deadwood and NYPD Blue. He also accumulated a $100 million fortune over the course of his lengthy producing career. Unfortunately, this money is gone and horse race betting may be to blame.

Milch’s wife, Rita Stern, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against their business managers, whom she says failed to alert her to David’s growing gambling losses.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that David lost $25 million wagering on horse races from 2000 to 2011. The couple is now $17 million in debt and on a repayment plan to cover back taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Rita is holding David to a $40-a-week allowance so that he doesn’t spend anymore of their money while they seek $25 million in repayment from the business managers. The business management firm is called Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno LLP (NKSFB), and they represent celebrities like Dr. Dre, Eminem and Madonna. NKSFB has called Rita’s lawsuit “unusual and outrageous.”

The 70-year-old Milch began his TV career by writing for the show Hill Street Blues. He then hit stardom after creating NYPD Blue, then later spawned another hit in Deadwood. His latest work was the 2011 HBO series Luck, but the show got canceled after less than one season due to three horses dying during production.

The Independent reports that Milch, who described Luck as his “love letter” to horse racing, was first introduced to horse race betting by his father.

“My dad used to call me a degenerate gambler,” Milch told the L.A. Times. “You hear that, and you spend time trying to live up to those ideas. I would say gambling became a problem for me. It distorts relationships, the way you want to live. If you don’t realize when it has you in its grip, shame on you.”

Due to their large debt, the couple has sold a $4.8 million L.A. home and a $9 million vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard, and they’re now renting a small apartment in Santa Monica.

NKSFB actually asked Rita to transfer the Martha’s Vineyard home to her name when they first alerted her to David’s gambling problem. It’s at this point that she discovered a “printout detailing all the [checks] that Milch had requested from NKSFB and cashed at racetracks for gambling between January 2000 and March 2011.”

Milch is currently working on a two-hour movie version of Deadwood and a TV adaption of the novel Shadow Country. His income is still estimated to be in the “in the low seven figures.”