'NYPD Blue' Creator David Milch Lost $100 Million Fortune to Gambling Addiction

The prolific TV creator is reportedly $17 million in debt

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NYPD Blue and Deadwood creator David Milch is millions of dollars in debt after struggling with a gambling addiction, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

According to a lawsuit filed by his wife Rita (and reported by The Hollywood Reporter), Milch is living on a $40-a-week allowance, owes $17 million in debts, and is on a repayment plan for back taxes owed to the IRS. THR estimates his previous fortune at $100 million.

Rita filed the lawsuit in 2015 against the couple’s business managers Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno LLP (NKSFB), with Rita alleging they did not keep her apprised of how dire their financial situation was. She is seeking $25 million, and keeping her husband on the $40-a-week allowance to ensure he does not gamble. According to her lawsuit, her husband spent more than $23 million gambling at the Santa Anita race track in California from 2000–2011 – and that does not count cash spent gambling elsewhere.

An attorney for NKSFB tells PEOPLE she does not “think [the case] has any merits at all factually or legally.” She has filed a motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds.

Milch, 70, has won four Emmys and is known for his writing work on Hill Street Blues and creating the HBO horse racing series Luck. He and his wife have downsized their sizable property holdings – including a $4.8 million Brentwood mansion and a $8.95 million, 22-acre estate on Martha’s Vineyard – for a rental property in Santa Monica.

According to THR, the couple is living on income earned from residuals from his TV shows as well as an exclusive creative deal with HBO, which is believed to be in the low seven figures, minus their payments to the IRS.

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