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Alyssa Milano claims business manager led her into financial ruin

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

Actress Alyssa Milano has filed a USD 10 million lawsuit accusing her former business manager of severe misconduct which ruined her financially.

Milano, 44, has filed a lawsuit against accountant Kenneth Hellie and his firm, Hellie, Hoffer & Co. The "Who's the Boss?".

The actress says she and her husband, talent agent David Bugliari, were left "with millions of dollars in debt and their credit in ruins" because of the firm, reported Variety.

"I'd like to say something," Hellie said. "Obviously a lot of it's like the Johnny Depp situation. I can't say anything just yet."

The suit was filed Friday in LA Superior in Van Nuys.

"We anticipated this defense. Nothing could be further from reality. Alyssa and David live a relatively modest lifestyle centered on their family. It is unfortunate that Mr. Hellie finds it appropriate to blame the clients who trusted him rather than take responsibility for his own negligence and misconduct," said Milano's attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, a partner at Liner LLP.

The 44-year-old actress alleges that her financial woes began with a "home improvement debacle."

Milano says that Hellie's poor oversight of the remodeling job caused costs to spiral. She ended up spending USD 5 million, though the home is worth no more than USD 3 million. She also says her accountants failed to notify her of Ventura County building code violations, which lingered for more than five years, resulting in a lien and USD 376,950 in fines.

The actress alleges that her business manager also failed to pay her federal income taxes in 2013 and 2014, instead funneling money into the remodeling project, incurring penalties and interest. Milano says her employees also complained of late payments, and that Hellie failed to pay her employees' taxes.

Milano claims that Hellie engaged in a "shell game" with clients' money, initiating loans between clients to keep each one solvent. Milano alleges that Hellie had her borrow funds from some clients while lending to others, all at high interest rates.

After firing Hellie in June 2016, Milano says that Hellie demanded a USD 26,000 payment for "professional services," which she refused to pay. So, she alleges that Hellie forged her signature on a check in that amount. She says she and her husband did not discover the theft until they overdrew their account. She says that Hellie paid another USD 25,000 from Milano's account in "interest" to two other clients for loans that Milano and her husband never received.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 18 2017. 10:57 IST