FOR LOVE OR MONEY Pugach, Klores (inset) Burt Pugach, the 81-year-old New Yorker who blinded his girlfriend with acid and later remarried her after spending 14 years in prison, is on the attack again. This time his target is Dan Klores, the award-winning director whose bio-pic about the creepy couple, Crazy Love, thrust them into the national spotlight last year. The demented documentary, which debuted at Sundance in January 2007, went on to collect a series of awards, including the 2008 Independent Spirit Award. Soon after, HBO asked Klores to write and direct a feature film based on the bizarre love story. But when Klores called Pugach to tell him the good news, the disbarred lawyer was less than thrilled. Yesterday he filed a $15 million lawsuit in Queens County Supreme Court against Klores, his attorneys and HBO, claiming they falsely enticed him and his wife Linda into signing over the rights to their story.
Pugach, who still lives with his wife in a cramped Queens apartment, earned $50,000 for the documentary, and he stands to make more if the film is made in to a feature. But apparently it's not enough. Sources say he attempted to squeeze Klores and HBO out of an additional $200,000 to let the movie proceed. "He was calling Dan a dozen times a day," says a pal of the PR kingpin. When Klores resisted, Pugach followed up with the lawsuit.