Legendary bond investor Bill Gross is about as well known for his domestic antics (including using rotting fish and fart spray to torment his ex-wife) as he is for building PIMCO, the Cali-based bond-investing giant from which Gross was pushed out back in 2014, fired over what his colleagues described as increasingly erratic behavior.
Apparently, since retiring from the asset-management industry – following PIMCO, Gates did a stint at Janus Henderson before hanging up his cleets – early last year, Gross has had more time to devote to his various personal feuds and grudges, including a debate with a neighbor to his massive Laguna Beach compound that has now spilled over into the press.
According to the LATimes, Gross’s neighbor, tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq, has accused Gross and his girlfriend, former Tennis Pro Amy Schwartz, of intentionally inflicting emotional harm and distress during a dispute over a $1 million outdoor sculpture.
The Trowfiqs have reportedly filed a complaint with the city (which we imagine was promptly thrown in the recycling bin with all the other complaints about Gross’s behavior over the years).
The most amusing allegation: At one point during the feud, Gross blared the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song on a loop for hours simply to annoy his neighbor.
A dispute between bond king Bill Gross and his next-door neighbor over a $1-million outdoor sculpture has devolved into police calls to their Laguna Beach mansions, multiple legal actions — and allegations that the billionaire investor blared the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song on a loop at all hours to annoy his neighbor.
The Pimco co-founder and his partner, former professional tennis player Amy Schwartz, are being accused by tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq and his wife of harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The cause? A 22-foot-long blue glass installation — and an even bigger pole and netting structure erected to protect it — that Towfiq said blocked his view, prompting a complaint to the city.
The dispute really started to heat up after Gross and Schwartz installed netting around the sculpture after somebody – the report didn’t specify who – threw a rock at the sculpture, damaging it. The netting apparently irritated Trowfiq, who filed a complaint with the city, leading a compliance officer to inform Gross that he lacked the proper permits for the netting and lights installed around the statue.
At issue this time is an artwork that can be lighted at night and features cobalt-colored reeds stretching nearly 10 feet in height, swimming marlin and globes inspired by traditional blown-glass Japanese fishing floats. It was created by Dale Chihuly, an artist whose striking blown-glass work adorns the ceiling of the Bellagio hotel’s lobby in Las Vegas.
The lawn sculpture was installed in 2019 and in itself appeared not to foment any trouble. The dispute began when Gross and Schwartz installed netting this year to protect the work after it was damaged, according to legal filings and city records. Gross and Schwartz in a lawsuit say more than $50,000 damage, “apparently” caused by a thrown rock, is evidence of an “escalating campaign of vandalism”; Towfiq and his wife say it was probably damaged by something falling on it.
Redacted emails released to The Times by the city of Laguna Beach indicated someone associated with Gross and Schwartz told a code enforcement officer the netting was temporary and was needed to protect the sculpture from “trees and mother nature,” and that a palm frond caused $100,000 in damage. Towfiq and his wife, Carol Nakahara, in their lawsuit say the netting was at first removed intermittently but later remained up, with Gross and Schwartz avoiding attempts to resolve the problem.
That prompted Towfiq to call the city, which inspected the property and sent Gross a letter July 28 informing him that the netting, lighting and sculpture lacked the proper permits. The quarrel has escalated since then.
After that, the dispute seriously escalated. In retaliation for filing the complaint, Bill Gross resorted to his usual devious tactics. At one point, he and Schwartz left the property – which they only inhabit 5 days a week, for 5 months out of the year – and left their sound system blaring music for days on end for hours at a time, at all hours of the night, according to the Trowfiq’s lawsuit.
Since we’re all reading about it now, it’s pretty evident that Gross’s heavy handed tactics didn’t inspire Trowfiq to drop the complaint. Instead, he filed a lawsuit, to which Gross counter-sued.
When Gross found out Trowfiq made videos to record the musical harrassment, he also accused Trowfiq of “peeping Tom”-like behavior for allegedly trying to ‘sneak a peak’ at Gross’s girlfriend, who can be seen in the photo above.
The neighbor’s lawsuit accuses the billionaire and his partner of playing blaring music at all hours, including the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song, rap and pop, in an effort to force him to drop the complaint. The couple say they have had to take refuge twice either with relatives or in a hotel room. In an application for a temporary restraining order filed Oct. 15, which was granted, Towfiq cites a text message allegedly sent to him by Gross after he asked the music to be turned down: “Peace on all fronts or well [sic] just have nightly concerts big boy.”
“Defendant William Gross is a 76-year-old billionaire used to getting his way no matter what. As proven by their behavior here, Gross and his decades-younger-girlfriend, defendant Amy Schwartz, are bullies,” states the Superior Court lawsuit filed by Towfiq and his wife.
Gross and Schwartz, 51, actually beat their neighbors to the courthouse, filing their own lawsuit Oct. 13 and accusing Towfiq of developing an obsession with them, which included installing cameras directed at their property and “peeping tom behaviors.” In a request for a temporary restraining order filed last week that is pending, Gross said he had played music since moving into the property and felt “trapped in my own home.”
“Defendant Towfiq appears to have a particular fascination not only with Mr. Gross but also Ms. Schwartz, particularly when the pair are swimming and thus wearing minimal, if any, clothing,” states the lawsuit, which accuses Towfiq of invasion of privacy, among other causes of action.
Towfiq, in his temporary restraining order application, said that after Gross and Schwartz complained to a police officer that he had inappropriately recorded them, he told the officer he made the videos on his property and only to record their “harassing noise violations” and the “intrusiveness of their unpermitted additions.”
Schwartz issued a statement that the dispute was “very upsetting” to her because the sculpture, with its assorted blue pieces, was bought for her by Gross because her mother was ill.
“Since I have no children of my own, they are like my babies. My mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and I pray to them and she enjoys looking at them because it’s her favorite color and makes her smile,” she said in the statement.
Schwartz also said she and Gross were the “best neighbors” since they were at the house only about five days a month, for five months a year. She added that the noise from the nearby highway and ocean were a lot louder than their music.
From what we can tell, the dispute is ongoing. Though we’re sure Gross still spends plenty of time playing around with the lifetime Bloomberg terminal subscription gifted to him by Mike Bloomberg as a retirement gift, the man still has a billion dollars to play around with.
Money like that could buy a lot of fart spray, so this could drag on for a while.