- The billionaire investor Bill Gross has been embroiled in a contentious months-long legal battle with his neighbors in Laguna Beach, California.
- The dispute stems from a $1 million outdoor sculpture, around which Gross and his partner, Amy Schwartz, have installed netting to protect it from the elements. Their neighbor Mark Towfiq filed a complaint with the city, alleging the netting blocked his view.
- The complaint sparked a quarrel between the neighbors, with Towfiq and his wife filing a temporary restraining order alleging Gross and Schwartz blared the "Gilligan's Island" theme song at all hours to get them to drop the issue. Gross and Schwartz allege in a suit of their own that their neighbors are obsessed with them and have spied on the couple.
- On Monday, Schwartz admitted at a hearing in Santa Ana state court to loving the theme song to "Gilligan's Island" but said she doesn't play "loud music" and "it might have been a mistake" that the song kept playing.
- Representatives for Gross declined to comment and directed Business Insider to the court's live stream for more information. Towfiq did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The billionaire bond investor Bill Gross and his tech-entrepreneur neighbor are embroiled in a legal battle over the "Gilligan's Island's" theme song and a $1 million sculpture.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times' Laurence Darmiento, the Pimco founder and his partner, the former professional tennis player Amy Schwartz, have been accused by their neighbor Mark Towfiq of harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
According to the Times, Towfiq and his wife allege that Gross and Schwartz have been blaring the "Gilligan's Island" theme song, among other music, at all hours of the day and night, including turning the music on remotely when they're not at home, in an attempt to get them to drop the issue.
Towfiq is alleging the music began after he filed his initial complaint about Gross installing a 22-foot-long sculpture on his property in Laguna Beach, California. The sculpture, created by the artist Dale Chihuly, consists of dozens of blue glass stems that reach nearly 10 feet high. It was installed by Gross as a gift to Schwartz in 2019 and cost $1 million, according to the Times.
Schwartz told the Times that the glass pieces "are like my babies" and that she and her mother pray to them.
After the sculpture sustained thousands of dollars in damage, Gross and Schwartz installed netting around it to protect it from the elements, which Towfiq and his wife said blocked their view. The couple filed a complaint with the city of Laguna Beach, which led to the city inspecting the property and informing Gross that he lacked the proper permits, the Times reported.
Then, the music started.
Towfiq presented recordings at a court hearing in Santa Ana on Monday where the "Gilligan's Island" theme song can be heard playing in the background. When presented with the recordings in court, Schwartz admitted to loving the theme song but denied ever playing it loudly.
"'Gilligan's Island,' I love that song," Schwartz said. "But I already told you, I was sleeping. It might have been a mistake that the playlist played over."
She then questioned the accuracy of the recordings. "This is from his recording," she said. "I don't know what he's done to it. He could have enhanced it. I have no idea."
When asked if she and her husband played the song on a loop, she responded: "I don't know how to work a loop." And as to whether the music had played accidentally? Schwartz said her husband, Gross, is the one who "controls the audio and TVs."
As reported by Bloomberg, Schwartz's court statements contradict the testimony given last month by a Laguna police officer and city official, who said the Grosses told them they would stop playing the music, but only if Towfiq dropped his complaint.
Both couples are seeking restraining orders, with Gross and Schwartz alleging in a lawsuit of their own that their neighbors are obsessed with them and have spied on them while they swim and pointed security cameras at their house, according to the Times.
Representatives for Gross declined to comment further and directed Business Insider to the live stream of the court hearing for more information. Towfiq did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
Gross has been involved in legal disputes in the past. In 2016, his ex-wife Sue Gross filed for divorce, which resulted in a high-profile and contentious legal battle that stretched over the course of several years. And in 2014, after Gross was fired from Pimco, he sued for wrongful termination and breach of contract, resulting in an $81 million settlement in 2017.
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