5 surprises about billionaire Invoice Gross in authorized dispute with neighbor
Bill Gross, co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), and girlfriend Amy Schwartz wear protective masks when they arrive at the State Court in Santa Ana, California, United States on Monday, December 7, 2020.
David Swanson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Billionaire investor Bill Gross has a special place in his heart for the theme song “Gilligan’s Island”. He is an avid dancer. He admits to being very jealous when it comes to his girlfriend. And he’s especially proud of his $ 1 million glass lawn sculpture.
These are some of the many unusual revelations from the legal battle that took place in a California courtroom between Gross and his neighbor, tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq, in Laguna Beach.
At the center of the hearings, which have dragged on for more than two weeks, are claims for harassment and injunctions. Gross says Towfiq is a “peeping Tom” filming Gross’ friend in her bikini. Towfiq said Gross was a “briefly merged billionaire” who played loud music late at night in retaliation for complaints about the glass lawn sculpture.
The final litigation in Orange County Superior Court ended on Wednesday, and Judge Kimberly A. Knill is likely to settle the legal issues next Wednesday. The legal aspects, however, have become a side effect alongside the more central drama of the case – a colorful portrait of the 76-year-old investment legend emerged from the turf wars and ego struggles of the two rich men.
Here are five of the most surprising revelations about Gross from witnesses, text messages, documents, and videos at the hearing.
He’s a “Gilligan’s Island” super fan – especially the music. Towfiq complained that Gross blasted the Gilligan’s Island theme late at night on a loop over his outdoor sound system to harass him. Towfiq suggested that Gross choose the song because of its anger factor.
GILLIGAN’S ISLAND cast members (from left) Bob Denver (as Gilligan) and Alan Hale Jr. (as Jonas Grumby, The Skipper), 1965.
CBS Photo Archive | CBS | Getty Images
Gross said that blowing up Gilligan’s Island at any time of the day or night is the order of the day in his two homes because of its special meaning. It all started one day last summer when he was watching old episodes on YouTube and discovered that the footage in the marina title sequence looked like it was taken from exactly where he lived in Newport Beach.
“I could look at the television and look out the window, and there were the same palm trees from 55 years ago,” Gross testified. “I said, ‘This is amazing!'”
He showed his girlfriend Amy Schwartz, and the song quickly topped the charts in large households.
“We kept playing it and it just became something we did,” he explained. “We play it all the time.”
They also enjoy other theme songs that they play sometimes.
“In the course of time we have learned texts and we act together with hands and pointing. It’s like a little piece … we really like it.”
Also on his playlist: 50 Cent and Kenny Loggins, who played at Schwartz’s birthday party.
‘The jealous guy’
He’s the “jealous guy”. Gross’ girlfriend, or as he calls her “life partner”, is Schwartz, the 51-year-old former tennis professional and amateur golfer. Gross said Towfiq often filmed Amy next door, sometimes in her bikini.
Towfiq said he only filmed his neighbors to document the sculpture and its harassment.
“I’m a jealous guy,” said Gross. “She is very attractive. I am very jealous.”
He said the couple referred to Towfiq as a “peeping mark” because Gross assumed he had watched them so often.
“Sometimes Amy went out on the balcony and said, ‘I wonder if Mark is watching, he’s filming this.’ “”
Gross said Towfiq once filmed the couple returning from the beach, “with their hair wet and salt all over their bodies. It almost seemed like this was his full-time job.”
Happy to be standing
For Gross, happiness is complicated and fear is relative. At the beginning of his testimony, Gross was asked if he was “unhappy” when he learned that his sculpture could be removed for violating the Laguna Beach Code.
“Happiness and sadness don’t apply to situations like this at my age,” he said. “I’m just happy to be standing.”
He added: “I don’t judge my mood that way at the moment. I can’t say whether I’m happy or sad.”
Gross’ moods became a frequent topic of discussion. Towfiq said Gross’ previous owner Patrick Boyd Gross described him as “an angry billionaire with a short fuse”. Boyd, a former money manager at Gross’ former company Pimco, offered Towfiq “condolences” when he heard that Gross would be the new neighbor.
In a session that sounded more like a therapy session than a court testimony, Gross examined his feelings of anxiety and how they developed over the course of his life as he became more isolated from the world. He said he felt “very scared” when Towfiq was filming Gross in his gym shorts and reading decibel levels on their property line late at night.
“I was very scared,” said Gross. “It was malicious … this man took me in. He crouched behind my own wall.”
Gross then recalled fights in Vietnam and later in life that almost crashed on a plane.
“I saw bullets from Viet Cong and 15 years later on a plane that nearly crashed in North Carolina,” he said. “I’m not saying that this incident was something like that. But for the past five or ten years I have been more protected from anxious situations and have not really been used to them.”
He’s a dance machine. Gross said he and Schwartz are enthusiastic dancers – and not just for the theme song “Gilligan’s Island”. When asked to specify what he said he was dancing on the balcony, Gross said, “Oh yeah. On the balcony, in the bedroom, up and down the lawn path entrance because it’s a good long area to get creative Inventing steps. Amy and I do this a lot. “
Gross said they would dance to Gilligan’s Island over and over again sometimes. “Only two or three – I mean, you can only dance until you’re ready for bed.”
He needs protection from the public. While not exactly a celebrity outside of the investing world, Gross said he is often followed by the public, which is why he has to live behind so many gates and walls.
“We needed privacy,” he said when asked about his purchase of the Laguna Beach home.
“Amy has always emphasized that I am a public figure and that we just have to stand behind a goal.” His lawyer then mentions the risk of people coming off the beach, and Gross said “Millions of people couldn’t come to see where Gross lives”.
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