Billionaire Bill Gross Won His Farcical Dispute With a Neighbor Who Complained About His Dale Chihuly Sculpture
The neighbors also complained that the Grosses blasted the 'Gilligan's Island' theme song on repeat.
Bill Gross, also known as “the Bond King” for founding the PIMCO investment fund, has won a drawn-out, often farcical dispute over a $1 million Dale Chihuly glass sculpture the billionaire installed on the edge of his property in Laguna Beach.
His neighbors, tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq and wife Carol Nakahara, complained to the city after Gross and his wife, Amy, put a net over the 10-foot artwork to protect it from the elements. Towfiq claimed that his neighbors needed permission to install both the work and the net, and that it blocked his previously unobscured sea view.
The city of Laguna Beach has now ruled that Gross was within his rights to install the artwork and to erect a net to protect it.
“While the process was protracted, it was worth it in the end to finally establish that the Grosses’ application to install a beautiful work of art in their private backyard fully complies with City and Coastal Commission requirements,” an attorney for Gross said in a statement, according to the New York Post.
The Grosses moved into their $35.8 million home in 2019 and apparently enjoyed a good relationship with their neighbors. But over the course of the dispute the relationship deteriorated massively. Gross started blasting loud music, including the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song on repeat, and using a remote device when not at the property. Towfiq installed CCTV to monitor the area. Gross complained that the security cameras were directed at them, making them feel as though they were “in prison” and that his neighbor was a “peeping Tom.”
Both couples filed restraining orders against each other. The Grosses were later ordered to spend five days in jail for continuing to blast music in violation of a court order that forbade them from doing so.
“Amy and I are relieved we can finally enjoy our art in peace and in full compliance with the City of Laguna Beach,” Gross said in a statement following the verdict. “While we are pleased at the final outcome, it is disappointing that it took so long, cost too much, and diverted valuable city, state, and court resources for what was essentially a dispute among neighbors.”
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