Billionaire Bill Gross testifies legal feud makes him feel ‘like in prison’ at his Laguna Beach home – Orange County Register
Mega-investor Bill Gross said on Tuesday that an embarrassing video of him that became public during a trial last year recently led him to refuse to come out of a swimming pool at his Laguna Beach home to speak to police officers investigating a noise complaint related to a very contentious battle with his seaside neighbor.
Gross – the billionaire founder of Pimco and legend of the bond industry – described feeling “like in a prison” in his own home thanks to an alleged high-decibel feud with a neighboring tech entrepreneur that led a judge to issue an injunction against Gross and his wife last year.
Gross also lamented the public release at a previous court hearing of a video of him squatting and appearing to dance to rapper 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” while wearing shorts. Gross, now 77, said he wanted his business acumen and philanthropic largesse remembered, not the high-profile dispute between two wealthy neighbors.
âI’ve tried to have a reputation to die for, and it’s not constructive,â Gross said.
Gross and his wife, former professional tennis player Amy Gross, are accused by their neighbors – Mark Towfiq and his wife, Carol Nakahara – of violating a court order by playing loud music on their property on July 7 . following allegations that Gross was playing loud loops of music, including the theme song “Gilligan’s Island”, after Towfiq complained to the city about a large unauthorized lawn sculpture installed on Gross’s property.
Gross and his attorneys argue that Towfiq “armed” the court order to micromanage what they can do on a property they bought to escape their primary residence in Newport Beach. Gross’s attorneys accused Towfiq of being “unusually interested” in Gross and of improperly filming Bill and Amy Gross on their property.
âI’m afraid to go into my backyard because I’m being watched 24/7, or registered,â Amy Gross said. “This neighbor kicked me out of my own house.”
Despite tensions with his neighbor, Bill Gross testified that he had no plans to give up what his wife described as a “dream house”.
âIt’s a very special house, and yes, it’s a privilege to have a special house,â said Bill Gross. âWe don’t want to leave. We won’t be leaving.
Last week, Towfiq testified that on July 7, he and his wife were relaxing in their bedroom when they heard loud rock music coming from Gross’s backyard. Body camera footage of officers called to the scene captured them saying they could hear the music above the din of traffic on the adjacent coastal road, and one officer said “that’s kind of people they are “after Gross and his wife refused to speak to them.
Bill and Amy Gross testified that on the night of the noise complaint, they had dinner at their house with a close friend who celebrated their recent wedding, and then decided to go swimming. The couple said the outside music was momentarily too loud when they first turned it on, but claimed they turned the volume down within seconds.
Since Gross has been charged with violating a court order, the potential stakes at the hearing have increased, as well as the burden of proof. If a judge admits that a person has committed contempt of court, he or she has the discretion to fine them or even order them to serve short stays in prison.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Knill is once again presiding over the case, which oversaw the previous round of civil hearings and issued the current restraining order.
Gross’s testimony became irritable at times, especially after he called one of Towfiq’s attorneys a “dude” and accused the attorney of laughing while Amy Gross was on the stand. Judge Knill quickly ended the exchange.
Gross, in a statement to her financial supporters shortly after the issuance of the restraining order, dealt a public blow to Judge Knill, describing her as a “bona fide” judge suspended on the shore. ” Knill said Tuesday she was aware of the comments, but did not allow a lawyer representing Towfiq to question Gross about them.
âI don’t need to hear from Mr. Gross why he wrote these things about me,â the judge said.
The judge ordered lawyers to return to court on Friday for oral argument from the final round of hearings and said she planned to issue a ruling a week later.