A Laguna Beach police officer testified Monday in Orange County Superior Court that he heard the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song playing from the cliffside home of billionaire Bill Gross while standing inside his next-door neighbor’s house.
Officer Wade Kraus recalled a call for service around 10:53 p.m. on Aug. 1 related to loud music coming from the Gross property at 2475 S. Coast Hwy. After speaking with homeowner Mark Towfiq, Kraus tried to contact the adjacent property owners but was unsuccessful.
“Based on my personal opinion and training as a police officer that level of noise at that time was unreasonable,” Kraus said.
The civil harassment hearing before Judge Kimberly Knill was the latest in an ongoing legal battle between the PIMCO founder and his Laguna Beach neighbors.
The fight between the two cliffside neighbors appears to have boiled over after Gross and his girlfriend Amy Schwartz installed a large glass art installation near the property line they share with neighbors Mark Towfiq and Carol Nakahara, according to court records. After unsuccessful attempts to privately resolve the dispute with Gross and his staff over several months, Towfiq reported the matter to Laguna Beach.
In July, Laguna Beach code enforcement notified Gross of the code violations, which includes failing to follow “good neighbor lighting” rules, seek design review approval for the art and a 12-foot-tall structure of steel poles and netting that encase it, and obtain a coastal development permit.
“Since that complaint was made, Mr. Gross and Ms. Schwartz has made Mr. Towfiq and his wife’s life a living hell,” Towfiq’s attorney Chase Scolnick said. “They’ve made it quite clear they’re going to continue until the complaint is dropped.
Forbes estimates Gross’ net worth at $1.5 billion. Towfiq is the CEO of Nextfort Ventures, a data center development company.
In a complaint filed the day before the neighbors’ lawsuit, Gross’ attorney Jill Basinger writes that Towfiq has become “more and more obsessed” with her clients’ activities at the South Laguna property. She added that Towfiq has been spotted recording her clients’ with his smartphone—in addition to multiple security cameras trained pointed at their home and pool.
It appears that Gross and Schwartz have their own history of grievances with the next-door neighbors, according to court records.
In a declaration responding to Towfiq’s request for a restraining order, Schwartz claims Towfie leased out his home to a crew filming for an episode of HBO’s “Ballers” without any notice.
During the week-long shoot, the film crew’s trucks lined Coast Highway, blocking access to Gross and Schwartz’s driveway, she wrote.
“Worse yet, the vehicles impeded the ability of our contractor to get to the house, which occurred just when we were trying to complete several projects in time for my birthday,” Schwartz wrote.
Testimony is expected to continue on Nov. 16 in Orange County Superior Court.
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