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Tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq claims he was warned his billionaire neighbor Bill Gross had a “short fuse” before they became embroiled in a bitter squabble, reports say.
Towfiq, a former software executive, told a California courtroom Monday he got a warning about the retired bond king from Patrick Boyd, who sold the Laguna Beach house to Gross in 2018.
The two are embroiled in a bizarre and nasty feud that started over an outdoor glass sculpture — with Towfiq claiming Gross blasted music, including the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island,” in an effort to get him to drop a complaint about his neighbor’s 10-foot tall installation.
Towfiq testified that after he told Boyd about some pipes that had been left on the property before Gross moved in, “he said, ‘I don’t want an angry billionaire with a short fuse to be upset with me,’ or something like that,” according to Bloomberg News.
Towfiq also reportedly said that he’d “seen the news of how he’d treated his family, his employees,” referring to reports of Gross’ nasty divorce from his ex-wife that involved dead fish and fart-scented spray.
Moreover, Towfiq revealed he was a client of PIMCO — the investment firm Gross founded — from 2008 to 2012, the Orange County Register reported.
He said he was friends with a money manager at the firm who “told me all sorts of stories about Mr. Bill, Mr. Gross,” according to Bloomberg. “He said something to me like ‘my condolences,’ so he was concerned for me.”
The acrimonious dispute allegedly started when Towfiq complained to local authorities about a net Gross had hung over the funky glass art piece installed outside his home.
Towfiq accused the 76-year-old of blasting music from the house on loop at all hours to pressure him into dropping the complaint.
But Gross and his girlfriend, Amy Schwartz, argue the dispute is actually about Towfiq’s obsessive “peeping tom behavior” rather than the sculpture. They say he has “watched, leered at, photographed, and videotaped” the couple in their home for more than a year and has cameras pointed at their property.
Towfiq “and his attorneys, using this litigation as a thinly-veiled publicity stunt, … set out to embarrass Mr. Gross in the media, knowing full well that Mr. Gross’ name would attract widespread press attention, and allow Mr. Towfiq his own 15 minutes of ill-gotten fame,” Gross’ lawyers said in a Nov. 19 court filing.
In separate filing supporting Gross, Boyd said he was alarmed to learn that Towfiq had a security camera that was aimed at the oceanfront home. He also claimed Towfiq had spotted Gross in the backyard, which would be hard to do without a camera.
“It was also a bit unsettling to learn Mr. Towfiq was keeping track of my guests in the backyard,” Boyd said in the filing.
But Towfiq has reportedly disputed the allegations that he was obsessed with Gross, whom he said he wanted to meet after he moved in. He said he started taking footage of Gross’ property to record the loud music that blared from the home, according to Bloomberg.
“You always want to meet your neighbors and say ‘Hi,’ and have a friendly relationship,” Towfiq testified, according to the Orange County Register.
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