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Bill Gross and his Laguna Beach neighbor are back in court

The dispute between mega-investor Bill Gross and his tech-entrepreneur neighbor returned to Orange County Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 13, after a previous court order failed to defuse the tension between the quarreling owners of ocean-front mansions.

Allegations that Gross and his wife, former professional tennis player Amy Schwartz, were blaring looped music — including the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song — to harass neighbor Mark Towfiq and his wife, Carol Nahakara, grabbed headlines last year during court hearings.

Those hearings ended with Judge Kimberly Knill ordering Gross and his wife to not play music from their outside speakers when no one is home and to not violate Laguna Beach’s sound restrictions.

A new complaint has brought the civil case back to court.

The new allegations raise the stakes from a civil court battle to a quasi-criminal proceeding that could carry higher penalties, from monetary crimes to short stints behind bars.

Towfiq accuses his neighbors of violating the court order by playing loud music on July 7 and Gross of installing a large umbrella on his property to obstruct views.

“We are here again because the Grosses believe they are above and beyond the law,” Chase Scolnick, one of the attorneys representing Towfiq, told the judge.

Gross, who previously accused Towfiq of being obsessed with him and his wife, has repeatedly denied playing loud music. On July 7, Gross says, he was playing music quietly while he and his wife swam in their pool with a close friend.

“This is an effort by Mr. Towfiq to hold my clients criminally responsible and throw them in jail,” said Patricia Glaser, one of the attorneys representing Gross. “Their only crime? Playing music in their own backyard.”

The judge was to visit the Gross and Towfiq homes on Monday afternoon, to see — and more importantly to hear — the sound system. Testimony, from officers who responded on July 7 and from the neighbors themselves, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Sept 14.

Gross, the founder of the Pimco investment fund, and his wife purchased their Laguna beach home to serve as a private respite away from their main Newport Beach residence.

Towfiq, a former software-company executive, and his wife bought the neighboring property to build a dream home where they could host their extended family.

The dispute between the well-heeled neighbors either began with the installation of a large, initially un-permitted lawn sculpture on the Gross property — or with traffic issues that arose when an episode of the HBO show “Ballers” was filmed on the Towfiq property.

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Source: Orange County Register

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