The feud of the little rich ruin Laguna Beach

Love your neighbor, but not if you live in a gated community in one of Southern California’s wealthiest and most exclusive enclaves. A...


Love your neighbor, but not if you live in a gated community in one of Southern California’s wealthiest and most exclusive enclaves.

At Tony Laguna Beach, Orange County, it’s an outright war between two wealthy residents, with petty assaults, escalating harassment complaints, and powerful lawyers clashing in court.

Earlier this month, billionaire mutual fund manager known as Bond King, Bill Gross, 77, and his wife, Amy Schwartz Gross, 52, were sentenced to five days in prison and two days of community service for violating a restraining order against their neighbor.

This was the shocking latest turn of events in the Gross household feud with tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq and his wife Carol Nakahara, both 57, after Gross erected a 10-foot-tall cobalt glass sculpture. $ 1 million top by world renowned artist Dale Chihuly in his backyard.

This million-dollar, 10-foot-tall glass sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly has sparked a nasty row between neighbors in Laguna Beach.
The Dale Chihuly sculpture in question is 10 feet tall and is worth $ 1 million.
Bill Gross and Amy Schwartz

To protect it from the elements, including falling palm leaves, a netting was installed last year. But Towfiq said the net blocked his view – and complained to city officials.

Since then, Gross and Towfiq have fought an uphill battle in what is otherwise a quiet coastal town known for its art galleries and waterfront restaurants.

Towfiq complained that Gross would loathe the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song on repeat, while Gross retorted in court that Towfiq was a “voyeur” who “watched, watched, photographed and filmed” les Grosses.

Today, the seaside town of 23,000, where the median house selling price is $ 3 million, is in the spotlight for its two terrible children who have too much time and money. to loose.

“Everyone thinks this is ridiculous,” a longtime Laguna resident told The Post. “It’s all a waste of money, time and energy. They are not exactly the fabric of our community.

Again, quarrels between the rich über are not so rare here.

“A lot of Laguna Beach neighbors are suing each other over little things,” Lisa Elias, a 53-year-old dog walker and longtime resident who worked at a local law firm, told The Post.

“It’s usually something like, ‘A wall is a few inches from my property, so you have to tear it down.’ “

Or: “My son is allergic to the pepper plant in your garden. Take that off!'”

Historically an artists’ colony, the 1 percent of Laguna Beach makes some locals feel like ‘this is the neighborhood’.

“It was such a sweet community,” Elias said of the area, noting its bohemian roots. “Now it’s [affected by] expansion of extremely wealthy people.


Bill Gross, a Laguna Beach resident, is at the center of a feud over an outdoor sculpture covered with a netting.
Bill Gross infuriated his neighbor by covering a large outdoor sculpture with a net.
Getty Images

In 2019, Bill Gross, worth $ 1.5 billion according to Forbes, and Amy Schwartz, a former tennis pro, moved into their new $ 35.8 million home, called Rockledge-by-the. -Sea, at Irvine Cove, at Laguna Beach. The 10,000 square foot estate has an eight-person commercial elevator, gym, spa, and wine showroom.

Shortly after moving in, he threw a party there for Amy’s 50th birthday and even hired Kenny Loggins to put on a backyard concert for the guests.

At the party, Gross performed “Celebrate Me Home” to Schwartz, whom he married last April.

Towfiq – also a newcomer to Laguna Beach, having finished building his house on the adjacent property in 2015 – attended the show and apparently had fun.

“Mark enjoyed the gig and texted Amy the next day,” a source close to the Grosses said. (Towfiq himself said in court last year that he hoped to have “a friendly relationship” with his new neighbors.)

But all the initial jokes were fleeting.

The following year, Gross installed the Chihuly sculpture near the wall and the row of hedges that separated his house from that in Towfiq. Then, in the spring of 2020, they installed the dividing net.

“We wanted to protect a precious work of art that brought great joy and pleasure to our family,” the couple said in a court file.

A neighbor claims the net on this Dale Chihuly sculpture is blocking his view.
The netting intended to protect this beautiful glass sculpture caused an ugly situation.
Bill Gross and Amy Schwartz

But the net was too much for Towfiq, who complained that it was obscuring his view. (The source close to Les Grosses insists that the only view she obscured was that of the Grosses house.)

Ignored by the Grosses, Towfiq quickly filed his grievances with the town of Laguna Beach, which sent the couple a notice of violation: the artwork and net required permits.

And this is where things got interesting.

“He’s a millionaire going to war with a billionaire,” said the source close to Gross.


Gross is the co-founder and former chairman of Pacific Investment Management Company, better known as PIMCO, once considered the largest mutual fund in the world. In 2019, he revealed he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome – a high-level form of autism marked by social awkwardness and a tendency to focus on particular topics – to Bloomberg Television.

“I’m kind of proud of it because it explains a lot about me… It allowed me to stay 30,000 feet instead of being on the ground,” Gross said of his diagnosis.

Still, he admitted that it likely contributed to his notorious character. (Gross’s ex-wife, Sue, accused him of using fart spray and placing dead fish in the air vents from their Laguna Beach home during their bitter divorce in 2018; he denied the allegations.)

“People think you’re angry or a hole or something,” he continued to Bloomberg. “But it helps you focus on longer-term things without getting lost in the details.”

His latest obsession seems to be Towfiq.

Carol Nakahar and Mark Towfiq are embroiled in a horrific feud with their neighbor in Laguna Beach.
Carol Nakahar and Mark Towfiq are embroiled in an unseemly feud with their neighbor in Laguna Beach.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

After his neighbor complained to Net City, Towfiq says the Grosses started blowing up the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song – as well as the “Green Acres” and Led Zeppelin theme – in retaliation.

But the Grosses said it was Towfiq who launched a harassment campaign.

On October 13, 2020, they filed a complaint against him, which read in part: “Many times the plaintiffs swam and had fun, only to see the accused Towfiq watching them, camera ready, ready to capture even more images, audio or video of applicants and their family and friends. ”

The next day, Towfiq, who grew rich by creating data centers, filed its own complaint. The two parties have requested restraining orders against each other.

Towfiq said in court that he installed one of the cameras only to prove that the Grosses ignored an order from city officials to remove the net. In court documents, he called the couple “bullies” and said they played music at breathtaking volumes from outside speakers at all times, forcing him and his wife to flee twice.

Last July, Mark Towfiq (center) and his wife Carol Nakahara had one of many court dates involving an ongoing dispute with their neighbors.
Last July, Mark Towfiq (center) and his wife Carol Nakahara had one of many court dates involving an ongoing dispute with their neighbors.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

(The source close to the Grosses said the theme song “Gilligan’s Island” “had special meaning for Bill and Amy” because it reminded them of their other home in Newport Beach.)

When Towfiq texted his neighbor to refuse the music, Gross reportedly replied: “Peace on all fronts or [sic] just have big boy concerts every night, ”according to evidence Towfiq used in its October 2020 application for a temporary restraining order.

In December, Justice Kimberly Knill of the Orange County Superior Court slapped the Grosses with a three-year injunction, prohibiting them from playing music outside their home when no one is in the backyard pool.


Bill and Amy Gross violated a restraining order by making fun of their neighbor from their swimming pool.
A judge described as “appalling” a video of Grosses frolicking in their swimming pool to taunt their neighbor.
Keller / Anderle srl

Earlier this month in court, a video taken in July was shown that showed the Grosses frolicking in their pool and apparently mocking Towfiq.

In the 11-second clip, Amy sings at the top of her lungs, “We’re out. Yes we are. Yes we are. Yeah yeah yeah. We are outside. Yes we are!”

Knill called it “appalling” and sentenced the couple to five days in prison for violate the court restraining order.

The source close to the Grosses explained Amy’s bizarre behavior: “The goal was for Amy to make a recording showing ‘I’m following the restraining order rules.'”

“This incident, the obvious bias of the judge and the enormous waste of time and money on music played below the legal level of 60 decibels at 9:15 p.m. constitutes a miscarriage of justice, not to mention a travesty of prejudice,” said Bill Gross. in a statement to the Post.

Meanwhile, Towfiq doesn’t win any Neighbor of the Year awards either.

After purchasing his Irvine Cove property in 2009, Towfiq found himself embroiled in litigation with Michael Wilson, his immediate neighbor to the north, who sued the technician over his construction plans. Towfiq hoped to demolish three existing structures and erect a new cliff-side house that partially obscure Wilson’s view.

After two years of fighting, Towfiq won a county decision in 2011 and began building his Modernist home with a 2,000 square foot covered patio, infinity pool, and panoramic ocean views.

“I hate being bullied,” Towfiq reportedly said at the time. “It’s our right to build this house. This is our dream house.

Towfiq’s attorney, Chase Scolnick added: “It is terrible and unfortunate that their dream house has turned into a nightmare.”

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