What do a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture, the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song, and a “peeping Tom” accusation have in common? Oddly enough, they were all at the center of a recently settled dispute between neighbors in Laguna Beach.
Bill Gross, the founder of investment firm PIMCO, was embroiled in a years-long feud with his neighbors, Mark Towfiq and Carol Nakahara, in Laguna Beach. It began in 2019, when Gross bought a Dale Chihuly sculpture and installed it on the edge of his property.
Gross placed netting over the sculpture to protect it from the elements. Then Towfiq and Nakahara complained to the city that the netting was obstructing coastal views. From there, the issue just escalated, says Gustavo Arellano, columnist for the LA Times.
“Towfiq alleges that because of his complaints to the city, Bill Gross started to play very loud music — hip-hop, but especially ‘Gilligan’s Island,” at night [and] during the day,” says Arellano. “Gross, in turn, accuses Towfiq of putting cameras toward his property, so he was like a ‘peeping Tom.’ They filed restraining orders against each other, they went to court; it just got so so messy. This is what millionaires and billionaires fight about in Orange County.”
Gross won the case about the sculpture after the city ruled that he was within his rights to install it and its netting. But Gross lost the earlier case filed by the neighbors relating to the “Gilligan’s Island” theme. He was ordered to stop playing the music and Gross and his wife were sentenced to spend five days in jail. But the sentence was suspended and instead the Grosses did two days of community service.