Things could have been worse. They could have been stranded together on a desert island.
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A legal dispute between two wealthy California neighbors was resolved Wednesday, with a judge deciding that billionaire bond king Bill Gross was harassing the tech entrepreneur next door by repeatedly blasting the theme song from TV sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” in the direction of the neighbor’s home.
The dispute reportedly started when the neighbor, Mark Towfiq, complained about 12-foot-high netting that Gross, 76, and his partner Amy Schwartz, 51, had erected in their yard to protect a sculpture from some tree-trimming work and bad weather, according to the Los Angeles Times.
After repeated complaints, Towfiq reportedly took his concerns to local officials in Laguna Beach, Orange County, where they live – and the music began soon after that, according to the report.
During court proceedings, Gross and Schwartz argued they simply loved the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song – in part because the show’s opening segment included a view that reminded them of one they see from a different home they own in another town, the report said.
In addition, Gross and Schwartz’s attorney, Jill Basinger, contended that the couple just “like music.”
Gross and Schwartz also accused Towfiq of snooping around their property, with Schwartz complaining she sometimes felt unsafe around her swimming pool, according to the report.
“I’m scared, I feel violated,” she testified. “I feel afraid. I’m in a bikini or less.”
Claims that Towfiq had recorded her on video were not supported by evidence, the Times reported.
In the end, Superior Court Judge Kimberly Knill ordered Gross and Schwartz to keep music at levels allowable under the local municipal code and not play music outdoors if they are not using their yard or swimming pool area.
“People have an expectation, rightfully so, that their home is their oasis and safe place,” Knill ruled, according to the Times.
Chase Solnick, an attorney representing Towfiq and his wife, applauded the decision.
“No amount of money or PR spin can hide the truth here,” he said. “Our clients have been living a nightmare.”
Gross issued a statement saying he was “disappointed in the outcome,” having made offers to settle the matter out of court, but planned to abide by the judge’s ruling.