Prankster Bill Gross coughs up $36 million cash in Laguna Beach

Thanks to an Orange County-based informant, Yolanda has learned that a very big transaction just went down — quietly — in what is arguably the OC’s most prestigious gated community: Laguna Beach’s Irvine Cove. And the sale price of nearly $36 million in cash — $35,820,000, to be exact — makes it the biggest deal ever inked within the enclave. But the craziest thing about this sale, kiddies, is that the house sold in less than two months and for $821,000 more than the asking price.

Ever heard of a bidding war over a $35 million house? Well, now you have.

So who walked away with all that cash? Well, hmmm. Maybe we’re off our game but Yolanda is having a real gosh-darn difficult time positively identifying the seller in this transaction, shielded as they are behind a baffling maze of LLCs and blind trusts. We do know, however, that he/she/they purchased the property in 2015 for “just” $23 million and it appears few, if any, improvements were made in the three years since.

The buyer, however, is very plainly our very own William “Bill” Gross, a longtime Irvine Cove resident and a major real estate baller — one of the biggest ballers in Southern California, in fact. Yolanda has written about Mr. Gross and his family many, many, many, many times already. But if y’all still somehow don’t know him, he is a very rich bond guru — a billionaire, in fact. Forbes pegs his net worth at $2.5 billion.

Mr. Gross

Mr. Gross rose to fame by (almost singlehandedly) revolutionizing the concept of bond investing and turning the stodgy, conservative market into something sexy, with real returns. Under his guidance, PIMCO became one of the largest mutual funds on the globe and earned Mr. Gross the nickname “King of Bonds“. But in 2014, was unceremoniously fired from company he built amid allegations of erratic behavior and a hostile work environment. (For the record, Mr. Gross later sued PIMCO for wrongful termination. The matter was eventually settled out of court for a reported $81 million. But we digress).

Lately, however, Mr. Gross has been much in the news for something other than humdrum ol’ bonds. You see, after leaving Mr. Gross founded his own investment vehicle — Janus. And for a while, his fund handily outperformed his old company. But in recent months, Janus has slumped very badly. Folks have said that Mr. Gross “continues to be distracted.” And while we don’t know the exact reasons why Mr. Gross’s performance has nosedived over the past couple years, the timing coincides with his shockingly nasty and prolonged divorce from his longtime (second) wife Sue Gross.

What a pity!

Keep in mind that your gurl has never actually met or spoken with Mr. Gross — so this is all hearsay — but we have been told by someone who has known him for years that our boy is “definitely eccentric“. But then again, most billionaires are. Right?

That (alleged) eccentricity played out in the divorce case. According to insiders, Mr. Gross was incensed when he discovered that Mrs. Gross — an artist, she is — had secretly absconded with the beloved $36.9 million Picasso hanging in his bedroom and had replaced it with a replica she painted herself. But the crazy part is that Mr. Gross did not even notice the painting switch-a-roo for months! It was only after Mrs. Gross was awarded the painting in the divorce that she informed him she already had it. So either he’s blind or Mrs. Gross is a damn good artist!

To get even, Mr. Gross (allegedly) staged a filthy olfactory assault on his ex-wifey. After she was awarded the couple’s $70 million Laguna Beach compound in their split, he sprayed bottles of “liquid ass”, “puke smell”, and “fart prank” all over the properties. And for good measure, he left dead fish in the air vents, too. Allegedly, of course. Our gurl Mrs. Gross showcased a photo of the evidence — empty spray bottles in the trash cans — in recent court filings.

The stinky evidence

So even though he is now in his mid-70s, Mr. Gross can (allegedly) still appreciate a good fart prank.

Randomly enough, Mr. Gross is also one of the world’s foremost stamp collectors. (His collection is on display at the Smithsonian). About the only thing he loves more than stamps and (allegedly) playing stinky jokes on his ex-wife is luxury real estate. Yolanda’s research indicates the Gross family has nearly $200 million of lavish homes in Southern California alone. More on that later, of course.

According to tax records, Mr. Gross’s new sort-of Spanish Hacienda-style house was built in 1976 and weighs in at a sizable (but not huge) 5,423-square-feet of living space with 4 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.

The biggest selling point of this property, however, is that it is one of just five homes in the 100+ house Irvine Cove community that has direct backyard access to the sandy beach. Though the property sits nicely above high tide on a low bluff, a flight of stairs leads to the ocean at any time. So in case y’all are wondering why this $36 million house has no swimming pool — the ocean will be Mr. Gross’s watering hole.

While the house checks all the requisite luxury feature boxes — it’s got formal dining and living rooms, vaulted ceilings, large windows and high-end kitchen appliances — the interiors could stand to be updated, Yolanda thinks. We are not feeling those tile floors and the whole kitchen is rather too 90s for a house of this caliber. The listing also gently suggests that the house might be a potential teardown: “the possibilities are endless…” and “build the oceanfront property of your dreams,” it says.

It should also be noted that Mr. Gross’s new home happens to be located in the very same guard-gated community where he and his wife owned a $70 million, three-house blufftop compound. Although it was the ex-Mrs. Gross who was awarded those fart-smellin’ homes in their divorce, apparently Mr. Gross has no desire to leave Irvine Cove. Even if it means his hated ex — they both had/have restraining orders against one another — is now one of his nearest neighbors. Vengeful? You decide.

War of the Grosses: set in Irvine Cove

The new home of Mr. Gross is so close to his ex-wife’s compound, in fact, that he could reach her estate in less than five minutes at a light jog. And Mrs. Gross’s place directly overlooks his, or so it appears. Oh, Mr. Gross — you are really playing with fire!

In addition to his ex-wife, some of Mr. Gross’s more high-profile new neighbors include Chin Yol Yi — the co-founder of LA Fitness — and tech entrepreneur Brendan Iribe.

Bill’s $35 million Beverly Hills house, bought from Jennifer Aniston in 2011

In 2011 — when the economy was still emerging from that horrid recession — Mr. and Mrs. Gross shocked onlookers when they paid a whopping $35 million for the Trousdale Estates residence of Jennifer Aniston, a property that Mr. Gross was ultimately awarded in the divorce. However, Yolanda has heard that he does not actually live in this 90210 mansion — the grapevine says that the house is actually occupied by his daughter Jennifer (she is a product of his first marriage, not his union with Sue).

For her part, Mrs. Gross recently plunked down $20 million for a nearby Beverly Hills mid-century of her own.

Bill’s Indian Wells vacation home

The Grosses have also long owned a vacation residence in the Palm Desert resort community of Indian Wells, CA. Although Mr. Gross was apparently awarded their desert mansion in the divorce, he did not take possession until after Mrs. Gross had (allegedly) disconnected the property’s water and power, allowing the swimming pool to turn green with algae. Oh come on, Grosses — do grow up.

And by the way, kiddies, far be it from Yolanda to cast aspersions on two people far wealthier than your gurl. But we just can’t resist throwing in our two cents here — it seems to us as though all this unnecessary bitterness is just gonna cause stress and be totes unhealthy for two elderly folks. Y’all are both rich as hell, so how about laying down your weapons and peacefully going your separate ways? After all, y’all are neighbors now — and you know about that “love thy neighbor” saying and all. Try it out! Seriously.

Listing agents: Evan Corkett & Steve High, Villa Real Estate

  1. michelle says:

    I saw Bill and his girlfriend/maybe fiancé,Amy, at the beach at Irvine Cove today holding hands by the water. She had a big ole rock on her finger.

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