Multi-Billion Dollar Divorce Battles Wages on with “Punitive” Real Estate Purchases
Earlier this year, we blogged about the acrimonious divorce raging between “Bond King” Bill Gross and his wife, Sue. When we last reported on this ongoing dispute, Sue had taken an original Picasso painting out of the home she and Gross had lived in and replaced it with a forgery that she had painted.
The Battle Escalates: Fart Spray and Spying
Since then, court filings allege that Gross has used fart spray and “foul-smelling sprays” and dead fish placed in air vents to pollute the former matrimonial home and leave it “in a state of utter chaos and disrepair”. Sue claims that she spent a “substantial amount of time and money” to rehabilitate the property. Sue included photos in her court filings showing the alleged spray bottles causing the bad smells, as well as alleged water damage throughout the home.
Sue also claims that Gross hired a security company to constantly monitor her, her two sisters, and her assistant, making her life an “unmitigated nightmare”, and noting:
I am exhausted and beleaguered by this omnipresent interference, and am mortified that my loved ones have been subjected to harassment for no reason other than their relationship with me.
In defense of her position, Sue submitted approximately 100 pages of text messages between employees of the security company, allegedly detailing the comings and goings between the homes of the wife, her family, and her friends.
Gross has admitted to hiring security but claims that he did so only because Sue would “often arrive unannounced” at the former matrimonial home to “swipe stuff”.
Both parties have obtained restraining orders against one another.
“Custody” of Pets
The former couple’s three children are all adults now. Instead of fighting over custody of their kids, the couple has instead turned their attention to ownership of their pets. As we’ve previously blogged about, pets are considered property in divorces and other family disputes.
In this case, court documents reveal that the couple has been locked in a bitter dispute over what will happen to their three cats. Sue won “custody”, but Gross was able to secure 24- hour visitation rights, with the caveat that a veterinary professional would transport the cats between the parties.
Gross claims that during one of these visits, Sue showed up “unannounced” (despite the restraining order against him) on the grounds that the cats weren’t safe because Gross’ house was too hot. The cats were returned to her the following day following a full physical checkup and clearance.
Punitive Property Purchases
The most recent drama between the parties involves punitive property purchases. Over the last several months, Sue has allegedly spent almost $40 million for two homes in the couple’s former gated community of Irvine Cove, located in Orange County, California. Gross alleges that she did so to prevent him from being able to return to the neighbourhood, where he had lived from more than 30 years before “being booted from their home”. According to sources, Sue was already living in a swankier part of Irvine Cove after the divorce settlement granted her the three property compound that had been the matrimonial home. After that, she bought additional property in order to “deny [Gross] the satisfaction of buying a prime property there”.
In response, Gross recently bought a $36 million waterfront property directly across the street from Sue’s sister and brother-in-law. This was allegedly a property that Sue herself had bid on in an attempt to prevent Gross from moving there, but his offer as accepted (even though it was lower than hers) because it was cash.
In court filings, Sue despaired that “with his financial resources, [Gross] could choose to live practically anywhere in the world. However, he insists upon the very small community that I call home.” Sue also claims that Gross texted her saying “Sugar [his former nickname for her]…feel peaceful while you can. War of the Roses ahead. And I can predict the winner!”.
Sue claims that she purchased the two properties as a way to protect herself from Gross and his alleged “army of spies”.
High-net worth divorces involving multiple expensive properties, significant assets, and large amounts of money are more complex than standard divorces. Difficulties often arise with regard to property division, including an analysis of asset worth, location, and accessibility. Windsor family lawyer Jason P. Howie has more than 25 years of experience handling divorce issues for clients with significant and complex assets. We can provide you with the personal support and attention to detail you need in your high-asset divorce.
To speak with Jason P. Howie about high-asset divorce issues, call 519.973.1500 or contact us online. Many of our clients are referred to us by former and current clients, as well as by lawyers, accountants and other professionals.