An Open Letter From Bill Gross

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif., Dec. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Bill Gross today issued an open letter proposing that he and his neighbor end the conflict between them in a way that will “benefit those in our community who are suffering the most from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

“I recommend we calculate all our respective legal fees and court expenses that we have already spent and will spend on this multifront battle, agree to end all hostilities, and instead donate the proceeds to Orange County foodbanks and other charities providing critical assistance in this time of need,” he writes. “Or, if he would prefer, just the proceeds of estimated future legal and court costs. I also propose that we can individually select charities, or in a spirit of resolution and future goodwill toward each other, come up with a jointly agreed upon list of recipients to receive contributions in the name of his choosing.”

The full text of the letter follows:

These are extraordinary times of great extremes. We are losing loved ones, friends and family members to a silent killer that is relentless in its single-minded lethality. At the same time, we are witnessing extraordinary sacrifices and heroism by doctors, nurses and the medical community to compassionately care for those stricken by the virus, and find a cure to end its terrible ravages. I am humbled by the thousands of daily acts of courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

In the midst of this terrible global tragedy, a portion of the media is transfixed by…a man who plays the theme song to a 1960s sitcom, and another who records him doing so. While greater legal minds than mine can – and are – arguing about the merits of the highly publicized case against my neighbor (and my neighbor against me), I don’t think many people would contend this litigation deserves the attention it has received during the deadliest pandemic in a century. Never mind the public resources the case has commanded from the courts, law enforcement, and the city of Laguna Beach as it escalated far beyond an ordinary dispute among neighbors.

Worse yet, we are in the middle of a surge in the pandemic with the state and counties ordering new lockdowns. But we are showing up in person in court, sitting just a few inches from one another for hours, and forcing ourselves, our lawyers, and the court staff to be exposed to unnecessary risk over something that never should have reached a courtroom in the first place. I strongly believe in my case and my concerns about invasion of privacy, but at the end of the day the lawsuits are about videotaping and music. The absurdity would be laughable even to me if I wasn’t a direct participant.

While my life partner Amy Schwartz and I have not yet been able to present our case to the court and the interested public, I publicly appeal to my neighbor and propose a settlement that both ends the conflict and benefits those in our community who are suffering the most from the economic fallout of the pandemic. I recommend we calculate all our respective legal fees and court expenses that we have already spent and will spend on this multifront battle, agree to end all hostilities, and instead donate the proceeds to Orange County foodbanks and other charities providing critical assistance in this time of need. Or, if he would prefer, just the proceeds of estimated future legal and court costs. I also propose that we can individually select charities, or in a spirit of resolution and future goodwill toward each other, come up with a jointly agreed upon list of recipients to receive contributions in the name of his choosing. I want nothing more than to be a good neighbor, even if it means revising my choice in music.

Those who know me and my history also know I do not willingly back down from a fight. But this situation has escalated far out of proportion to the actual issues at stake, which are petty in comparison to a world in which thousands are dying and suffering every day, while many more are out of work and desperate to pay the rent and feed their families.

I call on my neighbor to lay down arms and agree to a settlement that benefits neither side financially, but provides something of value to our community. To those who would claim this is a publicity stunt, I would point to my history of philanthropy. That is my life’s priority, not legal feuds. Over the past several decades, I have donated more than $700 million to healthcare, education, humanitarian relief, and other charitable causes. The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation annually donates over $20 million to charities, many of them in the local community.

I ask that you join me in directing our resources against the common enemy of disease and poverty, instead of each other, and that we return to being neighbors instead of combatants.

About Bill Gross

Bill Gross has been a pioneer in fixed income investing for more than 40 years. He co-founded PIMCO in 1971 and served as managing director and chief investment officer until joining Janus Henderson Investors in 2014. He retired in 2019 to focus on managing his personal assets and private charitable foundation. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, including Morningstar Fixed Income Manager of the Decade for 2000 to 2009 and Fixed Income Manager of the Year for 1998, 2000 and 2007. Mr. Gross became the first portfolio manager inducted into the Fixed Income Analysts Society’s Hall of Fame in 1996 and received the Bond Market Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000. In 2011, Institutional Investor magazine awarded him the Money Management Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Gross oversees the $390 million-asset William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, which annually donates more than $21 million to non-profits involved in humanitarian causes, health care, and education. For more information or to view Investment Outlook archives, please visit https://williamhgross.com. For information about Mr. Gross’s philanthropic activities through the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, please visit https://grossfamilyfoundation.com/

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