Angelo Mozilo, a wildly controversial former financier, is set to face off against American billionaire and Beanie Babies tycoon Ty Warner. On Tuesday, June 29, Judge Thomas Anderle will decide on Mozilo’s request for a temporary restraining order against Warner’s Montecito Club to prohibit the club’s operation of its Sports Complex.
Judge Anderle’s tentative ruling grants the temporary restraining order requested by Mozilo, who lives next door to the club, and schedules for December 14, 2021, an order to show cause as to whether or not the club can continue operating its Sports Complex. The tentative ruling also explored the Montecito club’s violation of various city Municipal Codes.
Mozilo is no stranger to the courtroom. He served as the CEO of Countrywide Financial, and his behavior while holding this title contributed significantly to the subprime mortgage crisis. After profiting greatly from lucrative trading practices, he was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with securities fraud and insider trading, and the SEC fined him $67.5 million rather than pursuing criminal penalties. This was the largest SEC individual settlement connected to the 2008 housing collapse.
The Montecito Club is directly adjacent to Mozilo’s home. In early 2021, the country club expanded its outdoor facilities by converting its sports court into an outdoor Sports Complex, which includes two pickleball courts, a basketball court, a beach volleyball court, a badminton court, a sledding hill, and baseball batting cages. The club did not obtain the required building permit for the addition and failed to obtain the required planning permission from the City of Santa Barbara, Anderle’s tentative ruling noted.
According to Mozilo, since the club’s reopening in April, the noise from the Sports Complex has destroyed his ability to enjoy his home.
Mozilo described the disturbance from the complex as “constant and extremely disruptive,” and he reported the noise has caused him stress and anxiety detrimental to his health. Mozilo’s complaint states that the value of his property is “permanently and irreparably diminished by the continued existence and use of the unpermitted” facilities.
Mozilo requested that the club stop all use of the Sports Complex until it would remove and relocate the amenities elsewhere on the over 100-acre property. Although the club agreed to take measures to limit the noise from the pickleball courts, they refused to close the complex.
Warner’s legal team argued that its mitigating efforts to limit the noise are more than sufficient. These efforts included sourcing and implementing noise-dampening equipment for the pickleball courts and restricting the hours of operation.