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When billionaire investing guru Bill Gross announced last October that he planned to sue his former employer, some were left scratching their heads as to why he'd bother. But for Gross, that answer is simple: self respect.
"I knew I didn't have much to gain except for my self respect," he said of the lawsuit. "I thought I was treated unfairly on the way out from Pimco: They fired me without really giving a reason for it. There was a small coup of individuals that threatened to resign if I didn't. "
Gross' suit alleges that his dismissal was a breach of contract and a breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The fund manager says he has suffered damages in excess of $200 million. Despite that large sum, Gross has said he will donate all of the proceeds to charity.
"I thought it was unfair. I wanted to stay at Pimco, I wanted to step back from CIO and to manage some smaller accounts, even giving up the Total Return Fund, but it didn't seem to work for them and I always wondered why," he said. "So I wanted to gain back some self respect, because they let me go without even telling me why I was supposed to leave."
Asked if he thought he'd win, Gross simply responded, "Oh, yeah."
Gross left Pimco in September 2014 amid consternation about his investment returns and supposedly erratic behavior.
Michael Reid, a spokesman for Pimco, declined to comment other than pointing to the company's lawsuit response, which includes exhibits that "clearly show that Mr. Gross resigned via a handwritten note addressed to the CEO, so any suggestion or implication that he was dismissed would be categorically false!"
Pimco has also said Gross had no employment guarantee and could have been fired at any time without cause, according to Reuters.
This is the second part of a three-part series of exclusive CNBC interviews with Bill Gross. Read the first segment here.
— CNBC's Brian Sullivan contributed to this report.