I experienced this when we tried using the Build User Vars Plugin (https://wiki.jenkins-ci.org/display/JENKINS/Build+User+Vars+Plugin)
The new system properties are escaped correctly in other plugins, but the Grails plugin breaks with an incorrectly quoted BUILD_USER parameter. See a snippet of the log results below.
[workspace] $ /apps/grails-2.2.3/bin/grails -DBUILD_USER_LAST_NAME=Doe -DBUILD_USER_FIRST_NAME=John "-DBUILD_USER=John Doe" -DBUILD_USER_EMAIL=John.Doe@myCompany.com -DBUILD_USER_ID=jDoe dev war myProject.war --non-interactive
Loading Grails 2.2.3
Running pre-compiled script
Error Script not found: Doe
Pulling out the Grails plugin and calling Grails directly with Execute Shell, I used the "Possible Fix" suggested in the description and it worked.
Putting -DBUILD_USER=\"John Doe\" in the shell command, translated to '-DBUILD_USER="John' 'Doe"' being displayed in the output of the script and the build executed successfully.