‘I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on’: woman recounts visit to Nygard Cay
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/02/2020 (1076 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
She thought it was an opportunity for a relaxing Caribbean vacation.
Instead, for a few weeks in the late 2000s, she said she found herself squarely in a den of iniquity, captained by its hedonistic owner — Winnipeg fashion mogul Peter Nygard — at his compound in the Bahamas.
“I wasn’t a part of the sexual lifestyle — and I never witnessed any sex or sodomy — but everybody went around topless,” a former Winnipeg woman, who asked her name not be published, said Friday.
The woman said she was visiting the Nygard Cay compound as the guest of an employee.
“(Nygard) would have ‘pamper parties’ — he had a (stripper’s) pole on his plane… There was a lot of parties… I took one girl to a dentist once, and I saw a dental assistant and I said, ‘I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.’ I’d seen her at the pamper parties bouncing around, but now she looked totally professional.”
Another time, at the dock as Nygard’s yacht came in, the woman said she saw the multi-millionaire on the deck, with a woman performing a sex act on him.
“He just stood up, zipped up his pants and that was it,” she said. “I heard people asked for the morning-after pill — I didn’t even know what that was at the time.”
Nygard, 78, is currently facing claims in a class-action civil lawsuit that he lured women — some under the age of 18 — to his Bahamian estate, where he drugged, assaulted, raped and sodomized them. The allegations of 10 women are listed in the 99-page lawsuit, filed in New York City.
Since news of the lawsuit went public more than a week ago, lawyers heading the court action say dozens of other possible victims have come forward, as well as numerous alleged witnesses.
No statement of defence has been filed, and the allegations haven’t been proven in court.
Nygard — through his lawyer — has denied all of the allegations.
Meanwhile, the former Winnipeg woman said Friday she never saw any acts at Nygard Cay that weren’t consensual. She said she didn’t take in the nightlife there on a regular basis, and only ventured once into the compound’s disco.
“No one ever came down asking for assistance,” she said. “I didn’t hear anybody being raped. If I had, I would have tried to help them.
“You have to remember: it was invite-only; no one snuck in there. The gates… have to be opened by security,” she said. “People were there and (Nygard) knew they were there. They would take a photo of everyone going in and they would keep it.
“It wasn’t just women — anyone who went in had their photo taken.”
The woman said she wasn’t just bothered by the hedonism she witnessed, but also the shoddy treatment of employees at the compound.
“There would be workers standing on two-by-fours on top of rocks washing the windows — and there were a lot of windows there,” she said. “But, if they were to complain, there were 20 people in line to take their jobs.
“It didn’t matter which way you looked, there were always people trying to do what they could to survive… I was glad to leave.”
More than a decade later, the woman said just hearing the Nygard name or seeing clothes from his fashion lines takes her back to those few weeks.
“I still wear his clothing, I like the quality of some of his clothes,” she said. “But it’s not somewhere I want to go back and visit.”
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
Updated on Monday, February 24, 2020 3:32 PM CST: corrects spelling of Lampenius in timeline