There will be no more Notre Dame Avenue sleepovers for Peter Nygard.
On Tuesday, a judge approved a motion by court-appointed receiver Richter Advisory Group to proceed with a purchase offer by Mist Holdings Inc. for the Notre Dame Avenue property that is a namesake business of Nygard’s.
That’s the same property Nygard claimed housed an apartment that was his primary residence upon returning to Winnipeg from the Bahamas a year and a half ago.
At a hearing last week, Nygard lawyer Wayne Onchulenko argued Nygard is protected by COVID-19 provincial legislation that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants until Sept. 30.
But Justice James Edmond said Tuesday he agreed with the receiver that there was no evidence of any tenancy agreement between Nygard and the company that bears his name, noting the property is not zoned for residential use.
"The evidence establishes that to the extent there was an agreement, it was an accommodation with Mr. Nygard while he was performing duties on behalf of the Nygard Group of Companies to use the space on a temporary basis only, not a residential tenancy agreement," Edmond said.
"If Mr. Nygard was a tenant of 1340 Notre Dame, I would have expected that his counsel would have advanced this position at the time an application to appoint a receiver was heard in court in March," he said. "At no time did Mr. Nygard advance the position in court that he was a tenant at 1340 Notre Dame until the day before (last week’s) hearing."
In an affidavit, Nygard said the locks to the residence were changed while he was away and he was notified by the receiver he would have to vacate the premises by June 5.
"It was always my intention to continue my residency at 1340 Notre Dame during the summer, even though I spent most of my time at my summer (Falcon Lake) residence," Nygard said in the affidavit.
Nygard said he instructed two "associates" to pick up some of his belongings, but they were prevented by the receiver from removing several personal items, including physical training equipment, a 1977 Excalibur, and 2005 Hummer, as well as property belonging to the estate of his late sister.
Nygard said he made an offer to the receiver last March to buy or rent the two separate buildings that make up the apartment and his offices, but they "remain outstanding."
Edmond said Nygard’s offer to lease or buy apartment and office space on the property is "not reasonable or practical under the circumstances."
Edmond rejected submissions by Nygard’s lawyer that Richter should have accepted a more lucrative offer for the property. That offer, Emond said, was "highly conditional" and included a 45-day waiting period.
"I am satisfied the receiver has made sufficient effort to get the best price," Edmond said. "This court is not in a position to second guess the receiver’s opinion of the second offer."
The Nygard Group of Companies was placed in receivership in March after creditors White Oak Commercial Finance and Second Avenue Capital Partners sought repayment of a US$25-million loan.
A class-action lawsuit filed that month in the U.S. accuses Nygard of sexual misconduct against 57 women. Nygard has repeatedly maintained his innocence.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
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