Coverage of Winnipeg business icon Peter Nygard
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/03/2020 (1122 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Nygard faces sex-crime charges in Toronto, but not Winnipeg
Accused serial rapist Peter Nygard is facing criminal charges in Toronto — but not in Winnipeg, where he launched and grew his multimillion-dollar fashion empire.
Toronto police secured an arrest warrant Sept. 29 for six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement. The charges cover alleged incidents, all involving women, between October 1987 and March 2006.
The Winnipeg Police Service investigated Nygard from February to December 2020. The service sent eight files, based on eight women's complaints, to prosecutors for review.
However, one of the Winnipeg complainants and a Toronto advocate for victims both told the Free Press in October the Crown attorney's office decided recently not to pursue charges against Nygard in any of the complaints.
Class-action lawsuit alleges Nygard sexually assaulted 10 women, girls at island estate
A class-action lawsuit alleges Winnipeg fashion mogul Peter Nygard lured women, many under the age of 18, to his Bahamian estate so he could assault, rape and sodomize them — part of a decades-long sex-trafficking scheme his companies helped him achieve.
Ten women, whose identities are being withheld, filed the lawsuit Thursday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
It seeks financial damages, and a jury trial on behalf of the complainants and an unknown number of others, against Peter J. Nygard, Nygard Inc., Nygard International Partnership, and Nygard Holdings Ltd.
The 99-page lawsuit says three of the women in the claim were only 14 when Nygard raped them, while two others were 15. Nine of the women are Bahamian citizens; the 10th is a U.S. citizen.
Dozens of women lodge new allegations of abuse against Nygard
In the wake of a civil class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S., dozens of women — including some from Winnipeg — have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against fashion mogul Peter Nygard.
The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges Nygard sexually assaulted 10 women, several under the age of 18, at his Bahamian estate, as part of a decades-long sex-trafficking scheme.
Greg Gutzler, a lawyer with New York City-based Dicello, Levitt and Gutzler, and Lisa Haba, of Orlando, Fla.-based Haba Law, said their offices have been inundated with phone calls, emails, and messages on social media from women who claim Nygard committed similar sex acts against them — as well as from others who claim to be witnesses to such abuse.
"We've had several from Winnipeg, Toronto, China and New York," Gutzler confirmed Friday. "We have had multiple people contact this firm.
Probe necessary to find out if Nygard bribed police, others in sex crimes: Bahamas official
A senior Bahamian politician is calling for an investigation into allegations that Winnipeg fashion mogul Peter Nygard concealed a decades-long sex trafficking ring at his island estate by bribing police and public officials.
A recent class-action lawsuit alleges Nygard, 77, and his business associates lured women — many of them girls under the age of 18 — to his Bahamian estate so he could drug, assault, rape and sodomize them.
“Those are some serious allegations being made and I am certain the police would want to follow up on them to determine exactly whether there is any validity to them. We have an obligation to do so,” National Security Minister Marvin Dames told the Bahamian-based news outlet The Tribune.
“Anytime you have allegations of that nature being reported to law enforcement within or outside of the country, we have that obligation, especially when the allegations are being made against public officials and law enforcement officials.”
'I didn't recognize you with your clothes on': woman recounts visit to Nygard Cay
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.
City councillor Kevin Klein distances self from former employer Nygard
Winnipeg Coun. Kevin Klein says the recent sex-crime allegations against former employer Peter Nygard are “shocking,” adding he has no current relationship with the fashion mogul.
Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) said Thursday he worked for Nygard on two separate occasions: four months in 2012, and two weeks in 2014.
Klein said while he visited the Bahamas twice during those times, he went with his wife, and did not stay at Nygard’s estate — a property at the centre of a U.S.-based class-action lawsuit accusing Nygard of sex trafficking, among other crimes.
The city councillor said he was involved with “the business side, not the personal side” of Nygard’s life.
Mogul's key to the city could be rescinded
MAYOR Brian Bowman says he’s cautious about how he awards honorary keys to the City of Winnipeg and believes there are cases in which that honour should be removed.
The mayor’s comments come in the wake of multiple serious sexual assault allegations facing Peter Nygard in a class-action lawsuit. The prominent business leader is a recipient of the ceremonial key, though the mayor said he believes that gesture could be rescinded.
Bowman said that if the charges against Nygard are proven in court, the international fashion mogul should lose the honour.
“The allegations that have been made are pretty grotesque. They are allegations. And if they’re proven in court, then I would request (the key) back,” he said.
Case no surprise to local Finnish women
PETER Nygard often said he was proud of his roots in Finland. But some members of Winnipeg’s Finnish community were not so proud of Nygard.
A Finnish-Canadian woman from the Winnipeg area — whose family visited Nygard’s Falcon Lake cottage when she was a child — told the Free Press recent sexual assault allegations against Nygard come as no surprise to Finnish people in Winnipeg. Another Finnish-Canadian woman, who worked for him, said the same.
The first woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said her father worked “very closely” with Nygard at his company for more than 20 years and he set a strict rule for her not to go near Nygard as a young child.
“He is a very bad man with women and you need to stay away from him, promise me that,” she remembers her father saying.
Sometimes a picture isn't worth anywhere near a thousand words
It's often been said that you're judged for the company you keep.
In the era of social media, perhaps it's more accurate to say you're judged for the company you appear to keep.
After the news broke about a class-action lawsuit against Peter Nygard, alleging that he sexually assaulted 10 women (several under the age of 18) at his island estate in the Bahamas, many people mentioned being "not surprised." The disgraced fashion mogul has, over the years, been accused of abusive labour practices and sexual harassment. His exploits at his predatory playboy palace have been well-documented.
Before this latest scandal, back when he and his Popeye biceps were, regrettably, the first things one saw when they arrived at Winnipeg's airport, Nygard, 78, was a local celebrity with a rags-to-riches story. As such, one doesn't have to look hard to find archival photos of him rubbing shoulders with the city’s business elite and some of the province’s most influential people, past and present — people who are now distancing themselves. A representative of one high-profile person proactively reached out to the Free Press, requesting we not print images of her with him.
Klein condemns mayor's statement on councillor's past work for Nygard
Winnipeg’s mayor is being accused of trying to undermine a key council critic after questioning if that councillor’s past job at a Peter Nygard company could distract him from his duties.
Mayor Brian Bowman told reporters Thursday he’d asked Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) if the legal challenges facing Nygard could “distract” the councillor from his role as Winnipeg Police Board chair.
“I felt it necessary to do my due diligence … I just wanted to inquire whether there were any legal matters that would distract him from putting his focus and attention as chair of the Winnipeg Police Board,” said Bowman.
Klein, who previously served as vice-president of Nygard Biotech, quickly condemned the statement as a misguided attempt to distract Winnipeggers from Friday’s release of the preliminary city budget.
Nygard Group gets temporary reprieve from going into receivership
Just days after announcing they were seeking bankruptcy protection, the Nygard Group of companies has staved off being placed into receivership… for now.
In a decision Friday, a judge suspended the move by U.S. lenders White Oak Commercial Finance LLC and Second Avenue Capital Partners, pending the outcome of negotiations between Nygard and finance company Great American Capital.
“I am not satisfied there is no viable proposal to be made by (Nygard Group),” said Justice James Edmond. “The evidence filed by (Nygard) suggests a viable proposal may be made to creditors and (White Oak).
Edmond adjourned the matter to March 20 – the date Nygard Group expected to conclude negotiations with Great American Capital – warning Nygard lawyers his view on receivership “may change,” if there is no real movement by the companies to resolve their financing woes.
Nygard undermined court-appointed receiver, documents show
Hit with a class-action lawsuit last February alleging sex crimes spanning decades, Peter Nygard immediately announced he would step down from the Nygard Group of companies, but documents filed by a court-appointed receiver now suggest he continued to cling to the reins of his floundering fashion empire.
Nygard Group was ordered into receivership March 18 after a judge ruled it had not acted in good faith with its lenders and an insolvency trustee.
According to court documents filed last month, receiver Richter Group, in an effort to preserve company records, moved that same day to restrict access to Nygard Group computer systems.
“As a result, the system access rights of certain (now former) Nygard Group team members, including Peter Nygard, were terminated,” Richter said in an April 20 report to the court.
Winnipeg police investigating Nygard on sex assault charges, accusers confirm
Peter Nygard is the subject of an ongoing Winnipeg Police Service investigation after multiple women stepped forward to file formal criminal complaints against the embattled fashion mogul for alleged sexual assault.
While it was known Nygard was the subject of an investigation in the U.S. by a joint child-exploitation task force, this is the first confirmation that a criminal probe into the allegations against him is underway in his hometown.
The Free Press confirmed the existence of the WPS investigation through interviews with alleged victims. It's not clear when the criminal probe was launched or how many women have filed complaints.
Police did not respond to a Free Press request for comment Monday afternoon. In the past, the WPS has said the agency does not confirm or deny the existence of investigations unless they lead to charges being laid.
Nygard's court appearance gives glimpse of man behind tanned, buff visage
The strangest part, as the man shuffled down the dimly lit hall, was the change of perspective.
If you don't run in the same circles as Peter Nygard, if you've never seen him in the flesh, then you are used to him looking down: from a billboard, for instance, or an oversized poster of himself affixed to a store wall, looking thick-armed and tan.
For decades, everything around Nygard was big. The posters and the parties. The island in the Bahamas. The Boeing 727 with his name on the side in silver letters. The compound at Falcon Lake where he hosted events while he was still able to dodge sexual assault allegations, and to where he retreated this year when he no longer could.
That was part of the myth that he built. That is how he wanted us to see him. Larger than life and even larger than death, given his claims that stem cell treatment can eliminate disease and bring about immortality.
Nygard 'top girlfriend,' niece accused in Florida, California lawsuits
A Florida woman is suing fallen fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s “top girlfriend,” Instagram model Suelyn Medeiros, claiming she lured her and other young women to his Bahamian estate to be raped.
Dishevelled, shackled Nygard led into Winnipeg courtroom for extradition hearing
Led into a Winnipeg courtroom in shackles, Peter Nygard walked slowly as he came into view, surrounded by sheriffs and dressed in the grey sweatshirt and track pants of an inmate.
A mask covered his face, his long grey hair was tied into a messy bun, and he sat in the prisoner’s box looking dishevelled and dismayed.
His aging, frail body did not resemble the coiffed and muscled image that for years was plastered on billboards across Winnipeg and emblazoned on signs at his retail shops in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and the Bahamas.
Nygard’s brief court appearance Tuesday marks the latest chapter in his remarkable life story — from his birth in Finland, to his humble upbringing in Deloraine, through the forging of his fashion empire in Winnipeg, and his eventual downfall amid mounting rape allegations in the #MeToo era.
Arrest 'seemed so surreal': Nygard accuser
For nearly 30 years, Serena Hickes stayed quiet about what happened to her when she worked as a sales clerk in one of Peter Nygard’s retail stores.
The 49-year-old Winnipeg woman said she intended never to report to police that when she was in her early 20s, Nygard raped her; she was never going to tell anyone at all.
That was before news broke of the FBI raiding the Nygard fashion company’s New York headquarters, and before at least 57 women signed on to a U.S. class-action lawsuit accusing him of sex crimes.
Since Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg last week, Hickes has been hungry to witness it for herself — to see and believe the 79-year-old former fashion magnate really does remain behind bars while he awaits the next step in his court process.
Nygard in custody, empire shattered
It’s a story that took far too long to break.
Allegations of rape and sexual misconduct swirled around Peter Nygard for decades. Throughout those years, he built a multimillion-dollar fashion empire, became one of the most recognizable Winnipeggers, rubbed elbows with high-profile people and was even given a key to the city.
But behind the larger-than-life playboy façade lurked something sinister.
The first sign something was wrong came in 1980: an 18-year-old woman said she’d been raped by Nygard. The Winnipeg Police Service arrested Nygard, then 39, and charged him. But the charge was quickly stayed by the Crown after the accuser refused to testify in court.
Judge clears path to Nygard Inkster property sale
Manitoba’s highest court has given a court-appointed receiver the green light to proceed with the sale of one of Peter Nygard’s flagship business properties.
The transaction had been put on hold in advance of a Nygard appeal to have the receiver discharged.
However, in a written decision released Dec. 31, 2020, Manitoba Court of Appeal Justice Janice leMaistre quashed a stay halting the sale of Nygard’s Inkster Boulevard property by Richter Advisory Group.
Sale of the property had been initially approved by Queen’s Bench Justice James Edmond in November 2020, with a set closing date of Jan. 18.
Former fashion mogul Nygard seeks bail while fighting extradition to U.S.
After three weeks in jail, fallen fashion mogul Peter Nygard will fight for his freedom Wednesday morning as U.S. justice authorities seek his extradition to face charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
His 50-year-old business empire in tatters amidst ongoing receivership proceedings, Nygard, 79, is facing prosecution in the U.S., accused of sexually abusing dozens of women and girls over a period of decades.
A contested bail hearing is set for 10 a.m. Nygard will not be physically present in court and will appear by video link.
Few will be able to watch the hearing, which will take place in the only available courtroom equipped for video appearances. Due to social-distancing requirements only one reporter, a sketch artist and two Nygard supporters will be allowed to take a spot in the tiny court gallery.
Accused sex offender Nygard to spend at least two more weeks jailed while feds review extradition
A bail application for embattled fashion mogul Peter Nygard was adjourned Wednesday after lawyers for the attorney general of Canada requested more time to examine extradition materials from U.S. authorities and affidavits from his defence team.
Nygard, 79, is facing possible extradition to the U.S. to face charges of sex trafficking and racketeering spanning three decades.
Nygard, appeared by video from Headingley Correctional Centre for Wednesday’s hearing, his long grey hear pulled back in a bun, wearing a disposable face mask, which he pulled below his chin at one point to reveal a grey moustache.
He was arrested on an extradition warrant and taken into custody Dec. 14. He will remain in custody pending a two-day bail hearing now scheduled for Jan 19-20.
Convicted drug trafficker one of Nygard's backers in bail application
A former Hells Angels associate and convicted drug trafficker is among the supporters who have offered to help fashion magnate Peter Nygard win his release on bail while he faces possible extradition to the U.S. for sex crimes and racketeering.
Steve Mager, 43, was among 34 gang members and associates arrested in 2009 in what was described at the time as one of the biggest drug and gang busts in Manitoba history.
In 2012, Mager was sentenced to 5½ years in prison for his part in brokering a deal for four ounces of cocaine.
Mager acknowledged his criminal record, which includes a 30-month sentence for a related conviction in 2002, in a court affidavit in which he offers to be a surety for Nygard if he is released on bail. Mager notes he has no convictions for fraud or perjury.
Nygard lawyer issues public apology to alleged 1979 rape victim
Winnipeg lawyer Jay Prober has issued a written apology to a woman who has accused fashion magnate Peter Nygard of sexually assaulting her four decades ago, saying he did not mean to include her in a group of accusers he alleges are trying to cash in on the sexual abuse claims swirling around Nygard.
KC Allan, 58, filed a complaint with the Law Society of Manitoba following Prober’s comments last year and threatened to sue him for defamation.
Allan, who now lives in the U.S., alleges Nygard raped her in 1979, when she was 17, after the two met at an Exchange District nightclub.
Prober, in a letter of apology shared by his lawyer Monday, said he wasn’t aware of Allan when, last February, he was quoted in the Free Press as saying, “A lot of people see dollar signs and they are jumping on the bandwagon.”
Jail a 'death sentence,' Nygard lawyer argues
In the 12 years Greg Fenske worked for Peter Nygard, he never saw or heard anything suggesting the fallen fashion mogul was involved in the sexual abuse of multiple women and girls, he told a bail hearing Tuesday.
“I understand the allegations being made, I don’t agree,” said Fenske, who until the fashion empire went into receivership last March, was a director of the Nygard Group of companies.
Nygard, 79, is facing possible extradition to the U.S. on multiple charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
He appeared by video from Headingley Correctional Centre, and was breathing heavily and sniffling when he was escorted into an interview room to start the hearing.
Nygard held in 'condemned cells' area
Disgraced and debilitated one-time fashion mogul Peter Nygard spends his days in protective custody near the old gallows in the "condemned cells" area at Headingley Correctional Centre, the Free Press has learned.
The 79 year old, accused of sex crimes and racketeering over a 25-year period, is being held on the main floor of the jail because he's unable to climb stairs, a source told the newspaper.
A corrections officer escorts him to the main-floor medical unit for showers. He eats alone in his cell and has no contact with other inmates.
Nygard, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. to face nine charges, has been in custody since Dec. 14.
Nygard lawyers pitch bail with 24-hour video monitoring
Lawyers for former fashion magnate Peter Nygard argue they have come up with “as close to a perfect bail plan as you could have.”
A judge said Thursday she will need a few more days to decide whether it will be enough to win his release from jail.
Nygard, 79, is being held at Headingley Correctional Centre as he faces possible extradition to the United States on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Justice Shawn Greenberg adjourned Nygard’s bail hearing last week for further submissions from the defence, after raising concerns about the evidence of former Nygard Group of Companies executive Greg Fenske.
Nygard's Broadway building approved for sale
A judge has approved the sale of Peter Nygard’s Broadway retail facility, the fourth property to be sold since the Nygard Group of companies went into receivership.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice James Edmond approved the sale of the 13,000-square-foot facility Thursday.
The listed sale price for the property is $2.35 million. The final sale price remains sealed until the deal closes.
The court had approved the sales of Nygard’s Inkster Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue properties, as well as a flagship Toronto property.
Klein addresses appearance in Nygard doc
A city councillor who appeared in a recent documentary playing poker with Peter Nygard and a group of women says he was never part of the personal life of the disgraced fashion mogul who faces sex charges.
“I think people are smart enough to know that I’m true to my word on this. I worked for him for a very short time. I’m not a part of his life. I left his employ and that was the end of it for me. I’ve seen the allegations. This is something that shocks me,” said Coun. Kevin Klein.
“I did nothing wrong. My conscience is 100 per cent clear,” Klein added.
Nygard, 79, is in custody in Headingley jail, awaiting a judge’s decision on his bail application. He is facing extradition to the U.S., where he is accused of racketeering and sex trafficking dozens of women and underage females for decades. Nygard denies the allegations. A decision on his bail application is expected Friday.
Nygard bail appeal enhances communications monitoring
An updated bail plan for jailed fashion magnate Peter Nygard is “significantly more robust” than the one that failed to win his release last month, his lawyers say in newly filed court documents, including measures to monitor all his telephone calls and electronic communications.
Nygard, who has added high-profile Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan to his legal team, is appealing an order by Queen’s Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg last month denying him bail as he awaits possible extradition to the U.S. on sex trafficking and racketeering charges.
“There has been a material change in circumstance since the applicant’s detention in that the proposed plan of release is significantly more robust than the one presented to the learned justice,” said a notice of application to the Manitoba Court of Appeal signed by Greenspan and Nygard’s Winnipeg lawyers Jay Prober and Richard Wolson.
Greenberg ruled security and monitoring measures Nygard proposed putting in place to satisfy justice officials he would not flee from a $1-million John Bruce Road home would do nothing to prevent him from tampering with alleged victims or witnesses by phone, or having someone do it on his behalf.
Nygard's lawyer proposes '21st century' bail plan during appeal hearing
Peter Nygard is being kept in jail on the basis of “extreme and inflammatory allegations” that are unsupported by the charges against him, his lawyer said at a hearing Thursday.
The fallen fashion mogul is appealing the decision to deny him bail.
Nygard, 79, has been in custody since Dec. 14, when he was arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant. Nygard faces prosecution in New York on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.
He was denied bail last month after Queen’s Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg ruled she was not satisfied Nygard wouldn’t try to tamper with witnesses if he were released.
Legal expert 'shocked' by imprisoned Nygard's phone privileges
CASUAL observers aren’t the only ones wondering why fallen fashion tycoon Peter Nygard has been provided his own phone in jail while awaiting possible extradition to the United States.
Local legal experts say they are unaware of any other case like it in Manitoba.
“I was shocked,” said University of Manitoba law professor David Ireland. “I’ve never been aware of an inmate having exclusive access to their own phone.
“Certainly, in my experience of dealing with clients in custody, I’ve never had a client who had free access to a phone.”
Justice officials say Nygard not getting special treatment
JAILED fashion magnate Peter Nygard is not receiving “special treatment,” Manitoba Justice officials have insisted in the face of nagging questions about his enhanced phone access while in custody.
One Winnipeg defence lawyer Thursday dismissed that claim as “preposterous.”
“I have never, ever had one of my numerous clients given access to a phone right in his cell,” said the lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity. “(The claim) is absolutely preposterous that he is not getting special treatment.”
Nygard, 79, has been in custody since Dec. 14, first at the Winnipeg Remand Centre and most recently at Headingley Correctional Centre, following his arrest on a provisional extradition warrant.
Denied: Nygard kept in the slammer
Manitoba’s highest court has dismissed fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s application for bail — the second time he's tried to get out of jail.
“Ultimately, I am not persuaded that the proposed changes to the bail plan constitute a material change in circumstances,” ruled Manitoba Court of Appeal Justice Jennifer Pfuetzner in a written decision released Friday afternoon.
Nygard, 79, has been in custody since Dec. 14, when he was arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant. He faces prosecution in New York on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.
He was denied bail last month after Queen’s Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg ruled she was not satisfied Nygard wouldn’t try to tamper with witnesses if he were released.
Peter Nygard finds buyer for Falcon Lake property
Fashion mogul Peter Nygard is selling his property at Falcon Lake, Manitoba.
The multimillion-dollar property was quietly offered up in February to a handful of people who already own cottages in the area and was tentatively sold last month.
CBC News is told the buyer is a young software developer who knows Nygard through poker tournaments. When reached by phone the man said his company was involved with the property but wouldn't say anything more.
To read more of this story first reported by CBC News, click here.
New lawsuit alleges Peter Nygard directed women to have sex with longtime friend
A longtime friend of Peter Nygard's is being sued by three women who say they were forced to engage in "commercial sex acts" with him at Nygard's direction.
The court filings say Daniel Fitzgerald was a frequent guest of Nygard's and attended his "pamper parties" and dinners at Nygard's Marina del Rey property in California, which were used to "facilitate and enable Nygard's sex trafficking scheme."
To read more of this story first reported by CBC News, click here.
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Next steps unclear after Nygard consents to U.S. extradition on sex charges
Peter Nygard has agreed to be extradited to the United States to face prosecution on sex charges.
Nygard, 80, consented to the extradition on one charge of sex trafficking during an early morning hearing Friday before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glenn Joyal.
Nygard has been in custody since last December when he was arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant. He faces prosecution in New York on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Nygard appeared for the hearing via video from Headingley Correctional Centre and consented to his extradition. Court heard he signed consent forms Thursday.
Updated on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 4:26 PM CDT: Updated.
Updated on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 8:15 PM CST: Updated with new links to stories.
Updated on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 11:57 AM CST: Adds December 2020 coverage.
Updated on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 12:01 PM CST: Adds coverage in January.
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 12:50 PM CDT: Updates with extradition, Toronto charges