February 22, 2020

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Nygard fights court's seizure of his Bahamas estate

<p>Peter Nygard on Lyford Cay in front of his 150,000-square-foot Polynesian-style home in 2000.</p>


Peter Nygard on Lyford Cay in front of his 150,000-square-foot Polynesian-style home in 2000.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/10/2018 (509 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg fashion mogul Peter Nygard is fighting back against the court-ordered seizure of his beachfront property in The Bahamas for $2.4 million US he owes in legal fees to an environmental group there.

Nygard, who was in Winnipeg two weeks ago celebrating the 50th anniversary of his company Nygard International, could not be reached for comment.

<p>Peter Nygard at a ceremony at Nygard fashions head office in September, 2018.</p>


Peter Nygard at a ceremony at Nygard fashions head office in September, 2018.

But a statement from his company called the seizure, which is in front of the Supreme Court of the Bahamas, was an "illegal seizure" that was "clearly an orchestrated publicity stunt to create an unwarranted false impression about Mr. Nygard. His lawyers contend that the seizure writ is invalid and should be set aside by the court.

"Mr. Nygard intends to sue whoever is legally responsible for this unlawful procedure."

It's the latest scene in the legal drama which has played out for more than a decade between Nygard and his neighbour Louis Bacon, a billionaire hedge-fund manager who has battled Nygard for years, accusing the Winnipegger of expanding his property on Crown land without getting the proper permits.

The statement from the company said "this 'fake news' story is being led by Fred Smith, the lawyer for Save the Bays, which is funded by the Moore Foundation.

"This foundation was created by Louis Bacon, to ensure maximum damage is done to harm the reputation of Peter Nygard."

Save the Bays, a non-profit coalition to protect Clifton Bay, has been fighting for the last five years to get Nygard to remove the coastal structures which have expanded his property into the bay. The coalition recently won an order to have Nygard pay $2.4 million for its legal fees.

In a statement, Save the Bays officials say Nygard's property was seized on Saturday after officials with the country's Supreme Court were refused entry while executing the court order.

Supreme Court officials, accompanied by local police, seized the property known as Nygard Cay to begin determining how much items would be worth if sold to settle the debt.

The court has given Nygard seven days to pay or he will be declared bankrupt and his property will be sold to settle the debt.

The court also issued an order last month to Nygard to remove three coastal structures which Save the Bays have argued has negatively affected the marine environment while increasing the size of his property

Smith said in a statement that "the judge has sent a message that no one is above the law in The Bahamas.

"For far too long, wealthy, powerful and politically influential individuals like Peter Nygard have been allowed to run roughshod over this country. They have caused wholesale environmental devastation, simply to improve their already opulent lifestyle at the expense of everyone else.

"What has happened to Mr. Nygard should serve as a cautionary tale, a warning to everyone who lives here that they must respect the rule of law."



Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

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.

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