Wikipedia

Peter Nygard

Peter Nygård
Peter Nygard 2016.jpg
Nygård in 2016
Born
Pekka Juhani Nygård


(1941-07-24) July 24, 1941 (age 79)

Helsinki, Finland
Citizenship
  • Finnish
  • Canadian
Alma mater University of North Dakota
Occupation
  • Businessman
  • fashion designer
  • clothing manufacturer
Years active 1967–2020
Known for Founding Nygård
Net worth US$900 million[1] (2020)
Partner(s) Anna Nicole Smith (1998–2001)

Peter J. Nygård ( Pekka Juhani Nygård; born July 24, 1941)[2] is a Finnish-Canadian former fashion executive. He founded Nygård International, a company that made women's apparel, in 1967.[3] He resigned as chairman in February 2020 after FBI raided company headquarters in its investigation of sex trafficking accusations against him by multiple women.[4] Nygård was arrested on sex trafficking and racketeering charges in December of the same year.[5]

He was rated the 70th richest Canadian by Canadian Business Magazine in 2009 with a net worth of $817 million.[6]

Early life and education [ edit ]

Nygård was born on July 24, 1941, in Helsinki, Finland. His parents were Eeli and Hilkka Nygård, bakers who immigrated to Canada in 1952, settling at first in Deloraine, Manitoba (where Nygård Park would later be named in his honour in 2002). They moved shortly after to Winnipeg.[7]

In 1964, he graduated from the University of North Dakota with a business degree.[8][9]

Nygård International [ edit ]

Nygård apparel manufacturing company was founded in 1967 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Its Canadian headquarters was located on King Street in Toronto, with its world headquarters in Times Square, New York.[10] Nygård's fashion concept retail store opened in Times Square in Manhattan on Friday, November 6, 2009.

On February 25, 2020, Nygård stepped down as chairman of Nygård International, after its headquarters was raided in connection to sex trafficking claims.[11] The company filed for Chapter 15 Bankruptcy in New York on March 18, 2020[12] and a Manitoba judge ordered a group of Nygård companies into receivership on March 19, 2020.[13] On April 30, 2020, a Canadian judge gave the green light to an accounting firm to sell and liquidate part of the business empire.[14]

Nygård Cay [ edit ]

In 1987, Nygård built a 14,000-square-metre (150,000 sq ft) compound at Lyford Cay in the Bahamas. It was partly destroyed by a fire on November 10, 2009.[15] The Cay is inspired by the Mayan civilization’s architecture. One of the major buildings is a 3,000-square-metre (32,000 sq ft) grand-hall with a 45-tonne (100,000 lb) glass ceiling.[16]

On April 14, 2010, Nygård announced he was planning a $50-million renovation of Nygård Cay, which would take two years to complete and repair the damage and employ 200 construction workers.[17][18] But a letter from the Bahamian prime minister's office rejected his construction application, citing the improper expansion of his property through intentional accretion of land over the seabed.

Prominent figures have visited Nygard Cay over the years include Michael Jackson, George H. W. Bush, Robert De Niro, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.[19][20] The house has been featured in the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous television series[19] and has been described as a resort with guests paying $42,000 a night in 2009 to stay there.[21]

On September 28, 2018, Nygård Cay was seized by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas as part of a legal battle surrounding Nygård’s efforts to dredge the sea floor around the estate.[22]

Charity [ edit ]

Peter Nygård with fashion model Nicole Midwin at the Breast Cancer Awareness Show, 2017

Nygård has supported the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.[23]

Nygård has been a longtime sponsor of amateur sports in the Bahamas. In June 2010, he was the main sponsor of Amateur Boxing Federation of the Bahamas team for Continental Elite Boxing Championships invitation-only event in Quito, Ecuador.[24] Wellington Miller, the president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, said Nygård has contributed significantly to the Amateur Boxing Association of the Bahamas and their Olympic success.[25]

In April 2011, Nygård held the "2011 National Family Island Regatta" at Nygård Cay, which included a press conference to honor Bahamian musician "King" Eric Gibson.[26][27] In the same month, Nygård also donated $10,000 to Josie Poitier, a member of Old Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, during a Passover/Good Friday breakfast/brunch.[28][failed verification]

Lawsuits [ edit ]

Nygård has been accused of abusive labor practices, tax evasion, sexual harassment, sex trafficking (including child sex trafficking), conspiring to murder, and rape.[29]

  • In 1978, Nygård's takeover of a sportswear designer's business in New York City led to a 12-year legal battle in New York federal court.[29]
  • In 1980, the Free Press wrote that Winnipeg authorities charged Nygård with the rape of an 18-year-old girl. Later those charges were stayed because the girl refused to testify.[29] It was later claimed in a lawsuit that Nygård used funds from his companies to pay her off.[30]
  • Nygård settled sexual harassment complaints by three former employees in Manitoba in the late 1990s.[29]
  • In 1999, Nygård sued Linda Lampenius for defamation concerning her comments about Nygård's parties with naked women. The case continued until 2001 when Lampenius states she ran out of funds and had to settle, which consisted of publishing an apology in the newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.[29][31][32]
  • In 2003, Nygård was sued in Florida by an American couple who claimed he deceived them into accepting jobs as managers of his Bahamas estate. The case was settled in 2007.[29]
  • In 2005, after Finnish newspaper Iltalehti published an article about sex parties at Nygård's mansion, even featuring a short interview with Jessica Alba where she had to leave a party at the Nygård Cay mansion (she was there filming Into the Blue) because of the debauchery with young women going on, Nygård sued the parent company of the paper Alma Media for slander in Los Angeles. Nygård lost the case.[33]
  • In 2006, Canadian tax authorities claimed Nygård underreported $15 million in taxes. Nygård argued that he severed residential ties with Canada in 1975; he was ultimately subject to taxes on an unreported $2 million.[29]
  • In 2007, a dispute escalated into a battle royal encompassing no fewer than 16 legal actions between Nygård and Louis Bacon and their associates, in which both sides are claiming damages in the tens of millions of dollars and lobbing allegations of activities that include vandalism, bribery, insider trading, arson, murder, destruction of the fragile seabed, and having a close association with the Ku Klux Klan.[34]
  • In 2008, Nygård was sued in Los Angeles Superior Court by a former girlfriend for slamming a door on her hand. Nygård quickly settled the lawsuit.[29]
  • In 2012, Nygård launched a lawsuit against the CBC regarding copyright issues about private videos taken at his residence, which were then used in an April 2010 documentary.[35][36] He had also launched a copyright complaint with the US District Court in New York[37][38][39] and a lawsuit in Manitoba to prevent the piece from airing.[40] He had previously sued two former employees for releasing confidential information and his lawyer claimed CBC harassed many of the employees.[40] Nygård launched a civil suit against his neighbor and the Lyford Cay Property Owners Association alleging they conspired with the CBC to damage his reputation; he also filed a private criminal prosecution against three CBC journalists accusing them of conspiring to discredit him and his clothing empire.[41][42]
  • In 2015 and 2017, Nygård was looked at by FBI over claims of sex trafficking. He was also investigated by the United States Department of Homeland Security for 9 months in 2016.[43]
  • The Paradise Papers showed that Nygård was a shareholder of an offshore company in the Cayman Islands.[44]
  • In 2018, Nygård Cay was seized by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas as part of a legal battle surrounding Nygård's efforts to dredge the sea floor around the estate.[45]
  • In 2019, a warrant was issued after Nygård failed to appear in court multiple times for a sentencing hearing related to two contempt of court convictions in the Bahamas.[46]
  • In September 2019, the New York Times was caught up in the feud between Nygård and Louis Bacon. The suit claims that the reporters for the paper "tried to steer the individuals to provide information to fit a story" and that reporters wanted to "bring down" Nygård.[47]
  • On November 15, 2019, a judge in the Bahamas sentenced Nygård to 90 days in prison and fined him $150,000 after finding he breached a court order prohibiting the disclosure of emails that were stolen from a non-profit group.[48]

2020 sex trafficking arrest and lawsuits [ edit ]

On November 24, 2019, Bahamas police began investigating six allegations of rape made against Nygård. All the alleged victims were under 16.[49] On January 27, 2020, Nygård faced two separate lawsuits after being accused of sexual assault.[50] On February 13, 2020, 10 women filed a class action against Nygård in New York, alleging that he had raped them at his Bahamas residence. They also alleged he maintained a sex-trafficking ring. Eight of the alleged victims were underaged.[51][52] On February 25, 2020, the New York headquarters of Nygård International were raided by the FBI and NYPD, in connection with sex trafficking claims. This led to Nygård stepping down from the company.[53][54][55][56] On April 22, 2020, 36 new women joined a sex assault suit that was filed in February 2020.[57] On August 17, 2020, Nygård was sued by two of his sons on accusations of directing a known sex worker said to be "his girlfriend" to rape them.[58] On December 15, 2020 it was reported that Instagram model Suelyn Medeiros and Warren & Baram Management LLC were named as alleged co-conspirators in Peter Nygard's alleged sex trafficking scheme in 2 separate lawsuits.[59] On December 15, 2020, Nygård was arrested in Winnipeg for extradition to the US to face charges of sex trafficking by the US attorney's office in Manhattan.[60] On February 5, 2021, Nygård was denied bail and now faces extradition to the US.[61]

Feud with Louis Bacon [ edit ]

In 2005, Nygård attempted to solve a parking overflow problem at Nygård Cay by laying down a 15-by-20-foot concrete slab on Louis Bacon's property. Bacon responded to this, suing Nygård and obtaining a court injunction to remove it. Two years later in 2007, Bacon installed industrial-grade speakers at the edge of his property and pointed them at Nygård's house at night due to Bacon's complaints of noise at Nygård's house. In summer 2010, Bacon's house was raided by 11 Bahamian police officers, leading to the confiscation of the speakers, Bacon claimed it was the work of Nygård, a claim he denied. It has been said Nygård used fake news sites and YouTube videos to smear Bacon as a person who ran an international drug-smuggling operation, a member of the KKK, having been charged with insider trading, and being involved in murdering the Point House caretaker, Dan Tuckfield, after commissioning him to set the fire at Nygård Cay. (Tuckfield actually died of a heart attack.) In January 2015, Bacon filed a defamation lawsuit against Nygård over these claims.[62]

Personal life [ edit ]

Nygård family in 2004

Nygård has seven children with four women.[29][63][19][64] Nygård was briefly married to Carol Knight in the 1970s.[64] Nygård is said to have dated Anna Nicole Smith from 1998 to 2001.[65][66]

On December 15, 2020, Nygård was arrested in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act.[67][60]

Honours [ edit ]

In 2012 Nygård was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.[68] In 2002, Deloraine, Manitoba where Nygård grew up unveiled a commemorative plaque and named a park in his honour.[69] In May 2020, the park’s name was changed to Prairie Sentinels Park, after Nygård was subject to controversy for sex trafficking and rape allegations.[70]

In popular culture [ edit ]

Documentaries [ edit ]

On December 17, 2020, two days after Nygård's arrest it was reported that Discovery+ was releasing a series about Peter Nygård's life titled Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygård. The documentary will feature interviews with journalists, attorneys, family members and former employees of Nygård. It is scheduled for release on February 5, 2021. [71][72]

Literature [ edit ]

In 2011, author and former politician Linda McIntosh published a book titled Child of Lamposaari: The Inspiring Story of Hilkka.[73] The book commemorates the life of Nygård's mother Hilkka and discusses the early life of Nygård.[74][75]

Film [ edit ]

In January 2021 it was reported that Savvy Media Holdings acquired the rights of a couple books relating to Nygård's feud with Louis Bacon to make a feature film. With Justin Lader being chosen to write the film.[76]

Podcast [ edit ]

On January 25, 2021 CBC Podcasts released the first episode of their podcast, "Evil by Design," about the allegations against Nygård.[77] The podcast includes interviews with alleged victims.

References [ edit ]

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External links [ edit ]

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