The decade-long battle between Louis Bacon and Peter Nygard has once again been ratcheted up. Bacon filed a $50 million defamation suit against Nygard and Nygard International Partnership Friday in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County.
The two financial titans, Bacon, chairman and chief executive officer of Moore Capital Management, and Nygard, a Manitoba-based fashion magnate, have neighboring properties in the exclusive Lyford Cay area in the Bahamas. The two men have clashed repeatedly in and out of court for years.
In Friday’s filing, Bacon alleged Nygard “has waged an obsessive and malicious campaign” against him for the past four and a half years. Describing Nygard as “ the ringleader of a conspiracy to inflict reputational and other harm” on Bacon, the suit also claims Nygard orchestrated a smear campaign, caused police to raid one of Bacon’s residences based on trumped-up allegations and filed false criminal charges and frivolous lawsuits against Bacon.
The suit cites a laundry list of allegations against Bacon:
– Murdering “multiple individuals who died under suspicious circumstances and then covered up those murders from law enforcement.”
– Being a “white supremacist” and Ku Klux Klan member “determined to exclude native Bahamians from Clifton Bay.”
– Having been charged by prosecutors and accused of “criminal conspiracy” in a “billion dollar scam” that is “one of the biggest Wall Street insider trading cases ever,” referring to the arrest of former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta.
– Smuggled narcotics and fugitives.
– Possessed terrorist weaponry such as illegal speakers that pose a national security threat to the Bahamas.
– Committed arson at Nygard’s [Lyford Cay] residence.
– Bribed Bahamian officials.
In anticipation of Friday’s filing, Nygard issued a statement Wednesday to WWD, alleging that Bacon’s latest lawsuit was “completely without merit and will be proven so if they ever get to trial. The assertion that Mr. Bacon has been defamed is not supportable. This action is simply the latest attempt by Mr. Bacon to deflect media attention away from his real agenda, which is to unseat the ruling political party in the Bahamas so that his own candidate can take power and block reconstruction of Mr. Nygard’s residence, which is next door to his own estate.”
Nygard also claimed that Bacon has long been interested in buying his neighboring property. The sprawling 150,000-square-foot seaside estate has been the source of much consternation between the neighbors, due partially to Nygard’s raucous parties, tampering with the reef and a suspicious fire that leveled the property resulting in years of renovations.
Charging that Bacon was bringing “this defamation action with unclean hands,” Nygard said of the now plaintiff, “He has over the last five years defamed and attacked Mr. Nygard innumerable times, including recently, in August, in a filing in a lawsuit he brought in New York federal court that included voluminous false, defamatory and irrelevant allegations about Mr. Nygard. In fact, federal judge Denise Cote ordered that all such statements by Mr. Bacon be redacted from the public record.”
The lawsuit also claims Nygard and his companies were responsible for doctoring a Scott Pelley CBS news report about Gupta’s insider trading arrest and splicing in an image and info about Bacon on YouTube. It also claims similar falsifying was done on YouTube with a 2012 “Inside the New KKK” report filed by ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden.
Nygard’s preemptive statement claimed, “The allegations of both the new lawsuit and several filed by him in the Bahamas concern videos about Mr. Bacon posted on YouTube as well as protests in the Bahamas that have resulted from Mr. Bacon’s own actions. Mr. Bacon insulted scores of Bahamians last year by taking what several locals described as undue credit for ‘saving’ sacred Bahamian land at Clifton Bay where countless Black slaves landed from Africa. In accepting an Audubon award for leading this work, which he had not led, Mr. Bacon also made a galling reference to the racist novel ‘Gone with the Wind’ as his ‘holy book’ and guide. The videos at issue in the complaint accurately reflect that Mr. Bacon was untruthful about his involvement with Clifton Bay, that his remarks were racist and that his family has a history of involvement with racist crime, as leaders of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Another allegation in the 19-page filing claims Nygard put up two signs on his Lyford Cay property that read, “ITS [SIC]TIME TO THROW THE TRASH OUT!” referring to “LOUIS KKK BACON” and “MOORE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT.” The other sign allegedly had an image of Bacon bearing a stamp on his forehead that read “CRIMINAL” and text that read, “Bacon not the solution[.] He is the problem[.] Say No! To Moore Capital Management and Louis “KKK” Bacon.”
More recently at a 2015 New Year’s Day “Junakoo” parade in Nassau, Bahamas, dozens of people allegedly wore white hats similar to the ones worn by KKK members and threatened and defamed Bacon, according to the suit. Said staged anti-Bacon protest rallies were later posted on the Internet and circulated via social media to try to reach a worldwide audience, according to the suit.
The Bacon team also claimed that Nygard “used unlawful means to intimidate whistleblowers including videographer Steven Feralio who documented Nygard’s life for two years and who was willing to turn over smoking gun footage upon order of the New York federal court. Feralio eventually was ordered to do so.
Among other things, Bacon’s legal team is seeking punitive damages of no less than $50 million.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher attorney Orin Snyder, who represents Bacon, said Friday, “Louis Bacon filed this lawsuit to hold Peter Nygard and his companies responsible for their unlawful and reprehensible smear campaign. We look forward to our day in court.”
Nygard has until Feb. 3 to respond to the suit but his legal team said Friday that a request for an extension has already been filed.
For his part, Nygard has already challenged the location of the latest legal showdown. “Finally, one has to question why Mr. Bacon would bring this action in New York when the so-called allegations took place primarily in the Bahamas, many of the witnesses are in the Bahamas, and he already has brought the same charges against several other individuals in several lawsuits in the Bahamas,” Nygard said.