HEATING UP: The 10-year battle between Peter Nygård and hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon became more contentious Thursday with Nygård’s lawyer sounding off about the latest legal action between the two parties and promising a countersuit.
On Wednesday, Nygård once again crossed swords with neighbors of his Bahamas property, in the tony Lyford Cay neighborhood on the western tip of New Providence Island. The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bays and Louis Bacon filed a legal claim in U.S. District Court Southern District of New York alleging the Canada-based apparel chief is responsible for a smear campaign and various environmental disturbances. Bacon aims to retrieve evidence of 1,000 hours of video footage from 28-year-old whistle-blower Steven Feralio, who worked as Nygård’s personal videographer.
This story first appeared in the August 15, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Nygård’s lawyer Richard Good said Thursday, “This lawsuit is a continuation of Louis Bacon’s malicious campaign against Peter Nygård with the objective of obtaining Mr. Nygård’s Bahamian property (Nygård Cay), through illegal means, and to wrongfully continue to damage Mr. Nygård’s businesses and reputation. This has been a 10-year battle against Mr. Nygård initiated by Mr. Bacon.”
Good, a Filmore Riley attorney, continued, “Mr. Nygård is looking forward to joining the battle in court to expose Mr. Bacon’s wrongdoings. He will be retaining New York counsel with a view to filing a counter lawsuit against Mr. Bacon.”
Nygård and Bacon have faced off repeatedly over the years in what was once a tranquil hideaway, due partially to the reconstruction of Nygård’s 150,000-square-foot Mayan-themed estate and his allegedly raucous parties there.
Orin Snyder, a Gibson Dunn lawyer for Bacon, said Thursday, “Save the Bays and Louis Bacon filed this action to hold Peter Nygård accountable for his environmental abuses and unconscionable smear campaign. A concerned U.S. whistleblower has now come forward with smoking-gun evidence of Nygård’s misconduct, including documents and more than 1,000 hours of video footage. Our clients are seeking the assistance of the U.S. courts to obtain this evidence, which will greatly aid their prosecution of important lawsuits against Nygård and others in the Bahamas.”
Good claimed, “An example of this ruthless campaign by Mr. Bacon pertains to Mr. Nygård’s applications in 2010 to the government of Bahamas for permits regarding the reconstruction of his private residence. Since formally filing for the permits, Mr. Nygård has fully cooperated with government officials during a long wait period of four years. The required environmental assessments have been completed and are in the hands of the government. These assessments confirm that there has never been any adverse environmental impact caused by Nygård’s activities. Mr. Nygård simply wants to rebuild and restore his home following a devastating fire in 2009 that left 70 percent of his home in ruins.”
In November 2009, a fire destroyed Nygård’s then 22-room house. As reported by WWD in January 2010, the fire was ruled as an accidental one, stemming from an electrical short that caused “millions and millions” of dollars worth of damage, according to Bahamas police press liaison officer Sergeant Chrislyn Skippings. At that time, a Nygård spokeswoman said she was unable to answer questions about whether the property would be expanded for commercial purposes, as had recently been discussed, or whether it was insured.
According to Good, “Previous media releases issued on behalf of Mr. Nygård dealt with prior media reports about Mr. Bacon’s attempts to obstruct Mr. Nygård’s permit applications to reconstruct his home and to interfere with Mr. Nygård’s right to use, occupy and enjoy his property at Nygård Cay.”