If you thought Jeffrey Epstein was the only elite pedophile to traffic young girls and women to a remote island to fulfill his sick pleasures, think again. A February 2020 class action lawsuit against Peter Nygard, has earned this case against the women’s fashion mogul the title of ‘Epstein 2.0.’ Eerie similarities have been drawn between this multimillionaire’s private estate, Nygard Cay, and Epstein’s Little St. James, prompting inquiring minds to wonder – who is this ‘Canadian Jeffrey Epstein’?
The Disgraced Millionaire
The Finnish-Canadian fashion executive was born in Finland and raised from childhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His first big break came in the late 60’s when he used his savings to buy a 20% stake in a company that sold women’s jeans and Nygard International was founded that same year. He later bought the entire company and renamed it Tan Jay. Over the decades, the Nygard International Empire grew, becoming the largest producer of women’s apparel in Canada, and maintaining a presence in 30 states in America. In 2009, Canadian Business Magazine appraised Peter Nygard’s wealth, rating him the 70th richest Canadian with a net worth of $817 million.
Since the early days of his success, Peter Nygard and his companies have been no stranger to legal battles that date as far back as 1978, when Nygard struck a verbal deal with a sportswear company. His partner in the 50-50 deal claimed, “He literally ruined my life,” after the fashion executive verbally agreed to finance the design and production of a line of sportswear, but instead, fired his partner and threw her out. Nygard’s ousted business partner testified in court that Nygard told her, “I have all your patterns, I have everything. I own everything. . . . I never intended to put anything in writing. . . . You have nothing, and I am a millionaire.” Nygard’s version of the story described a mutual agreement to part ways. The judge, in this legal bout that spanned 12 years, found the ousted partner, Ebker, to be highly credible while Nygard’s testimony was ruled to be “utterly lacking in credibility.” However, Ebker failed to prove in court that she was damaged by Nygard’s actions.
The fashion executive has faced countless claims of mistreatment, sexual harassment, abuse, and rape over the decades. In 1980, Nygard was reportedly charged by Winnipeg authorities for the rape of an 18 year old girl, which Nygard has denied. The charges were later dropped after the victim refused to testify. In the 90’s, Nygard settled three sexual harassment complaints against him by employees. In the span of four decades, Nygard has faced allegations by nine women in Canada and California who sued or filed reports with local authorities.
A former stewardess, who worked on board Nygard’s private plane, described his volatile temper and insatiable appetite for girls on a Canadian Broadcasting Company report. According to his former stewardess, Nygard, draped in a bathrobe and surrounded by an entourage of topless women, reportedly berated a staff member aboard the plane, shouting, “You are nothing! You are garbage!” adding, “I am God! Do you not understand!?…This is my plane. I can do whatever the hell I want!” Nygard has since denied the former stewardess’ claims and sued the media outlet and former employees who contributed to the report for inducing a breach of their employee contracts.
In 1984, the fashion mogul purchased an estate on the tip of New Providence Island for $1.76 million, which he later named “Nygard Cay.” The Mayan-themed luxury resort featured on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was as grandiose as Peter Nygard himself, decked with sculptures of roaring lions, dragons, and nude women inspired by his former girlfriends. Nygard proudly referred to his estate as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The resort came complete with what he described as the world’s largest sauna, a 32,000 square foot grand hall with a glass ceiling, and a “human aquarium” where topless women in mermaid tails swam about. This extravagant Vegas-style resort was the home for wild bashes and “pamper parties,” drawing in celebrities, politicians, and royalty alike. According to a class action lawsuit filed by ten alleged victims, Nygard and Nygard Companies used Nygard Cay “to promote the Nygard Companies” brand by renting it out and having events and parties with celebrities and politicians including, among others, Oprah Winfrey, George H.W. Bush, Robert De Niro, and Sean Connery.” Nygard also hosted Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith at the resort in the 90s during a period while the two were a couple. Prince Andrew and his family visited the disgraced fashion exec’s resort in 2000, after the settlement of three sexual harassment suits against Nygard. Local Bahamian officials and politicians were frequent guests to the estate as well.
The “Pamper Parties”
According to a February 2020 class action lawsuit, Nygard used his power, money, and influence to entice women and young girls to attend his frequently held, company –sponsored “pamper parties,” at Nygard Cay, where many of them were plied with alcohol, drugged, and raped. Some of his victims were as young as 14 at the time. Girls were flown to the island, on Nygard’s “N-Force” jet, where personnel would collect their passports upon arrival. Their return flights were cancelled, unless they received approval from Nygard himself, to leave the island. Girls were expected to perform sexual acts in order to be released from the island by Nygard. Victims who attempted to flee the island, without Nygard’s approval, were harassed by local authorities and politicians who received pay-offs from the disgraced millionaire mogul. Often times, victims who managed to successfully escape the island, were brought back by Bahamian police. Not only were his victims drugged and raped, in many cases, but Nygard insisted they satisfy his “perverse sexual desires,” the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit claims Nygard demanded that one alleged 14 year old victim defecate and urinate in his mouth, even offering her drugs to force a bowel movement, though the alleged victim refused. Nygard and his company routinely paid the victims, following the attacks, even offering some of them ongoing payments to recruit more girls for his sexual pleasures. Natasha Taylor, an employee of Nygard’s for five years has remarked, “He preys on poor people’s little girls.” Since the class action lawsuit was filed, a multitude of alleged victims have come forward with claims that, they too, were sexually abused by other men and women, under Nygard’s direction. No further details have emerged as to whether the alleged perpetrators were famous public figures who visited the island, as an investigation into the allegations is still underway.
The Feud Between Neighbors
Undoubtedly, the endless stream of party-goers and motorcades of young ladies to Nygard’s “pamper parties” must have annoyed his long-time neighbor, Louis Bacon, who shared a driveway with Peter Nygard in the gated community on New Providence. Billionaire hedge fund manager, Louis Bacon, purchased the property adjacent to Peter Nygard’s estate in 1994 for $5.9 million. Only a few hundred feet separated their homes on the tip of New Providence. Bacon’s dining room was a stone’s throw away from Nygard’s revolving acrylic discotheque encased in glass walls with streams of water flowing down them. Much like other homes throughout the posh Lyford Cay community, Louis Bacon’s home was a quiet retreat in comparison to Nygard’s flamboyant estate.
For years, Bacon and Nygard have been mired in legal disputes over the adjacent properties. In 2005, Nygard built a parking lot on Bacon’s property, to accommodate the flow of his guests, to which Bacon filed a suit requiring Nygard to remove it. Bacon installed four massive noise-blasting speakers along the property line, to counter the noise emanating from the endless festivities, to which Nygard responded in a legal filing against Bacon. In all, the war between Bacon and Nygard has spanned over several years and cost them tens of millions of dollars, with a minimum of 25 suits filed in 5 separate jurisdictions.
Lyford residents launched complaints with the local government for years, over Nygard dredging sand along the coastline in order to extend his property. The acreage increased from 3.25 acres, when Nygard purchased the estate, to 6.1 acres. Louis Bacon and several other Lyford Cay residents formed a non-profit organization known as Save the Bays, in order to address local environmental issues, namely to halt Nygard’s endless dredging. By 2010, Nygard was ordered by the Prime Minister’s office, to return the accumulation of sand back to the seabed and restore the property’s original dimensions. Reportedly infuriated by the order, Nygard sued the Bahamian government as well as Bacon.
Adding to Nygard’s troubles, a 2009 fire ravaged the estate, destroying much of the compound and the Bahamian government would not provide permits for Nygard to rebuild, based on the lawsuits against him. Nygard allegedly launched a smear campaign, employing individuals to make wild accusations against Bacon across websites, YouTube videos, and local banners throughout the area, making claims against Bacon that he was involved in drug trafficking, insider trading, and associated with the Klu Klux Klan. Allegations were made against Bacon that his Lyford Cay caretaker was commissioned to set the fire that devastated Nygard Cay, and Bacon was accused of murder, after the caretaker was found dead in the Bacon estate hot tub of an apparent heart attack.
In 2010, armed Bahamian police raided the Lyford Cay home of Louis Bacon, in search of guns, following a call made by Nygard and his guests, who complained about the noise emanating from speakers on the Bacon property. Later, Bacon claimed in a 2016 lawsuit, that Nygard hired criminals to kill Bacon as well as human rights lawyer, Fred Smith, who assisted in the Save the Bays cause to halt the dredging at Nygard Cay. “This has become very serious,” Fred Smith stated. “It really isn’t a little petty squabble between Mr. Nygard and Mr. Bacon. … This is Nygard demonstrating that he considers himself to be a law unto himself.”
In February of 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against Peter Nygard by ten unnamed victims with allegations against Nygard and his companies of operating a sex trafficking ring. Though Bahamian lawyers and investigators on the case were not paid directly by Bacon, they were paid by a non-profit known as “Sanctuary,” founded by Fred Smith, the attorney associated with Louis Bacon. “I was not looking for this fight, but once I heard repeated, credible reports from disgusted whistleblowers that Mr. Nygard was abusing young, vulnerable women, I could not ignore this disturbing information,” Bacon remarked in a statement, adding, “I sought to help and empower the alleged victims by connecting them with appropriate law enforcement authorities. That is where this matter belongs.”
The financial influence of both Nygard and Bacon in the Bahamas, where the minimum wage is a mere $210 per week, has potentially swayed the testimonies of alleged witnesses and victims on both sides. While investigators and attorneys connected to Bacon offered alleged witnesses and victims financial assistance for housing in some instances, Nygard reportedly used his money and influence to silence those who might speak out through confidentiality agreements, lawsuits, and intimidation tactics. According to a New York Times report, “The private investigators and Smith compensated two witnesses who found alleged victims: Litira Fox, a former girlfriend of Nygard’s who said she recruited for him, and Richette Ross, a former massage therapist at Nygard Cay who said she did the same.” The report went on to state, “Ross did well. After she told Smith that unknown assailants had shot up her former home, killed her family dog and broke into her car in different incidents, Smith moved her into a gated community, paying $5,000 a month.” However, the same report noted that, two years prior, Ross was paid $10,000 by Nygard to recount a similar story to the police in charges made against Louis Bacon. Two sisters who came forward during the investigation, with allegations of rape by Nygard, later claimed that they had been paid by Richette Ross to “make everything up.” Though allegations made by the ten unnamed victims in this class action lawsuit appear to be valid and substantiated with a trove of supporting evidence, the financial influence of both Bacon and Nygard may have adversely affected the case.
A lawyer representing Nygard has stated that he, “never treated women inappropriately,” and referred to the allegations against him as, “paid-for lies.” In an interview, Louis Bacon had this to say: “I, of anybody, knew what it was like to have this guy come at you…So my heart went out to these women.” And a lawyer representing the victims remarked, “I think it’s been happening all the time…It’s never stopped…We met many victims and witnesses. They’re terrified,” adding, “I can’t believe it’s taken this long…Everybody knew about this.”
The class action suit alleges that Nygard “recruited, lured, and enticed young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women, with cash payments and false promises of lucrative modeling opportunities to assault, rape, and sodomize them,” while his companies, “were instrumental in knowingly aiding, abetting, facilitating, and participating in Defendants’ [Nygard’s] decades-long sex trafficking scheme.” The lawsuit alleges that “When Nygard became aware of the investigation into his sex trafficking ring, he resorted to tactics of violence, intimidation, bribery, and payoffs to attempt to silence the victims and to continue his scheme.” The lawsuit goes on to allege that, “Nygard kept a database of potential victims that was maintained by the Nygard Companies’ corporate information technology (“IT”) department on the corporate server (mostly maintained in the United States). By the mid-2000s, this database was confirmed to have contained information on over 7,500 underage girls and women.” Adding to the intrigue of this case, the complaint goes on to explain that, “Nygard’s head of IT, Daane Clifford, died suddenly just a few months ago (just a few weeks after The New York Times was known to be investigating this story), at the age of 44.”
In November of 2019, Bahamian police announced an investigation into six allegations of rape by women who were all under the age of 16 at the time of the incidents, with the most recent incident allegedly taking place in 2016. Many of their stories share similarities, including being recruited to attend Nygard’s “pamper parties” via Facebook or approached by Nygard’s employees, being plied with alcohol and fed “little blue pills,” and recalling that they were unable to have control of their bodies while they were being raped. In an attempt to change their stories, some of the victims who filed formal complaints with Bahamian authorities, claim to have been approached by people on Nygard’s behalf (including a police officer). Yet, none of the allegations made by the six alleged victims have been retracted. Nygard has yet to return to the Bahamas since a Bahamas Supreme Court sentenced him to 90 days in prison and fined him $150,000 for contempt of court in a case related to Save the Bays, which Nygard is reportedly appealing.
On February 25, 2020, the FBI and NYPD raided the New York headquarters of Nygard International as part of an on-going investigation into the sex-trafficking allegations made by the class action lawsuit against Nygard and his companies. Police officers and federal agents crowded the Times Square office of Nygard International, carting away several boxes of evidence. A Nygard spokesperson claimed that Nygard’s Los Angeles offices were also raided by authorities, but the claim has not been confirmed by the FBI or federal prosecutors.
The spokesperson for Nygard, Ken Frydman, put out a statement following the raid, remarking, “As a direct result and in furtherance of the conspiracy planned by billionaire Louis Bacon, federal agents have executed a search and seizure on Nygard offices in California and New York…As with other actions taken as a result of Louis Bacon’s conspiracy, Nygard is not surprised by this latest action…Nygard welcomes the federal investigation and expects his name to be cleared…He has not been charged, is not in custody, and is cooperating with the investigation.”
Nygard stepped down from his position as chairman of the company, following the FBI raid of his New York headquarters. The United States department store, Dillard’s, cancelled all orders with Nygard International, amidst the news of sex trafficking allegations, stating, “In light of the serious allegations concerning Peter Nygard, which are in direct opposition to our core values, Dillard’s has refused current deliveries, cancelled all existing orders and suspended all future purchases from Nygard.” Fallout from the mounting allegations against Nygard continued as his companies sought to restructure the organization. A company spokesperson issued this statement: “Nygard and the company look forward to exposing the extent of the alleged conspiracy, clearing Nygard’s name and the company brand, and restoring the company to its former glory. Nygard and the company thank the employees, retailer customers, vendors and suppliers who are standing with them against media bullyism and the ease at which, in today’s times, someone can be damaged by false information that is virally redistributed.” In March of 2020, Nygard’s companies filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in New York. Peter Nygard is believed to be residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba presently, as investigations into sex trafficking are currently underway.
The accusations surrounding Nygard and his “pamper party” island, draw striking similarities to allegations of sex trafficking conducted by Jeffrey Epstein at his “pedophile island,” prompting many to ask if this disgraced women’s fashion mogul is “The Canadian Epstein.” With revelations of yet another Epstein-style sex trafficking network unfolding, of course, inquiring minds are led to wonder – how many more Epsteins are there?
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