Manitoba

Peter Nygard wants to buy Winnipeg warehouse apartment, says it's been home outside of Bahamas for 40 years

Fashion designer Peter Nygard says he's been living in an apartment suite at his company's Notre Dame Avenue warehouse for more than 40 years, while he was permanent resident of the Bahamas.

In court affidavit, Nygard says receiver changed the locks on his suite while he was away, refused him entry

In a court affidavit, Peter Nygard says he's been living in Canada for the past year and a half and considers an apartment suite inside his Winnipeg warehouse on Notre Dame Avenue home. (Annie I. Bang/The Associated Press)

Fashion designer Peter Nygard, who is facing a class-action lawsuit in New York from dozens of women who accuse him of sexual assault, says he has lived in an apartment suite at his company's Winnipeg warehouse on Notre Dame Avenue for more than 40 years, while he was permanent resident of the Bahamas.

In a rare personal affidavit from Nygard filed in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench Thursday, he says the apartment has been his full-time home since he moved back to Canada a year and a half ago, and he wants to keep it that way.

"It was always my intention to continue my residency at 1340 Notre Dame during the summer, even though I spent most of my time at my summer lake residence," Nygard said in the affidavit.

A Manitoba court heard in a Thursday teleconference that Nygard is currently living at his cottage in Falcon Lake, Man.

Nine of his companies were placed in receivership on March 18 after American lenders White Oak Commercial Finance and  Second Avenue Capital Partners took them to court to recoup a loan worth more than $25 million US.

Richter Advisory Group Inc., which was appointed receiver for the companies, has been in the process of liquidating company assets for the past three months. The receiver hired Colliers, a commercial real estate company, to help sell four Nygard-owned properties in Winnipeg and Toronto, including the Notre Dame property.

Nygard says the receiver sent him written notice to leave the apartment by June 5, then changed the locks while he was away. He says two of his associates picked up some of his personal belongings, but were prevented from taking his personal items out of another building on the Notre Dame property, including cars in one of the three buildings on the property.

"I am the rightful owner of personal training equipment contained in my personal office areas, the [1977] Excalibur and the [2005] Hummer that were provided for my personal use as part of my remuneration package," said Nygard's affidavit.

The Notre Dame property includes two smaller buildings totaling 8,000 square feet that include a carpentry/maintenance shop. (Affidavit of Greg Fenske filed in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench)

Nygard's lawyer told court Thursday that Nygard was living in an apartment inside one of the buildings on the property, and tenants cannot be evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic

Richter said Thursday it has accepted an unconditional offer of purchase the Nygard property at the corner of Notre Dame and Clifton Street, and now needs court approval to finalize the deal.

The buildings on the 4.6-acre property include a 69,000-square-foot warehouse and two smaller buildings that house a carpentry/maintenance shop, and a retail store. 

The property has been on the market for six weeks and is listed at $5.2 million. The purchase offer is confidential, but court heard it is considerably lower than the asking price.

"The circumstances of the market are what they are, and none of us know whether or not in a month or two months prices will be better or worse," said Richter's lawyer Bruce Taylor on Thursday.

In his affidavit, Peter Nygard says he made an offer in March to rent and/or buy two of the buildings attached to the warehouse on the Notre Dame property that contain his office and residence, but the receiver didn't accept it.

"The receiver's main reasons for justifying such a low price were that the buyer (Mist Holdings) considered 10,000 square feet as not leasable, and they had no interest in the office/showroom buildings and in fact they planned to spend a considerable amount of money to tear these two buildings down," said Nygard's affidavit.

Photos of the Notre Dame Avenue executive suite were included in an affidavit filed in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in March by former Nygard employee Greg Fenske. (Affidavit of Greg Fenske filed in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench)

He said his offer makes economic sense for everyone involved because it provides additional income for the receiver, and saves the buyer from having to spend money to tear the buildings down.

"Should the existing Mist Holdings offer somehow end up becoming less than its current offer, it is my opinion the court should require the new price to be disclosed and accept my offer of the revised price plus $50,000," said Nygard.

Richter told the court there was a second offer on the property with a higher purchase price, but it was based on numerous conditions, including securing financing, zoning, and final approval by the company's board of directors.

"All of those factors led the receiver and Colliers to the conclusion that this was not an offer that was worth pursuing, or worth risking the [first] transaction over," said Taylor.

Four Nygard properties in Winnipeg and Toronto have been on the market since April, including this one on Notre Dame Avenue. There are three buildings on the 4.6-acre property, including a warehouse that contains a small office and five apartments. Peter Nygard says he had been living in one of the apartments. (Affidavit of Greg Fenske filed in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench)

Still Nygard's lawyer argued the court should consider it.

"What's the rush … given these COVID conditions, which everyone agrees are at best uncertain and at worst have depressed the value of these properties," Wayne Onchulenko said Thursday.

The court must now decide whether Nygard has a tenancy right to the property, and if it has the authority to evict him.

Justice James Edmond reserved his decision until next week.

Nygard is also the subject of a civil class-action lawsuit in New York, filed by 57 women who say they were raped or sexually assaulted by him.

Nygard denies the allegations and none have been proven in court. No criminal charges have been filed.

About the Author

Caroline Barghout

Investigative Reporter, CBC Manitoba I-Team

Caroline began her career co-hosting an internet radio talk show in Toronto and then worked at various stations in Oshawa, Sudbury and Toronto before landing in Winnipeg in 2007. Since joining CBC Manitoba as a reporter in 2013, she has won an award for her work on crowded jails and her investigation into Tina Fontaine's death led to changes in the child welfare system. Email: caroline.barghout@cbc.ca

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