When I 1st acquired the phone from a colleague in New York inquiring what I understood about Peter Nygard, my reply was: very little.

I experienced never heard of the multimillionaire, nor the vogue empire he experienced created.

I was about to get a crash study course. What started out as a quick exploration assignment to help Kim Barker with her story grew to become a extensive, total-time job for the two of us, as properly as for Grace Ashford, a researcher at The Occasions.

Mr. Nygard fashioned himself as Canada’s Hugh Hefner — traveling with an entourage of youthful gals who explained on their own as paid girlfriends, setting up a stripper pole in his personal jet and after stating that his try at celibacy was “the worst 20 minutes of my life.”

Now 78, he has usually maintained that the sex he has is consensual.

While most of the accusers were in the Bahamas, where by Mr. Nygard was a resident and used a great deal of his time, I commenced my analysis in Winnipeg. That is the place Mr. Nygard grew up, considering that immigrating to Canada from Finland as a kid, and the place he started his company, Nygard International.

In Winnipeg, Mr. Nygard is a family identify — a neighborhood rags-to-riches hero who employed many metropolis citizens and had obtained the crucial to the city from the mayor. The regional tabloid described his daughter Alia’s nuptials as the city’s “royal marriage.” At one particular level, there have been billboards with his graphic on them all through the town, and just one at the airport that claimed: “Peter Nygard Welcomes You to Winnipeg.”

Strangely, couple of people had been inclined to speak overtly about him. They were terrified.

Previous staff quietly recounted how Mr. Nygard ran his business enterprise like a navy unit. Staff were being docked pay back for arriving even just one minute late. There was a “Nygard dictionary” and a Nygard manual on e-mail, which outlawed pleasantries.

They recounted stories of Mr. Nygard’s volcanic temper. One particular former personnel showed me movies of him raging and swearing pretty much without breath.

“My two yrs at Nygard Worldwide was like a tour of responsibility in Vietnam,” said Timothy Grayson, a single of the rare former staff members eager to use his name.

They have been also scared that he would sue them. Mr. Nygard is notoriously litigious, and is acknowledged to drag out lawsuits — exhausting his adversaries’ time and cash. In 2009, he sued 3 former staff members he suspected of conversing to the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Those people lawsuits are ongoing.

An additional personnel showed me the “cease-and-desist” letter she bought from Mr. Nygard’s attorney the early morning immediately after a former colleague dropped by her dwelling for a consume. The letter accused her of producing “malicious, phony and defamatory statements” about Mr. Nygard to her good friend. The two assumed her friend’s organization mobile phone was bugged. She was still petrified, a ten years afterwards.

Numerous men and women shut the door in my confront. Other people agreed to talk, but only on qualifications, meaning we could not publish their names.

Even the women who experienced long gone public prior to, submitting sexual harassment statements in opposition to Mr. Nygard in Winnipeg and agreeing to interviews with The Winnipeg Free of charge Push in 1996, refused to be discovered all over again. Mr. Nygard experienced settled with all of them, but managed his innocence. One particular informed me she obtained threatening calls after the articles ran. “It’s not component of my daily life I ever want to revisit,” she stated.

The concern we read from former staff made us redouble our attempts to build have confidence in and persuade some to go on the record. By the time we posted our post, we had talked to extra than 270 people today — some of them much more than a dozen moments.

Mr. Nygard has not been charged with just about anything and maintains his innocence. A spokesman, Ken Frydman, reported Mr. Nygard expected his name would be cleared. He accused his nemesis, Mr. Bacon, of staying at the rear of the raids.

Though it was under no circumstances identified who killed a police officer at all through the uprising at Oka, Quebec in 1990, very last week’s e-newsletter also improperly noted that was the situation for the 1995 killing of Dudley George, an Indigenous protester included in a an occupation at Ipperwash, Ontario. In 1997, Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kenneth Deane was convicted of prison carelessness resulting in demise in link in relationship with the taking pictures of Mr. George.

This week’s Trans Canada and All around The Times sections have been compiled by Ian Austen, Canada Correspondent.

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