Nygard Videographer Says He Fears Retaliation by Ex-BossBob Van Voris
A former videographer for Peter Nygard claimed his former boss tried to scare him out of turning over footage that hedge fund founder Louis Bacon wants to use in court against the Canadian clothing maker, his Bahamas neighbor.
Bacon, who founded Moore Capital Management LLC in 1989, asked a Manhattan federal judge last month to order the videographer, Stephen Feralio, to turn over video he claims will show Nygard is behind an Internet smear campaign. In it, Bacon is falsely attacked as a murderer, inside trader, drug trafficker and Ku Klux Klan member.
Feralio, 28, claimed Nygard tried to pressure him through e-mails to an unidentified former roommate, including messages saying, “We need to find him before he ruins the rest of his life” and “We need to make him turn on Bacon.” Feralio didn’t disclose his location, saying he left his job and moved to a different city out of fear for his safety.
Bacon and Nygard, who own adjacent properties in the exclusive Lyford Cay community, are locked in a decade-long dispute that has spilled over from the Bahamas into courts in New York and California. Bacon, supported by celebrity landowners including actor Sean Connery and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has opposed Nygard’s expansion of his property, claiming he’s caused environmental damage.
Bacon claimed in a court filing that Nygard, the founder of Nygard International Partnership, is trying to intimidate Feralio, tamper with his testimony and prevent him from complying with a subpoena seeking access to the video, which he shot from 2011 to early this year.
“I have serious concerns about my physical well-being and safety, and fear that Peter Nygard will retaliate against me through financially ruinous litigation and other forms of intimidation,” Feralio said in a written declaration filed yesterday.
The declaration was one of numerous court filings by Bacon asking U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to enforce the subpoena. Bacon said he plans to use the video as evidence in five defamation and two environmental lawsuits filed in the Bahamas.
Feralio signed a contract with a Bacon-owned company in which he agreed to testify and cooperate in any government investigations of Nygard. Under the agreement, Bacon’s company will pay his legal fees and reimburse his expenses. The company is also paying Feralio’s rent for a one-bedroom apartment and “subsistence payments” in the unidentified new city while he remains unemployed.
“The claims that are being advanced here are frivolous and meritless and will be shown to be such,” a spokesman for Nygard’s companies said yesterday in a statement. “The claims that contacts with Feralio were threatening are pretextual. There is no conceivable obstruction here.”
Nygard has argued that the video belongs to his company and Feralio has no right to it. He’s seeking to block Bacon’s subpoena, arguing the Bahamian courts are capable of ordering Feralio to turn over the evidence if they choose to.
Nygard’s company last week filed a suit in state court in Los Angeles against Feralio, Bacon and a private investigator working for Bacon’s team, seeking return of the Feralio video footage plus unspecified money damages. A California judge denied a Nygard request for an order temporarily blocking Feralio from turning over the video, according a court filing by Bacon.
In addition to the e-mails from Nygard to the former roommate, Feralio said he received messages from Nygard’s adult son, including one that referred to Peter Nygard: “I think he wants this to stop and he wants to figure out what your thoughts are on that.” The message concluded “I hope u know what ur doing….” Feralio said.
The case is In Re Application of The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay and Louis Bacon, 14-mc-00258, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).