Disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygard, currently facing child sex trafficking charges, is in another kind of legal hot water following a judge’s ruling in the defamation case between himself and former neighbor (and billionaire) Louis Bacon. The two at one time shared a driveway in the Bahamas, a driveway that set off a decade-long feud between the two. Now, Nygard has been ordered to pay $203 million in damages for defaming Bacon, who Nygard had claimed was guilty of everything from insider trading to associating with the KKK.
The two clashed during their time as neighbors in the gated community of Lyford Cay, located on Clifton Bay in the Bahamas. Due to the way their residences were situated, they both had to use the same driveway, and Bacon made some sort of complaint about wild parties thrown by Nygard, while Nygard believed that some of his development plans for his property were thwarted by Bacon.
Things escalated from there, culminating in what Bacon’s lawyers characterized as a $15 million smear campaign personally funded by Nygard. In a legal complaint filed back in 2015, they describe a series of defamatory actions on Nygard’s part. As Bacon himself wrote in the complaint:
“Nygard and his sidekicks have alleged on a number of occasions that ancestors of mine living in the 19th and 18th centuries, whom I of course, never knew, were associated with racist groups or slaveholding.”
Insider trading, a fire allegedly set somewhere on Nygard’s property, and even the death of a house manager were also included in the claims that the presiding New York judge found to be defamatory.
The $203 million in damages is the greatest settlement ever awarded in the history of the state of New York, something that was justified by the “overwhelming” and “truly stunning” nature of the evidence against Nygard, according to U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips. According to The Wall Street Journal, Phillips said this in regard to the separate allegations of defamation against Nygard:
“Any one of these would have been a significant assault on his character; the combination of all four depicted him as an evildoer of the highest order.”
Nygard is also currently facing charges of sex trafficking from the US Department of Justice, charges that have already reportedly “wiped out” much of his fashion business empire. He has not commented publicly on the decision.