Peter Nygard (c) sits with former Lt-Gov Pearl McGonigal (l) and Portage Lisgar MP Candace Hoeppner at the Bright Choices fashion show in Winnipeg Friday March 23, 2012.
Credits: BRIAN DONOGH/WINNIPEG SUN/QMI AGENCY
WINNIPEG - Peter Nygard's legal fight with the CBC over an unflattering Fifth Estate documentary about the clothing manufacturer has expanded to a new front.
Already embroiled in numerous civil and criminal suits with the CBC over the April 2010 documentary, Nygard filed a defamation suit Tuesday against the state broadcaster. The suit alleges the CBC reported he behaved inappropriately with an underage girl staying at his posh Bahamian resort despite being in possession of sworn statements to the contrary from the supposed victim.
The suit also names Fifth Estate host Bob McKeown, as well as CBC employees David Studer, Morris Karp, and Timothy Sawa.
According to the statement of claim, the documentary defamed Nygard by implying he engaged "in appropriate sexual conduct with a woman, a woman who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic."
In the documentary, McKeown refers to the woman as a "special package," brought to Nygard Cay - Nygard's home - in 2003 to help celebrate the fashion designer's birthday. Soon after, convicted con artists Allan and Michelle May, two former Nygard employees, claimed on air they found the aspiring model, who they said was underage at the time, panicked and screaming.
"The words ... are untrue and defamatory of Nygard in their natural and ordinary meaning, in the innuendoes contained therein, and in the context of the entire Fifth Estate program, including the manner, tone, and presentation," the lawsuit states.
"They were meant and were understood to mean that Nygard had lured the woman to his residence under false pretences, Nygard had acted inappropriately toward the woman, Nygard had sexually assaulted the woman, and Nygard had committed a criminal act."
According to the suit, the CBC was provided a notarized statement a day before the documentary aired from the woman who stated she was an adult when she visited Nygard Cay and that nothing untoward happened. Nygard's then-girlfriend has also stated the fashion designer was with her in his private cabana every night the supposed victim was at the resort - a statement backed up by his personal bodyguard.
Also, Nygard's private investigator, a former Scotland Yard detective, gave a sworn statement last year that he had been told CBC investigators had found the woman in the Dominican Republic, but did not attempt to interview her.
Nygard is seeking damages.
A spokesman for the CBC, Chuck Thompson, declined comment.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.