By Alison Lowe
Nassau Guardian Business Editor
NASSAU, Bahamas -- A New York judge has approved a request to serve a former videographer of fashion mogul Peter Nygard with a subpoena calling on him to provide up to 1,000 hours of footage to billionaire hedge fund manager Louis Bacon, to be used in as evidence in Bahamian legal actions in which Bacon is currently engaged.
The subpoena specifically asks videographer Stephen Feralio, who worked for Nygard at his compound from 2011 to 2013, to release any material and provide testimony to the court related to Nygard’s impact on the environment surrounding his property, along with any evidence of communications with, or “gifts or payments” to, government officials.
Among the Bahamian legal actions in which Bacon has claimed such documentary and video evidence may be relevant are two judicial review actions and five civil proceedings currently being waged in The Bahamas, with the latter including actions involving Jones Communications and its CEO Wendall Jones.
The subpoena calls for Stephen Feralio to produce any video or documentation he has related to possibly expansion of the beach, the construction of groynes, dredging off the coast and the construction of buildings and structures at Nygard Cay, as well as any applications or permits submitted for work done at the site, where Nygard lives, at the tip of Lyford Cay.
Nygard is the founder and chairman of Nygard International, a privately held women’s fashion house based in Winnipeg, Canada, with its American headquarters in Times Square, New York City.
The filing seeking authorization to subpoena the video and documentary evidence in Feralio’s possession and to depose Feralio about an alleged “campaign” by Nygard against Bacon, his neighbour and chairman and chief executive officer of Moore Capital Management LLC, was made in the US District Court Southern District of New York last Wednesday.
In a statement to The New York Times, which covered the developments on Friday, Bacon’s attorney, Orin Snyder, said: “A concerned US whistleblower has now come forward. Our clients are seeking the assistance of the US courts to obtain this evidence, which will greatly aid their prosecution of important lawsuits against Nygard and others in The Bahamas.”
Court documents filed state that Feralio “accompanied Nygard around the world, filming Nygard in his daily life, including while conducting meetings, participating in phone calls and hosting and attending events. Feralio spent considerable time at Nygard Cay and lived there while filming in The Bahamas.
“He likely filmed any communications Nygard had with others (including government officials) regarding his plans to expand Nygard Cay,” state the documents.
It was agreed among attorneys for Feralio and Bacon that Feralio could be served with the subpoena and the judge subsequently ordered the same, leaving it up to Feralio to challenge any specific portions of material he may not wish to provide.
“Prior to the production of documents or electronically stored information or giving testimony responsive to the subpoena, defendants in the Bahamian actions that are the subject of this application and Nygard International will be provided a reasonable opportunity to seek leave to intervene to assert any applicable third party rights and seek an applicable relief,” added the judge.
The video footage and other materials are said to be in a safe in New York at present, and Feralio is also in the city.
In a statement issued on behalf of Peter Nygard, his attorney, Richard Good, said that the fashion tycoon plans to “retain New York counsel with a view to filing a counter lawsuit against Mr Bacon”.
Good said that Bacon’s suit is part of a “ten-year battle against Mr Nygard initiated by Mr Bacon” in an “attempt to obtain Nygard’s property”.
Nygard accused Bacon of trying to obstruct permit applications submitted by Nygard to the government which are needed to “reconstruct his home”.
Save The Bays, an environmental group, which is funded by Bacon, along with over 100 residents of Lyford Cay, recently successfully filed for a judicial review of a government review of those permit applications.
The move halted the permit application process, in light of concerns raised that insufficient supporting documentation had been made available during the public consultation period, among other issues.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian