Peter Nygard’s lawyers say he can’t be evicted from one of his Winnipeg warehouses he's lived in for more than 40 years
Peter Nygard arrives at the 24th Night of 100 Stars Oscars Viewing Gala at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 2, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision - Annie I. Bang)
WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg fashion mogul Peter Nygard said he has been living in one of the company's Winnipeg warehouses for more than 40 years – a property that is in the process of being liquidated and sold, but Nygard's lawyers say he can't be evicted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, Nygard's lawyers submitted a sworn affidavit signed by the fashion mogul, saying he has been using a Nygard warehouse in Winnipeg as his residence, and would now like to rent and/or buy the premises.
"1340 Notre Dame, Winnipeg, Manitoba has been my residence for in excess of forty years, while I was a non-resident of Canada and a permanent resident of The Bahamas," Nygard wrote in the affidavit.
"I have been continuously residing at 1340 Notre Dame, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have been a permanent resident of Canada in excess of one and one-half years."
Nygard's lawyer confirmed to the court on Thursday through a teleconference call, that, while there is no written tenancy agreement, Nygard had previously made an oral agreement to reside at the warehouse.
In his affidavit, Nygard said he requested that the court-appointed receiver confirm his tenancy but was allegedly ignored.
Nygard said several items in the building, including personal training equipment, a 1977 Excalibur car, and a 2005 Hummer, belong to him.
"It was always my intention to continue my residency at 1340 Notre Dame during the summer, even though I spent most of my time at my summer lake residence," Nygard wrote.
"While I was away from my residence, the Receiver changed the locks at 1340 Notre Dame Avenue, and neither I nor my associates could regain entry."
NYGARD LAWYERS ASK COURT TO WAIT ON SALE
In March, nine Nygard companies went into receivership and have been under the control of Richter Advisory Group Inc. since.
The warehouse and store on Notre Dame is one of many that are in the process of being liquidated and sold.
Richter lawyer Bruce Taylor said since the property on Notre Dame, which is being sold with the help of Colliers, was listed in April, it has received only two offers.
One offer is unconditional, while the second offer has a much higher monetary value but is "conditional on about everything you could condition," Taylor said.
The second offer's conditions include zoning, securing financing, and finalizing development plans, in addition to a 45 day period to do due diligence, such as title searches and building inspections.
“All of those factors led the receiver and Colliers to the conclusion that this was not an offer that was worth pursuing or worth risking the miss-transaction over,” Taylor said.
He said the receivers and the lenders are in favour of moving forward with the first unconditional offer, though Nygard's lawyer Wayne Onchulenko said the court should wait a while before selling the property.
“What’s the rush, given these COVID conditions which everyone agrees are at best uncertain and at worse, depressed the value of these properties,” said Onchulenko.
“Nobody knows if it is going to get better or get worse in the future,” he said. “What we do know is that there is a second offer, highly conditional, but those conditions could be dealt with.”
NYGARD LAWYERS SAY HE CAN'T BE EVICTED
Onchulenko went on to say that Nygard's tenancy in the building will also have an impact on the sale.
"It is our position that if Mr. Nygard was a tenant, that he could not be terminated, he could not be evicted, because the legislation does not allow for it during this COVID period," he said. “Even if the sale did go ahead, it would have to be subject to Mr. Nygard’s rights as a tenant.”
He said since March 18, Nygard has taken the position that he is a tenant and continues to pay rent on the premises.
In his affidavit, Nygard said he submitted an offer to rent and/or buy the buildings that are attached to the warehouse. He said the offers are outstanding.
Manitoba Justice James Edmond did not make a decision on the sale on Thursday.
Nygard is currently facing a class-action lawsuit from 57 women, including 18 Canadians, accusing him of rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking over five decades. Through representatives, Nygard has repeatedly denied the accusations.
The accusations have not been proven in court, and no criminal charges have been filed against Nygard.