HEDGE Fund manager Louis Bacon filed papers in a Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday, requesting access to video footage he alleges will prove his neighbour, Lyford Cay billionaire and fashion designer Peter Nygard, ran a “smear campaign” against him in the Bahamas.
According to Bloomberg.com, Mr Bacon, the chairman and chief executive officer of Moore Capital Management LLC, wants more than a thousand hours of footage he alleges was shot by a videographer now turned “whistleblower”, who was formerly employed by Mr Nygard.
These tapes will be used as evidence in five defamation and two environmental law suits pending in the Bahamas.
Mr Bacon, an environmentalist, claims that Mr Nygard is probably retaliating against him because he believes it was Mr Bacon who complained about the environmental damage being done by the dredging of the seabed to expand the Nygard Cay property.
Jenny Afia, partner in the English law firm Schilling, specialists in reputation defence, has filed a 68-page declaration in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York in the Bacon case for the discovery of the video tapes to be used in the pending proceedings in the Bahamas.
However, the proposed subpoenas for the production of testimony, video and documents from vidoegrapher Stephen Feralio will not be executed until all of the defendants in the Bahamas cases and Nygard International have “a reasonable opportunity to be heard on any opposition” in the New York court. Mr Feralio has agreed to accept service of the subpoenas.
Among the many documents in his possession to be produced are all communication between Nygard and any or all of the following: “Hon Perry Christie, Hon Philip Brave Davis, Hon Glenys Hanna-Martin, members of the Town Planning Committee; Keod Smith, Phillippa ‘Lady’ Russell; Jones Communications Ltd; Wendell Jones; Earlin Williams; Sherman Brown; Steve McKinney; Jason Graham; Michael Rolle; Louis Farrakhan and any lawyer, attorney or counsellor, or any other person representing or advising any of the listed individuals.”
They also want Mr Feralio to produce all documents and/or communication related to Bacon, his home, Point House, Nygard Cay and Save the Bays, “published or produced in any newspaper, periodical, journal, internet website, blog, Twitter account, or on television or radio, including, but not limited to any of the following media outlets: Bahamas Press; The Bahamas Journal: Bahamas Citizen; Ear to the Ground and The Platform.”
Ms Afia’s affidavit said that following the denial of the building permits by the Ingraham government, “Nygard subjected his next-door-neighbour in the Bahamas, Mr Bacon, to a relentless and malicious international smear campaign intended to disparage and intimidate Mr Bacon and his family, harm Mr Bacon’s reputation around the world, and ultimately drive Mr Bacon out of his home and away from the Bahamas. This smear campaign appears to be motivated by Nygard’s irrational belief that Mr Bacon is responsible for the Government’s permit denials, as well as a damning TV expos� by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that was broadcast at around the same time as government’s permit denials.”
The affidavit said that following the denial of his building permits, “Nygard reportedly pumped millions of dollars into the next general election of Bahamian Parliament members, which took place on May 7, 2012, to support the opposition party and defeat the controlling party that denied him the building permits. As expected, after the opposition party won,” said the court affidavit, “Nygard resumed his environmentally damaging activities. But only for a brief period of time. Within approximately 12 months of the election, Save the Bays filed a lawsuit in the Bahamas and obtained an interim injunction preventing further dredging and construction works on the seabed by Nygard.”
The court documents claimed that Mr Nygard orchestrated efforts to defame Mr Bacon. In July, dozens of protesters allegedly paid by Nygard, carrying signs linking Mr Bacon to the Ku Klux Klan, marched through the streets of Nassau.
Mr Nygard also used his private jet to fly Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to the Bahamas, where he spoke at a rally denouncing Mr Bacon as a racist.
In his affidavit filed in the court Stephen Feralio, a 28-year-old videographer, said he was hired in May 2011 by Mr Nygard. He was retained to create and edit video footage of Mr Nygard in New York, the Bahamas and other locations around the world.
Mr Feralio claimed that Mr Nygard also required him to create Internet videos attacking the hedge fund manager. Mr Feralio said he uploaded 16 false attack videos to YouTube in 2013, using the pseudonym “Paul Pierce.”
He said he had worked for Mr Nygard from May 2011 until July 2013 and again for a brief period beginning in January of this year. However, he said, about the week of March 24 he decided to try to contact Mr Bacon. Using an assumed name, he called and spoke with Mr Bacon’s brother Zack, who in turn put him in touch with Mr Bacon’s private investigator.
Mr Feralio was reluctant to turn over the videos without a court order because he feared retaliation.
“I am so concerned by Mr Nygard’s aggressive tactics that my counsel and I have created forensic duplicates of the hard drives containing the video footage and am storing them in a safe location in New York, so that the video footage remains protected and may be available to this court under all circumstances,” he said in his filed court affidavit.
One video is titled, “Is Louis Bacon Racist?” The video, posted on YouTube, portrays Bacon as having been implicated in “one of the biggest Wall Street insider cases ever.”
Another video is titled “Is Louis Bacon a Murderer?” suggesting he was behind several killings on his property. It was also claimed that articles were released falsely accusing Mr Bacon of running an international drug trafficking ring.
According to the affidavit of Orin Snyder, one of the lawyers who represents Mr Bacon: “A concerned US whistleblower has now come forward with smoking-gun evidence. 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.”
And said Mr Feralio, the whistleblower, who has now gone into hiding:
“Despite my concerns of retaliation by Mr Nygard, I am willing to come forward and to turn over the video evidence in my possession because it is the right thing to do. Mr Nygard brought me into his dispute with Mr Bacon by directing me to create videos defaming Mr Bacon. Fearing termination, I complied. It is time I made amends for that conduct by providing full and complete disclosure of my involvement, and the activities of others who participated, in Mr Nygard’s smear campaign against Mr Bacon and other activities.”