For decades Peter Nygard has had a certain image. It’s the one you see projected on billboards, posters and on the sides of buildings.
A grey-haired man, in flashy clothes, buttoned down shirts and with a year round suntan.
It’s the same image his 38-year-old son Kai said his family saw.
“I got the version of him that was the same version so many others got,” Kai said. “That was his public persona. So what he gave the world was this persona of being a playboy.”
Kai is Nygard’s eldest son in the family of nine children. He legally changed his last name this past October. Kai said he only ever saw his father in a limited capacity throughout his life.
“Growing up I wanted to believe in my father and I viewed him in the best possible light,” he said. “The information I was given, along with many others, was this image of transparent, flamboyant playboy but businessman working hard, playing hard.”
Two of Nygard’s sons are involved in a lawsuit that accused their father of ordering his girlfriend, who the suit claims is a “known sex worker” to rape them when they were teenagers. Kai is not one of the sons involved.
But then in February, a lawsuit was filed against Nygard and included allegations from 10 women accusing him of enticing them to his estate in the Bahamas.
By June, a total of 57 women had joined the class action lawsuit, which accuses him of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking. Eighteen of those women are Canadian.
“I was horrified,” Kai said shocked. “It was hard to believe at first because of the person that he showed and presented himself as growing up, that person would not do those things. So when you’re reading it you’re shocked.”
The class action lawsuit is currently stayed.
“In this process, my relationship with my dad… it really was more like a funeral of the man that I thought that I knew growing up.”
On Monday night, the 79-year-old multi-million dollar fashion mogul was arrested in Winnipeg.
The arrest followed a request from the US Justice Department to begin extradition “proceedings against Nygard in order to face charges in the United States as part of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York Police Department (NYPD).”
Nygard has been slapped with a total of nine charges in the United States.
The charges include one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, three counts of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud or coercion, one count of transportation of a minor for purpose of prostitution, two counts of transportation for purpose of prostitution, and one count of transportation for purpose of prostitution and illegal sexual activity.
He has also been accused of one count of racketeering conspiracy, meaning it’s alleged he and others used his company to benefit illegally and repeatedly, generally involving extortion or coercion.
“It was a relief,” Kai said after hearing about his father’s arrest.
Kai said the past year has been difficult as he tries to reconcile the allegations with the person he knew growing up.
“Feeling like who is this person, this isn’t the father I thought I knew. Who is this monster?”
An affidavit provided by a Manitoba RCMP officer claims that there are “hundreds” of victims in the sex trafficking case against Nygard.
Sgt. Stefane Nicolas states that U.S. authorities have been looking into Nygard and others for a lengthy period of time.
“The investigation shows that Nygard’s criminal conduct has affected hundreds of victims,” Nicolas claims.
Kai said he hopes if there are any other victims out there, that they come forward and know their voices will be heard.
None of the allegations against Nygard have been tested in court and he has repeatedly maintained he is innocent.