Flooring company offers to buy last Nygard retail store up for sale in Winnipeg

The receiver in control of nine Nygard companies will appear in front of a Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench judge next Friday, seeking approval to finalize the sale of a 22,000-square-foot property on Broadway belonging to Nygard Properties Ltd.

The building on the property was constructed in 1950 and served as a Nygard fashion retail store until last year. 

In a Jan. 18 notice of motion, Richter Advisory Group said the Broadway property was listed for just under $2.5 million in April, but the price was reduced to $2.35 million in August after no offers were received.

The receiver said it’s been in negotiations with 7456302 Manitoba Ltd., which runs Total Flooring, for months and is now prepared to present an offer for court approval.

This is the fourth and final Nygard property to be sold under the receivership. Richter previously sold Nygard company headquarters in Toronto, and a property on Notre Dame Avenue. 

The Nygard Group of companies owed $50 million to creditors, including nearly $30 million to American lender White Oak Commercial Finance, when it was placed under receivership in March by Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice James Edmond.

Last November, Edmond approved the sale of 1771 Inkster Blvd. and set Jan. 18, 2021, as the closing date. The Nygard Group tried to block the sale and regain control of the two remaining properties.

They argued White Oak had been paid in full and asked the judge to end the receivership. The case ended up in the Manitoba Court of Appeal which sided with the receiver and approved the Inkster sale. It’s now set to close Feb. 8. If approved, the Broadway sale would close Feb, 15.

A judge approved the sale of the Inkster property in November. The deal closes in February. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Peter Nygard, who in court filings says he is a consultant for the Nygard Group and sole owner of Nygard Enterprises Ltd., has been indicted on nine charges in the U.S. for allegations he sexually assaulted women and girls over a 25-year period in Canada, the U.S. and the Bahamas. 

Nygard remains in custody at the Headingley Correctional Centre awaiting extradition to the U.S. He will appear in bail court Jan 28. 

Nygard has consistently denied the allegations and says they are fabrications as part of a conspiracy to malign his reputation.

In an affidavit filed in Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Dec. 14, 2020, Sgt. Stefane Nicolas of the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime unit said American authorities provided this undated photo of Peter Nygard along with a copy of an arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court. (Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench)

Retaining records

In its 10th report to the court, Richter said throughout the course of the receivership the Nygard Group vacated retail stores, warehouses and offices, and that it assisted Nygard employees to pack up and ship onsite records — including computer hard drives and servers, back to the Inkster property. The receiver said the records have been consolidated in more than 5,000 boxes stored at Inkster or Broadway, and will now have to be moved elsewhere before the new owners take over the properties.

“The debtors did not maintain a detailed catalogue or repository system to track and identify physical records … but rather used a localized system of general or high-level descriptions,” said Richter in the 10th report to the court.

The receiver said Nygard employees continue to compile a general listing of the physical records to help understand the types of information contained in the documents.

Richter said it entered into a six-month lease on behalf of Nygard International Partnership to house the records in Winnipeg. The lease expires at the end of June, but can be renewed for another six months. The lease is about $2,350 a month. 

Ransomware attack

The receiver said the full scope of a ransomware attack last month on Nygard IT systems and the degree to which the affected records and programs can be restored is still not fully known. 

Richter said Nygard IT staff were working with a third party consultant hired to preserve digital records when they were hit with a ransomware attack on Dec. 12.

“A message from the attackers advised, among other things, that the IT system had been hacked and system files encrypted,” wrote Richter.

The receiver said the attackers originally asked for a ransom of 99 bitcoins but increased it to 198 bitcoins to decrypt and recover the files.

“Payment of the ‘ransom payment’ was not considered by the receiver,” wrote Richter.

The receiver said despite its best efforts, the IT system has been permanently compromised as a result of the attack, and that it’s now focusing on restoring high-priority servers only. Richter said there are nearly 250 severs within the Nygard Group.