Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: Peter Nygard: The Epstein of Fashion

Part One: Peter Nygard: The Epstein of Fashion

Tue, 25 Oct 2022 10:00

Robert is joined by Margaret Killjoy to discuss Peter Nygard.

(2 part series)

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It's a ride so comfy, your favorite shoes might start to get jealous. Learn more at Go with the Cooper's. Learn more at Ringcentral. Simpler communications. What's Jeffrey Myyep's? Oh boy, Sophie. This is the topic. That was a horrible idea. Oh no. This is the topic you choice. I should go open that way. Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet Margaret Kildroy. This is behind the bastards. The podcast where Robert gets himself cancelled with that introduction. Margaret. I can't even. This is the topic you chose for our dear friend. Margaret Kildroy. It's coming from your nice people, right? This is a nice one, kind of. Not really. Margaret, you know, you're familiar with friend of the pod, Jeffrey Epstein, right? I am aware of this person. Everybody is real bad-skinned. Not great. Not very well, although by some judgments, better than ever because he's dead. That might be my attitude towards how Jeffrey Epstein's doing. But a pretty bad guy. He's kind of become like shorthand for a specific kind of monster, like a man who traffics women and children and is like a fucking child sex trafficker to the rich and famous and powerful, just like this embodiment of corruption. And I'm here to tell you today, Margaret. I found a guy I think might be worse. Goddamn it. Yeah. Wow, this guy. Real real piece of shit. Have you heard of Peter Nigard? I have not. Whew. Okay. Well, put on your... I once again am saying, how could you do this to our dear friend? I'm not sure what you put on. Strap on your anti-petophile cream. Load up your anti-garment industry, monster, fashion, demon, hammer, and get ready for an episode behind the bastards. Just a nine mill. I feel like that's... Yeah, a nine millimetre might work out great. I keep one in my desk in case anyone involved in the fashion industry comes to my house. I do sincerely look forward to the point where I get to show Margaret a picture. Yeah, this guy looks incredible. I almost brought our good friend, Tom Rhyman onto the podcast, who we had on for our episodes on right wing media grifters just to react to this man's appearance and then leave. But I decided not. Peca, Juhani, Nighard was born in Helsinki, Finland on July 24th, 1941. His mother and his father ran a bakery or maybe it was just his dad. Sources I found are a little bit unclear. Now, you might guess by the year that this was not the easiest period in history to be a fin. Some real... The late 30s, early 40s, real rough years for the Finnish people. Rough years for a lot of people in that region to be fair. Not just some good decisions and some bad decisions and rapid decisions. Yeah, it was a complicated time. No one was going to handle it perfectly. After the war, his family were like, maybe this chunky Europe is not the best place to raise a child. I don't know if the bad stuff is done happening over here. So they moved to Winnipeg, Canada, where they lived in. They get hired by a bakery and the bakery kind of moves them in to some land that it owns. Which means that they take up residence in a 15-foot by 13-foot converted Colbin. So that's also not a great place to raise a family. Not a great place to raise a family. Although if you've just lived through several both the invasion of Finland by Russia and then World War II, you might be like, a Colbin where nobody's shooting at us. Sounds dope. Yeah, let's get the fuck out of Finland. Probably won't stop some bullets. It probably won't. There's a good chance that was on their mind. How thick is this Colbin? Oh, yeah. No, absolutely. So they lived there for a little while. Peter was about, or Peca at this point, was eight or nine years old, maybe 11 when he moved. Again, sources are kind of unclear. And it's not entirely clear to me if he was born at a time when everybody who got born in Finland got up an accurate birth certificate, right? Like the 40s, you still are kind of in that period. Now, since Finnish names are simply unacceptable in English speaking nations, he began going by Peter instead of Peca and substituted the Juhani for a J. Now, we have a lot less detail about his early life than I would prefer. And because he becomes basically a billionaire, Peter was successful for many years in limiting the scope of inquiry that reporters could delve into his past. I did find a write-up on, which is a clearly credible source. By someone I think was either Peter Nigerd or someone he had paid to write it. And that source notes, quote, Peter Nigerd credits his vast success to three things. Genetics, his Finnish roots and peer surveillance. He is immensely grateful to his parents for having immigrated to Canada. He remembers never having to go without the basic necessities. Even though money was often scarce in his household. And I think actually this is probably more just based on some things he paid other people to write on other websites. And then it gets, it wound up getting filtered to these kind of click bait sites after some stories break about him, but whatever. About how good a person he is? About how good of a person he is. Well, yeah, that's early on, yes. So his mother and his father opened their own bakery soon after arriving in Canada. They move out of the coal bin pretty quick. So they're doing good. They're doing good. They wind up in the big city, which is Winnipeg, so not really a big city. A moderately large town. Birthplace of Winni the Poo. Oh, he was a meat. Yeah, Winnipeg. That's why he's Winni. Yeah. Does he or one lie? It might be. Oh crap. There's no way to know. It's impossible to say. But yes, the city where Winni the Poo lived briefly before going to die on the western front. Look it up. You'd be surprised at how accurate that one is. Yes. So yeah, they open a bakery and things go well. You know, they wind up kind of. It's kind of hard for me to tell exactly, but I would probably say upper middle class ish or maybe at least solidly middle class, right? They're doing fairly well. And yeah, they seem to have a lot of gratitude to their adopted new home country. Once Peter gets rich, his mom's going to use some of his money to create a park in Winnipeg in their father's armor honor where the coal bin homestead they lived on is featured. I don't know that they keep that coal bin around anymore. That happens in the story. But now again, Peter becomes almost a billionaire close enough that it doesn't really matter all that much. The internet winds up littered with all these weird little websites that he paid to create and have someone write nice things about him on. There's like a bunch of websites he makes. We'll be talking about this more in part two because it's part of a kind of rich guy battle he winds up in. And it wouldn't do this for like $10,000. I've over $10,000. It doesn't take that much, right? I get some people in other countries to write some nice stuff about you. Yeah, use like a task rabbit style to get, yeah. It's not a bad idea, right, Margaret? We could at least take down one enemy. I feel like if we if we wrangled together six to eight writers, yeah, that could be the end. That could be the end of of Will Wheaton. Of Wayne and Drew. Oh, sure. So in one of these, these random little websites about him, which was titled the real Peter, I found this claim. That's incredibly credible. Yeah. Yeah. Well, wouldn't say real if it wasn't, Margaret. Yeah. It's like being a cop. You're not allowed to lie about that. No, absolutely not. So quote, Peter excelled at school and received recognition and awards for both academics and athletics during his secondary school years. He constantly contributed money to assist his family through varied and multiple jobs. He concluded his high school years as the most accomplished student in the graduating class. Peter was later asked by the school to return and deliver a speech to the graduating class. This speech provides a roadmap to his success in business and life and was still being quoted 50 years later. Now, I haven't found a copy of this speech, Margaret. I don't, I don't know that it's still being quoted 50 years later unless it's by people Peter and I had paid to write articles about him. But yeah, there you go. That's his claims about this period. We know that he goes to the United States, you know, basically as soon as he graduates high school. And he graduates from the University of North Dakota a couple of years later with a business degree. This is a 1964 when he is 23 years old. Okay. Go on to praise one of his professors, Tom Clifford as a mentor. Now, Tom wound up went up running the college and he seems to have found his, his, like, habituaries and stuff, which obviously aren't unbiased, but the habituaries make him look like a decent guy. He killed a Japanese soldier during World War II with a shovel, but that's, you know, that's what happens. Yeah. Also pretty rad. I got to get anyone who kills a man with a shovel. That's pretty badass. Yeah. Yeah. Not boring. Not boring. He was also apparently pushed for more recognition of indigenous people on campus, which is nice. There's only one detail from the obituary that gives us maybe some insight into what Nigred saw in him. Quote, in the preface to good medicine, a 2003 account of entry behind the creation of the four year medical school. He created a medical school at the University of North Dakota. Clifford told how we cut corners. Sometimes at blinding speed and got around red tape in many cases by simply ignoring it. Right? So Clifford is kind of an education. And again, I haven't really run into terrible criticisms of this guy, but he's, he's Peter's mentor and he's a big, if you got a cut corners, cut them kind of guy, right? So that might, that might have an impact on the man that Peter becomes a little bit like. Right. Corners like getting consent from your workers and consent. Consent's not something Peter's going to grow up to be great at Margaret in a number of ways. He's not, that's not a strong suit of his. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Now his other strengths. He, I mean, he does have other strengths. We can debate whether or not they're good ones. Mm-hmm. So Peter spends very little time working for anybody else in his life. He returns to Winnipeg right after graduating. He gets hired by the T. Eaton's company, which one of his websites describes as quote, the premier and most sophisticated department store chain in North America. I have no way to judge those claims. It's like three of them and they had like, like, a terrible one. Yeah. Yeah. It's a weird little Canadian like, I haven't heard of T. Eaton's. It sounds like it's like the Tim Hortons of clothing. Anyway, he was part of their young executive program and Peter is very careful to let us know that quote, he worked side by side with the Eaton brothers and was identified by the Eaton family and their executive management team as having the potential to eventually run the entire Eaton's operation. But he doesn't do that. Margaret, he doesn't do that. And we don't really know why. Although it's possible he's just lying about this and he wasn't really very good at that job. We have absolutely no way of, I mean, theoretically, if I was to make an article about him, I could try to track down people in the Eaton's management team, but they're all probably dead now because this was 1966. Yeah. Anyway, 1967 really the most accomplished student at a school in all fields or whatever. He was probably the one who made the most money. I have not, I can't tell you off the top of my head and did not find in limited research at University of North Dakota graduate who I'm certain made more money than Peter and I, so he makes a lot of money. Okay. In 1967, he gathers up his life savings and receives an $8,000 loan to purchase a 20% stake in a woman's garment manufacturer called Nathan Jacobs. Now, kind of unclear me whether the loan came from a bank or his family. Niger does not specify on any of the defunct websites I found and I haven't really found clarity anywhere else. It's noted in several sources that he quickly came to own the business outright on one of his websites. Niger says the speed with which Niger claimed his number one position in the industry is attributed to the uniqueness of his business decisions and his work ethic that includes 14 to 16 hour days, seven days a week. But then as Niger says the only time you are working is when you wish you were doing something else. That's, that's going to be good when we have our podcasting seminars. I feel like that's going to be a, that's right. That's going to be a, not going to waste them. You all got that for free. Yeah. You got that for free. But if you, I mean, honestly, I do feel like we should get a collections agency to just go around and crack a couple of kneecaps of some listeners until they pay up because that was worth just random $350. You feel like that's a 350 Margaret? Yeah, I think so as long as it's enough people. Well, 10, 10 people. Yeah. At least 10 of you better send us some fucking cash or it's, it'll, it'll be bad. That's a threat. That's a legally binding threat that I'm party to somehow that you cool zone media, Sophie, the I heart radio corporation. We're all, all making it. Anyway, on one of his personal websites, Niger describes this process differently, rather than buying in tone part of a company, he was quote, recruited to become an equity partner, which makes it sound more like the company brought him on to buy them out. He makes sure to let you know that he was recruited, quote, despite having no direct knowledge or experience and the ladies apparel manufacturing industry. Do you think it's just like going out of business and they're like, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. I kind of think it was. I kind of think that's what happened. He was not recruited. They thought they were pulling over one on over on him. But that's not how things are going to work out because this is the thing he's actually good at. Anyway, he gets enough money together one way or the other by hooker by crook over the next year or two, a couple of years to buy a majority stake in the business, which he renames from Jacobs to Tanjay fashions. Now, he would later market the products under his own name, Nigerd, and eventually expand to produce products under tinned brand names. His clothing was sold in Nigerd stores, but also in major department stores, like Sears and Dillards. Remember Sears and Dillards? I remember Sears. I feel like Dillards missed me. I mean, I can picture it. But yeah, if you want right today, if you want to encounter very large rats, find your nearest Dillards and break in. Don't worry. There's no security guards there. There's no people there at all. It's the boulevard of broken dreams, a Dillards in 2022. Well, there's a rat in the house. There's a security guard uniform. You'll find the desiccated remains of a security guard with rats kind of filling out the uniform in a sort of body shape. Yeah, they left him there when they when they locked the doors from the outside. Yeah, and they said they'll be right back. Yeah. And now the rats inhabit his soul. But they don't know about cell phones, so they can't reach his family. He had a six-month-old shot. I don't know why I'm making this so sad. One early strength that helped Nigerd expand beyond the bounds of the business he'd invested in was a focus on the growing field of information technology. Peter, and again, this is like the f**k in 70s that this is all starting to come together. Invested in software that linked manufacturing with a network of retail stores to keep them fully stocked. In 1978, Peter expanded his business from Canada to the United States. He did this by again investing in an existing company, a sportswear designer run by Nancy Ebbker. She claims Peter came to her and agreed to split profits 50-50 and kick in $700,000 of her own money to finance the production of two new sportswear lines sold out of her showroom. According to Ebbker, Nigerd smooth-talked her out of putting any of this agreement down in writing. He complained that bringing lawyers into this situation would make everything a big mess. As soon as the deal closed, Nigerd fired Ebbker from her own company and took over the offices. Yeah, he is a cool customer. I'm going to quote from her right up and forth. That's the worst thing he did. Well, Ebbker is still fuming. He literally ruined my life, she says. Ebbker claimed in court testimony that in their heated final conversation, Nigerd told her, I have all your patterns. I have everything. I own everything. I never intended to put anything in writing. You have nothing and I am a millionaire. That's straight up. He's the only who locked that guy into delirids. He's dead. Oh my god. Of course he did. Why wouldn't he? Let's try to reason she interjected to which Nigerd responded. If you don't have $1 million by Friday, I'm going to see to it that your name and reputation are totally destroyed in this market. Just a cool guy. Now, Nigerd tells the court a different story, saying the two had a calm conversation in which he suggested they amicably part ways. The judge found Ebbker to be highly credible and deemed Nigerd evasive, insincere, and utterly lacking in credibility. We deplore the unscindly conduct of Nigerd. Judge Irving Cooper wrote, but ultimately ruled that Ebbker failed to prove she was damaged by his actions. Nigerd's counterclaim was also dismissed. Ebbker, who calls him a true villain of the world, is writing a book about the case. I don't think she ever did. She did. I'll read it. So his business takes off in the years that follow. Nigerd hires his mom. He brings a sister on a spokeswoman for the brand. And he's building. This clothing building he's making is really tailor-made for middle-aged women. This is not high fashion. I don't mean that as an insult, but he's not building this as like this is the Paris runway kind of stuff. This is like clothing for women from like 30 to 50 who have a couple of kids. It's meant to be like affordable, have like a wide selection. And he's trying to both make it kind of something that's attractive to them, but also something that they feel good about buying from. So he makes sure that like his sister is the spokeswoman. He makes sure to bring his mom on so that he can talk about how well he treats his mom. He emphasizes his annual $2 million donation to breast cancer research. He claims makes big claims about having an ethical supply chain. Nigerd's former website bragged as achievements to be the number, the first manufacturer to have air-conditioned factories. And in the real Peter, he also claims, quote, Peter was always committed to the health and comfort of his associates. He was the first company in Canada to ban smoking by associates or visitors in the buildings or else were on the premises. He created the first air-conditioned manufacturing plant. He banned them from smoking. Oh, okay. Yeah. And he created the first air-conditioned manufacturing plants, transforming the industry from sweatshops to fashion houses. Uh-huh. This is, guys, fucking clever. Margaret, you want to guess if they weren't sweatshops anymore? Was this his one lie? Yeah, this is the only one. So we'll get to that in a second. Obviously, top reviews for Nigerd clothing on Amazon include praise that their polyester pants are, quote, very comfortable and wash well. So it gives you an idea of kind of like what people are looking for in these, right? Like I want something comfortable. I want something that's convenient. Like I'm a busy mom, right? Yeah. That's like what this is angled at. And it's a good strategy. In very short order, his clothing is in more than 30 states, 60% of his corporate revenue is soon coming from outside of Canada. And it spreads to other countries too. It's not just the US and Canada. It's all over the place. And as you might have guessed by now, the reality of Nigerd Inc. labor practices did not quite match the Rosie claims made by their old website. And I'm going to quote from Forbes here. In late April, the National Labor Committee in LC, a private group in Pittsburgh issued a report claiming that Nigerd pants from its Alia line were being sewn in a Jordanian sweatshop. The factory in Alzarka, the report says, employed 1200 guest workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, who had, quote, been trafficked to Jordan, stripped of their passports and held under conditions of indentured servitude. According to the investigation, women were forced to work 15 hour shifts, seven days a week, and were paid half the wages they were owed. A Nigerd spokeswoman says that a government inquiry found no truth to the allegations. But since the report, the NLC says factory conditions have improved significantly. Passports have been returned and workers now get Fridays off. Wow, and they get their own passports back. That's a keep their passports while they're working 15 hour days, six days a week. And six days a week. I mean, yeah. That's also many days as there are in the week. That's not that's not that's a whole day they don't have to work. Yeah. Other cool fact, the factory is in Alzarka, which is also the hometown of Abu Musab, Alzarkawi, the founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is kind of the group that immediately led to ISIS. Oh, yeah. Okay. Cool guy. Yeah. Anyway, that is nothing to do with Peter Nigerd. It's just to meet the little coincidence. It's just a fun, well, yeah, or does it? Did Peter Nigerd create ISIS in order to sell more comfortable, easily washed polyester, sweatpants? Did he? World will never know. There's no evidence that it didn't happen. Maybe it's possible, but that's not a legally binding allegation. So it gets worse. The one detail I did find on his website that actually surprised me was this tidbit. Nothing has made a bigger impact on the Canadian fashion industry than the NAFTA agreement. The seeds of this agreement were sewn in 1982 when Peter Nigerd wrote a strategic position paper to initiate free trade. This paper resulted in his appointment to chair in the Advisory Committee on Future Canadian Long Term Industrial Strategy. From that committee, Greenigard's recommendation to negotiate a free trade agreement, FTA, first with the United States, which ultimately became the Foundation Agreement for Mexico's entry in DEC-92, known as the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. No other person in the apparel industry has played a more significant role with the creation of NAFTA than Peter Nigerd. Holy shit. Right. Yeah. Now, okay. Well, that means we get the Zapatistas out of them. We do kind of get the Zapatistas out of them. Now, obviously, this is a claim being made on his website. He thinks one of his personal websites and he is taking personal credit for making it. Okay. I think he is overselling his role here. Okay. But he winds up on a couple joint Canadian US government panels, several, a number over the years, like a number of pretty significant positions that he holds, like helping to carry out aspects of what's going to become NAFTA. So he's not entirely lying here either. We're going to get into this in a bit, but he is not an insignificant part of the creation or the establishment of NAFTA, although he is a little bit overselling it here. Okay. He's definitely one of the people in the apparel industry who's most involved in the creation of NAFTA. That's probably fair to say. Okay. So we're going to talk about that and why that's not entirely a good thing. But first, Margaret, you know, people don't like about NAFTA. The fact that it strips resources from developing nations to fuel the lifestyles of the wealthy that are destroying the earth. Exactly. You know what doesn't do that. Potatoes. Potatoes don't. But let me, let me paint a picture of you, Margaret. Okay. I want you to think about the great lakes, superior, the other ones shining out beautiful, surrounded by basically Canada, Canada, which is the bad guy of this story. That's true. Now imagine, now imagine, Margaret, a beautiful sheet of ICBMs coming down over the great lakes. And instead of robbing poorer and low-income nations in order to finance the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, okay. Okay. We irradiate fish in the great lakes to provide the world with fish. That's huge. Because the fish already cooked. Probably. Who knows what happens. I just think we should do it. Sophie, how are we doing here? I'm so tired that I'm like, let's let me show you some pamphlets while while the listeners check out these other ads. Okay. Let me guess. Unknown caller. You could reduce the number of unwanted calls and emails with online privacy protection. 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If you want to be on the phone, if you want to do it through a video chat, better help has options. It's convenient, accessible, affordable and entirely online. You get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey and you can switch therapists at any time. So when you want to be a better problem solver therapy can get you there, visit slash behind today to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better H E L P dot com slash behind again better slash behind for 10 percent off your first month. We're back and you know, I think if the US has 6,000 nuclear weapons, we can spare a handful. I convinced the pamphlets had lots of charts. Yep. And they did. And warning labels that have been scratched out. So they probably don't matter. They probably don't matter. And several times, I repeated the lyrics to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Yeah. Remind you of all the brave men who died in those lakes. Yeah. Absolutely. So I looked at your many personal websites and I have higher to have a lot of websites made. I cross referenced from one of your personal websites to the other and they all checked out. That's right. That's what we call research. That's no scent. Yeah. I, you know, people look, Sophie has driven a hardline that we have to stop the blue apron child island bit because it's just, it's just, it's just creates so much work on the bleeping end. And then when we don't bleep it, people are like, is it real? Which is a question we've had to deal with a lot lately. So now we're going to talk about nuking the great lakes for a couple of months and then I'll figure out something else. Because you believe mistakenly that if you go all of the producers and go more and more drastically absurd that people will stop believing you. I do hope because it'll be really funny. It'll be the end of life on this earth, but it'll be really funny that like this bit ends with me being elected president in a landslide with a mandate to deploy nuclear weapons to the great lakes. Yeah. I mean, you don't have zero mastell. So I want to allow it. But anyway, back to NAFTA. Speaking of bad things, not bad things like zero must tell. He was rad. Didn't name names. Anyway, sorry, Jesus. This is going off the rails a little bit. Let's talk about NAFTA. So Peter and I got obviously he's a narcissist. Take what he says about being like integral to the creation of NAFTA with a grain of salt. But it's not an invented claim. It's probably fair to say that NAGRAD strategic papers were less the inspiration for NAFTA than one of a number of people with influence who were pushing for trade liberalization to allow us and Canadian companies to do their manufacturing overseas, particularly in Mexico. I found a write up by the Makila Solidarity Network, which is a Canadian organization promoting solidarity with laborers in places like Mexico and other parts of Central America to improve conditions and win a living wage for workers. Right at the beginning of NAFTA, they published a position paper analyzing the trade agreement and it's likely impact on laborers. And the manufacturer they chose to highlight in order to analyze this was NICARD. So whatever he's saying and however much he kind of exaggerates things, this organization when they were like choosing to like look at a garment manufacturer to see what NAFTA was going to do in Mexico, they picked NICARD because he's it was a really big deal and he was a big part of it. Is this like the obvious where are we at timeline? Yeah, this is this is like the late 80s, I think when kind of this gets I can actually look this up. I'm just trying to figure out why I've never heard of this brand before as a because I'm not Canadian or is it because I only became a middle-aged lady more recently? Yeah, I think the second might be a bigger it and you're not like a suburban like mother of three, right? Which I think is primarily kind of who he was angled at. Okay. But yeah. So obviously Makila is also a Canadian organization that may also be part of why they picked NICARD. But NICARD was one of the largest I think added for a time the largest garment manufacturer to invest in Mexican factories and kind of the first days of NAFTA. The writers of that Makila Solidarity Network paper did not consider this to have been a good thing and they wrote quote from the research that has already been done on the ground. However, working conditions in areas where NICARD has produced and is currently producing in Mexico are less than ideal. While management at the Mejelosa factory in Tehuacán, Mexico insisted that they paid premium wages. Workers disputed these statements. Low wages are a common complaint of garment workers in Tehuacán. Many are forced to work several jobs to meet their family's basic needs. It is not uncommon for children to work in smaller Makila's and workshops to complement the very low wages their parents are making. In Quahila where NICARD is currently contracting work, there are similar reports of low wages, long hours and forced overtime. Since the signing of NAFTA, Union representation has decreased significantly in this region. Force pregnancy testing and sexual harassment have also been reported. For the research to be done to document the working conditions at NICARD owned factories in Guadalajara and Guinevaca, Mexico. In Canada, three of NICARD's Manitoba factories are certified by Unite, the North American garment and textile workers union. During Union drives in the 1980s at his plants, Peter NICARD placed full page ads in Winnipeg newspapers stating his anti-union position. At that time, the Manitoba labor board ruled that the company had committed unfair labor practices, including the refusal to deduct union dues, to allow the union access to the plant and to pay into the union's retirement and health and welfare funds. NICARD was ordered to pay the union and illegally laid off employees $150,000 in money owed in fines. So yeah, he's cool. Do you ever like, is there ever a bastard who's like the shiny and prince of everything and then secretly has the like murder basement or that always just these people where you're like, of course this person doesn't respect fucking anybody except it's like I mean, we didn't portray it this way, but a lot of people, Georgia TAN, the woman who invented adoption by kidnapping a lot of babies. A whole bunch of people thought she was wonderful because she's running these adoption centers and stuff. So I should probably say a little bit about NAFTA here as well. We're not going to go a lot into NAFTA here because that's a subject that deserves more than just casual coverage on a podcast. But it's fair to say that rather than inspiring NAFTA, NICARD's primary contribution was to be one of the first guys to use the trade agreement to escape unionized labor and force workers to endure privation for the enhanced profit of his company. This pattern was repeated on a large scale by other businesses. I want to quote now from a write up by sociology professor Robert Ross from Clark University. It is a long quote, but I think that it's necessary to do that here. On August 2nd, 1995, labor officials in the state of California rated a garment manufacturing shop 12 miles east of Los Angeles and the town of El Monte. The shop was located in what had appeared to be a residential condominium complex, but this one was surrounded by a barbed wire fence and a six foot brick wall with metal spikes. Dangerous and unsanitary, the garment factories was worse than substandard. Its workers were virtual slaves. Held in the condominium complex were 72 laborers who were first to work as much as 17 hours a day, seven days a week for one 60 an hour. In some cases, the 67 women and five men worked up to 22 hours for as little as 50 cents an hour. Their wage is varied therefore between about one third and one tenth of the US legal minimum wage. The condominium was also a major fire hazard. There was no rear exit and only small windows with thick iron bars. A gang of eight smugglers had paid the workers' airfare from Thailand, promising them a brighter future in America. Upon their arrival, however, the new immigrants were forced into slave labor, working day and night to pay off their passage fees. The fees ranged from $4800 to $25,000. They were also threatened with beatings, rape, and even death. Following the discovery, all 72 workers were arrested as illegal ali, held by federal immigration officers. But conditions had been so bad, one of the women said, the day I was arrested, I was very happy. Woodpa Rungbok, one of the people forced to stay at the compound, claimed that a year ago, two people who tried to escape were severely beaten and sent back to Thailand. He also stated that workers were frequently beaten in the compound to prevent escapes. Another worker from the El Monte sweatshopped claimed that she was told it would take three years for her to pay off the $4800 traveling fee. She was forced to pay $300 a month. According to federal officials, threats against the workers' children or family members in Thailand were used to make sure their parents continued sewing. Immigration officials had been aware of the El Monte operation for three years, but the local authorities acted only when they heard the testimony of a woman who escaped through a ventilation shaft just weeks before the raid. The eight Thai nationals who ran the ring and its businesses were convicted of harboring and transporting illegal immigrants, kidnapping, peonage, and other serious charges. A few weeks after the discovery, over a million dollars of their assets, including over $865,000 in cash, were distributed to the 72 workers found in El Monte, and 39 others who had worked in the Los Anstilis installations controlled by the ring. The smuggler owners have been imprisoned. The illegal immigrants are due approximately $3.5 million in back pay and penalties. The labor and occupational safety agencies of the state of California asked for $550,000 in penalties from the sweatshop owners. Compensation has also been collected from the garment manufacturers who commissioned work from the contractor. Major American retails change which sold clothing made in the slave's sweatshop include Neiman Marcus, Montgomery Ward, and Sears. The stories such as these about the Thai slaves of El Monte, California symbolically represent one of the main tendencies of contemporary global capitalism. The tendency to level workers' conditions down to or below a global standard more like that of today's most vulnerable third world workers than that of yesterday's organized workers and the developed industrial social order. This is the concrete meaning of the race to the bottom. While the Thai slaves represent the unusual worst case of the problems of labor in the apparel industry and in other low-age industries in North America, the rise of the new sweatshops is widespread. One responsible estimate often used by former secretary of labor Robert Reich is that up to half the entire apparel workforce of the United States, potentially half a million workers, labor it below the legal minimum wage or without legally entitled premium pay for overtime hours. These workers also suffer unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Such conditions include as many as 50,000 workers in New York City and 70 to 90,000 in Los Angeles, the two largest centers of government production in the country. The North American Free Trade Agreement, dissolving barriers to the movement of goods in capital between the United States, Mexico and Canada is like the European Union and the general agreement on tariffs and trade part of the project of global capital and a very successful one. In 30 years, a new form of capitalism has been born out of the crisis of mid-century capitalism. The mid-century type of capitalism known variously as monopoly capitalism or later Fordism was characteristically associated with the Kinsey and Welfare state, but many of the characteristic forms and achievements of that variant of capitalism have been superseded by a new one. Global capitalism. This then is the context of NAFTA, a world project of capitalism to dissolve barriers to investment and to lower cost of production and tailing if so facto, a systemic attack upon and loss of working class power and social protections in the older industrial nations. Yet paradoxically, the same world context makes more concrete than ever, the read awards of solidarity and the necessity of internationalism. Anyway, it talks about the necessity of something. When I run only a couple of things, what I think about the compensation as people are deserved, I mostly think about, I don't know, ears. Pieces of bodies. Yes. But it is like this is the thing that Nigerd was a huge part of and we can tell from the way he treated his workers in Canada and the way he treated his workers in Mexico. This was exactly what he wanted to happen. He saw he was one of a number of people not to put too much credit on this guy, but he saw the people who made his products as a barrier to his profits. And before NAFTA happened, he was working to do what he could to ensure that they could not cut into his profits. And he backed NAFTA and took advantage of it as soon as it happened in order to cut the ability of other people to make money off of the company that he owned. Right? Like that was the thing. The people who made the products, he won he was willing to force him to take pregnancy tests, beat them, lock them up for days on and take their fucking passports, whatever it takes to make sure that like he gets every dime he possibly can do that. Anyway, I'm sure he used for good and noble purpose. Like I just I can't even. Yeah, that's that's what we're about to talk about. Okay. Good. Yeah. What he does with all the money he makes doing this. So in 1987, Peter purchased land in the Bahamas where he soon began construction on a sprawling estate. We will discuss this later. But in 2003, an American couple sued him in Florida for allegedly tricking them into accepting jobs managing this estate. They further claimed that NIGAR'd ignored Bahamani and immigration laws and failed to obtain work permits for employees, which you may notice is something of a pattern for him. And he just bought all their passports as soon as they're there. You're going to need to give me those. I'll make sure you don't lose them. Yeah. Now, they also alleged that he fined workers for petty infractions, which NIGAR'd conceded to doing during a court case. He claimed this was done in cases of quote, lateness and poor quality work. Such penalties under law are only allowed to be deducted from quarterly bonuses, but NIGAR'd illegally deducted them from weekly pay. Forbes writes, $25 fines were common for such offenses as leaving a dirty glass on a beach cabana, not having NIGAR'd's room cool enough when he arrived and for the presence of houseflies in the grand hall. Executives at NIGAR'd corporate offices lived under a similar threat of penalties. For example, the employment contract of Norman Neal, a former vice president, advised that after receiving full indoctrination, including so-called basic policy framework training, you would be accepted to a fine equal to 5% of his bonus for a violations of company policies. Neal was fired and he later sued for breach of employment contract. NIGAR'd counter sued and the case was settled. So this is just kind of the way this guy rolls. And it is, I guess, interesting that he treats his VP's kind of the same way. That's honestly the most rising thing so far. Yeah. Yeah. Like you'd think, I mean, maybe it's just like all of the Hollywood indoctrination about like, even the evil capitalist rich people with their house on the beach are like really into like seeming really cool to the people who are around them, including like the higher up people who work for them or whatever. Like no, this guy is amazing. It's, it's, yeah. He's comprehensively a piece of shit. Yeah. Now there's more things we could say about Peter's treatment of his employees, but I think we have now covered the most consequential cruelties. So it's probably time to discuss the primary group of people outside of laborers that he targeted for horrific cruelty, which was any young woman who happened to be anywhere near his orbit. Yeah. Often the employees he abused were in obviously as this excerpt from the New York Times makes clear. A 1980 news article described an area of his office in Winnipeg, the city in Manitoba where he built his company as a passion pit with a mirrored ceiling and a couch that transformed into a bed at the push of a button. This is his office in Winnipeg. If anyone calls your boss's office a passion pit, it's time that's not a place. That's not a place. Don't go to the past. Don't go to the past. Don't go to anything called the passion pit unless it's like a like a juice restaurant that that focuses on passion fruit and like peaches a lot. Yeah. I guess it might be okay. Or like a kind of if you're into the kind of sleazy swing or club that we call itself the passion pit. Obviously no judgment. Look, if there's if there's like a dirty bar and an industrial part of Philly that promises key parties and like 65 cent rum and coax and it's called the passion pit, of course I'm going to go there. Yeah, totally. Yeah. That's just a good time. Yeah. Yeah. That's just a good time and then a number of doctor visits afterwards. Yeah. But yeah, most of that stuff's anyway. Whatever. Yeah. They got fucking things now. Yeah. So, boy, I shouldn't lead directly from that to this next paragraph. So you know, we're going to do a Margaret is we're going to roll the ads and just try to let a little bit of capitalism cleanse our palettes. This is our palate cleanser. Little little little bit of an ad break. The little dabble off down to the old shopping. It's all bad except for these ads. Let me guess unknown caller. You could reduce the number of unwanted calls and emails with online privacy protection. The latest innovation from discover will help regularly remove your personal info like your name and address from 10 popular people search websites that could sell your data and we'll do it for free. Activate in the discover app. See terms and learn more at slash online privacy protection. 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And there's even photos of his passion pit and his living room and stuff and all of his fancy things. But his whole attitude was like, well, yeah, I'm a little bit of a playboy. But look, my mom and my sister helped me run the company. I'm a good guy in heart. I just like to, anyway, when he wrote about his one brief marriage to a model in the 1970s, he refused to name her and claim that she had left him after three years because, quote, I worked too hard, which is again, you see what he's doing here? He's like, look, yeah, I had a marriage break up. It's because I worked too hard. But that's not, doesn't mean I'm a bad guy. You know, I just him. Yeah. What I do. Yeah. Um, it's, it's, it's, it worked for a while. In other interviews, Niger would be mone that he had given up on the concept of marriage. He claimed that in his youth, it had been about finding a partner you wanted to stay with for life. Quote, it doesn't mean that anymore. He said claiming he was disillusioned about what marriage has turned out to be. People are necessarily happier when they get married. I think you can be a very good partner to someone if you have to earn that partnership every day, rather than be legally bound to do it. So another good quote from him. Yeah. That's, that's like fine. Like, but that's not what he does. Yeah. Yeah. That is very much not what he does. It certainly does not gel with the picture of the man's relationship styles painted by this Forbes profile. Quote, Nigerd went on to have seven children with four different women. Karina Paka and it eventually gets up to 10 kids. Karina Paka, a former stewardess, fought him for years in Ontario courts for child support for their then teenage son. Nigerd argued the amount she sought was excessive and would destroy the child's work ethic. Oh my, give him a case of affluenza. I know, right? What a cool guy. Yeah. He's just such a sleaze ball. Yeah. But it works really well. He's making fucking bank. He's like one of the biggest names in fashion. Alligations of sexual harassment in the workplace have littered out around Peter for most of his career. We know that in 1980, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that he'd been charged with the rape of an 18 year old girl by local authorities. Those charges were dropped when the complainant refused to testify. I'll give you some guesses as to why. Nigerd claimed the police had used poor judgment and investigating the case. He told the free press that he planned to finance the creation of a foundation to improve the Canadian judicial system. Never happened. Look, I want to fix this. We all want to get to the bottom of this problem, right? The problem in the corner of investigating us. Poor innocent men. Yeah. It's poor innocent multi-millionaires with at this point, 20 or 30 sexual assault and rape allegations against them. A CBC investigation in the late 2000 teens found Forbes says, dredged up claims by former employees that he'd abused. In the 1990s, it's alleged. Nigerd paid to have three sexual harassment complaints settled through the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. Since the cases did not go to court, no records exist about what these cases were about. But the Winnipeg Free Press published articles about the complaints. One was from a 27-year-old travel coordinator who claimed she repeatedly brushed off Nigerd's touches and sexual advances. Another claims Nigerd added skinny dipping to the agenda of a business meeting. Business events were often held on his Bahamian compound while Nigerd would, according to one employee, frequently grab himself while wearing a small bathing suit. She complained, I would find him in a state of undress, pants open, no shirt, or with his hand down the front of his pants, fondling himself. This guy's real subtle. That's a, yeah, he's, you will see a picture. You know what, Sophie? It's time to show Margaret a picture of Peter Knight. Does this count as a matter of sacrifice for this man? Yes. This violates actually all of us have, have, have grounds to sue now. Sue him for his photo. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I'm trying to decide which, I'm just going to, I'm just going to go to Google images. He's, he looks at his red. And then just share my screen because I can't, I can't pick one. Look, like ethically, I can't suggest that like people get charged with sexual harassment just based on their physical appearance. But if you were going to do it, Peter Nigerd would be the guy. He looks like how Trump thinks he looks. Yes. Yes. That's exactly how he looks. And he has the, yeah, his hair is fucking amazing. Yeah. No, like, um, he's got the like silver fox thing down, but in a like creep out in his way. Yeah. Like you could, yeah. He wears, we'll talk about the VNX in a little bit. He wears like really deep. He is, he was jacked at one point. Um, then he becomes kind of old. Yeah. He's better. But he did, he was, he was muscular at what was his eye? He does look like he looks like the bad guy from a Paul Verhoeven movie. Like he looks like someone Robo cop would shoot like the like the hour in 25 minute or the Androids will hold over be like, I want more life. Yeah. Yeah. The Androids will accuse him of sexual assault credibly. Um, he's, he's, he does also look and this is very inside baseball for people who live in Los Angeles. I'm sorry. I said the man's name is Delas Reigns. To the weather man that rolls. I want that guy to be good in every way. Because if so, yeah. Yeah. And the big nominative determinalists. So I can't imagine he's bad. But okay. Okay. No, see, he looks nice. Peter Nigerd, Peter Nigerd, he looks rich in all of his photos, but also like he would leave a film in his sat in your car. Like you would have to scrub it. And not just with like a spray bottle and a little bit of like like a paper towel. Like you need to actually get like one of those green scrubby things to really get in there. Because it's going to get in the crevices. The Nigerd goo. So when the free press reached out for comment on the, the case of him pulling down the pant fondling himself in front of an employee, Nigerd threatened a defamation suit against the paper. The reporter and another employee in 1996. He was accused of rape again by a Los Angeles employee who he later fired. The case was eventually dismissed. Now, none of these all again, this is the 80s through the 90s. None of these allegations do more than cause mild talk, right? Like this does not harm him in anyway. There's not a lot of way to search things on the internet. So unless you're really paying attention to his life, it's not something you're going to just like drum up the fact that there's these stories and fucking Canada about him. Yeah. So Nigerd got to live a life of opulence and semi glamour. He co-hosted an annual Oscar party in Los Angeles, which he build is the night of a thousand stars. Actual Hollywood in crowd people knew it as the night of a thousand has been because no one but bee-listers tended to show up. It was at one of these parties that he made. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's a real Hollywood burn. And again, the people burning in here are probably the people using Epstein as like pimps. So let's not. Yeah. Anyway, it's at one of these parties that he met Anna Nicole Smith, who he dated from 1998 to 2001. After she died of an overdose in 2007, he went on Montel Williams to claim that he'd tried to get her off drugs, which uh-huh. Based on some things we'll talk about in a bit, I don't think it's likely. Come on. It's very sad. It's a real bummer. Real bummer. Now he had a private plane where he did the normal rich guy stuff. He put a bar in there. He put stripper poles in a bed in there and like, look, you've got a private jet, which you shouldn't. But of course you're going to do some like wacky S seven shit like that. Although it's worth noting, he's doing this in like the 80s and 90s. Um, this is all anyway, whatever. I know it's like a like plush in the van. It's like Led Zeppelin shit. Um, and at least one instance, Nigerd's 17 year old girlfriend was filmed dancing on one of the poles. So again, Epstein, we're not yet getting into the stuff that's, yeah, but we're starting to get into the Epstein stuff, right? Flying around children on your sex plane. That's that's that's Epstein territory. We're in there. You know, we're running deep. We've made a first down. That's a basketball term, right? So if he's moving right along, um, I'm going to quote from Forbes here, a former stewardess on his private plane told of one incident in which Nigerd was accompanied by a bevy of topless women. At one point mid flight, she recalls Nigerd wild-haired and with his bathrobe open. But again, berating her coworker yelling, you are nothing. You are garbage. When the stewardess tried to calm him down, he screamed, I am God. Do you not understand? Even after the security director intervened, she claims Nigerd continued to rage shouting, this is my plane. I can do whatever the hell I want. Uh, that's that's the way the rules work. Cool guy. Cool guy. I mean, they do for him for like decades. So that's why he feels that way. He's not like making, he hasn't like invented this out of pure like that would normally be evidence of delusion. But for decades, that's the way the world works for Peter. Yeah. Like not that that's good, but that is the way the world works for him because he gets away with all this for an extremely long time. Also, I should note for legal purposes, he denies that story above. Um, although I don't think he'll be suing us any time soon because of where he's located. By far, Peter's most beloved possession. Yes, yeah. Um, by far Peter's most beloved possession and the center of his image is a carefree playboy fuck monster was Nigerd Kay, a chunk of the coastline of new Providence, which is in the Bahamas, that he renamed after himself. The compound was my end theme. And it had the look of a tropical temple city. I just arrived the built. No, just I just that that we just I have nothing to add to that, but that stands for its own. It does say a lot, right? When you have built your own Mayan temple city to yourself in the Bahamas, like, summer and country that you've just bought and ignored on the road. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I would describe the build quality based on what I can see is like Disney world quality. Like it looks like it was it looked pretty cool. I'm not going to lie. The Mayan temples didn't look bad. The Grand Hall was 32,000 square feet with a hundred thousand pound glass ceiling. Nigerd Kay was featured on lifestyles of the rich and the famous. It hosted celebrities like Oprah, who claimed I'm not living large enough after seeing it. For years, yeah. Yeah. There you go. Of course. Of course. Constantly like a little D level villain and like seven or eight of our episodes. Yeah. Just a little thread. Just like what's going on with her? She kind of seems like she might be up to some evil stuff, but also everyone loves her. Fun stuff. Anyway, for years, the compound was one of the most infamous examples of wealthy excess on the planet. I want to play a clip for you, Margaret, from a 2004 show called Life of Luxury. Now, the woman you're going to hear talking first is Bianca Nigerd, whose his daughter and at this point is the chief of operations for his compound. Hi, welcome to Nigerd Kay. We have anything you could possibly imagine. Trampoline out on the water, tennis courts, basketball court, beach volleyball, pool volleyball. Every Sunday, we have a pamphor party with manicures, pedicures and massages for our guests. This high-away of hedonism boasts a hundred and fifty thousand square foot wonderland of excess. The ocean, the waterslide. There's even a human aquarium. That's not creepy. You need to pack your bags. Sorry. This slice of heaven ain't for rent. It's the private utopian bachelor pad of this man, Canada's clothing magnet, Peter Nigerd and entry is by invitation only. Personally, I enjoy the luxury desk when I have friends here with Witcher Sharer. It certainly is big enough with its 22 bedroom built without walls. So that last bit's a little creepy, right? Built without walls. Built without walls, huh? And the human aquarium, there's a shop where it's built. It's a gross tank in a dark room. It is a gross tank with a person in a bikini in it. It is pretty fucking pretty fucking gnarly and we have not really started into the gross stuff. We've started into the gross stuff. But it gets a lot worse from hearing. Now, you're not going to be surprised to learn that a lot of those so-called friends that he likes to share his compound with, the ones who were not celebrities, were extremely young women. Some of them were children. A lot of them were children who were trafficked sometimes allegedly against their will and systemically abused, systematically abused by Peter Nigerd. We're going to tell that story and we're going to tell you a lot more in part two. But Margaret, if you had tens of millions of dollars compound based off of the stolen artistic style of a central American civilization on a Bahamian island where you committed a raft of felonies, what would it be and what would the felonies be? Well, the felonies is that people like that would be in the aquarium. And they would be in there for just long enough to, before we lift them out again, it's just kind of a perpetual dunking tank. And anyone who comes can dunk them in. That is what I would build. Yeah. Yeah, I think I would do like a Kahokia mound. The mound is just a mass grave of guys like that. My throne of bastard skulls. Yeah. I think the, I think the people of the Kahokia mounds would be okay with that. Anyway, Margaret, you got, that's all for part one. You got anything to plug? Well, after that enjoyable, yeah, I have a book that is probably out by the time you hear this called We Won't Be Here Tomorrow, which includes such stories as people programming drones to murder people like we're discussing the show in a fictional setting. Yeah, because it's fiction. And yeah, that book is out. And I also have a host of a podcast called Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff, where you can hear Banger things that are sort of like this. Margaret Banger. We won't be here tomorrow, but we'll be back on Thursday with part two. Well done. I just thought of that one. Also, I have a book called After the Revolution. Wow. A K press or a K press has a bunch of indie bookstores you can order from. You can also get it from all of the regular bookstores. It's all over the place. Just type the words in and you'll find it. All right, everybody. All right, Margaret. All right. All right, Sophie. Off we go to Nigerd Key. But like in an IRI, we're kind of way. Yeah, there we go. No. Behind the bastards is a production of Cool Zone media. For more from Cool Zone media, visit our website or check us out on the iHeart Radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Life insurance isn't just a plot point on true crime podcasts. In the unfortunate event of a death, wishbox life insurance can be a backup plan to help protect your family. Go to to create a flexible term life insurance plan and get a quote in less than 10 minutes. Apply now and cancel at no cost within the first 30 days. It's easy, 100% online and plans start at just $9 a month. 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