The Bil­lion­aire Bat­tle in the Ba­hamas

The whole thing be­gan over a pud­dle in a drive­way

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

The two men are next-door neigh­bors in Ly­ford Cay, a gated com­mu­nity on New Prov­i­dence, an is­land in the Ba­hamas, and for years it had been a peace­ful ad­ja­cency. Be­cause both of them hap­pen to be bil­lion­aires, it is a pic­turesque drive­way, lined by ca­sua­r­ina trees and triple Alexan­der palms, 200 feet north of a stun­ning body of wa­ter known as Clifton Bay and 100 feet south of an even more stun­ning vista upon the At­lantic Ocean.

It is less a drive­way than a road—but also a por­tion of road that is shared by both neigh­bors and no­body else, ow­ing to how it cuts right through one man’s prop­erty and ends at the other man’s, which oc­cu­pies the west­ern­most tip of the is­land. And we’re talk­ing about a land of eight-fig­ure beach­front prop­er­ties, where the houses are very close to each other— where one man’s din­ing room is only about 200 feet from the other’s re­volv­ing acrylic dis­cotheque floor and the glass walls that en­close it with a steady cas­cade of wa­ter.

An “ease­ment” is what the drive­way’s cre­ator, the de­vel­oper E. P. Tay­lor, a Cana­dian brew­ing ty­coon, termed this shared pas­sage when he es­tab­lished Ly­ford Cay in 1955. (The road it­self he saw fit to name E. P. Tay­lor Drive.) But just as one man’s drive­way is an­other man’s ease­ment, one neigh­bor’s cock­tail party is an­other’s sleep­less night due to the fact that there are 2,000 Ba­hami­ans—plus a lot of young women from is­lands through­out the At­lantic, not to men­tion Europe—whoop­ing it up at the top­less bac­cha­nal next door. And one man’s over­flow of parked cars along the drive­way on that sleep­less neigh­bor’s side of the prop­erty line is an­other man’s rea­son to have the sec­tion of the drive­way that cuts through his prop­erty re-graded and re­built, adding a dip and tall flag­stone walls on ei­ther side, leav­ing no shoul­der space for any­body to ever con­ceiv­ably think of park­ing there, while also screen­ing the drive­way from view.

The dip cre­ated a drainage prob­lem when it rained: the pud­dling. “It was smelly. And it had mos­qui­toes. And in or­der to come to our place you had to go and wear rub­ber boots to come and knock on our door,” says Peter Ny­gard, a Cana­dian man­u­fac­turer of women’s wear and the neigh­bor at the end of the road who threw the par­ties. In a court fil­ing, he re­ferred to it as “a toi­let drain.”

“Ny­gard likes the idea that peo­ple think they’re go­ing to a sep­a­rate is­land when they go to his place,” says Louis Ba­con, a ti­tan of New York fi­nance and the neigh­bor who con­structed the strate­gic no-park­ing zone. “Now it kind of looks like what the English call a ha-ha: the road drops and it feels more pri­vate. It’s a bet­ter en­trance for his guests and bet­ter for me too.”

But that was then, and this is now. And some­how, what be­gan in 2007 with a bit of ir­ri­ta­tion over runoff has es­ca­lated to a bat­tle royal en­com­pass­ing no fewer than 16 le­gal ac­tions be­tween Ny­gard and Ba­con and their as­so­ci­ates, in which both sides are claim­ing dam­ages in the tens of mil­lions of dol­lars and lob­bing al­le­ga­tions of ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude van­dal­ism, bribery, in­sider trad­ing, ar­son, mur­der, de­struc­tion of the frag­ile seabed, and hav­ing a close as­so­ci­a­tion with the Ku Klux Klan.

It has reached a point where nei­ther man, though each used to con­sider Ly­ford Cay his right­ful home, spends much time there any­more. Ny­gard, un­able to ob­tain govern­ment per­mits to re­build his six-acre, Mayan-in­spired com­pound af­ter an elec­tri­cal fire in 2009 de­mol­ished most of the struc­tures—in­clud­ing the 32,000-square-foot “grand hall,” with its 100,000-pound glass ceil­ing—has been left to live out of his study when he does visit, and has stopped throw­ing par­ties al­to­gether. He blames the man next door for all of it, cit­ing a string of en­vi­ron­men­tal-degra­da­tion suits that Ba­con has filed against him in court. Ba­con hasn’t set foot in the Ba­hamas in more than a year, claim­ing it would put his per­sonal safety at risk. In Jan­uary 2015, he lev­eled a $100 mil­lion defama­tion com­plaint against Ny­gard in New York, where both men’s busi­nesses are head­quar­tered. Ny­gard, the suit al­leges, has been the “ring­leader” be­hind a vast multi-me­dia smear cam­paign— TV and ra­dio ads pur­chased, Web sites cre­ated, videos doc­tored, T-shirts printed, and even “hate ral­lies” staged with pa­rades through Nas­sau—all in the name of la­bel­ing Ba­con a racist, a thief, and a “ter­ror­ist,” and bear­ing mes­sages such as BA­CON GO HOME.

Ny­gard filed a coun­ter­claim and tells any­body who will lis­ten that Ba­con is try­ing to de­stroy him out of a sim­ple de­sire to take over his prop­erty, claim­ing that some years ago— Ny­gard can’t re­call when—a real-es­tate agent came to his house on Ba­con’s be­half and of­fered $100 mil­lion for the place. When he turned him down, the agent replied that Ba­con would get the prop­erty “one way or an­other,” Ny­gard claims, adding that he doesn’t know the man’s name and can’t re­mem­ber where he worked, “be­cause it was such a joke to me.” Even so, he says, he took it as a threat. (Ba­con has said he made no such of­fer and was never in­ter­ested in ac­quir­ing Ny­gard’s land.)

Ny­gard vows he will never sell and says that he has never met any­body “that smart, that com­pet­i­tive, in my life. He re­minds me of Hitler.”

“Peter Pinoc­chio,” Ba­con calls Ny­gard in an open let­ter he pub­lished in the Ba­hamas Tri­bune, not­ing his habit of “play­ing foot­sie with the truth.”

And so on.

In This Cor­ner

At 74, with his long white hair and vig­or­ously spread fam­ily tree (he has had eight chil­dren with five women), Ny­gard is some­thing like the Hugh Hefner of down-mar­ket retail. Aes­thet­i­cally—shirt un­but­toned to the navel, tight black jeans, and some sort of glit­ter he ap­plies to his sun­tanned arms af­ter show­er­ing—he brings to mind a mash-up of Sam Wal­ton and Gun­ther Gebel-Wil­liams, the cir­cus-an­i­mal trainer.

Some things you should know about Ny­gard: His per­sonal his­tory in­volves em­i­grat­ing from Fin­land to Man­i­toba with his fam­ily when he was eight and liv­ing out of a con­verted coal­bin. At 24 he pur­chased a share in a cloth­ing-man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany with an $8,000 loan, and be­fore long re­named it Ny­gard. To­day, it has about a dozen lines of in­ex­pen­sive ap­parel, aimed mostly at mid­dle-aged shop­pers and avail­able in more than 200 Ny­gard stores and other retail chains in North Amer­ica, and does $500 mil­lion in an­nual sales. He dated Anna Ni­cole Smith for sev­eral years.

He is fa­mous in the Ba­hamas. He flies there in a pri­vate jet that bears the words PETER NY­GARD N FORCE and once re­port­edly had a strip­per’s pole in­side. He sued a for­mer as­so­ciate for claim­ing that Ny­gard had “de­lib­er­ately hired celebrity looka­likes” to at­tend his Os­car party, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. The case was even­tu­ally set­tled. He is ob­sessed with longevity. He was giv­ing him­self testos­terone shots ev­ery other day and made ar­range­ments with a lab to re­ceive reg­u­lar in­jec­tions of his

The whole thing be­gan over a pud­dle in a drive­way

own stem cells. He talks about the virtues of ex­er­cise and healthy eat­ing, and he takes about 50 pills a day—“vi­ta­mins, sup­ple­ments, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals,” he says. “What is it that I’m work­ing on? Get­ting younger.”

More than any­thing, Ny­gard is proud of his con­crete sanc­tu­ary, which in 1992 he per­suaded the Ba­hamian govern­ment to re­name Ny­gard Cay to co­in­cide with a Life­styles of the Rich and Fa­mous seg­ment. For the pre­ced­ing 400 years it had been known as Simms Point. Ny­gard de­signed and con­structed the com­pound him­self over more than two decades. (“To give Ny­gard credit, he’s in­dus­tri­ous,” Ba­con con­cedes. “I used to see him out there in his front loader.”) Even with the main house at Ny­gard Cay mostly in ru­ins six years af­ter the fire—the grand stair­case that ran through it is now more of an open-air gang­way—there’s still plenty to marvel at: carved dragons, 60-foot zig­gu­rats with hun­dreds of torches lit in­di­vid­u­ally ev­ery night by his staff, gi­ant stat­ues of nude women mod­eled on his for­mer girl­friends, and what he claims is the world’s largest sauna, a 6,000-square-foot A-frame lodge con­structed of Cana­dian-pine logs that are 2 feet thick and 28 feet long. “We went and got a spe­cial barge, huge un­der­tak­ing,” he says of im­port­ing them, adding that it was the first build­ing he erected. “Ev­ery Finn starts with the saunas.”

Ny­gard and his friends some­times re­fer to his es­tate as “Dis­ney­land on steroids.” Chichén Ibiza is more like it. A squadron of pea­cocks strut on the grounds. Gi­ant urns belch smoke like vol­ca­noes. Coiled stone co­bras hiss steam at sun­set. The multi-hued struc­tures are fes­tooned with thou­sands of col­ored light­bulbs. He’s strug­gling to get ap­proval to re­build from the Ba­hamian govern­ment but may want the next it­er­a­tion to re­sem­ble a space­ship. “I’m into a lot of other kind of de­sign, the New York de­sign—it’s more techy,” he says. He won’t think of try­ing to repli­cate what he al­ready built. “You know that song, ‘Some­one left the cake out in the rain’? I lost that recipe. ‘I’ll never have that recipe again.’” He’s got no idea how much money he put into it the first time.

Ny­gard misses the life he had in Ly­ford be­fore Ba­con— whom he refers to as “my nice neigh­bor”—be­gan to get in the way. He no longer holds his Sun­day-night “pam­per par­ties,” which of­fered ev­ery­body free spa treat­ments. “It just tore a heart out of me,” Ny­gard says. “This was my dream, my life wrapped up in here.” But tonight he’s still hav­ing fun. In his mir­rored gym, which now func­tions as the din­ing room, he eats din­ner and downs the con­tents of a metic­u­lously marked Bag­gie full of pills handed to him by a young per­sonal as­sis­tant. He men­tions that his as­sis­tant is “one of my main girl­friends.”

Soon, they’re joined by a cou­ple of other women, who have just ar­rived from Mi­ami, and sev­eral mem­bers of the Ba­hamian men’s vol­ley­ball team. They all con­sider driv­ing to town for the pa­rade cel­e­brat­ing Junkanoo, a na­tional hol­i­day. “You have to take off your top if we go,” he jokes with one of the ladies, flip­ping his hands up­ward from his shoul­ders to pan­tomime. In­stead, ev­ery­body stays up un­til three A.M. play­ing poker. On his TV is a frozen pic­ture of Ba­con bear­ing the words “5 Lies of Ba­con.” Out­side, on his vol­ley­ball court, one of sev­eral large signs reads, ITS [sic] TIME TO THROW THE TRASH OUT! LOUIS KKK BA­CON. The signs (which Ny­gard says have since been taken down) are pointed out to­ward the wa­ter, in case any­body sail­ing by in Clifton Bay should want to know more about the man. Ba­con’s hedge fund is name-checked, too: MOORE CAP­I­TAL MAN­AGE­MENT. On an­other is Ba­con’s face with the word CRIM­I­NAL stamped over his fore­head. The signs are eas­ily seen from the Ba­con fam­ily’s break­fast nook.

In That Cor­ner

In a glass-tower of­fice, framed by views of the Man­hat­tan sky­line and the Hud­son River, Ba­con, 59 years old and sit­ting tall in a chrome­and-leather chair, is sur­rounded by trad­ing screens, clocks set to the times of var­i­ous over­seas mar­kets, squash and yacht­ing mag­a­zines, model air­craft. “Deal­ing with Ny­gard,” he says, “is like hav­ing dog shit on your shoe.” (Ny­gard’s ri­poste: “I rec­om­mend that he change his shoes.”)

He is short on di­a­logue: he has lit­tle to say that his lawyers can’t say for him, be­cause he’s do­ing his best to ap­pear aloof, as if to as­sert that the feud has failed to get the bet­ter of him. He’s also mor­ti­fied to have his pub­lic iden­tity joined with his an­tag­o­nist’s. “Louis doesn’t like at­ten­tion in the first place,” says his col­lege friend and Ly­ford neigh­bor, Chris Brady. “But it’s al­most crim­i­nal for him to even be men­tioned in the same para­graph as Peter Ny­gard.”

Ba­con grew up in a wealthy real-es­tate-busi­ness fam­ily in North Carolina, boarded at Epis­co­pal High School, in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, and grad­u­ated from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege (where he is now a trustee) and Columbia Busi­ness School. He’s a mem­ber of the Rac­quet and Ten­nis Club and the Union Club of the City of New York. He has seven chil­dren, four with his first wife and three with his cur­rent wife. The hedge fund he owns and runs has some $15 bil­lion un­der man­age­ment, and his es­ti­mated net worth is $1.75 bil­lion. Forbes once summed up his in­vest­ment strat­egy as “se­cre­tive, risk-con­scious, a bit para­noid.” If, on a lark, he were per­suaded to read for a movie part calling for a “hand­some Wall Street king­pin type,” he’d prob­a­bly be turned down be­cause the fit seems too per­fect to be cred­i­ble: sculpted mandible, en­vi­ably tou­sled locks.

Where Ny­gard has made a vis­i­ble mark on the cay with his es­tate, Ba­con wants his coun­try houses known for how metic­u­lously they fit into their sur­round­ings. He has a lot of them. In ad­di­tion to his res­i­dence on the Up­per East Side, he owns a week­end home on Robins Is­land, off the coast of Southamp­ton, Long Is­land, where he hosts polo matches and driven-pheas­ant shoots. (He bought the en­tire 445-acre is­land in 1993 for $11 mil­lion.) He also owns a grouse moor in Scot­land and a hunt­ing lodge in the North of Eng­land. Then there was his Ge­or­gian town house in Knights­bridge (be­fore he sold it), not to men­tion spreads he still owns in Panama, New Mex­ico, and North Carolina, as well as his 172,000-acre Colorado ranch, which, when he pur­chased it from Mal­colm Forbes’s fam­ily for $175 mil­lion, in 2007, be­came the most ex­pen­sive Amer­i­can res­i­dence ever. A sec­ond es­tate in Ly­ford Cay—for spillover guests or staff—has an in­door squash court.

“The com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor is his en­gage­ment in nat­u­ral re­sources, an as­tute sen­si­tiv­ity to all the com­po­nents that make a habi­tat con­ducive to the area in ques­tion,” says Peter Talty, an ar­chi­tect who works for Ba­con’s own per­sonal prop­er­ty­man­age­ment com­pany. (“Trust me, it’s a full-time job.”) Ba­con is fond of the ju­di­cious (and tax-de­ductible) gam­bit known as a con­ser­va­tion ease­ment, de­ploy­ing it, for ex­am­ple, to re­store the eastern-mud­tur­tle pop­u­la­tion and pre­serve the habi­tat of en­dan­gered shore­birds on Robins Is­land. Since 1994, he has con­trib­uted $175 mil­lion to con­ser­va­tion­ist causes, in­clud­ing funds to pre­vent Clifton Bay, a corallined stretch abut­ting Ly­ford Cay, from be­ing de­vel­oped as a sub­di­vi­sion an­chored by a casino. That it has since been pre­served as a na­tional park was what, in 2013, won him the Audubon So­ci­ety’s an­nual medal for con­tri­bu­tions to con­ser­va­tion. He is “the rare wealthy busi­ness­man who sees the en­vi­ron­ment as a bat­tle­ground,” says Robert F. Kennedy Jr., of the Water­keeper Al­liance lob­by­ing group, a fa­vorite char­ity of Ba­con’s. “Louis funded our lit­i­ga­tion against the fac­to­ry­farm in­dus­try while he was con­stantly run­ning into the head of Smith­field in his el­e­va­tor, be­cause they lived in the same build­ing on Park Av­enue,” Kennedy says. “That’s kind of funny when you think about it, par­tic­u­larly since his name is Ba­con.”

As for his place in Ly­ford, Point House, you might never guess that the owner is this rich. Even though there’s a cus­tom-made board game called “Ba­conopoly” sit­ting on a cre­denza, with squares named for all of Ba­con’s prop­er­ties (Rut­land Gate, Coral House), their iden­ti­ties turn out to have been af­fixed via

printed stick­ers, a util­i­tar­ian gift. “In this world, you don’t dis­close a lot,” says Ian Levy, who, with his wife, Char­lotte, man­ages the house­hold staff of seven (more when the Ba­cons are there). “As a for­mer yacht cap­tain, if I am sail­ing and my owner de­cides to cross with an­other boat, the other cap­tain and I won’t even re­fer to our boats’ own­ers by name. It’s sim­ply ‘your owner’ and ‘my owner.’ ” Even so, he does ac­knowl­edge that “a sit­ting queen and a for­mer king” have been guests of the Ba­cons’. (The queen was Noor of Jor­dan.) Even the Levys’ uni­forms are low-key: match­ing polo shirts with the Point House logo, a sim­ple child’s draw­ing of a cot­tage.

The Levys have wit­nessed the feud up close and speak about their neigh­bor with con­tempt. But Ba­con, they in­sist, has never lost his cool. “His re­sponse isn’t emo­tional,” Ian Levy says. “This is not a man you just phone up to tell him that a leaf’s fallen off a tree. I would tell him what hap­pened, and he said, ‘Take pho­tographs and re­fer it to the le­gal de­part­ment.’ He re­sponds to Peter Ny­gard as a prob­lem that needs to be taken care of.”

Un­til he filed his defama­tion suit, this year, Ba­con fought Ny­gard mostly un­der the aus­pices of an en­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paign, joined by many Ly­ford res­i­dents, that sought to rec­tify changes to the coast­line they claim Ny­gard is re­spon­si­ble for. In 2014, 103 lo­cals put their names on a com­plaint against the Ba­hamian govern­ment, de­mand­ing that cer­tain pro­ce­dures be fol­lowed in or­der for Ny­gard to get le­gal clear­ance to re­build. Some peo­ple in Ly­ford re­fer to Ba­con’s “hero­ism” for tak­ing on “the neigh­bor­hood bully.” “I’m prob­a­bly the one who’s been af­fected the most,” Ba­con says, “and I have the means to do some­thing about it.”

An Is­land Refuge

Ly­ford Cay was de­signed as a gated “win­ter com­mu­nity,” the brain­child of the afore­men­tioned E. P. Tay­lor and Sir Harold Christie, a scion of the Ba­hamian fam­ily that owned the orig­i­nal 3,000acre plot at the western tip of New Prov­i­dence. The houses have names that are play­fully colo­nial: Tra La La, Sa­fari, Tea Time, Out of Bounds. In 1962, when Pres­i­dent Kennedy flew to Nas­sau for a series of pri­vate “world-rang­ing talks” with the Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Harold Macmil­lan, he stayed at Tay­lor’s house and the P.M. stayed next door. Early res­i­dents in­cluded Henry Ford II, Aga Khan IV, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Hunt­ing­ton Hart­ford II, Babe Pa­ley, “and cer­tainly the most beau­ti­ful women and some of the most pow­er­ful men in the world,” Town & Coun­try re­ported in 1975, mar­veling at how the pri­vate tele­phone di­rec­tory for 120 vil­las listed “Heinz and Men­zies, Goulan­dris and Niar­chos, McMahon and Mel­lon.” The piece was ac­com­pa­nied by a lav­ish Slim Aarons photo spread.

To­day’s ros­ter is sleepy by com­par­i­son: aside from Sean Con­nery (who, nearly a half-dozen James Bonds ago, shot Thun­der­ball and sev­eral other films here), there are scores of semi-anony­mous busi­ness­men or their prog­eny. Ba­con and Ny­gard’s neigh­bors pre­fer to keep a low pro­file: Count and Count­ess de Ravenel, of France; the Brazil­ian rein­sur­ance mag­nate An­to­nio Braga; Jane Lewis, wife of the English in­vestor Joe Lewis. “It’s quiet money,” says David Laugh­lin, a New York fi­nancier (sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Ly­ford) and chair­man of the Ly­ford Cay Club.

Long be­fore the pud­dle, Ny­gard clashed stylis­ti­cally with much of the Ly­ford Cay es­tab­lish­ment. He threw a lot of par­ties and was al­ways do­ing con­struc­tion. He bought his house, a mod­est beach bun­ga­low, in 1984 for $1.76 mil­lion. It is now a se­cu­rity booth and staff of­fice for his es­tate. “In the early days, my dad would sit at the lit­tle kitchen counter in the win­dow and do his de­signs on nap­kins,” says his el­dest daugh­ter, Bianca, who works for the Ny­gard cor­po­ra­tion. “He al­ways said he would never be done.”

Ny­gard ini­tially joined the Ly­ford Cay Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (L.C.P.O.A.), even though his lot’s lo­ca­tion at the tip of the penin­sula meant that it was not deeded within the L.C.P.O.A. Af­ter a few years he stopped pay­ing dues. “When you join or go into some­body else’s house or the land, you need to obey their own rules; you need to con­form to what­ever their stan­dards are,” Ny­gard says. “I have my own life, you know? I never moved here to Ny­gard Cay be­cause of Ly­ford Cay. I moved to Ny­gard Cay be­cause it’s the most beau­ti­ful prop­erty in the world, and it hap­pened to be that to get to it I had to go through Ly­ford Cay.”

The Ly­ford Cay Club—a golf-and-ten­nis fa­cil­ity with a ma­jes­ti­cally frayed pink club­house—is the so­cial hub of the com­mu­nity, and ac­cord­ing to mem­bers, Ny­gard was dis­cour­aged from ap­ply­ing by peo­ple who broached the mat­ter on his be­half with the mem­ber­ship com­mit­tee. “There is a for­mal process to get into Ly­ford,” says Chris Brady, a life­long mem­ber. (Brady’s father, Ni­cholas Brady, was sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H. W. Bush.) “And it helps if you buy an ex­pen­sive piece of land and you keep your bad be­hav­ior on the down low. But Ny­gard got off to a bad start.” Ny­gard says he never tried to join the club, and also de­nies be­ing a bully, adding, “Most of my re­la­tion­ships with the Ly­ford Cay com­mu­nity were pris­tine un­til Louis Ba­con came and de­stroyed many of them. Many from Ly­ford Cay would cel­e­brate their wed­dings, an­niver­saries, and other spe­cial events at Ny­gard Cay, or bring their V.I.P. guests over, in­clud­ing roy­alty from around the world.” Yet, Laugh­lin says, “When some­body comes in who’s of a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter and doesn’t make much of an ef­fort to as­sim­i­late, some com­mu­ni­ties are bet­ter able to deal with that than oth­ers. At Ly­ford, there isn’t a mech­a­nism to deal with that kind of os­ten­ta­tious­ness. A lot of us in the old line viewed him as a cu­rios­ity. It’s not in keep­ing with what we do here, but peo­ple went out there to look at it. I’m one of them.”

So was the first Pres­i­dent Bush, who struck up a friend­ship with Ny­gard af­ter Ni­cholas Brady took him to Ny­gard Cay once to marvel at the place. For bet­ter or worse, says Bill Hunter, a for­mer Ly­ford Cay Club chair­man, “when you look to­ward Ny­gard’s place at night from across the bay, it’s like a cruise ship, all the lights and torches blaz­ing. And around it, the ad­ja­cent prop­er­ties are dark.”

“From time to time I see the pro­ces­sion of peo­ple com­ing to his par­ties—mo­tor­cades full of these at­trac­tive girls,” says Jean-Charles de Ravenel. “They’re not par­ties the typ­i­cal Ly­ford Cay fam­ily is hav­ing with their grand­chil­dren. Lis­ten, Ly­ford Cay is not St. Tropez.”

Ny­gard’s sup­port­ers say his par­ties do stand out, be­cause they’re full of peo­ple who wouldn’t oth­er­wise be in Ly­ford Cay. “He has poor kids and ath­letes out to his house ev­ery day,” says his best friend, Car­los Mackey, who is the host of a sports pro­gram on lo­cal TV. “He’s a philoso­pher, a vi­sion­ary, a ge­nius. But his heart’s as big as Shamu the whale.” Ny­gard is well known through­out the Ba­hamas for his fi­nan­cial sup­port of the coun­try’s Olympic run­ning squads, among many other char­i­ties. Wen­dall Jones, the pub­lisher of The Ba­hama Jour­nal, says, “The res­i­dents of Ly­ford Cay say they don’t ap­pre­ci­ate his flam­boy­ance when what they don’t like is the fact that he in­vites so many black peo­ple over. Peter Ny­gard is a force for good.”

Ba­con ar­rived next door at Point House in 1994. He paid $5.9 mil­lion, then over the next 15 years pur­chased two ad­join­ing pieces of land for an ad­di­tional $20 mil­lion. “They did of course warn me about my neigh­bor, but that’s prob­a­bly why the price was right,” Ba­con says. “He was a bit of a headache, but it was largely cor­dial at first.” Ny­gard says he and Ba­con—an odd cou­ple if ever there was one—in­vited each other for drinks at their homes. They man­aged an agree­ment (via their groundskeep­ers) on choices of is­land fi­cus and bougainvil­lea to plant along the ease­ment.

“I helped to save his life,” Ny­gard says of the time Ba­con and his prop­erty man­ager got ma­rooned dur­ing a fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion. “I had some of my boats out there. I was part of his search com­mit­tee.” Ba­con re­lates the same in­ci­dent, though he says that Ny­gard was most un­gal­lant. “My wife called him, and he came over to our house. He started cas­ing the joint, look­ing at it as a place to buy, and did noth­ing. They ended up get­ting some­body else to come find

Peter Ny­gard (left) is a hard-par­ty­ing retail ty­coon, whose es­tate is fit for a Mayan em­peror. Louis Ba­con (right) is a but­toned-up hedge-fund king, whose pas­sion is con­ser­va­tion. Both are locked in an eight-year le­gal war with each other that has turned each man’s par­adise into hell.

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