By P.J. Malone
The reporting on court proceedings brought against fashion mogul Peter Nygard by Fred Smith, attorney for Save The Bays and hedge-fund billionaire Louis Bacon, has been curious. Why are news reports presenting headlines indicting Peter Nygard without any substantive testimony to back it up?
No where in the Tribune’s first article on the court proceedings was evidence presented stating their quoted headline. (Headline states, “Court Told ‘No Dredging Activity At Nygard Cay Without Peter Nygard’s Permission’”) In fact, from the article I read, their headline’s opposite is true. Why is the public being misled in such a peculiar way?
If you accept that their article’s quotes of the court transcript are correct, there are several very contradictory and relevant facts that were revealed by the witness the article reports on from the court proceedings.
Focus on these facts and revelations would make for a far more relevant story. The witness’ testimony causes one to question the level of professionalism of their private investigation all together:
- For example, the fact that a private investigator, hired by purportedly Save The Bays, came to court to testify about surveillance work he had done with respect to a major court case and did not even take the time to remind himself of the dates he had done the surveillance.
- And, the fact that the private investigator admitted that he had made the mistake of not doing his homework before commencing a major surveillance job.
So what could the private investigator possibly have been conducting surveillance on and writing a report about if he had no knowledge of prior conditions?
That doesn’t sound like a professional or proper investigation to me.
Then there was this exchange between Mr. Nygard’s lawyer and the Private Investigator as written about in The Tribune newspaper:
“‘Are you able to tell us the depth of the water before the dock was constructed?’ the lawyer asked. The witness said no.
“‘Do you know anything about this area concerning the seabed in so far as the construction of the dock?’ Mr Nygard’s lawyer probed. The private investigator said no.
“The witness said he could not speak to permission being granted for work to be done, nor could he say if there were any terms or conditions affixed prior to and at the time he was conducting the surveillance.
“‘So you can give us no particular information about Nygard Cay of an historical nature?’ the lawyer asked. ‘No I can’t,’ the witness said.”
There is also this exchange from the The Tribune article:
“‘When you speak of dredging taking place, did you discover who was responsible?’ Mr Lockhart asked. The witness said no.”
“‘Do you know who moved the accumulated dredged sand?’ Mr Lockhart asked. ‘No, I do not know them,’ the witness said.
“‘Did you inquire who drove that pay-loader?’ Mr Lockhart asked. The witness said he did not.
“‘Do you know who was responsible for their presence there?’ the lawyer asked. The investigator, again, said no.”
Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see the connection between the headline, “Court Told ‘No Dredging Activity At Nygard Cay Without Peter Nygard’s Permission’”, and the witness’ testimony.
Further, a second article reports on the exchange between Mr. Nygard’s lawyer and a witness, a private investigator, who admits that parts of his report were not his own words.
How does one conduct an investigation and write a report that is not the words of the individual who conducted the investigation?
The witness also discusses what he overheard standing on Bacon’s property next door to Mr. Nygard’s property over a waterway that separates the two properties.
And it was this witness’ ‘hearsay’ statement the news outlet chose to use for its headline in its second article on the court proceedings.
It just seems very strange to me that a respected news outlet would write headlines that are not fully supported in the articles themselves and actually do more to mislead the public than inform the public.