Winnipeg city councillor says he has ‘clear conscience’ about working for Peter Nygard

A Winnipeg city councillor who can be seen in videos featured in a CBC documentary about Peter Nygard says his conscience is clear about his work for the former fashion mogul, who is now accused of sexual assault.

On two separate occasions during a documentary on Nygard produced by The Fifth Estate, a younger-looking but clearly recognizable Kevin Klein appears on the screen.

Klein, who is now the city councillior for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, worked briefly for Nygard in 2012 and 2014. His work was in communications and in a government-relations role for a biotech company partially owned by Nygard.

The former fashion executive was arrested in Winnipeg on Dec. 14, 2020, and remains in custody facing extradition to the U.S. for allegations he sexually assaulted dozens of women and girls over a 25-year period. None of the charges against him have been proven in court.

Klein told CBC News he travelled to Nygard’s estate in the Bahamas on two occasions for work, both times with his wife. 

In one segment of The Fifth Estate documentary, Klein is seen at a beach location with Nygard and several others.

Kevin Klein is seen in The Fifth Estate’s documentary with Peter Nygard at a meeting of government officials and politicians from the Bahamas. (The Fifth Estate/CBC)

“My role at that time [was] as a senior executive [for] government relations,” Klein said, and that segment shows an event attended by ministers and elected officials from the Bahamas.

“That was why I was there,” he said.

A second scene in the documentary shows Klein at a poker table where Nygard is dealing cards. Klein said he couldn’t be sure where the video was shot, but it could have been in Winnipeg.

“It would be very hard for me to definitively tell you where exactly that one was.”

Kevin Klein says he played poker with Peter Nygard twice, but doesn’t remember where this game was played. (The Fifth Estate/CBC )

Klein says he and his wife never saw any behaviour by Nygard that would be regarded as inappropriate or illegal.

“We saw nothing … that would raise eyebrows whatsoever — but again, then, we didn’t spend a lot of time connected to Peter himself,” Klein said.

As revelations of Nygard’s legal difficulties unfolded last year, Klein’s role with the former fashion executive spilled into city hall.

Last March, Mayor Brian Bowman asked Klein — who was chair of the city’s police board at the time — whether there were any legal matters that would distract him from his duties.

Klein, who was the publisher of the Winnipeg Sun for several years, acknowledges that back in 2012 and 2014, he’d heard suggestions that Nygard had a controversial lifestyle, potentially even involving illegal behaviour.

“I was aware,” of those suggestions, he said. “I also would say that, you know, I have worked for a number of recognizable and successful people in North America, all of which have come under fire for various reasons.”

Klein says the information that has come to light in recent years has shocked and angered him, though he says the brief time he worked for Nygard was a valuable business learning experience.

“I guess the regret … comes from, you know, hearing and seeing what’s happening today. I mean, I can’t predict the future. And … I certainly can’t be responsible for some of these personal actions or their past,” Klein said. 

The city councillor says he left his work with Nygard because he didn’t agree with the way the companies conducted business and shortly after returned to the Winnipeg Sun, but left with “a clear conscience.”

A decision on a bail application for Nygard is expected on Friday.

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