Vincent Viola may have a lot of money but when it comes to classy behavior, it appears he has none.
Trump’s Army secretary designate is a Wall Street billionaire and owns the Florida Panthers hockey team. He is also the man who punched a concessions worker at a racecourse auction in Saratoga Springs, New York, according to police reports.
The incident occurred on Aug. 8 at one of the most exclusive horse auctions in the country. According to Viola’s wife, she was pushed by the worker as she entered a restricted area to get water for a friend who had fainted. When the police arrived, they saw the worker with a “swollen bloody lip” who told them Viola had punched him. The worker, whose name has been removed from the report, also said he did not push the retired Army ranger’s wife like she claimed.
Greg Veitch, the chief of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, said police officers determined that both offences “could have been charged as harassment, a violation level offense in New York State.” However, both of the men refused to press charges and officers did not witness the incident.
After a spokesman for Viola was approached about the incident, he sent out a written statement that read, “Mr. Viola loves his wife and regrets the incident.”
A few hours later another statement was sent which stated, “Mr. Viola will always stand up and defend his wife, and in this case there was a simple disagreement with the matter being dropped and no charges were filed. Mr. Viola notified the Transition Team of the disagreement early on in the process and we consider this matter closed.”
The horse auction company, Fasig-Tipton conducted an internal investigation into the dispute that determined “any assault allegations were without merit.” The company did not say whether it was referring to the worker pushing Viola’s wife or the punch that bloodied his lip.
The secretary of the Army is the senior civilian official who oversees the Army’s personnel’s training and budget.
Of course, Viola loves his wife and got angry justifiably when she claimed she was pushed by a concessions worker. But there are less violent ways to settle a conflict and a person who so quickly leans towards physical abuse really fit to be the Army secretary?
Viola’s confirmation hearing has not been scheduled as yet.
Banner/ Thumbnail credit: Reuters