Vincent Viola a Wall Street billionaire trader and President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army, precipitously withdrew his name for the post on Friday night after he concluded that it would be difficult for him to disentangle himself from his business ties, two government officials confirmed.
Vincent Viola is an owner of the Florida Panthers hockey club and a major shareholder in Virtu Financial and Eastern Air Lines, among other business interests. This week The New York Times reported that the billionaire had been negotiating to swap his stake in Eastern Air Lines for a stake in Swift Air, an airline with government subcontracts.
If he had continued with his nomination, he probably might have faced certain scrutiny for potentially becoming a government official who benefits from federal contracts.
The Trump administration deemed it fit not to announce his withdrawal, which was reported first on Friday by The Military Times, but a senior administration official and a Pentagon official separately confirmed his decision, which the White House accepted on Friday. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Vincent Viola graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in the year 1977, and he last served in the Army Reserves at the rank of major. He remained connected to the military through donations to West Point, including to the academy’s Combating Terrorism Center.
A former Pentagon official and a close friend said that the Billionaire was extremely upset over having to withdraw from what he described as a lifelong dream job. But the former official said The Wall street Billionaire felt he was unable to sell his interest in some of his holdings because doing so could have destroyed those companies. His decision followed weeks of negotiations between his lawyers and the government as they sought to find a solution.
unfortunately, they did’t find an authentic solution.
Vincent Viola’s net worth is almost $1.8 billion and he is a co-founder of Virtu. Virtu had planned to go public in 2014, but pulled the plug on the move because of choppy markets and lingering questions around how high-frequency trading firms like Virtu make money. In a regulatory filing at the time, Virtu said regulators were looking into its trading practices. It is not known if this issue played a role in Mr. Viola’s decision to withdraw his name for the Army secretary job, which is a post that requires Senate confirmation.
His withdrawal dicision came the same week with another of President Trump’s appointees, Anthony Scaramucci, was told he would not get a top job at the White House amid concerns about the recent sale of his company to a large Chinese conglomerate.
In an event that is not related to the finances of the Wall street Billionaire, it was revealed that he was involved in a wrangle in August: He was accused of punching a concessions worker at a racehorse auction in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. No charges were brought against him.
Vincent Viola was among the first nominations President Trump issued the day he was inaugurated. “Vincent Viola, everybody likes Vincent,” Mr. Trump said just hours after his swearing-in, as he signed orders nominating his cabinet.