Trump’s Army Secretary Pick Accused Of Punching Worker At Racehorse Auction

Vincent Viola listens during a news conference Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, in Sunrise, Fla., where he was formally introduced as the new owner of the Florida Panthers NHL hockey team. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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Vincent Viola, the billionaire Wall Street trader and owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to be secretary of the Army, was accused in August of punching a concessions worker at a racehorse auction.

A concessions worker at a high-end racehorse auction in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., told police that Viola punched him in the face, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.

The man had a “swollen bloody lip,” according to a police report obtained by the Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Viola told police that the man had pushed his wife, according to the report. The worker denied this.

Officers determined that both allegations “involved actions that could have been charged as harassment,” but neither man wanted to press charges, according to Greg Veitch, the chief of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

In a statement to the Times, a spokesman for Viola did not dispute that he punched the worker.

“Mr. Viola loves his wife and regrets the incident,” the spokesman wrote in one statement.

In a later statement, the spokesman described it as “a simple disagreement” and said that Viola notified Trump’s transition team about the incident “early on in the process and we consider this matter closed.”

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