So, a local hero will not be serving in the Trump Administration after all. Vincent Viola, the billionaire owner of the Florida Panthers ice hockey team and St. Cecilia’s graduate, has decided not to pursue his nomination by President Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of the Army. It was widely reported by many American newspapers on Friday that Viola informed President Trump on Friday that he would be unable to accept the nomination because separating from the companies that he had built over the last 35 years had proven too difficult, according to the Chicago Tribune. Some reports say that Viola could not divest himself from his stake in Eastern Airlines, which he would have been required to do under conflict of interest laws cabinet members must abide by. The New York Times reported that Mr. Viola had been negotiating to swap his stake in Eastern Air Lines for a stake in Swift Air, an airline with government subcontracts. If his nomination had continued, he would have faced controversy by potentially becoming a government official who profited from federal contracts. Viola becomes the first nominee chosen by Trump to remove himself from the nomination process.
Viola, who went to Brooklyn Tech High School is a local success story. The son of a truck driver, Viola is a West Point graduate and former Army infantry officer who served in the 101st Airborne Division. Upon leaving the military in the 1980s he began to work on the trading floor at the New York Mercantile Exchange where he thrived. He became chairman of the exchange from 2001 to 2004. He then founded Virtu Financial in 2008 and took the electronic market-making firm public in 2015. Viola’s net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion, according to some sources.

Trump and Viola reportedly bonded last year when the plane used by the Florida Panthers plane was loaned by Viola to fly Trump’s vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence around the country during the campaign, according to the Miami Herald.

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