Report: Panthers owner Vincent Viola accused of punching concession worker

Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola. (J Pat Carter/AP)

Billionaire Wall Street trader, owner of the Florida Panthers, and Donald Trump’s nomination for secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, was accused of punching a concession worker at a high-end racehorse auction in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., according to a report from the New York Times.

The incident is reported to have occurred in August.

The concession worker had a “swollen bloody lip” when police arrived at the scene and said Viola had punched him in the face, according to the police report.

Viola told police that the worker had pushed his wife, Theresa, when she tried to get water for another woman who had fainted and some time later she pointed out the worker to Viola, who confronted him. The concession worker reportedly told officers that he did not push Viola’s wife.

Greg Veitch, the chief of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, told the Times that officers had “determined that both incidents involved actions that could have been charged as harassment, a violation level offence in New York State.”

However, neither party wanted to press charges and no officers witnessed the incident.

In a comment made to the Times, a spokesperson for Viola did not dispute a punch had been thrown.

“Mr. Viola loves his wife and regrets the incident,” the spokesperson said in a written statement to the paper, later adding: “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 (Trump) Transition Team of the disagreement early on in the process and we consider this matter closed.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.