Viola was perhaps the handsomest of all the exchange chairmen, but beneath the spit and polish he was still a tough guy from Brooklyn, Goodman wrote. After becoming a local in the NYMEX gasoline pit, he finally found his niche. He compared trading to being in an army platoon.
Goodman wrote Viola had a nasty temper, but [predecessor chairman Lou] Guttman says he didnt lose control of his emotions easily.
In the book, Guttman said Viola exuded leadership. His personality was amazing. He drew people in. He was a phenomenal speaker. Even if he didnt know what he was talking about, he sounded like he knew what he was saying. He was an astute businessman and an extreme opportunist.
Goodman wrote that Viola, the son of a truck driver, set up a dojo in his office to study kung fu and that his fondest wish, according to a former associate, was to be ambassador to Italy or to the Vatican.
In the book, interviewee Ben Kaufman, the son of a big oil trader who interned at NYMEX, said Viola was the street-smart Italian guy, always with a bunch of Brooklyn and Staten Island kids hanging around him. Vinnie had the influence and the intimidation factor going for him. He dressed and acted like a Mafioso don.
Viola has received numerous awards for his philanthropy. He gave $2 million to Fordham University to establish the Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Chair in Catholic Theology. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he financed the Counter-Terrorism Center at West Point.
He also co-founded the National Childrens Educational Reform Foundation, which is dedicated to the improvement of inner-city education with an emphasis on bilingual programs in immigrant communities.
Viner, who has helped the Florida Panthers foundation raise a considerable amount of money for charity, took over the Panthers along with Stu Siegel from Alan Cohen in 2009. Viner became the sole general partner a year later.
The Panthers would be the latest NHL franchise to change hands in recent months as Phoenix and New Jersey both struggling financially have new ownership groups.
Im going to let this play out, coach Kevin Dineen said.
Nothing has been finalized or anything like that. Like everyone else, Ill wait and see what happens.