Florida Panthers

Cops say Panthers owner and Trump’s Army pick punched concessionaire

The Florida Panthers new owner Vinnie Viola is surrounded by family members Travis, wife Teresa, Michael and John at a press conference at BB&T Center on Sept. 27, 2013.
The Florida Panthers new owner Vinnie Viola is surrounded by family members Travis, wife Teresa, Michael and John at a press conference at BB&T Center on Sept. 27, 2013. Miami Herald file photo

When Vinnie Viola first met the South Florida media as the new owner of the Florida Panthers, he spoke of how important his family is to him.

Members of the Panthers have seen how deep Viola’s family ties run first hand, whether it’s through meeting them casually at dinners set up by Viola during the season or through working with them at the arena.

In August, the New York Times reports, Viola got into an altercation with a concession worker who allegedly pushed Viola’s wife Teresa.

According to a police report filed in Saratoga Springs, New York, Viola punched the worker after they got into a argument a little while after the unidentified worker pushed Viola’s wife after she went into a restricted kitchen area searching for water when another woman fainted.

The Violas, who have a large interest in horse racing, were attending a high-end horse auction when the altercation took place.

No charges were filed nor were there any arrests.

Police did not witness anything but noted the worker had a “swollen lip.” The two walked away from each other once police arrived.

The report by the Times comes up as Viola prepares for his Senate confirmation hearing as Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Army.

Viola, 60, apparently told the Trump transition team about the incident.

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According to the Times, a Viola spokesman sent a statement saying “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 Transition Team of the disagreement early on in the process and we consider this matter closed.”

Viola is expected to be confirmed next month. Viola says he will give up his title as chairman and governor of the Panthers upon his confirmation with business partner Doug Cifu taking over. The Viola family will continue to own a majority of the Florida Panthers.

A copy of the police report acquired by the New York Times can be found here.

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