The Real Deal New York

Trump taps Virtu CEO, Brooklyn real estate investor Vincent Viola for Army secretary

The billionaire recently spent about $140M on 124 Columbia Heights, 2 Pierrepont Street
December 19, 2016 04:20PM

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ building at 124 Columbia Heights (credit: Getty Images) and Vincent Viola

President-elect Donald Trump nominated Virtu Financial CEO — and recent Brooklyn real estate investor — Vincent Viola for Secretary of the U.S. Army on Monday.

A 1977 West Point graduate, Viola served with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He later helped found West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center and currently serves on the Army Cyber Institute Advisory Board at the school, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In the last year-and-a half, Viola bought two Brooklyn buildings, paying $105 million in April for 124 Columbia Heights, a 152,670-square-foot building owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and $35 million last September for a 12-story building owned by Brooklyn Law School. That building, at 2 Pierrepont Street, gained attention last month when a law school professor refused to move out before the proposed deadline, leading Viola to sue the law school for $2 million.

Viola and his wife, Teresa Viola, also own an apartment on the Upper East Side, which they listed for a record $114 million in 2013 before lowering the price. They later took the apartment off the market.

In 2002, Viola helped found the high frequency trading firm that later became Virtu. The billionaire — one of three in Trump’s cabinet — is also an owner of the National Hockey League Florida Panthers.

The senate is scheduled to hold hearings on his nomination next year. [WSJ]Ben St. Clair