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October 29, 2011

A "tough guy from Brooklyn": new book describes Vinny Viola, Nets minority owner (and the one who brought Mary Higgins Clark on board)

Atlantic Yards Report

Had the larger-than-life Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov not emerged on the scene, the buyer of the New Jersey Nets may well have been Brooklyn-born Vincent (Vinny) Viola, former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and now chair of the firm Virtu Financial.

And Viola appears to be a colorful figure in his own right, according to The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World's Oil Market, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman's dishy 2011 book about NYMEX. Still, given some careless reporting, we may have to take some of it with a grain of salt.

...

Viola, a New Jersey resident and longtime Nets season ticket holder (via NetsDaily, which offered a 6/26/09 bio sketch), got to know Bruce Ratner through real estate. Goodman writes:

After becoming a Nymex trader, Viola also dabbled in other businesses, running some community banks in Dallas and starting up proprietary trading shops active in the New York and London energy markets. After taking the chairmanship, he even invested in the Nets basketball team alongside real-estate developer Bruce Ratner, who'd worked on the construction of the Nymex building that had generated so much controversy. The two men moved the team from New Jersey to Viola's hometown of Brooklyn, with Viola bringing in other investors from Nymex--most notably, bestselling mystery romance novelist Mary Higgins Clark, whose daughter Patty Clark Derenzo was Viola's secretary.

Despite the past tense, the team has not yet moved.

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Posted by steve at October 29, 2011 3:27 PM