Attorney Fires Back at Former Arts Council Director

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The war of words between a local lawyer and former arts official is escalating. In a legal response filed Thursday, attorney Gaines West denied any involvement in the criminal case against ex-Arts Council of the Brazos Valley Director P. David Romei.

In that document, West states, "I have not, together with the Arts Council, or anyone else, sought to file complaints with the Brazos County District Attorney against Dr. Romei. I did not 'promptly' make myself available at any time to the media to forward any plan or scheme to have Dr. Romei face criminal censure."

West's response was prompted by papers filed Wednesday by Romei asking that West be forced to answer questions under oath pertaining to his possible involvement in criminal charges filed against Romei. The former Arts Council director is under indictment for allegedly taking Arts Council and City of College Station funds for personal use. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Romei has raised the question that West, who once provided him legal counsel, may have improperly shared confidential information about him to the Arts Council and authorities. But West said his involvement with the defendant consisted on one meeting in July 2005, during which the two talked only about perceived personal attacks on Romei.

In court papers, West states, "To date I have never even received a request from Dr. Romei for his file that was created by me because of his visit to my office in 2005. Had Dr. Romei first requested his file he would have seen that his allegations in his Petition to Take Deposition Before Suit are false."

West goes on to ask that Romei's request be dismissed, that Romei be ordered to pay West legal fees, and that he and his attorneys be sanctioned for "failing to appropriately investigate the alleged facts asserted in his Petition."