Romei Trial: Day 2 + Courtroom Blog

For nearly four hours, one witness testified about thousands of dollars in the P. David Romei trial.

The former Arts Council director is accused of reimbursing himself from arts funds for personal purchases and donations.

Melody Shaddix became the arts council's bookkeeper shortly after Romei retired as director. So when she and her colleagues began delving into past files in 2007, she says she found red flags.

Shaddix spent four hours on the stand reviewing a bevy of checks and records. The state believes Romei reimbursed himself for vacations, prescriptions and donations.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Richard "Racehorse" Haynes questioned the discussions between the arts and the state's investigators, and then brought up that Romei's personnel file is missing, and no efforts have been made to find it, according to Shaddix. All former employees of the arts council have their records kept, Shaddix said.

Later in the day, it was also learned that Romei's arts council contract allowed for reasonable medication purchases. He's accused of using an arts credit cards to pay for $1,500 in meds, and also reimbursing himself for the same amount. The kinds of medication being purchases are not being discussed per an agreement of both sides and the judge.

Earlier in the day, the focus was on trips Romei allegedly paid for with arts money, specifically a 2004 vacation to Europe that the state contends was a personal trip.

The two others who went with Romei were his former roommate, Stanton Ware, and Romei's niece, Stephanie. Both took the stand Wednesday morning.

Ware, who also was a subcontractor for the arts council to do graphic design, testified that he never saw Romei conduct what the state termed "business," but that he wasn't with Romei the whole time.

Stephanie Romei said her uncle was always "learning," and taking things in to help in his arts efforts. The defense's questions appeared to be framed in order try and make the jury believe the trip was both business and pleasure in nature.

Romei is accused of paying for other trips with arts money, including plane tickets for family to come to the area for the 2002 opening of the Veterans Memorial in College Station.

Testimony continues Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the 361st District Court.

For a recap of the first day, click here.

Live Blog - Follow the Trial as it Happens w/ Steve Fullhart


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