Arts Council: Former Leader Under Investigation

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The former head of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley is under investigation.

Officials with the Arts Council say the Brazos County District Attorney's office is investigating P. David Romei after they found some financial discrepancies last fall.

It's not the first time questions regarding money have faced the now former Arts Council executive director. In 2005, some College Station city council members raised questions about P. David Romei's salary.

"It's frustrating because every time a question is raised, we answer it, and then there are three more," P.David Romei told News Three in an interview on September 18, 2005.

Now the issue of "funds" and Romei have come to the forefront once again.

"Through normal review procedures in the Arts Council, my client found some irregularities, and then they went to the appropriate authorities," Gaines West, the attorney for the Arts Council said. "The authorities have asked questions and we have been involved in that investigation process. They involve a range of activities over a period of time."

Officials say the Arts Council itself is not under investigation.

Arts Council Board President Becky Russell says the organization is working with the District Attorney's Office after finding discrepancies and missing documents from Romei's tenure.

"We just cooperate with that effort with how we need to, but we just go about our business as we have for 37 years, and hopefully another 37," Current Executive Director of the Arts Council Padraic Fisher said.

"I think my client is working and moving ahead to ensure the trust that cities and his partners have given him is the appropriate trust, and they're going to return that trust with a great program," West said.

Fisher says since taking over as executive director of the Arts Council, the non-profit organization has made dramatic changes, among them the handling of funds.

"The last 14 months we really restructured the organization from the ground up," Fisher said. "Almost every aspect of the organization has changed, from how we answer phones to how we write checks, and account for funds that come in, and funds that go out and how we distribute those funds among our affiliates."

West adds, the investigation should have no bearing on future funding.

"My client is excited about what the future holds for the Arts Council, but this investigation shouldn't have anything to do with the arts council, the arts council budget, and all that's going on with the arts council," West said. "This is a matter of finding issues they feel needed investigation, and so they have provided documents to the proper authorities."

The Brazos County District Attorney's office would neither confirm nor deny the investigation.

Romei could not be reached for comment.