Romei Probe Focuses on Misapplication of Campaign Contributions

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The investigation into the former executive director of the Arts Council is honing in on the misapplication of campaign contributions.

Over the course of his tenure, P. David Romei is said to have donated to three local officials, one of them Brazos County's top prosecutor.

In court documents filed Wednesday, District Attorney Bill Turner asked to recuse himself from certain allegations against Romei. Documents state Turner asked to be recused since Romei is accused of making contributions to the DA's reelection campaign, as well as two other elected officials.

In it, the documents state:

"The investigation uncovered potential misapplication of Arts Council money in that it may have been used to reimburse P.David Romei for campaign contribution to Turner, District Court Judge Rick Davis and Brazos County Judge Randy Sims.

"Because these officials have intricate dealings with the District Attorney's Office and could potentially be called as witnesses, the need to avoid even the appearance of impropriety dictates that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate and prosecute fully any allegations related to these three contributions."

Campaign finance reports show Romei gave Sims a $500 contribution in 2002. In 2004, reports show two contributions were made to Davis' campaign, one for $250, the other for $500. Also that year, Romei gave $500 to Turner.

Arts Council board members confirmed Thursday the board did not approve any campaign contributions to the three officials.

Romei is currently employed by the Texas A&M Health Science Center. Officials there say his status remains the same.

Romei's attorney declined comment on the situation Thursday.