KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

Romei Indicted by Brazos County Grand Jury

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

The former director of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley has been indicted on multiple felony charges.

P. David Romei turned himself into authorities Friday and then was released from jail on a $17,000 bond.

"It's a sad day for me. It's shocking and sad. It's a sad day for the arts," Arts Council board president Becky Russell said. "We had clean financials, we had perfect audits, and I think we really had no reason not to trust him."

A grand jury indicted Romei on four felony charges, accused of 16 separate illegal transactions, during his tenure as Arts Council director. The money in question totals about $40,000.

According to court documents, seven of the illegal transactions involve theft by deception from the Arts Council, two from the city of College Station, as well as seven illegal contributions to political candidates. Among them, Brazos County's top prosecutor Bill Turner, who recused himself from handling those contributions made to himself, Brazos County Judge Randy Sims, and District Judge Rick Davis.

"I felt like it was important for the community to know there's going to be an objective review of these campaign contributions," Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner said.

Turner has given the donation he received from Romei back to the Arts Council.

A special prosecutor from Walker County will handle the political contribution charges involving Sims, Davis and Turner.

Turner says he and his office will handle the remaining 13 transactions, including accusations that Romei used Arts Council money for a variety of personal uses, including trips to Florida and Europe and for medication.

"An arraignment is the next step where the judge takes the official entry of a plea, and from that point on, it's not unusual for cases to take six to nine months to make their way through the system," Turner said.

Romei's attorney, Travis Bryan III released a statement saying, "Dr. Romei intends to fight these charges vigorously to restore his good name."

"Dr. Romei's adversaries, attorney Gaines West and Arts Council board chairman Becky Russell, have attempted over the last few days to try this case in the news media," the statement continues. "Dr. Romei declines to do this, but will present evidence of his innocence in court."

The eight month investigation has left Arts Council board members hoping the community will entrust their new leadership.

"We will continue to do the right thing and I hope the arts will not suffer for that," Russell said.

Romei received four indictments, three state jail felonies -- a state jail felony is punishable up to two years, and one third degree felony -- punishable by two to ten years in a penitentiary.

From Brazos County court documents:

Sixteen Transactions Romei is Accused of Making:
1. Applied for and obtained reimbursement from the Arts Council for a $5,000 donation to the TAMU Foundation when in fact the said Defendant had not made a $5,000 donation to the TAMU Foundation.
2. Applied for and obtained reimbursement from the Arts Council for a $3,450 donation to the TAMU Foundation when in fact the said Defendant had not made a $3,450 donation to the TAMU Foundation.
3. Applied for and obtained reimbursement for $1,510.91 for medicine that he previously charged to the account of the Arts Council.
4. Charged the account of the Arts Council for an airline flight, car rental and lodging for a personal trip to Alabama.
5. Charged the account of the Arts Council for an airline flight for a personal trip to Florida.
6. Charged the account of the Arts Council for an airline flight to Texas for two relatives, who were on a personal trip.
7. Charged the account of the Arts Council for an airline flight, lodging, food, goods and services for a personal trip to Europe.
8. Using deception the said Defendant represented that $7,400 was needed from the City of College Station for lighting a firefighter statue, when the money was in fact for personal use of the Defendant.
9. Using deception the said Defendant represented that $10,000 was needed from the City of College Station to help fund the Northgate Arts Festival and to help fund an International Festival, when in fact $9,000 of said money was for the personal use of the Defendant.
10. Authorized and obtained a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate namely, Governor Rick Perry.
11. Authorized and obtained a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate for congress, namely, Peter Wareing.
12. Authorized and obtained a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate for mayor, namely, Ron Silvia.
13. Authorized and obtained a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate for city council, namely, Russell Bradley.
14. Authorized a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate, namely, Randy Sims.
15. Authorized a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate namely, Judge Rick Davis.
16. Authorized a reimbursement to himself from The Arts Council of Brazos Valley funds for a contribution to a political candidate namely, District Attorney Bill Turner.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, Trolling or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to comments@kbtx.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus
KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 9360511