Romei Awaits His Fate

Monday, a judge will likely decide the final punishment of convicted former Arts Council director P. David Romei.

Wednesday, the state presented its case for hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution it believes Romei should pay for using College Station and Arts Council money illegally.

In November, a jury decided against a prison sentence -- one the prosecution had vehemently argued for -- but the probation jurors chose does allow Judge Steve Smith to choose some jail time for Romei, along with possible restitution.

Although he was convicted on charges pertaining to about $8,000, the state Wednesday made the push to punish Romei with regards to money prosecutors say he mishandled on behalf of the arts.

In 2002 when the Arts Council was planning on building an arts center, Romei asked for and received a total of $450,000 from the City of College Station. The building itself had a $1.2 million budget, but Wednesday, the banker hired to oversee that budget said the building came in about $150,000 under cost.

In addition, Romei took a commission on the money College Station had given to the building, a move that city leaders who testified said they neither knew about, nor would they have accepted it.

Romei was convicted of pocketing $7,400 of City of College Station money that was supposed to go towards the lighting of a statue. Along with that third-degree felony conviction, Romei was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge with regards to personal political contributions for which he reimbursed himself with arts money.

Romei was found not guilty of a felony theft charge involving the use of arts money for alleged personal purchases, including trips and medication.

The defense will present its case for sentencing Monday morning.


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