Former Brazos County Arts Council Director P. David Romei will spend time behind bars for stealing from the City of College Station.
Romei was sentenced Monday to five years probation and was ordered to pay $268,000 in restitution. Of that, $128,000 will go to the Arts Council, and $140,000 to College Station. The amount was agreed upon after more than 90 minutes of discussion Monday morning between the legal teams and Judge Steve Smith.
Romei could also serve upwards of 90 days in the Brazos County jail starting May 1 by order of Judge Smith. However, it could be less time depending on how much money he pays back by May 1.
If Romei pays back $30,000 before that date, he would have to serve just 60 days in jail. If he pays back $60,000, then he would have to serve 30 days. If Romei pays back $90,000 before May 1, he would be forced to serve 30 days in jail, but only on weekends.
Romei must also make a public apology by taking out two ads in The Bryan/College Station Eagle.
In November, a jury sentenced Romei to two years in prison, but recommended probation. Judge Smith ordered Romei serve five years probation, along with community service to be determined by the county.
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.
During its presentation in this phase of the trial, the state argued that Romei should be held accountable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in what prosecutors believed was mismanaged funds.
The state brought up a budget surplus of some $150,000 in the $1.2 million construction of the Arts Center. Prosecutors also noted that Romei took a commission of nearly $90,000 on $450,000 given to the Arts Council by College Station for that building.
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