Attorney: Romei Will Continue to Fight

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The attorney for the former head of a local non-profit says he will continue efforts to try and reverse his client's felony theft conviction.

Richard Wetzel, the attorney for P. David Romei, says he will seek a re-hearing in the Tenth Court of Appeals, which affirmed a 2008 guilty verdict in one case against the former executive director of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley.

Romei has 15 days following the appellate court's ruling to request for a re-hearing, which asks the judges to reconsider their decision based on facts or law.

If the court rules against Romei again, he would then have 30 days to decide whether to proceed on appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Wetzel tells News 3 he and his client are exploring all options.

The count of felony theft involves $7,400 from the City of College Station that had been designated for the lighting of a statue by the Arts Council. The statue was lit by a local company for free, and Romei pocketed the city's money, claiming he had been allowed to keep it by then-City Manager Tom Brymer as a consulting fee. Under oath, Brymer denied the claim.

As punishment, Romei was placed on five years probation and ordered to pay $268,000 in restitution.

The court ruled that there was sufficient evidence that Romei obtained the money by deception, that Brymer did not allow Romei to keep the money for something other than lighting, and that he was in a contractual relationship with the government by virtue of being the ACBV's executive director.

However, the court reversed a jury's verdict on a misdemeanor count of misapplication of fiduciary property, ruling that proper instructions were not given to the jury about the statute of limitations on the allegations. Romei was accused of using ACBV money to reimburse himself for political campaign contributions to four candidates.

The charge was originally a felony due to the amount of money involved in the case, but the jury found Romei guilty of a lesser included misdemeanor.

Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner told News 3 he would pursue a retrial on that charge, one that came with a $750 fine as punishment.

According to county officials, Romei has not sent in any money related to his convictions.

Romei still faces another misapplication charge related to other campaign contributions to Turner, former District Court Judge Rick Davis and former Brazos County Judge Randy Sims. Turner recused himself from prosecuting those cases, and a Walker County prosecutor was tasked with working on that case. No dates have been set for any hearings on that case.

In addition to being found guilty of two charges, Romei was found not guilty of another theft charge in 2008. It involved allegations he reimbursed himself with ACBV money for trips, medications and non-political donations.