Was Peter Romary trying to expedite the release of the Gerlach tapes by offering the Assistant City Attorney a Judicial Appointment?

by RFNC Staff

This week WBTV broke a story based on published emails that Tom Shanahan, the top lawyer for the UNC System, sent two cease and desist letters to Peter Romary, an attorney who had allegedly represented himself as a lawyer for the UNC System. Romary was in fact retained by individuals on the Board of Governors (BOG) to obtain damning video footage of ECU’s interim chancellor Dan Gerlach. The story implicates at least two BOG members, one of whom, Harry Smith, resigned from the board hours after emails became public.

BOG member Tom Fetzer hired Romary, who also invoked House Majority Leader John Bell to acquire video of since-resigned interim chancellor of ECU. Smith also hired Romary in the past. Notably, Fetzer previously asked Romary to investigate a chancellor candidate for WCU  and ultimately derailed the search by breaking confidentiality.

What remains clear is that the attorney, Peter Romary, invoked his contacts at the legislature and the BOG to obtain more video footage of Gerlach after video became public that showed him drinking with students.

However, a closer look at the text messages between Romary and Donald Phillips, the Assistant City attorney for Greenville, NC, whom Romary affectionately deems “brother” in their exchanges, reveals another level to the story.

In the exchanges, Romary mentions “I also teach at Campbell Law and as I say I screen for Judicial appointees.” And later “AND if you ever feel a desire to take the Judicial Road—let me know.”

Was Romary attempting to leverage a judicial appointment to expedite the acquisition of video footage to oust a chancellor? If so, the implications of these messages go beyond BOG meddling.