Boxer claims he was partying at governor's mansion

Updated: March 22, 2006, 12:50 AM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Former IBF junior bantamweight champion Danny Romero, who has fought just once in the past three years, told police officers that Gov. Bill Richardson would "take care of" his arrest on aggravated drunken driving charges, according to a police report.

Romero, 31, was arrested late Monday after failing field sobriety tests and blowing above 0.16 percent in a breath-alcohol test -- twice New Mexico's legal limit for presumed intoxication.

Police found Romero vomiting near his 1999 Cadillac, which was parked in the middle of a street. Officers said Romero's eyes were bloodshot and watery and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.

Romero (44-5-2, 37 KOs) hasn't fought since an eight-round majority draw May 14 against Alex "Ali" Baba, which followed a two-year layoff.

Asked where he had been drinking, the report says Romero reported he had been "partying with Bill," referring to the governor, at the Governor's Mansion in Santa Fe.

The report also quotes Romero as saying he drank two beers and a glass of wine during a party at the mansion and was there between 7 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. before leaving for his fiancé's house in Albuquerque.

A spokesman for the governor, Pahl Shipley, called Romero's claims "absolutely not true."

Romero later disputed the account portrayed in the police report, telling the Albuquerque Journal, "I didn't drop anybody's name. I knew I was doing the wrong thing the moment the cop pulled up."

Police spokeswoman Trish Hoffman said there are two sides to the story.

"According to the police officers and the officers' belt tapes, that is what [Romero] said," Hoffman said.

Shipley said Richardson returned from a weekend trip to New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., about 7:40 p.m. Monday, then had a quiet dinner with his wife. There was no party or other function at the mansion Monday night, Shipley said.

According to the police report, Romero told officers they should contact the governor's office and other officials because "they would take care of this."

Romero was released from the Albuquerque jail at 3:40 a.m., jail Capt. Heather Lough said. He was cited for not having registration and no proof of insurance and his vehicle was seized, the complaint says.

Romero was 19 when he was arrested on his first DWI charge. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 29, 1993, and completed DWI school, according to Metropolitan Court records.

"I want to set the record straight, that I obviously have a problem with it [alcohol], and I want to address it," Romero said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press