EXCLUSIVE: TX Rep Pressured CPS To Keep Lease at Ally’s Property

Rep. Justin Holland | Image by Justin Holland/Facebook
Rep. Justin Holland | Image by Justin Holland/Facebook

EXCLUSIVE — Rep. Justin Holland allegedly pressured the Texas Department of Family Protective Services to renew its lease at a property owned by his former colleague and campaign donor.

DFPS announced a plan to close its Rockwall office in 2019 due to a hike in renting costs, according to a letter written by Holland (R-Rockwall) to the agency, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and other state leaders. Holland slammed the agency, which is tasked with protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, for its decision, which he said resulted from it being “unable to meet current market leasing conditions in Rockwall County.”

“This is unacceptable,” Holland wrote. “Despite repeated assurances to my office that this will not inhibit CPS services within the County, few would argue against the concerns of those in Rockwall that more timely service could be provided if the department continued to maintain its Rockwall office.”

DFPS confirmed to The Dallas Express this former office building, which the agency did eventually vacate, was located at 121 Yellow Jacket Ln. The property is owned by Brian Berry, who served on the Heath City Council along with Holland and later worked with him at Med-Tech Construction. Berry has donated $11,750 to Holland’s Texas House races since 2015, according to Transparency USA.

Holland’s petition to keep DFPS renting at Berry’s property was temporarily successful, as the agency told The Dallas Express its lease ended in October 2021. The move came more than two years after Holland’s letter.

Holland has a runoff primary election this month against Katrina Pierson.

Berry told The Dallas Express he recalled adjusting the property’s market value through his realtor in 2019. DFPS, he said, expressed interest in extending the amount of office space but later renewed their lease after determining the renovations would take too long.

The businessman described Holland as a “longtime, longtime close friend,” but said they did not work together on resolving the dispute with DFPS.

“He didn’t have anything to do with that building,” Berry told The Dallas Express of Holland.

Berry sold the office building in 2020 before DFPS relocated in 2021.

Holland denied any coordination with Berry in keeping DFPS at the property.

“The local board and CPS (Child Protective Services) volunteers asked me to weigh in so that the county would not be without DFPS services,” he told The Dallas Express. “[Berry] did not ask me to weigh in. It had to do with not having CPS in Rockwall.”

Holland allegedly attempted to provide a discounted sale to Berry on a property after being appointed its receiver, as previously reported on by The Dallas Express. He never listed the property online, put up a for-sale sign, or got it appraised, but organized a sale to Berry for $750,000 within two weeks of becoming its receiver, according to the family of the property’s deceased owner.

The property is listed at $1,399,999. Both men deny any suggestion of a discounted sale.

Holland was later removed as appointer of the property after a legal dispute with the family who owns it.

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