EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Justin Holland Denies Corruption Allegations

Justin Holland
Justin Holland | Image by State Representative Justin Holland/Facebook

Rep. Justin Holland denied any wrongdoing in his alleged discounted real estate deal involving a campaign donor.

“I bet you every single person I’ve sold a property for also said, ‘Let me send you a check for your campaign,’” he told The Dallas Express.

Holland (R-Rockwall) was appointed the receiver of a deceased woman’s Rockwall property in 2021. The woman’s children claimed he provided a steep discount in an attempted sale with his former coworker and campaign donor, as previously reported by DX.

One family member told DX that Holland never listed the 4-acre property online, never put up a for sale sign, never had the property appraised, and never sought his family’s approval on the attempted sale to Brian Berry.

The Texas lawmaker countered that his only requirement as the judge-appointed receiver of the property was to set up a sale, which he did within two weeks at a value of $750,000. He said the deal was a fair market price due to concerns over a lack of redevelopment opportunities and noted the property has yet to sell since he was removed as its receiver.

“Any assertion that there was a discount given, that is just a complete falsehood,” Holland told DX. “There were no discounts. A discount would be if the property was worth $750,000 and I sold it for $250,000. The property they thought was worth $1.2 million was actually worth $750,000 in the eyes of the buyer.”

When asked why he did not get the property appraised, Holland said, “I guess maybe the law should be changed” to require it. The lawmaker faces a runoff primary election this month against Katrina Pierson.

A Rockwall County District Court did not respond to a request for comment on the legality of Holland’s receivership. The property is currently listed at $1,399,999.

Holland set up the $750,000 sale with Brian Berry, who served with him on the Heath City Council and later worked with him at Med-Tech Construction. Berry donated $11,750 to Holland’s statehouse campaigns from 2015 to 2017, according to Transparency USA.

The lawmaker said his strong relationship with Berry and other community members was key to his success in the real estate industry.

“I know everybody in this town,” he told DX. “If I wasn’t allowed to do business with anybody who’s ever done anything through my campaign, then I would probably never sell another property because all my friends are my clients and my friends are my supporters as well.”

The lawmaker added that the sale in question was the only time he was appointed receiver of a property, which often happens when a family has internal disputes about how to handle a deceased relative’s assets.

“I was caught in the middle of a crossfire and got out of it as soon as I could,” he told DX. “It took a year of my life, and they’ve still been a thorn in my side because they’re saying things about me and my community that aren’t true. This is a classic disagreement about a sales price.”

Berry informed DX that Holland was a “longtime, longtime close friend” of his whom he worked with on the attempted sale of the 4-acre property after seeing his “listing.” However, when asked if this listing was public or conducted privately, Berry was unable to provide any details. He said any suggestion that Holland provided him with a discount on the attempted sale of the property was “disgusting” and “not accurate information.”

Chris “Riggs” Burks, one of the family members who owns the Rockwall property and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, said his family had to spend $45,000 on attorney fees to remove Holland as the receiver and stop the sale to Berry. He said it was important for the community to know how the lawmaker conducts his business.

“He tried to bully us and use his attorneys to push the sale of the property — and he got caught,” Burks told DX. “I don’t care about attorney fees. As long as people are aware and can make a good decision about who they’re voting for, I feel like I did what I was supposed to do. Most people wouldn’t have the resources to fight him.”

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