Denton's Mayor Bought a Condo at One Arts Plaza, Refuses to Return Seller's $175K Artwork

Categories: Legal Battles

oneartsplaza.jpg
We're not entirely sure why Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs just paid $2.2 million for a condo at Dallas' One Arts Plaza. Vacation home? Rental property? That's between him and the voters of Denton; the deed is now in his name, according to Dallas County records.

("My wife buys, makes over/redesigns and outfits condos (and houses) as her business," Burroughs wrote in an email Wednesday evening, after this post was published. "This is her sixth project, I believe.")

We do know that he bought it from Dallas socialite Angela Barrett (read Skip Hollandworth's Texas Monthly profile, "Angie Barrett Does Not Use Butt Cream") and that the apartment was furnished with "Vertigo," artist Teresita Fernandez's 2007 piece, which was sold through the University of South Florida's art museum for $175,000. We also know that Barrett wants "Vertigo" back.

How do we know this? Because Barrett just sued Burroughs, claiming he's holding the artwork "hostage." She's not asking for damages ("Due to the one-of-a-kind nature of the artwork, no monetary damage award could compensate Plaintiff for her loss,") just that a judge order Burroughs and his wife to return "Vertigo."

MarkBurroughs.jpg
Mark Burroughs
We've sent Burroughs an email seeking comment, but, in the meantime, documents included with the lawsuit hint at why he might be motivated to covet Barrett's property.

In a February 13 letter to her attorney, Burroughs acknowledges that he bought the unit "as is," but that he had to rely on Barrett's check-marked, item-by-item assurances that everything was in working order because she refused to allow a formal inspection.

It was only after the deal was sealed that he began noticing all the things that were wrong: a scorched electrical outlet on the patio; a burned-out condenser on the air conditioner; a broken wine refrigerator; an expensive "Agate" rug that had been part of the deal but had been "bait-and-switched" for a smaller one.

In fact, Burroughs comes right out and says that, yes, he's holding the artwork hostage:

We cannot agree to a totally one-sided resolution devoiding ourselves of any security under these circumstances. We have suggested methodologies to replace the metal art structure as that security. I see nothing suggested in your letter to do so. We will not permit removal of the hold-over metal art fixture without substitute security, resolving these issues or providing some reasonable alternative to accomplish either.

("Look up Ms. Barrett's history and you will probably extrapolate the problem," Burroughs said in his email. "I think it will be resolved presently, however.")

We'll see what the judge says.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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42 comments
rollingsalmon
rollingsalmon

Mr. Burroughs lives in Denton. What he does with his money is no ones business. MB has been a great Mayor for the City of Denton. He doesn't have another year in office, he has until summer. IF he chooses to live in Dallas after his term is over....so be it. This is a lawsuit, a VERY recent one. Him not commenting on it is the right thing to do. As to the gas issue, there is very little municipalities can do to reign it in. The City of Denton has done about as much as it can. Talk to the state or federal government........Again, this is not the business of anyone except the Burroughs.....

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

If Angie Barrett is involved, then my ethics radar is on DefCon 1.

gm0622
gm0622

If he bought the condo 'as is' and the artwork was there, then it belongs to the purchaser.

He can re-hang it, donate it, or burn it.

Not his problem if the seller or the movers did not move the painting.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Without all the facts it's hard to say if he's in the right.  Once I signed the sale documents on my condo, the new owner took possession of everything within the unit's walls, including refrigerator, etc.  It seems to me that if anything might have been left behind would belong to the new owner as well. 

kimfeil
kimfeil

Once a fracker always a fracker.

rollingsalmon
rollingsalmon

Mr. Burroughs lives in Denton. What he does with his money is no ones business. MB has been a great Mayor for the City of Denton. He doesn't have another year in office, he has until summer. IF he chooses to live in Dallas after his term is over....so be it. This is a lawsuit, a VERY recent one. Him not commenting on it is the right thing to do. As to the gas issue, there is very little municipalities can do to reign it in. The City of Denton has done about as much as it can. Talk to the state or federal government........Again, this is not the business of anyone except the Burroughs.....

TimRuggiero
TimRuggiero

I would agree that what Burrough's purpose and intention of making this purchase outside of Denton is none of our business, and that he owes no one an explanation. But, in failing to do so, leaves us to fill in the blanks ourselves. That's not a good thing when you're a politician. 

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

Sounds like he is setting up residency for the next Dallas City Council election. 

Xx0xX
Xx0xX

say honey, have you seen that $175,000 piece of unique artwork that used to be in the corner?   No... oh! maybe we forgot to take it with us?   (WTF?)

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Was this 2.2 in cash or was a loan of any kind involved ? Either way no inspection

I need to have them handle the transaction when I sell this Garden Cottage Bungalow  I own in the NO WHERE NEAR  Kessler section of the SDWOCHP  Southern Dallas West Oak Cliff Hilly Part

daviddallastx
daviddallastx

Anyone that buys a house without a formal inspection is rolling the dice and taking their chances.  Anyone who buys a house from a seller that will not allow an inspection is a moron.

gabbahey
gabbahey

Aww, poor rich people....

uncleskunky
uncleskunky

He's a lame duck and only has one more year in office.  He could sit out a year and then run again but, that doesn't seem likely now.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

".... she refused to allow a formal inspection."

Now I've seen everything.

Threeboys
Threeboys

If he can afford it and he is paying for it himself, what business is it of Denton voters?

observist
observist topcommenter

Just bought a $2.2m condo "as is" and he's all pissed off about $1500 worth of imperfections in the place.  Spoiled rich people acting like spoiled rich people is news?

ghkyluhhje
ghkyluhhje

@rollingsalmon Actually, it suggests corruption. How does a small city mayor have $2.2 mil for a condo 40 miles from his place of work? That's stolen money, and he should be jailed.

jane.lynn
jane.lynn

Sure sounds like it. Maybe he is getting a little nervous about all the gas drilling they've allowed in Denton. I'd be looking to run too ~ as fast as I can.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@oakclifftownie  Please be careful throwing out references to SDWOCHP.  If you continue doing so, you risk a hipster invasion of massive proportion.

JFPO
JFPO

Yes, this rates very low on my give-o-shit meter. In other news, being the mayor of Denton and selling your ass to frackers is very lucrative.

GatoCat
GatoCat

@Montemalone  Scary. If there was a surprise ending, I missed it. I quit halfway through.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@Montemalone  Now I know the TRUE inspiration for The Muppets!  And all this time, I thought it was the Dallas City Council...

Xx0xX
Xx0xX

@Threeboys  It's not a good sign that your Mayor invests in cities far away from yours. That's a quality people look for in a Mayor, you know, likes the city he's the mayor for and invests in the city he's mayor for.  Now i can understand there are reasons he would buy outside of his city but it's still not something people want in a Mayor...  I like how this greasy mayor of Denton has 2.2 million dollars laying around. He didn't get a loan since you don't get loans w/o home inspections. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Because anyone who buys any property for any amount that accepts a "refusal for inspection" is dumb as a brick?

JFPO
JFPO

As these differences are resolved, they will go back to creating jobs.

rollingsalmon
rollingsalmon

@ghkyluhhje It suggests no such thing. Mr. Burroughs is a prominent lawyer in Denton, who volunteers his time as Mayor as does the rest of the City Council. He has done well in his profession and is married to a woman who is a savy businesswoman. There is no corruption involved. This is no one's business other than the Burroughs.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @ghkyluhhje @rollingsalmon  This is Texas, Scott.  Some would even argue that it's "small town".  We have no place for successful women in our narrative.  So any ruminations of success will therefore be attributed first to corrupt politics and then (and only then) to family inheritance... but never to womenfolk being successful.


We believe in the Bible, except for that Proverbs 31 stuff.



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