Arlington Mayor says 'angry' club owner plotted to kill him

Cluck and Brandt

Credit: WFAA

The City of Arlington said Mayor Robert Cluck, left, and attorney Tom Brandt were the targets of the alleged murder-for-hire plot.

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 11 at 6:37 PM

Flashdancer Cabaret

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News 8 has learned the FBI is talking to several more witnesses about the alleged murder-for-hire scheme targeting Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck.

Cluck arrived for a news conference at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Wednesday with a security detail right behind him. All eyes were on the alleged target who tried to move on with the business of the day.

"It's true that is was me and a lawyer that were involved in it," Cluck told reporters. "And all this came from a sexually-oriented business that we shut down, basically."

Arlington's Flashdancer Cabaret has been closed since January while it battles the city to keep its license. The city has accused the club of being a nuisance with repeated violations of state alcoholic beverage rules and allegations of prostitution.

On Monday, agents from the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration raided the Kennedale home of club owner Ryan Grant. He is accused of trying to hire a hitman from Mexico to kill the mayor and a Dallas attorney.

The FBI said Grant's phone calls were recorded, providing evidence of the alleged plot.

Tom Brandt was the attorney leading the case against Grant in Arlington. The father of six issued a statement Wednesday thanking the FBI and DEA. "I'm relieved to say that I'm fine and going about the business of practicing law as I would on any other day," he wrote.

Grant also owns the Flashdancer club in Fort Worth. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it has been cited several times for lewdness and alcohol violations.

Grant has been charged in the past with DWI, possession of a handgun, and evading arrest.

His Facebook page shows him with the Ferrari that was seized by federal agents. He lists his favorite movie as "A Perfect Murder."

Mayor Cluck said the FBI briefed him on the investigation Monday morning, just hours before federal agents raided Grant's house in Kennedale. Cluck said there is a plan in place to keep him safe, but he is not offering details.

"When I heard the facts from the FBI, obviously we were very concerned about it. And we still are concerned," he said.

Grant's civil attorney, Steve Swander, said his client has not hired legal counsel for federal court and declined further comment.

Grant is due in court Friday and is expected to have an attorney by that time.

A former employee of Grant's told News 8 he is scheduled to talk to FBI agents on Thursday morning.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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