Arlington club owner sentenced to 10 years in murder-for-hire plot

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WFAA and Associated Press reports

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 2:09 PM

Home of Ryan Walker Grant

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Flashdancer Cabaret

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FORT WORTH — The owner of a North Texas topless club was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to orchestrate a plot to kill a mayor and an attorney.

Ryan Walker Grant appeared Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means in Fort Worth.

Grant was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a fine of $17,500, and supervised probation for three years.

Grant pleaded guilty in September to a murder-for-hire charge stemming from a failed 2012 plot to hire a hit man to kill Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and lawyer Tom Brandt, who does work for the city.

Grant's club, Flashdancer Cabaret, was one of Arlington's most visible adult businesses. Grant, at the time of the failed plot, was in a dispute with officials who cracked down on such enterprises as the city seeks to bolster its reputation as a tourist destination.

The city ruled the club a nusiance in 2010, saying it was a location where drugs, gambling or prostitution were readily available. Grant sued and the fight played out in court until January of last year, whcn the two parties reached a settlement that would shutter the club until 2013. 

A federal affidavit alleged that Grant, fuming that he would lose $800,000 a month until the club reopened, hired someone, later revealed to be a federal informant, to kill Cluck and Brandt. 

Investigators had a litany of evidence against Grant. The affidavit said he provided the informant with photos of the targets. The club owner offered $10,000 per person, using thinly veiled coded language to refer to the slayings. "Watching a movie" meant murder, the affidavit said. 

He issued the go-ahead on April 9. He was arrested at his Kennedale home hours later.

In court Tuesday, Grant said he was sorry and that he never intended to hurt anyone. Mayor Cluck, however, said he thought he would have been killed. 

After taking the plea deal, Grant faced 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. 

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