ARLINGTON – An Arlington strip club owner has pled guilty as part of a plea deal to plotting to have Mayor Robert Cluck and an attorney representing the city murdered.
Ryan Walker Grant, 34, now faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Grant, the owner of Flashdancers Cabaret, was embroiled in a long legal battle with the city of Arlington, which ordered his club to close for a year in January following myriad complaints observed by undercover police and code enforcers.
In 2010, the city ruled that Flashdancers was a nuisance, defined in city parlance as a place where drugs, gambling or prostitution are regularly available. Grant then sued over the labeling. He and the city reached a settlement in January that would shutter the club until 2013.
In a federal arrest affidavit, Grant said he would lose $800,000 each year if the club’s license was revoked. And so on April 3, federal authorities recorded a phone call between Grant and another unnamed individual regarding “formal business.”
That individual, however, was a federal informant and began recording the conversations.
Grant met with that person later in the day and provided photos, names and contact information for Cluck and Dallas-based contract attorney Tom Brandt, who represented the city in the legal battle between it and Flashdancers.
Grant reportedly offered a bounty of $10,000 per person, the affidavit says. The club owner told the person that the two “jacked me for a year of business and they’re trying to jack me indefinitely.”
He hoped the killings would be carried out by men who traveled to Arlington from Mexico because they could leave the country after.
He gave the go-ahead on April 9 to carry out the killings. He was arrested at his home hours later.
After Grant was indicted by a grand jury in July, the Kennedale resident pled not guilty to federal counts of murder for hire and unlawfully transferring a firearm.
Thursday's plea bargain comes just more than two weeks before Grant’s September 24 trial was set to begin. Sentencing is now scheduled for December 28.
Grant's attorney, Fort Worth-based Warren St. John, said his client never really wanted the mayor killed.
"There was talk about that; he was frustrated. He doesn't have an ill will towards the mayor of Arlington or the attorney in Dallas," St. John said after a Thursday morning court hearing.
Grant is also ordered to have no contact with Cluck or Brandt.