Club owner gets 10 years in failed plot

January 22, 2013 2:03:36 PM PST
A topless club owner was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Tuesday in a failed murder-for-hire plot against Arlington's mayor and an attorney.

Ryan Walker Grant, 35, also was fined $17,500 and will be on three years of supervised release after his prison term, according to the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means in Fort Worth. The federal court system does not have parole.

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 also was charged with unlawfully transferring a firearm, but prosecutors dropped that charge Tuesday as part of the plea deal.

Grant's club, Flashdancer Cabaret, was one of Arlington's most visible adult businesses. At the time of the failed plot, Grant was in a dispute with officials who were cracking down on such enterprises as the city seeks to bolster its reputation as a tourist destination. Arlington is home to the Dallas Cowboys stadium and the Texas Rangers ballpark.

Before he was sentenced Tuesday, Grant blamed his actions on his addiction to prescription painkillers but said he is now drug-free. His attorney, Warren St. John, said after the hearing that Grant became addicted to the painkillers after suffering back and arm injuries in a car accident several years ago.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize to Mr. Cluck and his family," Grant told the judge. "I will take this time (in prison) to improve myself."

Cluck also addressed the court, saying that his family was still working through the ordeal but that he wanted to put it behind him and continue in public service. He thanked law enforcement officers for realizing that the threat was serious and taking quick action.

"I believe sincerely that they saved my life," Cluck said. "I'm here today as proof that the system works."

Arlington's Flashdancer Cabaret is closed, but the Grant family's corporation still owns a topless club in Fort Worth, said his attorney, St. John said.
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