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Nightclub Owner Charged in Claimed Murder-for-Hire Scheme Targeting Mayor and Lawyer for Texas City

Posted Apr 11, 2012 11:10 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The owner of a Texas nightclub has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and is in federal custody after allegedly trying to get residents of Mexico to kill the mayor of Arlington and a lawyer representing the city.

Ryan Walker Grant, 34, who owns the Flashdance Cabaret, was arrested at his upscale Kennedale home on Monday by FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents, according to the Star-Telegram and WFAA. He is accused of targeting in a murder-for-hire scheme Mayor Robert Cluck and Tom Brandt, a lawyer who represents the city in matters that concern sexually oriented businesses and was involved in an ongoing legal battle with the nightclub.

The cabaret had been the subject of government enforcement efforts for claimed nuisance activities including alleged drug and alcohol violations and criminal activity. According to court records related to a lawsuit brought by the state attorney general, management "knowingly tolerated or participated in such acts and has failed to make reasonable attempts to abate the activity," reports the Star-Telegram.

The nightclub had been closed in January for one year, by agreement, in settlement of legal proceedings brought by the city and state. But then the enforcement battle apparently heated up again, according to the two articles, when Grant had difficulty renewing a business license that expired in February.

An affidavit in the federal case against Grant says he offered to pay two men in Mexico $10,000 for each slaying, for a total of $20,000, to murder Cluck and Brandt. His motive, it says, was anger over the way he had been treated concerning the Flashdance; closing it, according to Grant, was costing him $800,000 a year.

"They just jacked me for a year of business and they're trying to jack me indefinitely, when we had a deal, and they just reneged on it," said Grant, according to the affidavit.

A detention hearing is scheduled on Friday before a federal magistrate.

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