FORT WORTH -- The co-owner of a now-closed Arlington strip club was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison for a failed plot to hire hit men to kill Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and a Dallas lawyer who handled cases involving adult businesses for the city.U.S. District Judge Terry Means also ordered Ryan Walker Grant to pay a $17,500 fine in monthly installments of at least $500 beginning within 60 days of his release.Grant, of Kennedale, also faces three years of supervised probation. He has the option to appeal, but his attorney, J. Warren St. John, said Grant has not decided whether to do so.Before Means handed down the sentence, Cluck gave a victim's statement to the court in which he thanked federal agents and Arlington police for their work on the case."Public service means many things," he said. "For me, it represents a privilege to serve my community along with dedicated colleagues committed to doing what is right for our city. It is a service I take to heart."There is no greater public service than the work we as a society can do to ensure that justice is served. In this case, justice is served and society is better for it."Outside the courthouse, Cluck and his wife told reporters that they are ready to put the case behind them. Tuesday was the first time they had seen Grant in person."It's been a rough nine months," Cluck said. "Our family is still working through it."In his own statement, Grant tearfully told Means that he never intended to harm anybody and offered an apology to Cluck."I messed up," he said. "That's the bottom line."St. John said Grant began to abuse painkillers after fracturing a wrist in a car accident in 2010."That affected his behavior," St. John said. "The judge made it so that in prison he will get treatment for his problem."Grant was charged with driving while intoxicated after the accident but told the Star-Telegram in January 2012 that he was on prescription medication at the time and was not intoxicated.Grant admitted in September that he contacted an intermediary to hire men from Mexico to kill Cluck and Dallas attorney Tom Brandt for $10,000 each.The intermediary was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration who recorded the meetings and phone calls.Grant told the intermediary that he wanted Cluck and Brandt killed for their roles in blocking his plan to reopen the club, federal authorities say. He said he stood to lose $800,000 a year.Flashdancer, at Texas 360 and Randol Mill Road in north Arlington, closed for a year in January 2012 under a settlement in a nuisance lawsuit brought by the city and the Texas attorney general's office. Authorities cited the prevalence of drugs, prostitution and assaults at the club as the reason for labeling it a nuisance.Not long after, then-Police Chief Theron Bowman revoked its sexually oriented business license on the grounds that dancers were letting customers touch them and that documents with misleading information had been filed with the city.The club cannot reopen without the license.Means took over the sentencing of Grant on Dec. 31 when U.S. District Judge John McBryde recused himself for reasons not made public.Patrick M. Walker,682-232-4674Twitter: @patrickmwalker1
Mayor Robert Cluck's statement in court
My reason for appearing in court today is simple. I am here first of all, to express my gratitude to law enforcement and my
faith in our system of justice. As I look around, I know it works.
It is difficult to express the effect this episode had on my family. In many ways, we're still working through it.
But because of the efforts of law enforcement throughout this investigation - my family and I were kept safe.
Their work exemplifies the best of public service. I am thankful for the quick action taken by FBI agents and Arlington police officers when this plot was first uncovered. I am thankful to law enforcement officers who kept a bitter and misguided plan from ever moving forward. I am thankful for a judicial system that provided swift justice and took this threat off the streets.
When officers learned about this plot, they took it seriously and took action.
I have always known they put their lives on the line for us every day. Well, now I've seen that firsthand. I believe they saved my life, and I cannot thank them enough. My family cannot thank them enough. I will be forever grateful to these brave men and women.
I am here today as proof of a system that works and proof there are deep consequences for poor choices.
Public service means many things. For me, it represents a privilege to serve my community along with dedicated colleagues committed to doing what is right for our city. It is a service I take to heart.
There is no greater public service than the work we as a society can do to ensure that justice is served. In this case justice is served and society is better for it.
So again, thank you to the public servants who put him there and with that, I choose to put this experience behind me. I'd like to close with a Bible verse from Psalms which I believe sums this up pretty well.
Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.