Strip Club Owner Tried to Hire Hitmen
FORT WORTH (CN) - The owner of an Arlington, Texas strip club pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to hire hitmen to kill the mayor and a Dallas attorney, after the city forced his club to close.
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Ryan Walker Grant, 34, of Kennedale, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John McBryde. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Grant was charged in July with murder for hire and unlawful transfer of a firearm.
He is co-owner of Flashdancer, a strip club about 2 miles from Arlington's entertainment district, which includes Cowboys Stadium, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Six Flags over Texas and the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park.
Prosecutors say that after the city and the Texas Attorney General's Office filed a nuisance complaint that resulted in the closure of his business, Grant tried to hire hitmen to kill Mayor Robert Cluck and Dallas attorney Tom Brandt, who represented the city in cases against sexually oriented businesses.
"On April 3, 2012, Grant handed the intermediary, who was actually a confidential informant, photographs and contact information of the two individuals that he wanted killed," prosecutors said in a statement.
"Grant offered to pay $10,000 per murder victim, for a total of $20,000, upon completion of the murders. During the next few days, Grant and the intermediary spoke via cell phones, and during those conversations Grant directed the intermediary to not proceed with the murders until they could meet to discuss the matter further. On April 9, 2012, the intermediary and Grant met at Grant's residence, where Grant confirmed that he wanted Mayor Cluck killed. The intermediary left Grant's residence and Grant was arrested shortly thereafter. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Grant's residence at that time and seized 22 firearms and nearly $150,000 in cash."
On the second charge, prosecutors said Grant transferred a semi-automatic rifle to a person whom he knew had been convicted of a crime punishable by at least 1 year in prison.
Grant has been in federal custody since his arrest on April 9. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 28.