Few lawyers have ever considered that routine municipal-law work could cost them their lives. Tom Brandt was one of those lawyers until earlier this spring.
“I’m closing in on 30 years [of practicing law]. And I’ve never had anything quite like this happen,” says Brandt, a director in Dallas’ Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin.
Brandt says he learned in a meeting with the FBI and other officials that he and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck were targeted because of nuisance-abatement legal work Brandt had performed for the city.
On April 9, a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth charged Robert Walker Grant with murder for hire for attempting to hire a hitman because of the nuisance suit the city had filed against Flashdancer, the sexually oriented business Grant co-owns. Brandt represents the city in that suit. (Read the indictment.)
Fort Worth solo Warren St. John, who represents Grant, did not immediately return a call for comment. Kathy Colvin, spokeswoman for the Northern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office, declines comment.
That’s a huge relief to Brandt.
Brandt especially wants to thank the FBI agents for the work they did on the murder-for-hire case. The agents intercepted Grant before the worst could happen, Brandt says.
Brandt says he’s learned two lessons from the ordeal.
“I was taught by nuns when I was a kid. I was told that angels look out for us. And I learned two things: The nuns were right, and some of the angels work for the FBI. Those guys saved my life, and I’m grateful to them. And how do you thank someone for saving your life?”
You just did.
--- John Council