Friday, April 9, 2010

Teflon John needs to tone down that profile.

Arriving in Sydney in the early 1990's tSS was fortunate to land a job on a local newspaper covering the inner city. The main beat was  Darlinghurst-the Golden Mile of gay Oxford Street , it's surroundings and Kings Cross.
Dawn-ran Oxford Street
 It was an eye-opener. Oxford Street truly was fun city with all manner of night clubs and bars with every taste catered for. It was friendly  and packed every night. Sure it was run by some questionable characters like the late  Roger Claude Teyssedre. who had arrived from France penniless and was a multi millionaire within 5 years. Claude died in mysterious circumstances with his lover  by his bed-Ludwig Gertsch who 18 months later was found strangled and trussed up in a sleeping bag in the Blue Mountains, his murderer still free.

 Or the one time champion lesbian ice skater turned nightclub mogul Dawn O'Donnell. A lovely lady to dine with who could talk for hours on which lesbian porn sold to straight men in huge quantities over an after dinner cigar. Dawn would know-she owned a few shops openly selling illicit hard core adult porn.
Costellos fan?

Kings Cross was something else. Drugs prostitution and live sex shows that made Amserdam look decidedly tame. And there was supposed to be a bar called Costellos beneath the giant Coca Cola sign where 12 year old boys were on tap at the bar.  At a later Royal Commission witnesses swore it was true and one even claimed  improbably that the late American actor Karl Malden had once visited the bar. Wacky stuff.  

And the police. Well they ran the show as journalist Michael Duffy points out in his piece on 2 books to be released by 2 honest cops that got run out of town for their efforts. tSS recalls one quite scary lunch at the Bourbon and Beefsteak hosted by 4 Kings Cross detectives which we thought was some sort of community and neighbourhood watch get-together. It turned out to be a boozy afternoon where one couldn't actually leave and the tales we heard about who did what  to whom and who ran who and was on the take and which politician was in whose pocket just wasn't what one wished to know. Well certainly not from the cops. Fortunately they got so drunk one was able to slip out carefully ripping our name tag into tiny pieces. 

Sir Joh-premier of the corrupt Sunshine Coast
The excellent reporter Chris Master of the ABC who exposed Queensland's police corruption in the 1980's amongst govermment figures and police under the premier Sir Joh Belke Petersen, has been giving out a warning to 'Teflon 'John Ibraham, the current Kings Cross bigwig . Masters says John's profile will be boosted so much by the Underbellly TV series his life will be in danger. Masters knows what he is talking about. When his film on the Sunshine State corruption was broadcast the state's Police Commissioner Sir Terry Lewis  immediately fled back to his native UK only to be discovered by Scotland Yard detectives a year later living in luxury in  Richmond . He did 8 years in jthe Boggo Road jail after being extradited back to Oz.

Sunday sees the 2 hour premiere of
Underbelly 3, TheGolden Mile that continues the tale of the extraordinary corruption of police and the rule of gangsters during the 1980/1990's before a Royal Commission finally put paid to a scene that would have made Al Capone envious. The then king of Kings Cross, the 5'4" Abe Saffron known as Mr Sin was only finally put behind bars for tax evasion, just like Capone,despite having a finger in every piece of action.

friendly Teflon John
 The series also brings up to date the new breed of local entrepreneurs who now rule Kings Cross, namely our ever friendly luncheon pal John Ibrahim whose career we have watched flourish ever since he and his younger brother Fadi cornered us in his first nightclub, The Tunnel in a back laneway and demanded we promote him in the local rag. Why not?. They seemed nice enough lads and despite police saying Telflon John is now a major 'leading crime figure' he is certainly charming..The Tunnel was eventualy shut down when the Chinese triad murdered 2 men outside it's entrance, hacking them to pieces.
According to Masters the new ruling mafia in town are the bikie gangs who are so organised they have left authorities scratching their heads in bewilderment. And they don't take prisoners. Masters warns that this is new breed of crim who holds no respect for rank and privilege, as enjoyed by Ibrahim at present, and will ruthlessly remove him. They are called bikie gangs but they drive Mercedes and BMWs and wear designer suits. It's said Ibrahim has an interest in about 8 Kings Cross nightclubs and nearly all bouncers in every club including Oxford Street's gay strip are controlled by his firm. The bikies have their own security firm who would like a share of the action.

One honest copper forced out by the bent ones was Deborah Locke who has written a superb book Watching The Detectives in which she describes attempting to report serious misconduct at the Parramatta Police Headquarters only to be taken to lunch by a head honcho with Louis Bayeh-the then drug baron of the Cross and currently doing a few years in prison .It's a superb and racy read and you can order it at Deborah's website.
Another great read is Dirty Work by an honest ex-cop Glen McNamara who fled to California after attempting to report bent cops only to find there was a contract on his life. He was tracked down in an LA motel with a chilling phone call from hitmen saying that they knew where he was, whereupon his pregnant wife miscarried. It's an amazing record of a sorry era in Sydney.

 Underbelly-The Golden Mile starts next Sunday 10th April at 8.30pm on the Channel Nine network