Pulped Non-Fiction

| November 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

 

No longer available for legal reasons (see here), this book began when I got back from the Cannes Film Festival in May/June 2009 (name dropper!) Snitch front largeand had two calls on my answering machine.  One from the Underbelly tv series Executive Producer Des Monaghan of Screentime and the other from publisher Richard Walsh.  Des’s call said “phone Richard”.  Richard’s call said “phone me”.

Des and I knew each other from way back when he was a senior exec at Channel Seven and later, when he went independent, he developed my Bondi soap Breakers as Screentime’s first project.  I had worked for Richard before that, at ACP Magazines, but had never met him

Anyway, I finally did call him and met up and he told me about this larger-than-life character we came to call The Inspector, his nickname on the street, who had walked into the Underbelly 3 office and said if there’s anything you need to know about Kings Cross in the past few years talk to me.

And click HERE to listen to Jimmy and The Inspector interviewed by Merrick, Ricki-Lee and Dools on Nova 969.
And go HERE for print and radio reviews and features

Now, that’s not unusual except this guy really did have the goods:  he had worked for some of the heaviest crims and was and still is friends with the Ibrahim family.  He had also, incredibly, been a police informant and helped catch the killers of a police constable and politician John Newman.

Des saw the potential for a book and sent him to Richard who’s a consultant at Allen & Unwin.  Richard asked Des who he thought was crazy enough to take on a project like this and Des immediately thought of me.  Seven months later, the idea became a short-lived reality (although it came close to selling out).

The book is gone now, never to be seen again, but here’s the pitch that got it commissioned.

SNITCH – A PROPOSAL

As the trials and triumphs of the Ibrahim brothers of Kings Cross fill our newspapers every day, a close friend has broken years of secrecy to tell the whole story – his story.

The Inspector first knew nightclub owner John Ibrahim when he was a teenager (and almost accidentally got him killed) – yet for many years he was a confidante of some of the top detectives in NSW police.

From the moment he led police to the killer of one of their own he was given a “green light” to operate in the Cross, protected by the good cops, resented by the bad ones and accepted by his criminal friends who knew he’d never dob them in.

He traded information with both sides of the law, earning his nickname from his police friends and respect from his peers but only now is he telling the whole story.

The scams and rorts, the power struggles and gang wars, betting rings, illegal gambling and the rise of the Ibrahim empire – he was in the thick of it all.

He knew the good cops who only wanted information and the “dirty” cops who demanded money. He met the international stars who flocked to the Cross for fun … and those whose addictions wouldn’t allow them to leave.

The Inspector was the Snitch and as Australia reels at the increasingly lurid tales from the Cross, the one man who knows the whole story finally talks.

THE BACKGROUND

Between 1986 and 1996 crime was out of control in Kings Cross in Sydney and cops were as likely to be as crooked as crims.

Old school villains like Lennie MacPherson, Abe Saffron and George Freeman were past their prime and new names were moving in on their territory.

Louis and Bill Bayeh were already living large and another new clan was on the horizon: the Ibrahim brothers.

And in the midst of it all was The Inspector, a man who traded in a commodity that was more valuable than cocaine, booze and sex combined – information.  A known police informer he was a close personal friend of the Ibrahim brothers and cohort of some of Sydney’s most notorious gamblers.

If John Ibrahim was right when he told police “you guys don’t care what happens as long as nobody gets hurt,” The Inspector was the man who made the unspoken agreement run smoothly.

Snitch will track his life from when he arrived in the Cross as a callow youth and immediately began earning $2000 a week as a strip club doorman to the point where he became the very first witness called at the Wood Royal Commission into Police Corruption.

It will take us from strip clubs to illegal gambling dens, from low-lifes in the streets of Kings Cross to the high life in Sydney’s top hotels, clubs and restaurants. It will chart the decline of one crime empire and the rise of the Lebanese youngbloods, the Bayehs then the Ibrahims.

And finally it will take him to another life completely, when he is arrested and charged  –  ironically because he  has been recorded discussing drugs on a wire being secretly worn by one of his friends.

Click HERE to listen to Jimmy and The Inspector interviewed by Merrick, Ricki-Lee and Dools on Nova 969.

A NOTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS

I entered TV script writing very late (having been a journalist for many years) and, in an effort to make up for lost time, my motto was “never turn down a paying gig”. That led me to some weird and wonderful places but all the time I was learning how TV worked.  Eventually I found myself working on Gladiators (think Lycra, muscles, giant Q-tips) under Des Monaghan.  A couple of years later he quit Seven and set up Screentime and let it be known he was looking for a new teen soap.  I knocked together  a proposal for Breakers, because he knew me he took my pitch and then took the proposal to Cannes and sold it to Ten and the BBC and they made more than 300 episodes.  That’s how TV works – it’s not what you know, it’s not even who you know, it’s who knows what you know.  And never turn down a paying gig.

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