THE self-declared King of the Cross is giving back to the infamous suburb’s most desperate.
While underworld identity John Ibrahim’s family members front up to court after being extradited from Dubai on drug charges, the man nicknamed “Teflon John” has been busy spreading philanthropy.
It has been revealed that Ibrahim, 49, made a substantial donation to the Wayside Chapel — a Kings Cross charity that helps the area’s homeless and drug addicted — as part of a benevolent spending spree.
The former nightclub boss, whose memoir Last King of the Cross quickly became a bestseller after it was released in July, says he has donated his six-figure advance and then some to a string of charities.
Among them is the Wayside Chapel, a community centre devoted to helping thousands of Sydney’s most disadvantaged with substance abuse, mental health and housing problems.
Opened by Reverend Ted Noffs in the 1960s, when the Cross’s red light district, illegal gambling and drug culture were in full swing, the Wayside Chapel has been a beacon of hope over decades for those who have suffered from the excesses of the area’s smorgasbord of vices.
Wayside Chapel spokesman Lee Cooper confirmed Ibrahim made a “very generous, major donation” to the charity from his advance for the book, well before his brothers Fadi and Michael Ibrahim’s arrests in Dubai.
“I can confirm that John has made a generous donation to the Wayside Chapel
and we are grateful for that,” Mr Cooper told news.com.au.
Since its release, the book has been reprinted several times despite only minimal efforts at publicising its sale.
Ibraham, who has amassed a wealth of more than $52 million from his business and property interests since his beginnings as a teenage nightclub part-owner, was dubbed the “lifeblood of the drugs industry of Kings Cross” during the 1995 Wood royal commission.
But he continues to strongly deny having ever been involved in the drug trade and organised crime, with no convictions apart from a minor assault as a teenager.
No charges have been laid following the police raid at his Dover Heights home in the aftermath of his brothers’ arrests in Dubai.
Ibraham’s son Daniel was arrested in Sydney last month over alleged involvement in an illegal tobacco importation, while his girlfriend Sarah Budge was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon when a loaded Glock pistol was allegedly found in her Double Bay home.
When Ibrahim first announced plans to publish a ghostwritten memoir eight years ago, he pledged to donate the proceeds to the children’s ward at the Royal North Shore Hospital, in recognition of the team that looked after his brother Fadi following his 2009 shooting.
The same year, he offered to donate the equivalent cost of providing police protection to Fadi Ibrahim while he recovered in hospital to charity.
His brother had been wounded in a shooting outside his Castle Cove home, and media reports revealed that NSW taxpayers had forked out $46,000 for a around-the-clock guard to keep him safe in the ward.