Over the past couple of years, we here at the NCS have been lucky enough to secure some great interviews with people associated with the mob, including authors, actors, documentarians, law enforcement officers, relatives of Mobsters, and even a few former gangsters. After recently conducting my second interview for the site it occurred to me there is one man who has remained elusive about his role at the NCS, and that man is none other than the boss man himself, Mr. Craig Timmins, the guy who started the whole thing!
Well, that ends here and now, and I twisted Craig’s arm to get him to sit down and shed some light on this thing we call the National Crime Syndicate…
Casey: So Craig, let’s begin at the beginning. When and how did you become interested in the subject of organized crime?
Craig: I’ve always been curious about the mob I guess, and my first experience came in college when I was asked to do an essay on something I had an interest in. I decided to write a paper on the life of Al Capone who everyone had heard of, and it went from there really.
Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to learn more about the people that cropped up in my research on Capone. This is where I started to really join the dots and get involved, so I started to read about the likes of Torrio, Accardo, Weiss, O’Banion, Moran, Yale, Colosimo and so forth. Then that took me to learning more about key events like the St Valentines Day massacre.You can see the pattern developing here, right?
Sooner or later one link lead to another, and from Chicago my learning took me to New York, and my knowledge and interest on the mob began to grow and widen.
Casey: What was your original intention for creating the NCS?
Craig: The NCS was really just a hobby, and still is. I think when you have a passion for something so strong like this, its fun to work on. You actually enjoy what you do and hopefully that passion shines through.The NCS started as a Facebook page with a few fans and the more work I put into it, the more it started to grow. The intention really was to just start a hobby page for a handful of fans.
Casey: Did you have any inkling when you started that it would grow to what it has?
Craig: Absolutely not, I never expected it to get this big, and within a matter of 3 years.
I guess a lot of it comes down to the fact that my primary job is in digital marketing, so I knew how to grow the concept on social media, I knew how to create and market a website, and I had experience in making videos.
So overtime the NCS had a website, social media presence and videos. It’s then that I started to realise, hey, I can take this places.
But, I owe a lot to the people who have contributed such as yourself and Gar O’Brien from the Classic Gangster Society. You and Gar were the very first admins of the NCS, and its been that input that’s helped develop the NCS.
We are now in 2017 we have about 20 people working on the NCS, all with their own specialties on the mob. Such as Gary Jenkins the owner of Gangland Wire, who brings his knowledge of Kansas City and his time as a law official, and Ron who covers everything and anything NOLA related, then there’s Vincent, Deins, Ryan, Rickey, Daze and others who have been and gone who have chipped in.
One of my favourite quotes is from Joe Bonanno, and its fitting:
“It takes many steppingstones, you know, for a man to rise. None can do it unaided”
Casey: What has been your proudest moment so far along this journey?
Craig: When the likes of The New York Times and Forbes are using you as a source of information you know you have done a great job, and it makes everything worthwhile. I guess one of my proudest moments is to see the very first video that I created for the NCS receive nearly 1.4 million views, but also seeing the NCS t-shirts reach Alcatraz and the Mob Museum, that was pretty incredible.
Casey: What has been your biggest disappointment?
Craig: There hasn’t really been a disappointment, I guess the only one I can think of is that there isn’t enough hours in the day to spend more time on something I’m passionate about!
Casey: You’ve made some great mini documentaries that are featured on the site, how did the inspiration for those come about? Do you have plans for future episodes?
Craig: The videos are probably one of my favourite things to do. The inspiration came because you see so many mob channels on YouTube that all have the same videos. They just rip and upload these documentaries and whilst the documentaries are great I wanted the NCS to branch out from that so thought about creating my own. I knew it was going to be a tough and lengthy process to put videos together and costly to get a decent voiceover artist but it would be worth it. Not many other mob sites do this, if any.
We are currently working on a Carmine Galante mob hit video, then the plan is to tick off the rest of the ‘mob hits’. Moving away from the mobster of the month documentaries for a while and concentrating on the hits themselves.
Casey: Who is the character that you find the most interesting from history, and if you met them, what would you ask them?
Craig: That’s such a tough question, I knew you would ask me that! I guess where most of us have one main character from the mob, my research has taken me far and wide and I dont generally deal with one area or one person. If I had to pick one mobster who really interests me more than any other I would have to go with Tony Accardo.
In terms of one question I would ask I would have to bend the rules and at least go for a second. The first would be to ask was there at any point or event in his long career that he was ever fearful for his life. The second would be to clear up any speculation on whether he was the Capone hired hitman in the Hymie Weiss hit, the Frankie Yale hit and the St Valentines Day massacre.
Casey: Out of the people you now have had contact with, who would be the biggest surprise?
Craig: I’ve spoken to a lot of people in such a short space of time, authors, actors, ex mobsters, journalists and mob enthusiasts but I’d have to say the two that stand out the most to me are the very first interview I did for the site, with Christian Cipollini, and managing to get actor Craig Rivela in for an interview at the height of the Made in the Mob series.
Casey: What are your plans for the future of the NCS?
Craig: Well, as many of you close to me know, within a 6 week period last year I lost my father at the age of 55, and both my Grandfather and Grandma. That has really spurred me on to making the most I can out of this, because all 3 were behind me in the early days into taking the NCS forward, offering encouragement.
The future plans are to keep moving forward at the speed we are doing. It has come a long way in 3 years and I have a few projects lined up for 2017 that could take the NCS to the next level.
Casey: When are you going to make the trip over the pond from the U.K. to the states?
Craig: There are so many places I want to see and so many people that I need to sit down with for a beer and say thanks to, or chat mob biz with. I already have my list of places! Now it’s just finding the opportunity to get over there.