So the judge had just ordered me to pay alimony and child support which totaled up to about $5,000 a month. My whole life was being balanced in front of me. Here I had my new wife and two young children, a one year old and a newborn. I told my wife Mary Anne the only way to salvage any of this was to go to jail. For if I do not go now whatever I will come up with will make me go to jail later in life. Mary Anne was understandably not thrilled with the idea of me going to jail and leaving her to raise two kids. After days of thinking, I came up with an idea to get someone with money to become partners with me in a new pharmacy venture. I would make him a 50% partner. They would put up the money and I would do the work.The name of this new venture was Millennium Pharmacy. The name had come to me simply enough, since it was August 1999 and the new millennium was right around the corner.
My first store, my baby, called Camelot Pharmacy was to close in that same month of August. I moved all my customers and their prescriptions into Millennium Pharmacy, which was located in the Mount Vernon west train station on the Metro North line. Mary Anne and I would build it up from nothing, selling coffee, cakes and putting in all kinds of crazy hours. The person who fronted me the money was a guy by the name of Patel. He worked every day. I would never forget when we opened that store it was hotter than hell outside, and yet Patel would not let us turn on the air conditioner. I remember one morning a customer bought a bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate and it melted in his hands not in his mouth as he picked it up. I looked at this poor guy with chocolate dripping down his hands. I went and got him a towel to clean his hands and realized at that moment that Patel and I would not work out as business partners. So I would work as many hours as I could to pay Patel his money back. I even worked at another pharmacy trying to make more money in order to buy him out.
One day an old acquaintance of mine from when I was in my twenties came in, and as I recalled he was something of a wise guy. He came in with a guy who was built like a house. I thought maybe he came in to get some antibiotics, but he was there to tell me something along the lines of, “John make sure your wife gets her alimony or I’ll have to come back, and my friend will do the talking”. I looked up at the two of them and said, “When did the mob get into family affairs?”. To say I was scared was a bit of an understatement. I called a few people I knew and told them what had happened. They told me to go see a certain gentleman whom I knew well.
So I took a short drive to the Bronx and had a sit down and that man told me, “John don’t worry, nobody is going to bother you, especially over family matters”. I left the meeting feeling less fearful and had heard a few days later that the wise guy and his large friend who came to my store were told never to bother me again. Thank God throughout all my life I dealt with wise guys and such and never had any problems. It was only a few weeks later that I would buyout Patel and build up Millennium Pharmacy as my own with a lot of help from my second wife. I did all this while juggling my two new small children and my two older daughters from my first marriage, one in high school and one in college.
After awhile my debt was becoming insurmountable. I realized I had to find a way to make more money because I was behind in everything and ready to go down for the count. What could I do? After much thought and agonizing I then decided I would have to do something that I had never done before. It would turn out to be another bad decision which would have devastating and damaging consequences for me and my whole family.