PILL-Y STEAKS: At Jim's, it was wit' drugs, cops say

Andre McMillian
Andre McMillian
Posted: October 06, 2011

HOW YA LIKE yer cheesesteak?

Whiz Wit'? Maybe with a side of cocaine and Xanax?

Such a delicacy would have been possible at South Street's Jim's Steaks, if not for police intervention.

Over the summer, investigators uncovered alleged drug dealing inside the steak joint and arrested one of Jim's managers, Andre McMillian.

McMillian was nabbed by cops on Aug. 4 as he supervised the cooks preparing cheesesteaks behind the counter, said Lt. Joseph Bologna, one of the arresting officers. He said that police found cocaine, painkillers and other drugs on McMillian.

McMillian, 48, of Race Street near 54th, was charged with possession with intent to deliver and related crimes. He was expected in court today for a preliminary hearing and also faces trial later this month for a February 2010 drug arrest.

The narcotics unit confiscated cocaine, marijuana, 272 Percocet pills, 95 Xanax pills, 21 Endocet pills, $2,400 and McMillian's Chevrolet Venture, according to court documents. Police estimated that the seizure was worth $25,300.

Although the late co-owner of Jim's was convicted of drug dealing in 1990, and again arrested for drug possession in 2007, police insist that the owners didn't know about this latest incident.

"The ownership of Jim's Steaks had no knowledge or any dealings with this defendant as to his illegal acts in or around the restaurant," said police spokesman Lt. Raymond Evers. "They were not interviewed."

McMillian had been an employee since 1996 and worked as a shift manager from Thursdays to Sundays, said Elie Rosenblatt, 67, general manager of Jim's, at 4th and South streets. McMillian no longer works there, Rosenblatt said.

The arrest "took us by surprise here," said Rosenblatt, who's worked at Jim's since shortly after its 1976 opening. "I was completely disappointed. I knew the man for so many years. I thought he was a good friend."

Rosenblatt was informed by the Daily News that McMillian had a separate drug arrest last year. McMillian had told Rosenblatt that he had been arrested for a minor infraction, he said.

"We had no reason to believe anything other than what he told us," he said

McMillian's arrest came nearly four weeks after Rosenblatt was robbed while carrying $32,000 to drop off at the TD Bank at 2nd and Lombard streets.

"One thing has nothing to do with the other," Rosenblatt said.

That theft took place five days after the death of one of the eatery's owners, William Proetto, 73.

Proetto was arrested in 1990 after Lower Merion police searched his home and found cocaine, marijuana, Valium, Halcion, cash and a 38-caliber handgun, according to Montgomery County records. Proetto, then 53, was charged with drug possession and drug dealing from his Wynnewood home. He pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver and was sentenced to six to 23 months.

In 2007, he was arrested for driving under the influence and drug possession. Proetto didn't serve time, but was given credit for time served at an inpatient treatment facility, said one of his former lawyers, William J. Brennan.

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