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Celebrity Jeweler Purges Photos, Clothing of 'Son' Linked To Brutal Killing

By Murray Weiss | December 15, 2016 1:33pm
 Jeffrey Rackover
Jeffrey Rackover
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Patrick McMullen

SUTTON PLACE — Celebrity jeweler Jeffrey Rackover has tossed out everything that could remind him of his “adopted son” James since the 26-year-old was charged in connection with the murder of a Connecticut man whose body was found in a shallow grave, DNAinfo New York has learned.

The elder Rackover, a multi-millionaire whose friends and clients include President-elect Donald Trump, his wife, Melania and Jennifer Lopez, had stacks of photos of James shredded and threw out his clothing after Joseph Comunale, 28, was stabbed to death in his the Sutton Place apartment that Rackover was paying for as well.

“Jeffrey was in whole hog for James,” a friend told “On the Inside.” "He gave him his name, the best things life could afford, and he now feels betrayed."

“Everything about the kid went bad,” the source added. “He feels taken for a ride, emotionally and financially.”

“Jeffrey still cries every day, but he wants to be cleansed of it all, and done,” the source concluded.

The elder Rackover, who lives in the same Grand Sutton building, has since stopped paying rent for his "son's" fourth-floor apartment, where Comunale was stabbed 15 times after a night of partying some time on the night of Nov. 13. The apartment has been returned to its owner.

DNAinfo New York previously reported the senior Rackover announced several years ago that he had a long-lost son, James, who suddenly showed up at his door claiming he was from Florida and that his mother had recently confessed that she once had a fling with Rackover.

He even insisted a DNA test confirmed the relation, and he embraced James as his own, hoping that one day that his "son" would take care of him, friends said.

 Lawrence Dilione, left, and James Rackover, right, both are accused of burying Joseph Comunale's body in a shallow grave on the Jersey Shore.
Lawrence Dilione, left, and James Rackover, right, both are accused of burying Joseph Comunale's body in a shallow grave on the Jersey Shore.
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DNAinfo/Kathleen Culliton

On Tuesday, however, James Rackover’s lawyer, Maurice Sercasz, told a Manhattan Criminal court judge that the senior Rackover was not James' biological parent, although he treated him as though he was the “son he never had.”

It turned out that they met at an Upper East sports club, where Rackover eventually decided to help straighten out the suspected grifter, who served jail time in Florida for robbery.

Jeffrey got him apartment, cars, Hamptons homes, expensive trips, a job, a beautiful wardrobe, and even a dog — and gave him his name,” the friend concluded.

“He thought he could keep the kid on the straight and narrow, but now he has ruined Jeffrey’s life. He just wants him done.”

Sercarz said James, whose real surname is Beaudoin, no longer expected Rackover to pay his legal services, which Rackover initially felt compelled to do out of loyalty.  Sercarz said that James’ biological mother intended to mortgage her Florida home to help put up his bail, which the judge reduced to $1 million bond.

“(Jeffrey Rackover’s) been linked in the media to a horrible crime,” Sercarz said. “But his distance should not be read as doubt of his surrogate son’s innocence.”

James Rackover, 26, and Lawrence Dilione, 28, of New Jersey, were formally arraigned on indictment charges of burying Comunale’s body.

A third man, Max Gemma, the son of former Oceanport mayor Gordon Gemma, was arraigned on charges of hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence in the former Hofstra University athlete’s death.

Prosecutors have not charged anyone with Comunale's murder.