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Sutton Place Murder Suspect's 'Dad' Helped Clean Up Crime Scene, Suit Says

By Shaye Weaver | June 26, 2017 5:38pm
 Jeffrey Rackover.
Jeffrey Rackover.
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Patrick McMullen

SUTTON PLACE — The celebrity jeweler whose surrogate son is accused murdering a Hofstra grad inside his swanky Sutton Place apartment after a night of partying helped clean the crime scene to cover up the killing, according to a lawsuit filed by the victim's father.

The suit accused the "dad," Jeffrey Rackover, of supplying paper towels and bleach to James Rackover to sanitize the murder scene inside his adopted son's apartment after James fatally stabbed Joey Comunale on Nov. 13, 2016, the victim's father Patsy Comunale claims in the suit filed Sunday in State Supreme Court. 

Furthermore, Jeffrey Rackover was caught on surveillance video after the alleged murder visiting his son's apartment, "which smelled from cleaning chemicals and the stench of death," the suit says. Hours later, Jeffrey discussed the cover-up with his son as they watched the Dallas Cowboys play in his apartment, the suit adds.

Patsy Comunale also blames Jeffrey Rackover for supplying his son with his Mercedes-Benz and an E-ZPass to drive the corpse to Oceanport, N.J., where the "disfigured" body was eventually found on Nov. 16, the suit continues.

► READ MORE: 'We Took Joey's Body to N.J.,' Sutton Place Murder Suspect Says

► READ MORE: Suspects in Sutton Place Murder Indicted and Denied Bail

Joey Comunale joined James Rackover, Lawrence Dilione, and Max Gemma at Chelsea's Gilded Lily the night of Nov. 12 before his disappearance, the father said.

Security cameras captured Joey Comunale's last moments, entering James Rackover’s 418 E. 59th St. apartment building, leaving sometime later with Dilione and three women, and then entering an elevator with Dilione at about 6:50 a.m., prosecutors said.

A witness saw James Rackover put a large duffel bag into a black Mercedes later that night and drive off, the criminal complaint says.

After a search by family members and the Stamford Police Department, Dilione revealed that he and James Rackover dumped Joey Comunale's body, which had been stabbed 15 times, in a shallow grave and set it on fire, the suit says.

James Rackover and Dilione were indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney on second degree murder charges and concealment of a human corpse on May 11. Gemma was charged with with hindering prosecution and tampering, concealing or destroying physical evidence alongside Rackover and Dilione.

James Rackover and Dilione are next due back in court on July 6.

Jeffrey Rackover claimed James as his long-lost son several years ago after the latter showed up claiming his mother had admitted she once had a fling with the elder Rackover.

In December, James’s lawyer told a judge that Jeffrey was not his biological parent, although he treated him as though he was the “son he never had.”

Patsy Comunale's lawsuit claims that Jeffrey — who got "sexual pleasure" from James and in return provided him with drugs, money and a swanky lifestyle — concealed the whereabouts of the body from the victim's next-of-kin, violating the father's "right of sepulcher," or right of a proper burial for his son.

He's seeking compensatory, special, and punitive damages that will be determined in court, as well reimbursement for attorneys' fees and costs.

Jeffrey Rackover's attorneys declined to comment.

Patsy Comunale's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment Monday morning.