The dad of slain Hofstra graduate Joey Comunale is suing luxury apartment building The Grand Sutton for letting his son’s killer rent a unit there.
Pat Comunale claims in his new Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that the building owner, unit owner and two real estate companies were negligent in subleasing a unit to James Rackover — the lover and adopted son of jeweler-to-the-stars Jeffrey Rackover — despite his violent criminal history and drug use.
James Rackover was sentenced to over 28 years in prison for fatally beating and stabbing the 26-year-old Connecticut man with the help of accomplices Max Gemma and Larry Dilione during a drug-fueled after-party at Rackover’s East 59th Street pad.
Rackover had a prior conviction in Florida for burglary — and also fired a gun, removed his ankle bracelet and went on the lam while on probation, prosecutors have previously said.
“The Defendants’ predicate acts, by renting an apartment to Rackover, a career criminal who had been convicted of committing violent acts, negligently caused the events that occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 13, 2016,” Pat Comunale’s lawsuit charges.
Building staff should have known something was up when the trio suspiciously walked in and out of the building that morning, inquired about surveillance footage and even moved security cameras in the building, the suit claims.
“The conduct of Rackover and his friends, Dilione and Gemma, was so obvious, that Gemma walked out of The Grand Sutton on that cold November morning wearing only a blood-stained T-shirt, and no one cared or appeared to be alarmed,” the court papers allege.
“Joey may be alive today” if people at the building had acted immediately, the suit says.
Pat Comunale filed wrongful death suits against Rackover, Dilione and Gemma in 2017 and 2018. He also filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the parents of the Gemma and Dilione. All of the cases are pending.
Dilione is serving a 23-year prison sentence while Gemma was only sentenced to six months in jail after copping to a single count of hindering the prosecution for lying to cops about what happened.
Prosecutors said Gemma fell asleep on the couch in Rackover’s apartment while Rackover and Dilione beat Comunale to death. Then the pair dragged Comunale’s body into the bathroom and attempted to dismember him in the bathtub, prosecutors said. His remains were eventually discovered in a shallow grave in New Jersey.
The owner of the unit, Chista Ghaffari, declined to comment.
The Grand Sutton and the two real estate companies did not immediately return requests for comment.
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