NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Robert Durst, the man charged in the murder of his former spokeswoman and long suspected in the disappearance of his own wife, is also the heir to the real estate fortune of an iconic New York family.
As CBS2’s Kristine Johnson reported, Robert Durst’s grandfather, Austro-Hungarian immigrant Joseph Durst, founded the Durst Organization after purchasing his first building – the Century Building at 1 W. 34th St., in 1915.
The Durst Organization went on to become, and remains, one of the oldest family-run and commercial and residential real estate companies in New York.
The company owns and manages more than 13 million square feet of office space, as well as 2 million square feet of luxury residential rentals in Manhattan.
The Durst family is part owner and manager of One World Trade Center, and the family also manages the 58-story Epic Apartments building at 125 W. 31st St., the Bank of America Tower in Bryant Park, and the Conde Nast building at 4 Times Square.
Robert Durst’s father, Seymour Durst, was also the founder of the Old York Library, a collection devoted to New York City history.
But Robert Durst became estranged from the family in the early 1990s, and his name does not appear at all on a timeline of the family company.
Robert Durst’s father bypassed him, giving control of the family company to Robert’s younger brother, Douglas Durst.
The Durst family is worth at least $4 billion, according to the Forbes list of richest Americans.
As of late Monday afternoon, Robert Durst was in New Orleans awaiting extradition to Los Angeles. He was set to face a murder charge there in the shooting nearly 15 years ago of Susan Berman, a mobster’s daughter who vouched for him after his wife disappeared.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty, Los Angeles authorities said.
These consequences came only hours after Sunday’s finale of an HBO documentary detailing his life of privilege and links to three deaths: Berman; Durst’s wife in Westchester County, Kathleen Durst; and Morris Black, an elderly neighbor in Texas.
Robert Durst was never charged in his wife’s 1982 disappearance, but has long been considered a suspect by investigators. He was tried in the death of Texas neighbor Black, but claimed self-defense and was acquitted.
This was even though he admitted he used a paring knife, two saws and an ax to dismember Black’s body before dumping the remains.
Douglas Durst released a statement that did not express any support at all for his estranged brother.
“We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst,” Douglas Durst said in the statement. “We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”