Robert Durst, the 78-year-old heir to a real estate fortune built by his family through the Durst Organization, is standing trial this week. His history with the criminal justice system has been long and unpleasant with multiple murder accusations.
Durst testified in his own defense on Aug. 9 during his murder trial. Susan Berman, a former friend of Durst’s, was killed in 2000 and Durst has denied having anything to do with her death. Given his family’s immense wealth built through the real estate business, how much is Durst worth currently?
Robert Durst and his family’s fortune
The famed Durst family made their significant wealth via a real estate empire. Joseph Durst founded The Durst Organization early in the 1900s.
Durst’s father, Seymour Durst, took over the business in 1974 and focused his efforts on New York City skyscrapers. He wanted his eldest son Robert to take over the family business. Robert refused although he would occasionally attend a board meeting. Seymour is also known as the creator of the National Debt Clock.
The Durst family as a whole had an estimated combined net worth of $8.1 billion as of December 2020 based on the business assets, according to Forbes. The family was ranked #47 on the Forbes list of America’s Richest Families in 2020.
Robert’s brother Douglas is the chairman of The Durst Organization and multiple other family members work within the company. Some notable buildings owned by the company include the Conde Nast building at Four Times Square, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, and One World Trade Center.
In 2006, the rest of the family bought out Robert’s stake in the business for $65 million. That $65 million has likely been funding his life and medical treatments.
Robert Durst on trial
The trial in which Durst is accused of having killed his longtime friend Berman started early in 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He's charged with first-degree murder. Despite Durst facing multiple severe health issues, the trial is proceeding as planned.
Berman was killed just before she was scheduled to start speaking to investigators regarding the disappearance of Durst's first wife. Prosecutors rested their case last week, so now the defense portion of the trial has started.
Many people suspected that Durst was involved in the 1982 disappearance of Kathleen Durst, who was never found. Prosecutors in the current Berman murder trial claim that Durst killed Berman to prevent her from sharing details about him killing his first wife. However, there's little physical evidence in the Berman case.
Robert Durst documentary
Durst and his legal struggles were featured in a 2015 HBO docuseries called “The Jinx.” He has been accused of not only Berman's murder, but also the murder of his neighbor Morris Black. Durst admitted to killing Black and disposed of his body parts in Galveston Bay, but was acquitted.