Property Moguls Behaving Badly: Peeing on Skittles

Robert Durst: the John DuPont of real estate.

Ryan Gosling in the film All Good Things, loosely based on the life of Robert Durst.

Ryan Gosling in the film All Good Things, loosely based on the life of Robert Durst.

Son of the late real estate magnate Seymour Durst, and a real estate force in his own right, Robert Durst is once again in the news, but this time, it’s not about selling buildings.

Last week, he made news in the New York Post with the headline “Cross-dressing killer now making a killing in NYC real estate” after he sold two buildings in Brooklyn for $21.15 million.


Durst is a pariah in a family that owns many, many billions worth of property in New York (you know you probably won't be invited to Thanksgiving when 12 of your relatives have restraining orders against you). But he's still very much in the game: His wife is a New York real estate broker, and he has a chunky trust fund. Aside from those Brooklyn buildings, the Post's Jennifer Gould Keil writes, "Durst has also gotten his hands on some killer real estate in Harlem, where prices have skyrocketed" and "reportedly paid $3 million in September 2012 for a 41.96 percent interest in Havemeyer Portfolio LLC."

Why all the "killer" references? Well, Durst has a troubled history, to say the least.

As a child, Durst watched his mother plunge to her death when she leapt off the roof of their family home. As an adult, he was a suspect in both the disappearance of his wife and, years later, of the murder of his friend Susan Berman.

In 2001, while he was intermittently living as a mute woman named Dorothy, he was charged with the murder of his neighbor in a Texas boarding house complex but posted bail (millionaire real estate heirs can do that) and went on the lam. He was caught in Bath, Pa., because he shoplifted a sandwich, foreshadowing this month's misdemeanor. He was placed in a Northampton County, Pa., jail, and then extradited to Texas, where he confessed to the murder but said it was self-defense. He was acquitted of the murder but convicted of evidence tampering and bond jumping.

Now, Durst has seen police involvement again in Texas, this time for peeing on a candy rack at a Houston CVS. From the Houston Chronicle:

The incident occurred at about 12:15 p.m. Sunday after Durst purchased a prescription at the CVS pharmacy, police spokesman John Cannon said. Without any apparent provocation, Durst allegedly began urinating on the cash register, drenching a candy display, Cannon said.

"He did not seem to be agitated or arguing with anyone," Cannon said. "He turned casually and left the store and was last seen walking down the street."

Oddly, the New York Post attributed a very similar quote to a different police spokesperson, Jodi Silva, along with some followup remarks just tailor-made for the Post:

"He wasn't arguing with anybody and he didn't seem agitated," Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told The New York Post, adding that she did not know what the prescription was for. "He just peed on the candy. Skittles, I think."

The Post described Durst as "the cross-dressing multimillionaire," the "killer New York real-estate ​​heir," and the "wealthy nut."

Frankly, I feel for the Durst Organization, whose projects including the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park and the construction and leasing of One World Trade Center, and then a bazillion other massive developments in New York. It's a John DuPont situation. I imagine every time Robert Durst is in the news, there's a "here we go again" sigh ’round every conference table. Well, at least everyone's a billionaire. I'm sure that's a comfort.

Durst later said, according to the Times, that he was not very good at pretending to be a woman, having once set his wig on fire in a bar

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