Here's How Much Robert Durst Is Really Worth

If Robert Durst was schooled at Hogwarts, he'd be House Slytherin for sure. There's just something serpentine about the diminutive real-estate mogul whose alleged three mysterious murders became the subject of the shocking 2015 HBO documentary "The Jinx."

Before Robert Durst was infamous, the eccentric heir dabbled in the family business but left New York in the 1970s to open a health food store in rural Vermont with his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who vanished under suspect circumstances in 1982. In "The Jinx" (via AP), Robert admitted to physically abusing her, but her body was never found and he was never charged. Next was the death of his best friend Susan Berman. A journalist and daughter of a notorious mobster, Berman helped defend Robert's reputation after Kathleen went missing. In 2000, Berman was found dead with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Following Berman's death, Robert Durst went into hiding in Texas, disguised as a mute woman where he befriended and killed his 71-year old neighbor Morris Black in 2001. Robert shot and dismembered Black, but with the help of high-priced attorneys, was acquitted in 2003, per the Los Angeles Times. In the misleading culmination of the Robert Durst documentary, a hot mic allegedly captured him muttering to himself, "Killed them all, of course." Despite all this, Robert's millions helped him evade justice until September 2021 when, as noted in the Los Angeles Times, a jury found him guilty of killing Berman.

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The real money belongs to Robert Durst's family

Robert Durst had, at best, a dabbling interest in the family business. As the eldest of four children, he could've inherited a throne worth billions. However, according to "The Jinx," Robert's almost disdainful disinterest for propriety in the property business had him demoted to bagman, making rent pickups from the seedier haunts in the family's vast New York holdings. He's Roman Roy of "Succession," minus any semblance of charm. Durst was better at rubbing people wrong than hobnobbing in high society, well known for, "burping, farting, and smoking pot in public," according to the New York Post.

Durst's motives are almost as opaque as his oddly implacable visage. The skyscraper scion simply walked away from a fortune Forbes estimates at $8.1 billion — the 47th largest net worth of any family in America. The Durst organization owns millions of square feet in New York and Philadelphia and has a sizable stake in the One World Trade Center — holdings much appreciated by the frenetic real-estate bonanza in the low-interest rate post-Covid-19 economy.

It's a rags to riches tale, really. Just a little over a decade after the family patriarch, Robert's grandfather Joseph Durst, immigrated from Poland in 1903, he'd founded what would become the family empire. That same family empire officially parted ways with Robert in 2015.

Robert Durst parted ways from his family for $65 million cash

"More than I could possibly spend," is how Robert Durst has described his annual income from a family trust during legal proceedings against his siblings in 2006. Durst was raking in more than $2 million a year from the fund, according to The New York Times.

Robert had been falling out with his brothers for years before their split was official. "This is a horrible experience and I'm fearful of my brother," Thomas Durst said during Robert's murder trial in 2020, per the New York Post. Robert's other brother Douglas was also deeply afraid the "The Jinx" star was stalking him as recently as 2015. "We had information that Bob was five or 10 minutes away from my house," Douglas told The Times. After Robert's arrest in 2015 following the infamous documentary's release, Douglas was deeply relieved. "I no longer am looking over my shoulder. I'm very grateful to 'The Jinx' for having brought this about."

All this partially explains why the family cut the confessed killer a check for $65 million in 2006. The payout was ostensibly Robert's portion of some Manhattan skyscrapers. More accurately, it was walk away money. Robert's suit, his brothers claim (via The Times), "would have led to the dismantling of the family's real estate empire." The rub was Durst was attempting to have his second wife inherit his cash for him — tricky maneuvering that may have had a dubious purpose in helping Robert conceal his true net worth.

LAPD thinks Robert Durst is worth $100 million

There's no accounting for taste, and maybe the same goes for money — at least when it comes to the mega-rich. Despite the usual suspects like Celebrity Net Worth putting Robert Durst's wallet width at the same $65 million he netted from the 2006 financial settlement with his powerful brothers, perhaps a more accurate accounting comes, oddly, from the LAPD?

Durst was nabbed by police in New Orleans in 2015 for the murder of his former confidante, Susan Berman, just as the "The Jinx" was concluding. The arrest warrant, via the Los Angeles Times, lists Durst's assets at a cool $100 million. This makes some sense, considering the lump sum buyout Durst received from his family empire — covering his portion of 10 Manhattan skyscrapers — isn't exactly the first income the strange scion has ever earned.

Interestingly, Durst's 2015 arrest was widely reported to have been a direct result of his disputed confession in the series finale of "The Jinx" — at least that's what Durst's attorney put out there. According to, they claimed California authorities fell for the hype and were, "hurriedly planning to arrest Durst before the final episode. They were crafting a dramatic moment of their own." Prosecutors had been building the Berman case for years. Officials did, however, admit to NBC News Durst's participation could have cost Durst his freedom, if not his bankroll, and, "bolstered the prosecution's case" even if the underlying facts were already known to officials. 

Robert Durst dodges $100 million lawsuit

One clue as to what the reclusive reaper Robert Durst might really be worth is how much his enemies have tried to pry from his cold little hands in court. The mogul might've moved on (to other, stranger crimes) after his wife Kathleen Durst disappeared in 1982, but her family didn't have that luxury. They still want answers and filed a $100 million lawsuit against Robert in 2015 that accused Robert of killing their daughter and hiding her body, "thus depriving her family of the right to bury her," wrote the New York Post.

Kathie was afraid of Robert and "frantic" the night she vanished, a friend of the still-missing woman testified at Robert's murder trial in 2021, via Daily News. The couple had allegedly argued intensely that night. Another friend, a retired surgeon, told the same courtroom about a chilling conversation he'd had with her in 1981: "She had told me that she thought that her husband might kill her ... She used a word that I have never heard before. She said there was a homicidal side to him and that was shocking to me."

All this dirt, however, pertains only to the Susan Berman proceedings, a criminal matter. As the New York Post reported, the $100 million civil lawsuit from Kathie's sisters was thrown out in 2020. A Nassau County Supreme Court Justice ruled the claim was filed far too late — over 30 years tardy, long past the three-year statute for such filings in New York.

Robert Durst made millions on real estate even after leaving the family business

If there's one thing God isn't making any more of, goes the old real-estate maxim, it's land. And in recent years, you could almost say the same thing about housing. Experts are predicting a shortage for "years to come," according to CNBC. Maybe that explains Robert Durst's continued ability to rake in millions in the rental market, despite his odd extra-curricular activities.

Five years after his estranged family cut him a check for $65 million to just go away, Durst plunked down $6.1 million for a pair of apartment buildings: one in Brooklyn, the other in Harlem, according to CNN. The housing collapse of 2008-09 was building back to a semblance of stability by that time Durst shrewdly swooped in, circa 2011.  

Like a lot of investors, Durst's plan was not to live the life of a landlord — but to flip the buildings. He sold both properties in 2014, making a tidy $10 million profit, as more and more well-heeled workers sought units in these burgeoning boroughs. Gentrification is great for speculative investors like Durst who continues to win even after being accused of being a serial killer. It's moves like these that give the lie to Durst's widely cited and dubiously low net worth of a mere $65 million.

Robert Durst has lost millions in legal fees

If there's one thing that can cost the rich staggering sums, it's legal fees. Famously litigious figures like Donald Trump have made a sport of civil courts, and are targets for an almost countless number of lawsuits — some legitimate, some utterly deranged.

The best defense money can buy isn't cheap and Robert Durst has spent lavishly in both his criminal and civil proceedings. Before his 2003 murder trial for the slaying of his 71-year old neighbor Morris Black, the real-estate heir claimed he'd already paid his attorney's $1.2 million — and complained they were trying to squeeze him for much more. "If it was just a question of money, I would pay the $600,000," Durst said in a handwritten note to the judge, via CNN. "However, if I made this payment I would not be able to be in a room with Dick DeGuerin or Mike Ramsey and hold my head up or look either individual in the eyes ... How can I trust two individuals who treat me like this with my life."

Durst and his attorneys quickly settled that dispute — and it earned him an acquittal. In 2017 Durst had another spat with his defense infrastructure, this time regarding the death of Susan Berman. He'd hired a private investigative firm to aid his case but in 2018 a judge ruled he'd stiffed them for a whopping $164,632, according to Daily News.

Robert Durst shrewdly used mounds of cash to stay out of jail

Viewers of HBO's "The Jinx" were posed a fundamental question about the frequently grimacing little man at the documentary's center: Is Robert Durst crazy — or crazy like a fox? His shrewd maneuvering to stay out of prison indicates the answer, at minimum, is both.

Robert Durst and his current wife Debrah Lee Charatan dated for about two years in the 1980s, says The Sun. Things got serious though in 2000 when, as recounted by The Guardian, the Kathleen Durst case was reopened. As noted in "The Jinx," Robert splurged on a $77,000 engagement ring and popped the question to Charatan, a real-estate player in her own right. The rushed nuptials meant if she knows anything about the death of Kathleen, spousal privilege exempts her from testifying against her husband.

Charatan has reportedly not spoken to Robert since the airing of "The Jinx," according to The New York Times. However, multiple acquaintances told the outlet she was willing to wed a man she may have known was a killer to satisfy her own ambitions. ”For Debbie, it's all about the money. When she met Bob, she hit pay dirt,” said Adelaide Polsinelli, who worked for Charatan for 12 years. Another former colleague claimed, ”She's an excellent broker, but she's also one of the most ruthless people I have ever come across.”

Robert Durst's wife may be running a front to keep him rich

Robert Durst and his wife Debrah Lee Charatan may be estranged, but their complicated financial relationship is still intact. And it may be to both their benefits.

In 2002, Charatan got her hands on $20 million of Durst family fortune, according to The New York Times. That was her share of Durst's $65 million settlement from his estranged brothers. She used the cash to start her own real estate firm, along with her son, called BCB Property Management, according to a deep-dive by Newsweek in 2015. A source told the magazine that Durst's wife's company might actually be a "front" for the accused killer to make his money moves, "carrying out his business dealings without the attachment of his controversial name."

The details are however, well concealed. Public records show Durst and Charatan swapping LLCs between themselves like hotcakes, and an insider spilled documents to Newsweek that demonstrate overlapping addresses between Durst's business addresses and those officially belonging to his wife. More interestingly, as of 2015, Charatan was not living with Durst, but with one of his lawyers, Steven I. Holm. According to the New York Post, she lived with Holm until he died in 2019. Charatan was also granted power of attorney over Durst in 2002, with a special provision that allows her to "gift Robert Durst's money to herself and/or to companies she owns," summarizes Newsweek. For all legal purposes, she controls Robert Durst's riches.