NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Robert Durst, the eccentric millionaire accused of multiple murders, comes from one of the richest families in New York.
The Durst family has been involved in the New York City real estate for a century as builders and have left an indelible mark on the city’s landscape with landmark buildings. More recently, the Durst organization contributed to the construction and management of One World Trade Center, which replaced the twin towers.
And even though Robert has been estranged from the family for years, he has continued to dabble in the real estate business in New York. In 2011, he paid a combined $6.1 million for two apartment buildings, one in Brooklyn and one in Harlem. Three years later, he sold both buildings, making more than $10 million in the process.
The Durst dynasty dates back to 1915, when patriarch Joseph Durst built the first office building on Manhattan’s 3rd Avenue.
Joseph’s son, Seymour, expanded the business, and the next generation really put the family’s name on the map.
In the 1990s, Douglas and Jonathan Durst helped transform Times Square from a seedy red-light district to a major tourist attraction.
Today, the Durst organization owns or manages more than 13 million square feet of office space in Manhattan and another 2 million square feet of luxury residences.
In total, the family built a fortune worth $4.4 billion, according to Forbes.
In 2006, Robert sued for control of his $43 million share of the family’s trust, which was set up by his father Seymour in 1962.
The family eventually settled and bought out Robert’s stake in the business for $65 million.
The 71 year-old murder suspect will need the money for his legal defense. Robert is now being held in a Louisiana prison on suicide watch as he awaits extradition to Los Angeles to face charges in the 2000 killing of his close friend.
This is not the first time he’s been accused of murder. Robert admitted to killing and dismembering his neighbor in a 2003 trial, but he was acquitted after arguing he acted in self-defense.
And while he’s never been charged in his first wife’s 1982 disappearance, her family members believe she’s dead and that he’s the one to blame.
The Durst family has been thrust into the spotlight since Robert appeared to have implicated himself in the murders in an HBO documentary.