Robert Durst’s wife is “the mastermind’’ behind the oddball couple — controlling his real estate fortune and allegedly arranging for him to fly to Cuba amid a damning HBO documentary, sources told The Post.
Cutthroat Manhattan Realtor Debra Charatan “knew things were going to blow up before he was arrested’’ Saturday in New Orleans for the 2000 murder of pal Susan Berman, a source said. “She knew stuff was coming down.”
“She’d been to Cuba a couple of months ago” for a Jewish charity organization, the source noted.
“She’s very, very smart,” the source added of Charatan, who handles Durst’s fortune, estimated at $65 million in 2006.
“Any time he’s in trouble, she’s leaving and going to these places. She’s extremely cunning. People call her a shark.”
The unlikely relationship between the 71-year-old real estate scion and the tough-talking Howard Beach native, 58, is “very businesslike,” a source said.
“He asks her opinion on things, and she tells him the truth,” the source added. “And then he will start swearing at her. And she will be very calm and say, ‘Now, Robert, that’s not very nice. Calm down.’
“While the documentary was ongoing, she was acting like everything was fine. Only now is she realizing that a volcano is about to erupt and it will be a real s–t show,” the source said.
During the documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” new evidence was uncovered that could link Durst to Berman’s death. He also is heard muttering off-camera, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.’’
On the show, Charatan can be heard in old jailhouse phone calls to her husband heatedly telling him that if he tried to claim insanity in the killing of a neighbor in Texas, his family would get his money. He wound up pleading self-defense and was acquitted.
The pair’s marriage is one of convenience, sources said.
Charatan “knew a lot of stuff’’ about Durst when she married the nutty heir in 2000, a source said. The pair had been close friends for years, even before Durst’s first wife, Kathie, vanished in 1982, a source noted.
He married her in December 2000 — a month after he discovered that Westchester authorities were reopening their probe into his first wife’s disappearance. As his wife, Charatan gained spousal privilege, meaning she wouldn’t have to testify against him, sources have noted.
Charatan was admittedly battling financial woes and coming off a failed marriage when she married Durst.
The couple appear to have only briefly lived together in 1990, sources said.
Charatan and real estate lawyer Steven Holm currently live together in a Park Avenue pad, sources claimed.
Neither Charatan nor Holm returned phone calls.