Robert Durst, the cross-dressing scion of a $4.4 billion Manhattan real estate empire and now an accused murderer, allegedly tried to buy sex from a woman he met at a homeless shelter — and even tried to lowball her.
That is what a California investigator reported back in 2003 when he wrote Durst could be the “slim link” in the mysterious disappearances of two teenage girls, Kristen Modafferi and Karen Mitchell.
The revelation came as:
— New Orleans authorities declared the 71-year-old suspect a suicide risk — and put additional protections in place Wednesday while he awaits extradition to Los Angeles, where he is to stand trial for the murder of former flak Susan Berman.
— Durst had a latex mask to disguise his appearance and $42,000 in cash in his NOLA hotel room when the FBI busted him Saturday, a warrant out of Harris County, Tex., revealed.
The money was in hundred dollar bills and stashed in several envelopes. They also found a fake Texas ID with the name Everette Ward.
“That’s pretty good,” Durst reportedly replied when confronted with the ID.
Durst’s extradition was delayed by extra charges filed by local cops that he also had an illegal Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver — with one spent shell and four live rounds — in the room. It was not clear if the gun had been fired.
Investigators also found five ounces of pot in his room. Additionally, he had a UPS tracking number written on a piece of paper, which he told investigators was for keeping tabs on a shipment of a large sum of cash.
The FBI determined Durst had a net worth of $100 million and started withdrawing around $9,000 from his bank accountson a daily basis starting last October.
In a report obtained by the Daily News, John Bradley, an investigator for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, wrote that he learned from a source that “Durst often sought the services of prostitutes.”
“Allegedly, he told his present wife, Debrah Charatan, the only time he had sexual relations since his first wife disappeared in 1982 was with prostitutes,” Bradley wrote in a report obtained by the Daily News.
Durst has long been suspected in having a hand in the disappearance of first wife Kathie Durst.
Bradley discovered that Durst had a yen for prostitutes when he began looking into a homeless woman name Sheli Currier, whom he suspected of knowing Mitchell, 16, of Eureka, Calif.
Mitchell vanished in 1987 while walking home from The Mission, a homeless shelter she volunteered at — and which Durst had been known to haunt.
“Durst had a habit of frequenting or hanging around homeless shelters pretending to be in-need,” Bradley wrote.
In a 45-minute interview that Bradley said he taped, Currier told the investigator she never met Mitchell. But she recognized Durst from photographs.
“I could see on Currier’s face that she instantly recognized the person in the photographs,” he wrote. She said, “That’s what he looks like when he wakes up.”
Currier, who said she didn’t know Durst by name, said she was introduced to him “as a possible trick” by a security guard named David Frazier.
“She suggested he often offered her money for sex,” Bradley wrote. “She said it was never enough money and there was something about him that she did not like.”
While Durst was, at the time, living on his $65 million share of the family fortune in the nearby town of Trinidad, Calif., Currier said he “did not give off signals like he had money.”
“When I told her he was in-custody for murder in Galveston, Texas, she seemed relieved and said then it was a good thing she didn’t date him,” Bradley wrote.
Durst at the time was on trial for killing and dismembering his neighbor Morris Black. He was acquitted.
Currier could not be located for comment. Her brother-in-law said they haven’t spoken to her since she stole her sister’s laptop a few years ago for drug money.
He said Currier has been in and out of jail for prostitution and a few months ago they learned she was in San Francisco when a check-cashing place called them asking to verify her identity.
Bradley, in his report, noted some other intriguing details about Durst that led him to think he might have been involved in the vanishings of Mitchell and 18-year-old Modafferi, who was visiting San Francisco when she disappeared.
Durst “may have rented” a building less than three blocks from the Eureka homeless shelter in an area known for drug dealing and told people he was an insurance investigator, Bradley wrote.
“This additional information report only memorializes my suspicion surrounding Durst’s time as a resident of Northern California,” he wrote.
Lawyers for Durst said he had nothing to do with the disappearances of the teenage girls. They also say he did not kill Berman or his first wife.
On the day Berman was killed, cops received got an anonymous letter telling them there was a “cadaver” at her home. Investigators met with a handwriting expert, who identified Durst as the author of this note, last November.
Durst’s arrest came a day before the finale of an HBO documentary in which he appeared to confess that he “killed them all, of course.” His lawyer has already denied reports he was trying to flee to Cuba.