Ed Eakin is a Dallas-based broker and Realtor, who works both in Dallas and Houston. In 2013 he came back to Dallas to focus on Metro-area real estate. He started his own brokerage this past year. His niche, however, is selling beach property.
Ed sold Durst this Houston condo at 2520 Robin Hood, unit #801 for $437,000 in 2011. Just four years ago. The two bedroom, two and a half bath unit was Ed’s listing when he was director of sales for Personette & Co. When Ed sold him this listing, Durst also owned another unit in the building, 2520 Robin Hood at Kirby. Durst said he was going to list his older unit with Ed, but he never did.
“To my knowledge, it was never listed,” said Ed.
Unit 801, which Durst still owns, had about $360,000 in upgrades, $60,000 alone in the master bath. This condo was perfect as far as detail, says Ed, as it had just been completely redone by an owner flush with cash.
Did Durst quibble over price, I asked Ed? A little. The unit had been listed originally for $469,000. Durst’s was a cash purchase, no financing. Happened quick. Ed says Durst came to look at the placet, said “this is the nicest unit in the whole building,” and bought it. The high rise is one of Houston’s more tired complexes, but #801 had been remodeled to the nines.
“During our discussion, he told me he likes to buy and sell real estate,” says Ed. “Said he’d come back and purchase more from me. But shortly after this time, January of 2012, I began phasing my business to Dallas.”
Durst owns three total units in that building: #801, #606 which he bought in 2007, and a penthouse unit #1405 which he bought in 2013, not using Ed’s services. He also has a two bedroom home at Barclay Place, according to appraisal district records.
“He told me he owned condos all over town,” says Ed. “Once we got into negotiations and payment, the man who handled his money also told me he has multiple high rise units/condos all over Houston.”
Ed recalls that the “money guy” was based out of Galveston, possibly an attorney. Galveston is where Durst chopped up his neighbor, Morris Black, in self-defense.
Ed says he saw Durst 4 or 5 times total. Most of the time he was dressed in house shoes and his pajamas, almost as if he had just woken up. He would walk from his unit to see the one Ed had listed. Did he ever talk about family? No, says Ed. Like so many people have said, Robert Durst was very quiet, didn’t say much, didn’t talk a whole bunch.
“It was almost an awkward silence for me, as I knew who he was,” says Ed. Ed had read about the Galveston murder.
Durst was acquitted, I pointed out. But, as Ed says, he admitted he killed the guy, claiming self-defense.
Durst also apparently shopped at Walmart.
“Rumors around Houston, and these are just rumors, was he got caught in Galveston because when he was chopping the body parts, he threw them in the ocean in grocery bags, and he used a Walmart bag that had a receipt in it,” says Ed.
Rumor also had it that he was not convicted because they never found the victim’s head. Which was was where the victim, Morris Black, had allegedly been shot.
Durst moved very slowly, as he was a much older man.
“There were lots of stories about him in Houston, ” says Ed.
Some of those stories are that he was a strange character and a cross dresser — people saw him go out of the building dressed as a woman, re-enter it dressed as a man, according to building lore.
I asked Ed if the Seller wasn’t concerned or nervous about selling to Durst, given the Galveston murder. Ed says the Seller was a computer guru who moved to Las Vegas to start a dot com company. He wasn’t too concerned. He had gone quite overboard on the finish out — literally picked the same tile installers and materials used at the Four Seasons in Houston. He took the whole unit down to the studs. Because of his computer work, the unit was all wired for high speed internet. It also had the only fireplace of any condos in the building, which he got because the Seller was president of the HOA.
“I don’t think anybody ever thought he was a violent guy,” says Ed.
He would just do strange things by our normal standards: like it was nothing for him to pee on tree in the front yard. They just had to tell him, you cannot do that, people are complaining. Durst was quite and private
This is the way the building looked when Durst bought it in January of 2012.
Did Ed Eakin ever have any fear when he was showing the 2000 square foot-ish apartment to Robert Durst?
“I always kept him in front of me,” says Ed.