Barry Diller’s feud with Durst gets ugly

Media mogul lambasts “Durst family killing machine” in spat over Hudson River Park

From left: Barry Diller, Pier 55 and Douglas Durst
From left: Barry Diller, Pier 55 and Douglas Durst

Barry Diller is out for blood.

The billionaire media mogul, who last month accused Douglas Durst of surreptitiously trying to block his $200 million park project on the Hudson River, took a shot at his nemesis at a Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit Thursday.

Diller said he was dumbfounded when he was sued by a trio of people on the grounds they were trying to protect wildlife in the Hudson River, a tactic that anti-development groups in the 1980s used to block a proposal to bury the West Side Highway.

“I couldn’t figure it out until I found out that the three people — one of whom was named Durst from the very honorable Durst family killing machine,” Diller told panel moderator and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

“No, that’s one member — Robert Durst,” Carter pointed out.

“He should have killed his brother,” Diller quipped back.

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Diller told the New York Times in September that Durst was secretly funding a lawsuit trying to stop the park, known as Pier 55, because he resented being removed from a leadership position at the Friends of the Hudson River Park in 2011.

“I found out that it didn’t have anything to do with what we were doing. It had to do with basically the anger and revenge they wanted to wreak on the Hudson River Park Trust … because years ago the Hudson River Park Trust had spurned Mr. Durst,” Diller told Carter.

The IAC/InterActiveCorp chairman went on to explain he met with Durst, who told him, “I don’t like the fact the Hudson River Park … I don’t like that all the plantings are only green. … There’s no color and there should be and they don’t maintain it.”

Diller said he thought that reasoning was “awfully cruel.”

“He looked up at me and he said ‘You have my sympathy.’ And I got up and turned around and left that room,” Diller said.

Durst [TRDataCustom] declined to say in September whether he is financing the lawsuit, but said, “I do not like the process or the project and I am in favor of the litigation.”

A representative for Durst could not be immediately reached for comment.