Durst admits to backing Pier 55 lawsuit

Says he wished to avoid personal battle with Barry Diller

Barry Diller, Douglas Durst and a rendering of Pier 55 (Illustration by Noah Patrick Pfarr)
Barry Diller, Douglas Durst and a rendering of Pier 55 (Illustration by Noah Patrick Pfarr)

Douglas Durst admitted to secretly funding a lawsuit to derail Barry Diller’s planned $200 million park on the Hudson River, a battle that erupted in a nasty war of words last year after the media mogul accused Durst of seeking revenge.

Durst [TRDataCustom] told the Villager newspaper that he funded the City Club’s legal challenge to Pier 55 as a stopgap measure to help the group.

“I haven’t been involved in the [Pier55] lawsuits in over six months — maybe even longer,” he said. “And my role was very limited in it,” he said.

“The reason I did not want my name involved is I did not want this to be a personal battle between me and Barry Diller,” Durst added. “I have nothing against Diller — except he said he wishes I had been killed by my brother.”

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Diller first accused Durst in September of opposing his pier park out of vengeance over being ousted from a leadership position at the Friends of the Hudson River Park in 2011.

When the topic came up at a panel discussion the following month, Diller took a pot shot at Durst. In a nod to accused killer Robert Durst, Diller referred to the family as the “very honorable Durst family killing machine.”

“He should have killed his brother,” Diller quipped, though he apologized for his remarks shortly thereafter.

The City Club won a major victory in March When A United States District Court judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had not properly considered the impact the proposed pier would have on a protected fish and wildlife sanctuary when it issued a permit. [Villager]Rich Bockmann