I could not pass up this saga involving Mayor Bill White’s traffic czar David Saperstein and his wife Suzanne. Apparently, the honeymoon is way over and it’s a battle royale for alimony that’s gone all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court.
The couple known for lavish lifestyles and charitable donations is involved in a billion-dollar divorce that hit the high court Wednesday with appropriately high-powered legal talent.
Tom Phillips – an ex-chief justice of the Supreme Court – is arguing that Suzanne’s spousal maintenance should be determined by a court in California, where she lives.
David’s case is being argued by Lynne Liberato, a former president of the State Bar of Texas.
As many of you know David Saperstein became a billionaire building a company that reported on traffic problems and delays. For the last three years, he has been Mayor Bill White’s $1-a-year traffic czar, setting up the Safe Clear program and consulting on other traffic issues.
Suzanne, has been living in Los Angeles, where the couple’s 45,000-square-foot French-style chateau was the subject of a seven-page spread in the April 2002 issue of Vanity Fair.
In her legal brief, Suzanne said she was surprised in July 2005 when David lured her out of the family’s Gulfstream jet when it landed in Houston for a stopover on the way to Europe. He said he wanted to talk about some serious issues regarding the children; once outside the plane he had her served with divorce papers.
The couple have been married for almost 20 years and have three children. The two oldest, 19 and 17, live in Texas, but the youngest, 16-year-old Stefanie, lives with her mother in Los Angeles.
There are competing court orders for temporary spousal maintenance. One judge has ordered $33,000 a month and the California court ordered a more generous $60,000 monthly payment for Mrs. Saperstein.
There is no timetable for when the court might rule.