David I Saperstein was born to Jewish parents in Baltimore.
David I Saperstein dropped out of college to sell used cars. When he got stuck in a snowstorm he came up with the idea to sell traffic reports on the radio. David I Saperstein used his Ford Dealership to start his new venture in Baltimore. When Ford withdrew its support of David I Saperstein and he lost his dealership, he founded Metro Networks in 1978. Metro Networks grew to serve over 1,500 radio stations in the U.S. In 1996, David I Saperstein decided to take Metro Networks public under the Nasdaq exchange, stock symbol MTNT. David I Saperstein made his fortune when he sold the company to Westwood One in 1999 for $1.25 billion in stock. Now he operates tree farms in Texas and Florida: „It’s a growing business,“ he once told a reporter for Forbes Magazine.
During the 1990s, Saperstein built a massive, 12-bedroom, 15-bathroom Versailles-style estate for his then-wife, Suzanne, sprawled across several acres on Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Bel Air. The home is listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the most expensive in the United States, with an estimated property value of about $125 million. The compound, which according to W Magazine is inspired by France’s 17th-century Vaux-le-Vicomte, occupies about 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) and is called Fleur de Lys („Lily Flower“ in French). The home took five years to build and the couple were divorced 18 months after it was completed. His wife Suzanne has had the house on the market at a listing price of $125 million. She listed the home shortly after divorcing her husband.
- In 2006 Saperstein divorced his wife of 23 years, Swedish philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein. He had the divorce papers served to her in Texas on a stopover on her way from California to Europe.
- Saperstein later married another Swedish woman, Hillevi Svensson, formerly nanny to his children.
- Ken Mehlman (cousin) was the former national Republican chair and president George W. Bush’s strategist for both of his terms.
Saperstein began his career selling used cars in Baltimore, but quickly found there was a niche for radio programming to include traffic reports. While traffic reporting was already a part of radio programming in some cities, Saperstein found there was no single company providing concise reports for stations, either regionally or nationally.
In 1978 he founded Metro Networks, in Houston, Texas. The company grew, through the 1980s, into a veritable traffic reporting empire, and in 1996, Saperstein took the company public on the Nasdaq exchange.
In 1992, Saperstein’s daughter married Shane Coppola in Baltimore, Maryland in a wedding that was described as „the social event of the season in the nation’s capital.“ The wedding is referenced in the 1993 film Dave, starring Kevin Kline.
In 1998, Saperstein, with his son-in-law, Coppola, began negotiating a merger agreement with Westwood One, and in September 1999 three companies merged, Metro Networks, Copter Acquisition Corp. and Westwood One.
Only 9 days before the merger between Metro Networks and Westwood One, Saperstein started a new company called Five „S“ Capital, Inc. Five „S“ is an investment company that helps to fund new business development. Saperstein brought many of his former Metro Networks executives on board Five „S“ Capital, including Metro Networks’ former general counsel, Gary Worobow. Worobow remains general counsel for Five „S“ Capital, and also serves as general counsel and a director for Global Traffic Network, which was founded by Westwood One in 2005.
Saperstein sits on the boards of Cedars-Sinai Hospital and Music Center of Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee.
In 2006, the Saperstein Critical Care tower that bears his name was opened at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Initially named the David and Suzanne Saperstein Tower, it had to be renamed after his rancorous divorce.
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