Home Facebook Ownership Claim Could Leave Accuser a Wealthy Man

Facebook Ownership Claim Could Leave Accuser a Wealthy Man

Early last week we related the story of a man who claimed he owned 84% of Facebook, calling the suit “weird, to say the least.” Now, more than a week later, and the details of the case are seeming less and less weird and more and more like they could make accuser Paul Ceglia a wealthy man.

Henry Blodget, founding editor of Business Insider, writes today that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be in much deeper water than we originally imagined.

The Wall Street Journal originally reported the case of New York Web designer Paul Ceglia, who worked with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2003. Ceglia claims that the two signed a contract that “stipulated that Mr. Ceglia would get an additional 1% interest in the business for every day after Jan. 1, 2004, until it was completed.”

Now the authenticity of that contract is coming under question, but Blodget writes that “unless Facebook can easily prove that the contract is a forgery – or, alternatively, have the case dismissed on a statute-of-limitations technicality – Mr. Ceglia will soon be a very rich man.”

David Kirkpatrick, author of Facebook biography “The Facebook Effect”, asked Zuckerberg this week about this “extraordinary claim”, writing that “Zuckerberg says that is bunk.” He quotes Zuckerberg as saying that he “hadn’t even thought of Facebook yet. How could I have given him an ownership interest in it?”

According to Blodget, though, the burden of proof in this case is on Facebook, and Ceglia still could become a wealthy man in the end. He writes:

Unless Facebook can easily prove that this contract is a forgery or get the lawsuit dismissed on a technicality, it will likely lead to a settlement that will make Paul Ceglia a very rich man. The Winklevoss brothers never had a piece of paper showing any agreement with Mark, and they got $65 million. It’s not inconceivable that Paul Ceglia could walk away with a lot more than that.

For a company that originally called the lawsuit “completely frivolous,” it seems a bit like backpedaling now to say that it “strongly suspects” that the contract is a forgery.

Facebook Ceglia Contract

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