How Not To Make $1 Billion

By: Michael Seinberg

Faithful readers of the LRANY newsletter may remember the story of the New York man who sued Facebook claiming he owned half the company because of an alleged contract that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg signed back in the day.

Paul Ceglia hired Zuckerberg to work for his company, StreetFax back in 2003 while the Zuck was freshman at Harvard. Ceglia claims that part of the contract Zuckerberg signed included a $1,000 loan to help fund Facebook. The funny thing about that contract is that the ink on it is less than 2 years old, according to at least one analysis. Thus, there has been some reluctance on the part of Zuck and friends to hand over half the company to Ceglia.

It appears the would-be billionaire’s problems are now getting worse. The Buffalo judge in the case has ordered Ceglia to pay $97,617.70 or show cause why he can’t. Of that growing sum (it was previously $75,766.70) $5,000 goes to the court and the remaining $92,617.70 goes to cover Facebook’s mounting legal bills. Lord knows they need the cash.

The back and forth maneuvers will continue, but if Ceglia doesn’t produce the money or a get out of jail free card within 14 days, the judge may sanction him further or even dismiss the case completely.

Ceglia maintains that he is being called a con artist and that’s just not true. He’s even started a Wiki called paulscase.com to allow others to get involved and help him out. That’s probably a good idea at this point. The fact that three different law firms have dropped him already means he can probably use all the help he can get.

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