The New York Times:
Facebook on Monday sought to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a man who claims to own half of the world’s largest social network. […] The case was filed by a man named Paul Ceglia in June 2010. He claimed he had a contract with Mr. Zuckerberg dating back to 2003. In that contract, he said, he was given a 50 percent stake in the company that Mr. Zuckerberg was working on as an undergraduate at Harvard, called TheFacebook.
On top of the contract, he also claims to have emails proving their agreement, but they’ve been dismissed.
Anyway, it reminded me of the Winklevoss brothers, who by the way are probably waiting for Facebook’s IPO with impatience, but this story is different. It gets funny pretty quickly. Let’s focus on the contract.
Further in the NY Times’ article, you can read:
Mr. LaPorte, who works for the Justice Department and is allowed to consult on private cases, tested the physical contract and concluded it had been “baked” in the sun to make it look older.
Also, in a previous article, the NY Times gave more information about this precise contract:
But Facebook said it had copies of the two-page contract examined by Frank Romano, a professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an expert in document authentication. Professor Romano found “significant inconsistencies” in type sizes, spacing, margins and other details between pages 1 and 2. He concluded that Page 1 and Page 2 were printed at different times on different printers and that Page 1, which includes references to The Facebook Book, is an “amateurish forgery,” according to the motion.
So this guy took the second half of its real contract with Zuckerberg and thought he could fabricate the first half. He opened his text editor but could not tell what the font and size were on this old piece of paper. Anyway, he went ahead, printed it and ‘baked’ it in the sun to make it look older.
This is hilarious.
Still form the same NY Times article, we learn a bit more about this Paul Ceglia:
Mr. Ceglia was previously known to have pleaded guilty to possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Texas in 1997, and to have been arrested and charged with defrauding customers of his wood-pellet business by Andrew Cuomo last year, when Mr. Cuomo was then the New York State attorney general. In the motion, Facebook said that in 2005, “Ceglia was arrested in Florida for trespass while trying to sell property in a private orange grove to an elderly couple.” Mr. Ceglia pleaded no contest and paid a fine, Facebook said. “That trespass incident appears to be part of a wide-ranging criminal land scam involving the fraudulent sale of land in New York and Florida,” Facebook said.
This guy is a legend.