Documents submitted to the courts have been released that cast doubt (well, more doubt) on the odd case of Ceglia, the man who has sued Facebook, claiming that he owns 84 percent of it. It was already a fairly dubious claim to say the least — after all, it seems somewhat unlikely that a man recently arrested for defrauding over $200,000 from customers of his wood pellet business would suddenly remember that he owned 84 percent of a billion-dollar company.
When Ceglia announced that he had a signed contract with Facebook CEO and creator Mark Zuckerberg from 2003, that gave Ceglia a 50-percent share of “The Face Book” — plus additional percentage points for each day the project went beyond the January 1, 2004 target date — Facebook’s attorneys immediately claimed that it was a fake. They conceded that Zuckerberg and Ceglia had worked together in 2003 on a street-mapping database that Ceglia had paid Zuckerberg $1,000 to work on, but Ceglia claims that they then signed a second “work-for-hire” contract for Zuckerberg’s “The Face Book,” and Ceglia paid another $1,000.
The problem with the contract itself is that no one outside of Ceglia’s camp has seen the original. Copies would be much easier to fake than an original, and Facebook’s attorneys are still waiting to see the signed documents. If the contract is authenticated, it would hugely bolster Ceglia’s claims. If not, it would likely end the case. Ceglia’s lawyers are supposedly talking to Facebook’s attorneys about showing the original documents.
The second factor casting doubt on Ceglia’s story is not so much evidence, but the lack of it: namely, a second check to Zuckerberg. The Wellsville Daily has released the documentation of the entire lawsuit, and one noticeable thing missing is the payment Ceglia claims to have made. There is no contention that Ceglia and Zuckerberg did work together in 2003, and that Ceglia did pay $1,000 for Zuckerberg’s services, but the evidence submitted for the trial contains only one check for $1,000. Where a second check would go a long way to strengthening Ceglia’s claims, its omission seems to suggest that a second transaction did not occur.
To further add to the increasing level of bizarreness, Business Insider is reporting that the reason Ceglia took seven years to bring the suit is that he had forgotten all about it until the police — in what Ceglia must have seen as a stroke of luck — raided his house and arrested both Ceglia and his wife on charges of grand larceny. So despite financial problems and a mounting legal case against him, Ceglia simply forgot that he was the rightful owner of a company worth over $10 billion.
The case is now heading to Federal Court following a request by Facebook for a dismissal. But if this somehow does turn out in Ceglia’s favor, don’t worry too much for Zuckerberg. Ceglia has generously offered to hire him to run Facebook.
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