Paul Ceglia claims he had a contract with Mark Zuckerberg that entitles him to 84% ownership in Facebook. Paul Ceglia has a signed contract with Mark Zuckerberg. Ceglia hired Mark Zuckerberg when he was a college freshman to create a website that is a reference for street intersections to be used by insurance companies and other related companies. Ceglia claimed that Zuckerberg took $1,000 of his money and signed a contract giving him 50% of a project Zuckerberg was working on called “The Face Book.” But due to contractual provisions, Ceglia said the stake is 84% now.
Fortune editor David Kirkpatrick asked Zuckerberg whether it was true. Zuckerberg said “Of course not.” Zuckerberg added: “It was all about his website. I hadn’t even thought of Facebook yet. How could I have given him an ownership interest in it?” A group of three computer science friends spent the summer talking about creating a social sort of software on the Internet in 2003. Zuckerberg went back to Harvard his sophomore year and created thefacebook.com in 2004. Zuckerberg said he did not get the idea of thefacebook until the fall semester of 2003 and did most of the programming for it in January 2004.
However Zuckerberg admitted that he did a few software programming jobs for Ceglia. The two met through Craigslist after Zuckerberg posted he does software programming for hire. Ceglia’s lawyer claims he has a document that says Zuckerberg signed over a 50% stake in TheFaceBook to Ceglia. The case is pending trial in a federal court in Buffalo. Facebook’s lawyers are asking to see the document and a reproduced copy was filed with the court [PDF].
“Plaintiff’s counsel approached us and offered to discuss ways to make this go away,” stated Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt. “We declined.”