Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sued over real estate deal

Posted by Rapti Gupta on May 14, 2014 03:43 AM EDT
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Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has reportedly been sued by a Palo Alto real estate developer for breach of contract. (Photo : Reuters)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has reportedly been sued by a Palo Alto real estate developer for breach of contract.

Mircea Voskerician, the developer, filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg claiming that the tech mastermind had not kept his promise of introducing him to wealthy investors in exchange for a discounted plot behind his Palo Alto home.

"Zuckerberg stated he did not want construction in his backyard for 14 months and told Voskerician that he would refer him business and make him introductions if, in exchange, Voskerician would help him secure his privacy," the lawsuit stated.

It was earlier reported that Zuckerberg wanted privacy around his house and was therefore buying up neighboring plots. He reportedly purchased four parcels around his home for a total of $43 million after learning that Voskerician wanted to build a huge mansion on a plot right behind his house.

"The developer was going to build a huge house and market the property as being next door to Mark Zuckerberg," a source told Mercury News earlier.

The lawsuit doesn't just accuse Zuckerberg of breach of contract, but also alleges him of promissory fraud, concealment, intentional misrepresentation and rescission.

The lawsuit claims that he paid Voskerician an alleged sum of $1.7 million to pull out of the development deal.  Voskerician hesitated at first, but ultimately agreed as the tech mogul gave his word that he would introduce him to rich prospects.

Voskerician also declined another party's offer of $4.3 million to buy the property for Zuckerberg's deal.

"Here's this guy who built his business on connections and relationships and all he had to do was make some introductions, but he blew my client off," said David Draper, an attorney for Voskerician, to Mercury News.

According to Palo Alto Weekly, Zuckerberg didn't respond to Voskerician's multiple contact attempts. At one instance, Voskerician offered to refund the $1.7 million and other escrow costs too, but in vain.

Zuckerberg's attorneys claim the lawsuit lacks any merit.

"The (lawsuit's) description of the meeting that took place is unrecognizable to my client. The claim here is just meritless, plain and simple," said Patrick Gunn, Zuckerberg's attorney, to SF Gate.

Zuckerberg purchased the Palo Alto home for $7 million in 2012. The residence is a 5,000-square-foot house located in the Crescents Park neighborhood. He lives there with his wife Priscilla.

While the lawsuit was filed a month ago, news of the allegations comes right on Zuckerberg's 30th birthday. Zuckerberg is worth $26.6 billion and while Facebook has gone public, he still owns 29 percent of the social networking website and his voting rights stand at 57 percent!

The Guardian notes that as Zuckerberg grows older, Facebook matures too, especially with its Whatsapp, Oculus and Moves acquisitions.

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