Remember Paul Ceglia, the guy who claimed entitlement to the majority of Facebook (84%)? His story was all over the web last summer. Now, he’s back, having filed a new suit against Facebook, this time bringing a high powered law firm in DLA Piper, and a stack of new emails with him. Apparently, he’s now claiming to own half of the company.
The emails are allegedly exchanges with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg taking place in 2003 and 2004. Business Insider has published documents outlining the exchanges. The basic story is that Zuckerberg answered an ad Ceglia put on craigslist to help build a site called StreetFax. Zuckerberg allegedly told him about a project he was working on called “the face book” and discussion about things like the domain name, and using source code for StreetFax’s search engine.
It also references (without names) the whole Winklevoss ordeal detailed in the Social Network film. The alleged email regarding that, says:
I have recently met with a couple of upperclassmen here at Harvard that are planning to launch a site very similar to ours. If we don’t make a move soon, I think we will lose the advantage we would have if we release before them. I’ve stalled them for the time being and with a break if you could send another $1000 for the facebook (sic) project it would allow me to pay my roommate or Jeff to help integrate the search code and get the site live before them. Please give me a call so that we can talk more about this.
Of course Ceglia wasn’t mentioned in the movie, and Facebook says the emails have been fabricated, reportedly calling Ceglia a “scam artist” and “convicted felon”.
The convicted felon part is actually well-known. He was convicted of criminal fraud related to a wood-pellet company.
Just yesterday, he 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Winklevoss Twins/Divya Narendra settlement of $20 million in cash and $45 in stock will be enforced, despite the group’s efforts to get more.
Here are some interesting tweets coming out of Facebook:
http://t.co/qi16i5w via @brisbanetimesWinklevoss twins lose Facebook appeal
I really love the word douchebag. It’s so descriptive and useful for select individuals.
Ceglia’s claims are still being held in a great deal of skepticism, considering that he waited 7 years to ever bring any of this up. And where were these emails last year? His criminal background hasn’t done much to help his reputation either.
Still, there sure seem to be a lot of “betrayal” stories out there related to the founding of Facebook and specificaly involving Mark Zuckerberg. Aside from the Ciglia, Eduardo Saverin (as told in The Social Network), and Winklevoss/Divya stories, let’s not forget Aaron Greenspan, another Harvard classmate of Zuckerberg’s that Facebook settled with over “The Universal Facebook”.
BI suggests that DLA Piper even taking Ceglia’s case lends some amount of credibility to the notion that the emails may not be fake.