New York web designer Paul Ceglia, who has filed a suit against Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, claims he owns an 84% stake in Facebook.
Ceglia asserts that a 2003 contract signed by Ceglia and Zuckerberg awarded Ceglia $1,000 and a 50% stake in the social networking company, along with "an additional 1% interest in the business for every day after Jan. 1, 2004, until it was completed," as compensation for his work designing and developing the site.
Yet as the Wall Street Journal points out, Ceglia's claim to 84% of the still privately-held company, valued at between $12billion and $22 billion, predates the actual formation of Facebook: "Zuckerberg built a predecessor to Facebook called Facemash in October and November 2003, but Mr. Zuckerberg didn't register the domain thefacebook.com until January 2004."
Ceglia won a restraining order that blocks both Facebook and its CEO from "from transferring, selling, assigning any assets, stocks, bonds, owned, possessed and/or controlled by the defendants" until the case is heard, which should be around July 9.
A spokesperson for Facebook called the lawsuit "frivolous" and the company is said to be working to have the case annulled. Zuckerberg reportedly owns 24% of the company, with the rest belonging to employees and investors.
Ceglia is seeking "declaratory judgment that defines ownership rights" (84% ownership over the social networking company) and monetary damages, say court officials quoted in the Wellsville Daily