March 16, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being accused of reneging on a business deal in a lawsuit launched by a California property developer.
Zuckerberg reportedly purchased the four houses bordering his Palo Alto home after learning a developer had plans to construct a 9,600-square-foot house on one of the properties.
The social media firm co-founder was able to make the purchase because the developer, Mircea Voskerician, offered Zuck the rights to the property in exchange for $1.7 million and introductions to his rich friends and colleagues, according to a report from Business Insider.
The latest lawsuit filing, a sworn document from Voskerician’s real estate broker had some unflattering things to say about Zuckerberg. According to the document, Zuckerberg’s own real estate broker described him as “just a kid.”
Zuckerberg’s attorneys, meanwhile, described the lawsuit as overly aggressive in the hopes of a healthy settlement. Voskerician, they said, was “going out of his way to embarrass Mr. Zuckerberg and pressure those around him at every turn.”
The drama began back in 2012 when Voskerician made an offer to the owner of the property which was accepted. He then approached Zuckerberg to tell him his plans for the property. He offered to sell a portion of the lot to give Zuck more space between his home and the one he was planning to build. It was then that the 30-year-old billionaire offered to buy Voskerician’s legal right to the property so he could buy it in its entirety.
“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 reads.
The document indicates that although Voskerician did not really want to give up his building plans, he agreed after Zuckerberg allegedly promised to introduce him to Silicon Valley’s bigwigs.
Once he had the property rights, Zuck was able to buy the lot from its owner for $4.8 million — the same amount Voskerician had agreed to pay, county records revealed. At a later date, he purchased three other nearby lots for between $10.5 million and $14.5 million each.
When the alleged introductions never occurred, Voskerician filed the lawsuit. He did admit, however, that the agreement he had with Zuckerberg was a verbal one.
In the latest court filings, John Forsyth James, a real estate agent for Voskerician, indicated that this story was true.
At the time of Voskerician and Zuckerberg’s meeting, the developer had already received an offer for $4.3 million to take over his contract to purchase the property.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.