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Where are your rich friends? Facebook's Zuck sued for not being social enough
Property dev's suit claims Mark reneged on introductions deal
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is being sued by a property developer who accuses him of backing out of an alleged deal to introduce him to all of the social network billionaire's rich friends.
Mircea Voskerician says that the chief Facebooker bought a plot of land from him after learning that he planned to build a large house behind Zuck's own pad.
Yet, as the San Jose Mercury News reports, Voskerician claims part of the deal was that Zuckerberg would then give him introductions and referrals to other wealthy people interested in buying up similar lots near their own homes.
Voskerician made an offer on a Hamilton Avenue property behind Zuck’s house, which was accepted by the owner. He claims that he then went to Zuck and offered to sell a portion of that lot to him so that he could have a bigger buffer between his own home and the new house that Voskerician was planning to build.
Instead, the Facebook co-founder offered to buy Voskerician’s legal right to the property so that he could later buy the entire lot himself.
"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," a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara stated.
The developer said he wasn’t that keen on giving up on the project, but he agreed to a deal for $1.7m for the legal right and the promised introductions.
Zuckerberg went on to pay $4.8m for the lot, the same amount that Voskerician had agreed to pay, and then later bought three more lots, paying over $43m in total to secure the area around his home.
Voskerician's lawsuit claims that another developer was interested in the legal right to the Hamilton Avenue property and would have paid him $4.3m for that alone, but he sold to Zuck for the reduced $1.7m because he had promised to get the developer more deals.
According to his lawyer, the sweetener wasn’t in a written contract, but was witnessed by several people who were at a meeting between Zuckerberg and Voskerician.
Zuck’s attorney Patrick Gunn told the Mercury that no such sweetener had been discussed at the meeting.
“The (lawsuit's) description of the meeting that took place is unrecognisable to my client. The claim here is just meritless, plain and simple," he said.
Facebook had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication. ®