Paul Ceglia, of Wellsville, New York, has sued Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in New York's Allegany County court claiming that under the terms of a contract he claims to have signed he owns at least 50 per cent of the company, and as much as 84 per cent.
Ceglia claims that in April 2003 he signed a contract with Zuckerberg "for the purchase and design of a suitable website for the project Seller [Mr. Zuckerberg] has already initiated that is designed to offer the students of Harvard university [sic] access to a wesite [sic] similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title of 'The Face Book'".
The contract said Ceglia would get an additional 1 per cent for every day the project was late, and it was completed 34 days late.
"We believe this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously," a spokesman from Facebook told the Wall Street Journal.
In 2009 Ceglia fell foul of New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who accused him of taking over $200,000 dollars from customers of his wood fuel pellet company and then failing to deliver any products or refunds.
"This company and its owners repeatedly lied to consumers and continued to solicit new orders despite an inability to deliver wood pellets that were bought and paid for months before the winter heating season began," Cuomo said.
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