In late 2012 and 2013, Mark Zuckerberg famously bought four houses adjacent to his Palo Alto home for a collective $US43 million.
But now Facebook’s billionaire founder is facing some legal trouble stemming from the blockbuster purchase, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Zuckerberg reportedly scooped up the four houses when he heard that a developer planned to build a large home on one of the lots behind his property.
He struck a deal with Mircea Voskerician, the developer involved in the project, who essentially said that Zuckerberg could purchase the legal rights to the property if he would then provide referrals to wealthy potential clients, the Mercury News reports.
According to Voskerician, those introductions never happened.
“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.
Zuckerberg paid Voskerician $US1.7 million for the rights to the property, then bought the lot from its owners for $US4.8 million, according to county records. But Voskerician claims his interest in the property was worth far more than $US1.7 million, and that he gave Zuckerberg a discount because of the business his referrals would potentially bring in.
“Here’s this guy who built his business on connections and relationships, and all he had to do was make some introductions, but he blew my client off,” David Draper, an attorney for Voskerician, said to the Mercury News.
Draper said that although the agreement to make introductions was not signed in a written contract, it was witnessed by several people who were present at the meeting between Zuckerberg and Voskerician. An attorney for Zuckerberg has called the suit “meritless.”
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court earlier this month.
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