When we last left the story about the upstate New York man who is claiming he owns 84% of Facebook (Paul Ceglia), we had concluded that the digital “contract” Ceglia had produced was probably a fake. We had also noted that Ceglia needed to answer three questions before we were inclined to believe him:
1. Where was the payment trail? Ceglia had only produced a $1,000 check stub, which only appeared to cover a single payment for contract development work on a Ceglia company called StreetFax. There was no evidence that a second payment for $1,000 for 50% of “The Face Book” had been made.
3. Where was the original paper-based contract and when would a judge and Facebook be able to examine it?
2. Why had Ceglia waited 7 years to file the claim?
Ceglia has since answered the last question, explaining that he only remembered the contract when he stumbled over it in his files last fall when the cops arrested him for grand larceny in connection with his wood-pellet business (Ceglia denies the charges). We find that answer unconvincing, if amusing, because Facebook gained fame relatively quickly back in 2004 and 2005, and we suspect Ceglia would have remember the contract earlier if it were real.
So far, there’s no word on the status of the paper-based contract. Facebook has deemed the digital version a fake and pointed to several inconsistencies between the first and second pages of the contract to bolster this case. Paper-based contracts are harder to fake than digital ones, so checking the original will help answer the “forgery” charge.So that leaves the paper trail.
When he filed his claim, Ceglia produced a check stub showing a $1,000 payment to Mark Zuckerberg. This appeared to satisfy one of two payments in the digital contract. It did not specify which of the two projects in the contract it was referring to (StreetFax, which appears to have been a real project, or “The Face Book,” which Facebook says is the fabricated part of the contract.
If Ceglia really had a contract with Mark Zuckberberg for $1,000 to buy half of “The Face Book,” there ought to be a payment trail. And the absence of one suggested that the whole claim was a fake.
But now, according to the Wellsville Daily’s John Anderson, who has been on the story from the beginning, Ceglia has produced an actual cancelled check to Mark Zuckerberg for $3,000.
Is this new check persuasive evidence of a payment trail for “The Face Book” project, which according to the contract Ceglia purchased a 50% stake in for $1,000?
There are no marks on the cancelled check (a cashier’s check) that tie it to “The Face Book.” There are also no marks that tie it to StreetFax, however, so Ceglia will presumably say that the $3,000 covered both the payment for “The Face Book” AND additional work-for-hire contract work on StreetFax.
Bottom line, the check does help Ceglia’s case modestly in that it shows he paid more money to Mark Zuckerberg for something. But Mark’s story has always been that he did contract work for Ceglia, and this check could have just been for the contract work. In short, there’s nothing that proves (or suggests) that part of this $3,000 was to be used for a 50% ownership in “The Face Book.”
Photo: Wellsville Daily
For more coverage of this case from the Wellsville Daily, see these stories by John Anderson:
Here is the latest on the case moving:
Here are two stories on the owning of Facebook:
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