Is something going on at Facebook that the tech rumor mill has yet to grasp? For some reason, folks who have claimed they are entitled to at least part of the social networking company have emerged once again.
Monday brought news that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have finally reached the end of the road in their quest to get just a little more out of their settlement with Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Harvard graduates and founders of ConnectU filed their lawsuit in 2004, and reached a settlement four years later. But in 2010, they sought to undo that settlement, arguing they were misled as to the value of the company. Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski did not agree.
Tuesday, Business Insider reports Paul Ceglia, who sued Facebook last year claiming he was entitled to at least half the company, has new attorneys and new evidence with which he has refiled his lawsuit. Ceglia has apparently unearthed a series of emails in which he and Zuckerberg discuss "the face book" and detail how Ceglia provided funding for the project, as well as how Zuckerberg ended the partnership by telling him the site was not doing well and offering to give back his seed money.
With this new evidence, writer Henry Blodget explains:
Ceglia contends that most of what Zuckerberg told him after the launch of the site were lies. ... And that, in the summer of 2004, Zuckerberg "misappropriated" the assets of their general partnership and conveyed them to the corporation that became Facebook ... Ceglia contends that, in accordance with the original agreement, he was entitled to an equal share of Zuckerberg's ownership in the corporation.
Blodget also points out that Ceglia's new lawyers are part of the international firm of DLA Piper, which only took the case after "weeks of due diligence" satisfied the firm that Ceglia's claims had merit.
Facebook, of course, maintains that the emails are fabrications and that Ceglia is a con artist.
Chances are, Facebook is right. But I agree with Blodget. If Ceglia's new evidence is not "demonstrably fake," Facebook will be handing over a hefty settlement.