Just when you thought things couldn't get more interesting for Facebook, an attorney for the social-networking giant admitted in open court Tuesday that founder Mark Zuckerberg did have a contract with Paul Ceglia. The Web designer from New York is suing Facebook for an 84 percent ownership stake based on that contract, which was reportedly executed in 2003.
"Mr. Zuckerberg did have a contract with Mr. Ceglia," Facebook lawyer Lisa Simpson told U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara in Buffalo, N.Y.
What the company can't say at this point is whether the document Ceglia offered as evidence is the actual contract Zuckerberg signed.
Ceglia originally filed suit in a state court in New York, where the judge entered an injunction preventing Facebook from moving assets around until the case is resolved. After Facebook's petition to remove the case to federal court was granted, the judge suspended the injunction.
According to that document, Ceglia hired then-college student Zuckerberg to do two things:
Facebook is questioning the authenticity of the document as well as the timing of the agreement, the story says. The contract Ceglia offers is dated April 23, 2003. Zuckerberg reportedly did not begin work on early versions of Facebook until months later. And no one registered thefacebook.com as a domain until January 2004.
Ceglia's attorneys say he is entitled to at least a 50 percent ownership stock in the company. Facebook maintains the lawsuit is frivolous.