Paul Ceglia Explains His Mysterious Delay in Claiming Facebook Ownership

Paul Ceglia
Paul Ceglia

Paul Ceglia, the man who is suing Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he's rightfully owed an 84% stake in Facebook, has offered up an answer to the burning question of why he would wait more than six years to seek what he's allegedly due. Quite simply, Ceglia (pictured) forgot about the alleged contract until he went digging through files looking for assets to sell as he faced lawsuits for fraud, according to a Bloomberg report.

Last fall, Ceglia was arrested and faced charges from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that he had committed fraud by taking $200,000 in prepaid orders for his wood pellet business, and then failing to deliver the goods. It was those events, Ceglia now says, that sent him looking through his old files.

In his interview with Bloomberg, Ceglia said:

If this thing hadn't happened the way it happened, no way I would have ever started looking through these ancient folders.

The contract would just be sitting in there gathering dust.

Ceglia's memory of a contract apparently wasn't jogged by all the hype over the years surrounding the social networking giant and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

Previous Encounter With the Law

But, then again, according to the Bloomberg article, Ceglia lives in a small rural town called Wellsville, N.Y., on a two-acre plot of land and didn't have a Facebook account until after launching his lawsuit against the social networking giant. In addition, Ceglia had another brush with the law in 1997 for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to Bloomberg: Those so called "magic mushrooms" have been known to cause memory loss and difficulty concentrating, according to the Good Drugs Guide website.

Ceglia, however, apparently managed to recognize what he thinks is a good thing when he saw it. The document at the center of the dispute is a work-for-hire contract Ceglia says Zuckerberg signed, which not only covered software development work Zuckerberg did for a website Ceglia was launching, but also allegedly his $1,000 investment in Zuckerberg's development of Facebook. That investment, he claims, entitled him originally to a 50% stake in the company, but ultimately reached an alleged 84% share when taking into account penalties for Zuckerberg's failure to get the Facebook site built on time.

Facebook has previously maintained the lawsuit is frivolous and without merit, and Zuckerberg himself said he did not sign a contract with Ceglia that would give him control of Facebook. Both Ceglia and Facebook will undoubtedly call in their teams of forensic experts to testify on the legitimacy of the contract.

With Facebook now worth in excess an estimated $20 billion, a lot is at stake for Zuckerberg, the company's employees and its other investors, who are all waiting for their payday when the company makes its IPO.