In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg was offered a deal by Mircea Voskerician, the owner of a property near his home in Palo Alto, California. Voskerician, a local real estate developer, had previously expressed his intention of building a 9,600-square-foot mansion near Zuckerberg’s private home, close enough to have a view to the bedroom. However, on second thought the real estate developer abandoned the house project and proposed selling part of his property to Zuckerberg, in order to grant the famous Facebook CEO more privacy. The two neighbors struck a deal in December 2012, when they met at the Facebook main office to agree upon Zuckerberg’s purchase of the entire adjoining property.
Now, Mr. Voskerician claims that Mark Zuckerberg had promised him, in exchange for a smaller price on the property, to introduce him to potential new clients among the Silicon Valley elite, a promise which Zuckerberg failed to keep. Furthermore, as Voskerician’s real estate agent John Forsyth James declared during the trial, Zuckerberg’s offer had convinced Voskerician to reject a third party’s proposal of a far better price for the property.
The other bidder had offered $4.3 million (without including the price of a house that was already on the property), far more than the $1.7 million that Zuckerberg ended up paying. Recounting the contract-signing meeting, John Forsyth James said that after the deal was struck about Zuckerberg introducing Voskerician to his connections, Terri Kerwin, the Facebook founder’s real estate agent, assured the seller of the property that “Mark always keeps his promises”. Voskerician is now suing Zuckerberg precisely for not fulfilling the promise of presenting him to influential clients and friends who might be interested in real estate. James’s sworn declaration was filed by Voskerician’s lawyer on Wednesday and it represents the main proof against the defendant.
In court documents, lawyers for Mr. Zuckerberg presented the case differently, claiming that the young Facebook chief was practically coerced into buying the property, because Voskerician was “threatening” to build the 9,600-square-foot house, which would have hindered Zuckerberg’s intimacy. Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg’s wife, expressed her sadness and anger at the way people try to take advantage of situations like this one. Facebook officials refuse to comment on the trial, which is considered Zuckerberg’s personal affair.
image source: Daily Mail