Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently recalled he had once offered to help a real estate developer who is now suing him for reneging on that promise, an email filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court indicates.
Plaintiff Mircea Voskerician filed suit against Zuckerberg in May claiming that Zuckerberg promised to introduce him to potential Silicon Valley buyers in exchange for a reduced price on a property deal. But Zuckerberg allegedly ignored him after the property deal went through, according to the lawsuit.
Voskerician's attorney filed a series of emails with the court Aug. 6 between Zuckerberg's administrative assistant and a financial adviser that purportedly show they were aware of the agreement. But they allegedly knew that there would be no effort made to help Voskerician, according to papers filed on Aug. 6. Voskerician's attorney also wants to amend the complaint to also sue the financial adviser.
A Nov. 4, 2013, email by Zuckerberg's administrative assistant to one of his financial advisers, Divesh Makan, indicates that Zuckerberg recalled offering to help Voskerician, although it does not indicate in what capacity.
"I just had a quick chat with Mark on this issue -- and he said he does remember saying that he would help this guy in a 'light' way. Is there a way when we chat with him that we can find out a way for us (not necessarily Mark) to help him with something small?
"Also ... we'll have to manage this carefully because we don't want to give an inch and then ... Definitely not interested in using his services as a developer," the assistant wrote.
Voskerician made an offer on a property at 1457 Hamilton Ave. in Palo Alto in November 2012, which was accepted by the seller. The property abuts Zuckerberg's back yard. Voskerician claims he planned to build a large home on the property and offered to sell Zuckerberg 2,600 square feet of the land in the back yard to provide the Facebook CEO with more privacy.
Zuckerberg wanted to purchase the entire property, however. Voskerician turned down his offer to buy out his interest for $250,000 plus his down payment. He claims a developer sought to purchase his interest in the property for $4.3 million, according to court papers.
In early December 2012 Zuckerberg and Voskerician met and came to an agreement, according to the lawsuit. Zuckerberg allegedly entered into an oral contract buy Voskerician's interest in the property for $1.7 million in exchange for introducing him to Zuckerberg's friends, clients and business associates. He allegedly offered to give Voskerician written references to promote his real estate business, the lawsuit claims. But Zuckerberg rebuffed any attempts by Voskerician to reach him about any business deals or references, according to Voskerician.
Voskerician's attorney, David Draper, submitted the emails to the court after Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas rejected one of Voskerician's causes of actions -- Zuckerberg's concealment -- on July 15. Voskerician claimed that Zuckerberg intentionally failed to disclose and actively concealed that he had no intention of honoring his representations and commitments to Voskerician.
Draper has asked the court to accept an amended complaint that adds Makan, a principal of Iconiq Capital, to the lawsuit. The amended complaint includes the string of emails between Zuckerberg's administrative assistant and Makan that purport to show an intent to aid Zuckerberg's deception.
Patrick Gunn, Zuckerberg's attorney, could not immediately be reached for comment.