Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently recalled he had once offered to help the real estate developer who is now suing him for failing to give him references and contacts for his business, an email filed in Santa Clara County Superior on Aug. 6 indicates.
Plaintiff Mircea Voskerician filed suit against Zuckerberg in May claiming that Zuckerberg reneged on a promise to introduce him to potential Silicon Valley buyers in exchange for a reduced price in a property deal.
Voskerician's attorney on Aug. 6 filed with the court a series of emails between Zuckerberg's administrative assistant and a financial adviser that purportedly show they were aware of the agreement. But they also allegedly knew that there would be no effort made to help Voskerician. Voskerician's attorney's Aug. 6 filing amended the original complaint to include the financial adviser in the legal battle.
A Nov. 4, 2013, email by Zuckerberg's administrative assistant to financial adviser 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. ... 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 and offered to sell Zuckerberg 2,600 square feet of 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 in the property for $250,000 plus his down payment. He claims a developer sought to purchase his interest 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 to Voskerician's interest 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 later rebuffed any attempts by Voskerician to reach him about any business deals or references, according to Voskerician.
Voskerician sent Zuckerberg an Oct. 27, 2013, letter in which he outlined some of his plans for Zuckerberg's assistance. Among them were real estate proposals and and a software application he wanted to develop for Facebook, which he claimed could attract $20 million in funding.
"Also, if you have time, I would like to go over and further discuss a few concepts, referrals, and recommendations that you offered for my development company back during our December 2nd 2012 meeting.
"I have also attached renderings of two new homes I am currently in the process of building in Los Altos, ($4.5M each) that I would like to be able to promote to Facebook employees. I will also have a $6 million dollar new home on Santa Rita, in Palo Alto. I have several other new homes located in Palo Alto and Menlo Park that will be available in 2014-2015, and have attached renderings of a few homes that have recently been completed and sold," he wrote.
He also proposed remodeling Zuckerberg's home:
"I assume that your current residence that might have an aging and older basement may have some foundations issues, water problems, or leaks during the rainy season. I would be happy to be of any assistance to build, or remodel, and will treat you as my top priority, with the utmost privacy and respect."
Voskerician's attorney, David Draper, submitted the emails to the court after Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas rejected one of Voskerician's causes of action for the lawsuit -- 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.