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Web Designer Claims to Own 84% of Facebook

Does the name Paul D. Cegli mean anything to you? It should, considering he supposedly holds an 84 percent stake in Facebook, a company that recorded revenues of $800 million last year and Forbes reports is worth $6.5 billion.

Mr. Cegli filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York's Allegany County on June 30, claiming that a contract he signed seven years ago with Facebook's founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, entitles him to ownership of the company and a substantial amount of money in damages.

Cegli's story is that in 2003, he entered into a contract with Mark Zuckerberg, promising to design the Facebook CEO a website. The contract stipulated that Cegli would design the site and pay Zuckerberg $1,000, and in return, he would receive a 50 percent stake in the company. CNet reports that the contract also states that Cegli would receive an additional 1 percent stake every day until the website was completed. All told, the suit alleges Cegli owns all but 16 percent of the social network.

The contract, seen by the Wall Street Journal and apparently signed on April 28, 2003, says it is 'for the purchase and a design of a suitable website for the project Seller [Mr. Zuckerberg] has already initiated that is designed to offer students of Harvard university [sic] access to a wesite [sic] similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title of 'The Facebook.'"

WSJ reports that the date of the contract seems to conflict with previous accounts detailing the creation of Facebook. Although Mark Zuckerberg built and launched a predecessor to Facebook called Facemash in October and November of 2003, he didn't register the domain thefacebook.com until January of 2004.

Sources: Wall Street Journal | CNet