Mark Zuckerberg’s former neighbors have an ax to grind with the developer who got the rights to their property and then extracted a payment from the Facebook Inc. founder to not to build a mansion overlooking his house.
If anyone deserved an extra $1.7 million from the 31-year- old billionaire, contend the former neighbors in Palo Alto, California, it was them.
As developer Mircea Voskerician pushes to go to trial over claims Zuckerberg reneged on a promise to introduce him to Silicon Valley’s tech elites as part of their deal for the land, he’s now accused of cheating the couple who owned the property. A judge may set a schedule for the Zuckerberg trial on Tuesday.
Moris Kori and Betty Frayman-Kori claim in a lawsuit that Voskerician secretly conspired with their real estate agent to acquire rights to their home and sell to Zuckerberg in 2012 -- even though they had been trying since the year before to get Zuckerberg to buy them out.
The Koris contend the fair market value of their property was significantly more than the $4.8 million they agreed to take from Voskerician. Saying they were duped, they want the developer to hand over the $1.7 million he collected from Zuckerberg to drop plans to build a 9,600-square-foot home with a view into the Facebook chief executive officer’s master bedroom.
The Koris claim that while they were in final negotiations with Voskerician, their agent at Alain Pinel Realtors Inc. prodded them to quickly sign a contract even though the developer hadn’t put down a deposit, giving him more time to negotiate behind the scenes with Zuckerberg.
The Koris said in their complaint that they agreed to their contract with Voskerician being passed along to what they were led to believe was an entity controlled by his development company. That entity, SFRP LLC, was actually owned by Zuckerberg, they said.
The couple alleges they didn’t learn Zuckerberg was the intended and ultimate buyer of their home until his lawyers told them in May 2014, the month that Zuckerberg was sued by Voskerician over the alleged broken promise to help him network with tech executives.
Voskerician “falsely represented his intent to purchase the property,” according to the complaint. “In reality, he never intended to perform and instead intended to market the contract” to Zuckerberg.