Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame is reportedly being sued by a real estate developer for purchasing properties around his home in Palo Alto. Sources say Zuckerberg paid a total of $43 million for four properties. According to the developer, Zuckerberg is in breach of contract with respect to a deal they struck on one of the properties.
The property in question was, according to the developer’s complaint, purchased with the understanding that Zuckerberg was going to help the developer get in contact with other potential clients of wealth. In exchange for that promise, Zuckerberg was given the right to purchase the home—the developer had already made an offer on the property which had been accepted by the previous owner—which allowed him to maintain his privacy. It was after that deal that Zuckerberg purchased several other lots also near his home.
Zuckerberg’s attorney has apparently disputed the developer’s claim, though he hasn’t denied that there had been a discussion about connecting the developer with potential buyers. Of course, it remains to be seen how the case is resolved.
Although this case isn’t your typically real estate contract dispute, it is a good reminder that disputes can and do arise in the context of real estate transactions. When it comes to contracts, disputes can arise over the terms of finance, payment of closing costs and home inspection, whether fixtures and appliances are included, and various other matters. Often, real estate contracts also include a provision detailing how disputes are to be resolved, which can help keep the dispute out of court in many cases.
Those who are involved in a real estate dispute, whether over a contract or some other aspect of a real estate transaction, should contact an experienced real estate attorney for guidance and advocacy.
Source: Mercury News, “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sued by developer in real estate dispute,” Brandon Bailey, May 13, 2014.