Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit claiming partial ownership of Facebook is based, in part, on a purported contract between Mr. Ceglia and Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s lawyers have said time and again that Mr. Ceglia’s evidence was little more than forgery, and it seems the federal government concurs. In his complaint, Postal Inspector Douglas Veatch suggests that Mr. Ceglia took an unrelated contract with Mr. Zuckerberg and simply replaced the first page with the supposed smoking gun.
But what surprised us was just how (allegedly!) sloppy his cut-and-paste job was.
Here’s what Inspector Veatch had to say:
“There are significant difference between the widths of the columns, margins, and the space between columns on pages one and two of the Alleged Contract. Specifically, the column widths are wider on page one than on page two, while the widths of the margins and the space between columns are narrower on page one than on page two.”
That’s right: If the complaint is accurate, Mr. Ceglia couldn’t be bothered to do the kind of basic margin tweaking that’s practically a national art among America’s teenagers. The paragraph spacing was similarly mismatched. And then there’s this, the crowning insult to the intelligence of every single lawyer involved in this sorry case:
On page one of the Alleged Contract, there is a reference to “Street Fax LLC.” Based on my review of certain records maintained by the New York Department of State, I have learned that Street Fax, LLC” was formed on or about August 26, 2003, approximately four months after the Alleged Contract appears to have been signed by “Mark Zuckerberg” and “Paul Ceglia.”
Has any set of scare quotes ever dripped more heavily with contempt? Nor can we blame Inspector Veatch. If you’re going to go after the hottest tech startup since Google, try to show a little professionalism in your execution.