Wellsville Man Wants State Supreme Court to Decide His Case Over Facebook

October 13, 2010 Updated Oct 13, 2010 at 5:18 PM EDT

By Laura Gray

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October 13, 2010 Updated Oct 13, 2010 at 5:18 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) -- The number one movie in America right now focuses on a fictionalized account of Mark Zuckerberg and ownership disputes over his website, facebook. Meantime, the real life drama continues off screen here in Buffalo today. A Wellsville man fights for what he says is his share of the facebook empire.
The debate today is over where this court case will be held. Attorneys for Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg want the case to be heard in Buffalo's Federal Court.
Paul Ceglia -- wants to move the court case to State Supreme Court in Alleghany County over a residency requirement. Ceglia claims Zuckerberg is based in New York state, not California.
Ceglia is the Wellsville man suing Zuckerberg for a huge stake of ownership of the website, which is worth an estimated 23 billion dollars. it's all over a check for 1000 dollars allegedly written 7 years ago.
Eyewitness News obtained that check for one thousand dollars with a signature that reads Mark Zuckerberg. Under a "Work for Hire" contract signed April 28th 2003, submitted to U.S. District Court in Buffalo, Paul Ceglia agreed to pay Mark Zuckerberg 1000 to work on a website called "streefax". It also says Ceglia would invest one thousand dollars into a website called "the page book." In exchange, Ceglia would get 50 percent of the software and business interests in a website called "the facebook" with the possibility to earn more. Ceglia's attorney, Terrence Connor, says "the page book" and "the facebook" are references to facebook.
Now, Ceglia wants 84 percent of facebook which forbes estimates would net him more than 19 billion dollars.
Paul Ceglia met Zuckerberg in 2003 when the then 18 year old Harvard student performed computer coding for Ceglia's website "street fax". Ceglia's attorneys say Zuckerberg wanted the Wellsville man to invest that 1000 dollars into his website, facebook, in exchange for work on "street fax."
Orin Snyder is the attorney for facebook. He declined to go on camera, but tells us "The case is a fraud brought by a convicted felon with a well documented track record of defrauding and scamming honest people. This is just his latest scam."
Last year, Ceglia was arrested for taking 200-thousand dollars from customers without delivering the product. Connors says a judge ruled that those charges will eventually be wiped from his record. Ceglia was also arrested in Texas 15 years ago on drug charges. Connors says, "We challenge them to prove this is a forgery." Adding that Snyder's claims are "baseless."
As for that residency question that brought them to court today, Zuckerberg's spokesperson tells me the CEO's driver's licence and only residence are in California, not New York as Ceglia alleges. He's also filed tax forms since 2005 in California.
Judge Richard Arcara is currently weighing the evidence. He will decide whether to move the case to State Supreme Court or keep it in Federal Court.