Because he's stupidly rich and likes to snap up multi-million-dollar properties like second-hand hoodies, Mark Zuckerberg recently spent $43 million to buy up four pieces of property adjoining his own Palo Alto residence, creating a larger buffer between him and any prying neighbors, and preventing any construction from happening too close to his backyard. Now, one developer who had planned to do some of that construction is suing Zuck claiming that the Facebook founder didn't hold up his end of some weird bargain they made.

Developer Mircea Voskerician had an offer in to purchase a property adjacent to Zuck's house for $4.8 million. Being clever, Voskerician approached Zuck with an offer to sell a portion of the lot to the billionaire in order to create a buffer between his existing home and the new project the developer wanted to build. Instead, Zuck decided he wanted to buy the whole thing. He paid off Voskerician to the tune of $1.7 million just for the right to buy the property, then paid the property owner $4.8 million. But then it gets complicated...

Both sides agree Voskerician had already made an offer on the Hamilton Avenue property... his lawsuit, Voskerician says his interest in the first property was worth far more than $1.7 million. Another developer had offered him $4.3 million to take over the deal, Voskerician said, but he gave Zuckerberg a discount after the tech mogul and his financial advisers said they would help him get other deals... [Voskerician's attorney] said the agreement to make introductions wasn't spelled out in a written contract, but was witnessed by several people who attended the meeting between Zuckerberg and Voskerician.

Anyway, Zuckerberg's attorney's of course call the claims "meritless," and it certainly does sound like someone else is just trying to squeeze more money out of Zuck.

Meanwhile, his pied-a-terre on Liberty Hill / Dolores Heights was gutted down to the beams and still probably won't be habitable until this fall, following a multi-million-dollar renovation.

[Mercury News]