Mark Zuckerberg won the latest round in a feud with a developer suing him over a property deal when a judge refused to let the Facebook Inc. founder’s private eye be questioned by opposing attorneys.
A state judge in San Jose, California, on Monday rejected a request by developer Mircea Voskerician to subpoena the detective. Zuckerberg’s lawyer argued that the investigator shouldn’t be forced into an interview that may compromise confidential attorney-client communications.
Voskerician alleged in a 2014 lawsuit that Zuckerberg reneged on a promise to introduce him to Silicon Valley’s elite as part of a $1.7 million deal that ended plans for a mansion with a view into the 31-year-old billionaire’s bedroom. The case is scheduled for trial in November.
Zuckerberg’s lawyers, aided by San Francisco private investigator Zachary Fechheimer, have been investigating a $4.3 million offer Voskerician said he turned down for the rights to buy property behind Zuckerberg’s house in Palo Alto, California. The developer said he gave Zuckerberg a “discount” price because of the business introductions included in the deal.
James Sagorac, a friend of Voskerician’s who was acting as an intermediary for the original offer, said that Fechheimer contacted his relatives and girlfriend and made disparaging remarks to intimidate him from testifying in the case.
Zuckerberg’s lawyer said the private eye was just doing his job to examine Sagorac’s legitimacy.
The case is Voskerician v. Zuckerberg, 114CV264667, Superior Court of the California, County of Santa Clara (San Jose).