Mark Zuckerberg’s former landlord is renting out ‘Casa de Facebook’

 Mark Zuckerberg’s former landlord is renting out ‘Casa de Facebook’

When 19-year-olds Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, along with 24-year-old Sean Parker, were kicked out of their first Silicon Valley rental in the summer of 2004, they urgently needed to find a new home — and a new home base for their burgeoning company. 

The Facebook co-founders were forced to move out of their previous Palo Alto spot following an incident involving a zip-line tied around a chimney, leading down to the pool — probably awesome; probably not authorized in their lease agreement.

With nowhere else to spend their frenzied nights launching what would become one of the most successful tech platforms in history, they turned to Judy Fusco, a landlord who was looking to rent her newly refurbished six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in nearby Los Altos to a responsible tenant.

Fusco’s home — along with the guys’ short-lived Palo Alto party pad — would go on to be the background of tech world lore, immortalized in films such as “The Social Network” and alluded to in TV shows including “Silicon Valley.” Within Fusco’s home, the scrappy startup launched into a now multi billion-dollar global company.

But Fusco could have told you that.

“[When] I decided then I was going to put the house up for rent, I invited a monk to come bless the house,” Fusco, now 76, told The Post. “As he was going around the house, he said, ‘Someone who was going to be very rich and famous will come live here.’”

Now, the home is up for rent at $10,000 a month, The Post has learned. Amenities include solar electricity, hardwood floors — and a slice of Silicon Valley history.

The house the Facebook co-founders would refer to as the Casa de Facebook.
The house the Facebook co-founders would refer to as the Casa de Facebook, or House of Facebook.
Realtor.com

When Fusco put the home up for rent in late August 2004, her first prospective tenants hailed from Microsoft. The second group would be Zuckerberg and Moskovitz, now 36, and Parker, now 41. 

Zuckerberg, whose reps didn’t respond to The Post’s request for comment on this story, was wearing black jersey shorts, sandals and his trademark hoodie, Fusco remembered.

Dustin Moskovitz, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sean Parker were roommates in the early days of Facebook.
Dustin Moskovitz, Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker were roommates in the early days of Facebook.
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“Mark stood outside and never went into the house, while Sean and Dustin ran up the front stairs to see the house,” Fusco recalled. “Mark stood there and asked on the spot if they could rent the place, without even looking inside.”

A first-time landlord herself, she didn’t think to ask about the reason for Zuckerberg’s urgency — the zip-line likely would have made her think twice about renting to the crew. But she told her new tenant that she would require first month’s rent and the deposit, totaling to $10,000. The now-embattled tech prodigy wrote her a check on the spot. 

The first check given to the Judy Fusco as a deposit on the home.
The first deposit check written by Mark Zuckerberg for the Facebook co-founders’ lease of the house they eventually called Casa de Facebook. Their rent was $5,500 a month.

“I read the check and asked him what he did, and he told me about a company called Facebook, and how he planned to connect the world,” Fusco said. “I said, ‘I don’t care if you are going to connect the world, if this check does not pass, you’re not moving in.’” 

The check did go through, and Zuckerberg, Moskovitz and Parker moved in two weeks later on Sept. 14, 2004, along with a few unexpected guests.

The sun room.
The sun room at Casa de Facebook.
Realtor.com

“There were only six bedrooms, and the sun room alone had about 10 interns staying there huddled up in bunk beds,” Fusco said. “The home just exploded with engineers and Facebook employees,” not unlike the “hacker house” featured in HBO’s “Silicon Valley.”

Fusco said Zuckerberg would refer to the tech commune of sorts as “Casa de Facebook,” the same title she would give her book detailing her six-monthlong experience as Facebook’s one-time landlord.

One such experience she recalled was a week before Thanksgiving in 2004, when the tech wizards left the home to go on a ski trip. 

“I get a call late at night from Mark, and he is panicking telling me they left all the doors unlocked and that all 10 servers were in there unattended,” Fusco said. “He told me that if those servers are stolen, then the whole company is over because they don’t have any more cash resources.” 

Fusco would get in her car and drive up to the home about a half an hour later to find a vacant house with all the lights on, loud music blaring and the doors unlocked for any stranger to walk in. 

“I walked in with my gardener and brought him along with me because I was afraid someone would have entered the home. But the first thing I did while my gardener scouted the area was count the servers. All 10 were still there, fortunately.” 

The main living space where they likely set up their workspace.
The main living space where they likely set up their workspace.
Realtor.com

Fusco also observed a tense moment with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss on the balcony arguing with Zuckerberg. The twins filed a lawsuit in 2004 against Zuckerberg claiming that Zuckerberg had copied their idea and illegally used source code intended for the website he was hired to create. In February 2008, a settlement agreement was reached reportedly valued at $65 million.

“I didn’t know who they were at the time,” she said of the duo culturally known as the Winklevii. “But I saw them yelling at Mark on the balcony. They were not happy.”

Then there was the time Zuckerberg came back from a meeting with venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who was one of the earlier investors in Facebook, she remembered. 

“He was driving this old car at the time — a green Ford SUV – and it died on the freeway. So he was three hours late to the meeting with Peter Thiel. And Peter saw that Mark was getting out of a cab. So Mark explained to him what happened, and Peter just wrote him a check for $50,000 to buy a new car. So he supported him all the way.” 

 Another view of the expansive backyard looking into the blue-cemented house.
Another view of the expansive backyard looking into the blue-cemented house.
Realtor.com
One of two master suites.
The home features all hardwood floors and includes two master bedrooms that Zuckerberg, Moskovitz and Parker shared back during Facebook’s founding.
Realtor.com

On Oct. 1, 2005, Facebook expanded to 21 universities in the United Kingdom and others around the world. 

During their time in the home, Facebook grew internationally and hit over 6 million users by December 2005.

For all their commotion, Fusco looks back fondly on the few months she observed Zuckerberg’s crew come of age. One of her fondest memories was when the Internal Revenue Service tracked her down after Zuckerberg put her down as “employee number 8” at Facebook. 

Judy Fusco took in Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and Dustin Moskovitz after they were kicked out of their first Silicon Valley home in 2004.
Judy Fusco, 76.

“I called Mark and said, ‘Mark, they think I am working for you,’ ” Fusco continued. “He said ‘I am so sorry Judy, we have no idea what we are doing, I’ll have the accountant call the IRS and fix this.’ And he did. They fixed it. And they sent flowers to my home the next day.”

The team at “Casa de Facebook” would move out in March 2005 after the space became too small for their growing company. But that wasn’t the last she heard from the “boys” as she still calls them.

“Sean [Parker] would come to me repeatedly asking me to invest, telling me I would be a billionaire one day if I did,” Fusco admitted. “They proposed giving me the stock instead of the rent — a dollar a stock. I said no.”

“And looking back I always think about the monk that had come to my house. I had no idea that would be the Facebook brand. I had a daughter to put through school, I was afraid to take the risk at the time. But Sean was right.” 

Today, Facebook is estimated to be worth $280 billion.

“I guess I just wasn’t meant to be a billionaire,” Fusco said. “That was not my fate.”