Former Twitter employees have filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk, his new holding company, X. Corp., for alleged fraud and breach in contract over claims of unpaid severance. The lawsuit reveals Musk’s attitude toward paying rent on the company’s properties. Musk said he would “pay rent over his dead body” in a conversation. His lawyer claimed later that charging rent for “derelict, zombie-apocalyptic San Francisco” is unreasonable.
Business Insider reported that six former Twitter workers are suing Elon Musk for unpaid severance, fraud and breach of contract. The lawsuit sheds light on corporate leasing commitments.
Plaintiffs claim in their lawsuit Musk told him he would pay rent for Twitter’s office “over his death body” in a conversation that Joseph Killian relayed. Killian was a plaintiff at Twitter who had overseen the design of its offices for 12 years. The conversation was reported to have taken place with Pablo Mendoza. Mendoza is a venture-capitalist who has worked closely with Musk in the creation of Twitter 2.0.
The lawsuit documents state that “Killian tried to convince Musk via Mendoza of the dangers of Musk’s position that no rent will be paid at all, pointing out any attempt to negotiate the terms of Twitter’s many leases was doomed to fail.”
Mendoza reportedly responded by relaying Musk’s hardline position, saying, “Elon said he would pay rent only over his dead body.”
In the last few months, landlords from a number cities have filed legal actions against Twitter. London, New York and San Francisco have all filed complaints for non-payment of rent against Twitter.
Alex Spiro is Musk’s attorney. He reportedly rejected the demands of the landlords as unreasonable, citing the deteriorating living conditions in San Francisco where Twitter’s headquarters is located. Elon Musk, who has called downtown San Francisco “a zombie apocalypse”, insists on not allowing workers to work at home.
The lawsuit claims that Twitter failed to pay severance benefits to its former employees. Musk and the other defendants face 14 claims, including fraud and labor law violations.