Ex-Twitter executives sue Elon Musk for $128m in severance pay

Ex-CEO Parag Agrawal and other top executives accuse Musk of believing ‘rules don’t apply to him’.

X owner Elon Musk has been sued by four former top Twitter executives [Susan Walsh/AP]

Former top Twitter executives, including ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, have sued Elon Musk seeking more than $128m in unpaid severance.

In the lawsuit filed in a San Francisco court on Monday, the four former executives accused the Tesla CEO of firing them without cause and demonstrating a “cavalier attitude” towards his financial obligations.

“Under Musk’s control, Twitter has become a scofflaw, stiffing employees, landlords, vendors, and others,” the plaintiffs said in the 39-page lawsuit.

“Musk doesn’t pay his bills, believes the rules don’t apply to him, and uses his wealth and power to run roughshod over anyone who disagrees with him.”

The former executives – also including ex-CFO Ned Segal, ex-chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde and former General Counsel Sean Edgett – say they are owed one year’s salary and stock options.

Musk fired Agrawal, Gadde and Segal in late October 2022 after completing his purchase of Twitter, now called X, for $44bn.

Musk’s purchase of the platform came on the heels of a bitter dispute with top executives after Twitter took him to court to ensure he honour the terms of the acquisition.

The former executives said in the suit that Musk invented a “fake” example of gross negligence and wilful misconduct – Twitter paying fees to outside lawyers for their work closing the acquisition – to avoid paying them severance.

“If Musk felt that the attorneys’ fees payments, or any other payments, were improper, his remedy was to seek to terminate the deal – not to withhold executives’ severance payments after the deal closed,” the former executives said in the suit.

X is already facing three other lawsuits by former workers seeking large severance packages, including a pair of class action suits that claim rank-and-file workers are owed at least $500m.

The social media giant has also been sued for allegedly not paying a former public relations firm, landlords, vendors and consultants.

X did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies