Mar 4, 2024 - Business

Former Twitter execs sue Elon Musk for $120 million in severance pay

SpaceX, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during live interview with Ben Shapiro at the symposium on fighting antisemitism on January 22, 2024 in Krakow, Poland.

Elon Musk in Krakow, Poland, earlier this year. Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

Elon Musk was hit with a lawsuit Monday from four former senior Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, who allege he owes them more than $128 million in unpaid severance.

The big picture: The former executives claim in the complaint that he fired them soon after he led the takeover of the company now known as X "without reason, then made up fake cause and appointed employees of his various companies to uphold his decision."

  • "Musk's refusal to pay Plaintiffs their benefits is part of a larger pattern of refusing to pay Twitter's former employees the benefits and other compensation they are due," alleges the complaint, filed in federal court in San Francisco.
  • "He claimed in his termination letters that each Plaintiff committed 'gross negligence' and 'willful misconduct' without citing a single fact in support of this claim," per the suit against Musk, X and others.

Zoom in: Agrawal and the other plaintiffs, former Twitter CFO Ned Segal, the company's former chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde and its former general counsel Sean Edgett, claim they're owed a year's salary and stock options under a years-old severance plan.

  • They say the salaries break down to more than $57 million for Agrawal; over $44 million for Segal; $20 million-plus for Gadde; and more than $6 million for Edgett.
  • Representatives for X did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ina Fried: This is the latest legal action against Musk concerning the moves he made as he led the Twitter takeover — including lawsuits that allege the company failed to pay severance due to laid-off workers and rent owed to various landlords.

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