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Elon Musk Faces Fury as Former Twitter Chiefs Fight for Their Pending Paydays

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Former senior executives of Twitter have initiated legal action against Elon Musk and his company X Corp., alleging they are owed over $128 million in unpaid severance payments. The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that the executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde, and General Counsel Sean Edgett, were terminated without cause on the day Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in 2022, subsequently rebranding it as X Corp.

The executives claim that Musk, unwilling to fulfil their severance agreements, fabricated reasons for their terminations and appointed individuals from his various enterprises to validate his decisions. They assert that Musk’s actions are part of a broader pattern, citing numerous former Twitter employees who were also allegedly denied severance payments following mass terminations orchestrated by Musk.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in the Northern District of California, the executives accuse Musk of evading financial obligations and disregarding established norms. They allege that Musk’s approach towards financial matters reflects a belief that rules do not apply to him, utilizing his wealth and influence to assert dominance over dissenting parties.

According to the lawsuit, the severance agreements entitled the executives to one year’s salary and unvested stock awards valued at the acquisition price of Twitter. Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, or $54.20 per share, assuming control in October 2022. The former executives assert that they were terminated without cause, contrary to the narrowly defined criteria outlined in the severance plans.

The lawsuit highlights Musk’s alleged justification for the terminations, citing “gross negligence and willful misconduct” due to Twitter’s payment of fees to external attorneys involved in the acquisition. The executives contend that such payments were necessary to fulfil their fiduciary duties to the company and that Musk’s actions were unwarranted.

According to the lawsuit, X Corp. faces an onslaught of lawsuits over unpaid debts, with Musk purportedly adopting a dismissive stance towards these legal challenges. The executives assert that Musk’s attitude towards financial obligations reflects a cavalier disregard for his responsibilities.

Representatives for Musk and X Corp. have yet to respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit. As the legal battle unfolds, it underscores the complex interplay between corporate governance, fiduciary responsibilities, and the influence wielded by prominent figures like Elon Musk in business and finance.

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