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Former Twitter Execs Say Elon Musk Stiffed Them Out Of $128 Million In Severance

Four former Twitter executives sued Elon Musk on Monday, claiming the billionaire owes them more than $128 million in unpaid severance after he fired them over email shortly after he took over the social media giant.

The suit was filed by former Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal, former chief financial officer Ned Segal, former head of legal and policy Vijaya Gadde and former general counsel Sean Edgett. The executives, fired after Musk’s 2022 takeover, say they were entitled to severance due to clauses in their contracts. (Twitter was later renamed X.)

The amounts include a year’s salary and stock options, but the group claims Musk “fired them without reason, then made up fake cause and appointed employees of his various companies to uphold his decision.”

According to Agrawal’s offer letter, obtained by The New York Times, he was entitled to a severance payment of more than $57 million. Segal was entitled to more than $44 million in benefits and Gadde more than $20 million. Edgett was also entitled to nearly $7 million, according to the suit.

The former executives claims Musk “fired them without reason, then made up fake cause and appointed employees of his various companies to uphold his decision.”
The former executives claims Musk “fired them without reason, then made up fake cause and appointed employees of his various companies to uphold his decision.” Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/Associated Press

“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,” the complaint says. “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.”

The group’s lawyers argued the tactic fit with Musk’s public pledges to deny severance to employees he fired after taking over Twitter. The suit added Musk had vowed a “lifetime of revenge” on the former executives after the group blocked his attempt to walk out on the $44 billion takeover deal.

“This is the Musk playbook: to keep the money he owes other people, and force them to sue him,” the filing reads. “Even in defeat, Musk can impose delay, hassle, and expense on others less able to afford it.”

Agrawal, Segal and Gadde were reimbursed for legal expenses after suing X to pay for them.

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