Twitter sues Elon Musk for $136,260 in unpaid rent after takeover

Elon Musk is trying to cut Twitter expenses as close to zero as possible while his personal wealth dwindles — and that apparently included falling behind on rent payments on the company’s offices.

Twitter owes $136,260 (£113,601) in back rent at its offices on the 30th floor of a downtown San Francisco building, according to a lawsuit filed by the building’s owner last week.

The landlord at 650 California Street, which is not Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, sent a notice to the social media company on Dec. 16 saying it would be in default if it didn’t pay within five days. Five days have passed without payment, according to the lawsuit.

The landlord, Columbia REIT 650 California LLC, is seeking damages in the total amount of back rent, as well as attorneys’ fees and other expenses. Twitter signed a seven-year lease for the offices in 2017. The monthly rent was $107,526.50 (£89,646) in the first full year and gradually increased to $128,397 (£107,045) in the seventh year.

Twitter did not respond to a message for comment. The company no longer has a media relations department.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion (£37 billion) in October 2022, and the company is on the hook for about $1 billion a year in interest from the deal. Most of Musk’s wealth is tied to his ownership of Tesla stock, which has lost more than half its value since he took ownership of Twitter. He has sold nearly $23 billion (£19 billion) worth of shares in the electric car company since he began building a position in Twitter in April to fund the purchase. According to Forbes, he even lost the first place of the richest person in the world.

Musk defended his extreme cost-cutting measures in a late-night Spaces Twitter call last month.

“This company is basically like you’re in an airplane heading toward the ground at high speed with the engines on fire and the controls not working,” Musk said on Dec. 21.

The company’s headquarters are at another San Francisco address, 1355 Market Street, where Twitter also reportedly fell behind on rent, according to the New York Times.

In addition to not paying rent and laying off employees, Musk’s Twitter is also auctioning off high-end office furniture, kitchen equipment and other relics from a past when Twitter had over 7,500 full-time employees worldwide and free lunches and other office perks were common. It is estimated that approximately three-quarters of Twitter’s employees have left the company, either because they were fired, laid off, or quit.

Among the items Twitter is auctioning off are a pizza oven, a 40-quart commercial kitchen floor mixer (retail price approximately $18,000; bidding starts at $25), and high-end designer furniture such as Eames chairs by Herman Miller and Knoll Diamond chairs, which retail in thousands.

Even a Twitter bird sculpture (bidding starts at $25) and a neon Twitter bird light display (bidding starts at $50) are up for grabs in this fire-sale-style auction reminiscent of the dotcom crash of the early 2000s, when they sold failed technology startups. from their decadent office supplies.

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