The bills are piling up at Twitter, according to a stack of lawsuits alleging the social media is skipping out on rent and other financial obligations.
Landlords, vendors and other outside companies have all filed cases against Twitter in recent months, state and federal court records show. There are at least nine lawsuits against the social media platform, claiming a combined $14 million in missed payments, according to a Wall Street Journal estimate.
Three of the lawsuits allege that Twitter hasn’t paid rent on offices it occupies. That includes $6.8 million in back payments one landlord alleges Twitter owes on its San Francisco headquarters, the Journal reported.
Twitter dismantled its media relations team and couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
Panoply of cases
A lawsuit filed last month in California by marketing firm Canary accuses Twitter of breaching a contract between both companies in June 2020. Twitter has a past due bill of $392,239.11, according to the claim. A hearing for the case is scheduled for June.
“Beginning in September 2022, Canary provided goods and services to Twitter and sent invoices requesting payment for such work, but Twitter has failed to pay such invoices,” court documents state. “Twitter appears to interpret the [contract agreement] as allowing it to pay or not pay Canary invoices when Twitter decides to do so.”
In a separate case filed last month, property management company Columbia Reit accuses Twitter of not paying nearly $140,000 in rent on another office space it occupies in San Francisco, the lease for which expires in 2024. The owners of Twitter’s office space in London are also suing the company for alleged unpaid rent, the Associated Press reported.
Twitter is also being sued by Private Jet Services Group for breach of contract on two charter flights, valued at $197,725. A Twitter executive used a private jet to fly from New Jersey to California last October, according to the lawsuit. Private Jet Services filed the suit in December in New Hampshire District Court.
Neither Canary nor Private Jet Services immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.
Cost-cutting at Twitter
Since Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, took over Twitter, he has implemented several cost-cutting measures, including laying off half of the platform’s workforce, creating a new paid subscription feature and ending enforcement of rules around COVID-19 misinformation. After telling employees in November that the company could face bankruptcy, Musk recently said Twitter is on firmer financial ground.
“Last 3 months were extremely tough, as had to save Twitter from bankruptcy, while fulfilling essential Tesla & SpaceX duties,” Musk tweeted earlier this month. “Wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. Twitter still has challenges, but is now trending to break even if we keep at it.”
Twitter has also auctioned off more than 600 pieces of used furniture, electronics, kitchen equipment and other in-office appliances from its headquarters. In December, Musk announced he would step down as CEO of the company when he finds someone to replace him — a decision that came after conducting a Twitter poll.
“Probably towards the end of this year would be good timing to find someone else to run the company,” Musk said recently, speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai. “I think it should be in a stable position around the end of this year.”
Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering business, consumer and financial stories that range from economic inequality and housing issues to bankruptcies and the business of sports.
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