Elon Musk is trying to cut Twitter’s expenses to as close to zero as possible as his personal fortune dwindles — and that apparently included defaulting on rent for the company’s offices.
Twitter owes $136,260 (£113,601) in back rent for its offices on the 30th floor of a building in the city centre. San Francisco, according to a complaint filed by the building’s owner last week.
The owner of 650 California Street, which is not Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, sent a notice to the social media company on Dec. 16 that it would be in default if it didn’t pay within five days. Five days passed without payment, according to the lawsuit.
The landlord, Columbia REIT 650 California LLC, is seeking damages for the total rent, plus attorney’s 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 must pay around $1 billion a year in interest on the deal. Most of Musk’s wealth is tied to his ownership of Tesla shares, which have lost more than half their value since he acquired Twitter. He has sold nearly $23bn (£19bn) of shares in the electric car company to fund the purchase since April, when he began making a post on Twitter. He even lost the title of the richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
Musk defended aggressive cost-cutting measures last month during a late-night call on Twitter Spaces.
“It’s like, basically, you’re in a plane hurtling toward the ground at high speed with the engines on and the controls not working,” Musk said on December 21.
The company is headquartered at another San Francisco address, 1355 Market Street, where Twitter also allegedly defaulted on rent payments, according to The New York Times.
In addition to non-payment of rent and layoffs, Musk’s Twitter is also auctioning high-end office furniture, kitchen equipment, and other relics from the past, when Twitter had more than 7,500 workers on the job. Full time in the world, free lunches and other office perks were common. It is estimated that about three-quarters of Twitter employees have left the company, either due to layoffs, dismissals, or resignations.
Among the items Twitter has up for auction are a pizza oven, a 40-liter commercial kitchen floor mixer (retails for about $18,000; bids start at $25) and high-end furniture such as Herman Miller’s Eames and Knoll Diamond chairs in the thousands.
Even a Twitter bird figurine (bid from $25) and a Twitter neon lights display (bid from $50) are in this auction style reminiscent of the early dotcom failure of the 2000s when tech startups failed their rotten office tools. .
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