back to article Twitter stiffed us on $2m bill, claim consultants in lawsuit

Global consultancy Charles River Associates (CRA) has joined the queue of companies claiming Twitter walked away without paying its tab. The company, hired to provide expert testimony and consulting services to Twitter's old management in litigation against Elon Musk in 2022, prior to the completion of the $44 billion deal, …

  1. Stu J

    In the circumstances...

    It might have been wise to demand payment up-front, given the guy you're providing evidence against is going to be the one signing the cheques if you "win"...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: In the circumstances...

      Knowing Musk, that's true. But in the real world, a company is responsible for its debts even of the ownership changes, unless they go insolvent. If Musk were to win in these cases, it would have a huge knock-on effect across the entirety of the business world. Want to renege on your debts? Just sell the company to your wife/husband/partner/child/whatever. Musk and Trump would love that, of course :-)

      1. Stu J

        Re: In the circumstances...

        Well, yes, I know that's how the real world works; but as you say, you're dealing with Elon Musk, who was already trying to get out of it - chances are he was going to try to get out of as much stuff as he possibly could.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the circumstances...

        In trump's case, he basically litigates the creditors to the point where they can't afford to continue, or if it's obvious that they'll win, declare bankruptcy, spin that shell company down, and start a new one. Standard abusive tactics and malfeasence.

        Personally, I wouldn't work for either one even if I was getting paid up front.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    What does Musk hope to gain ?

    He might be able to wiggle out of paying (part of) some of what he is being sued for but I would have thought that the lower payments would be dwarfed by the legal bills. We know that lawyers do not come cheap.

    Then what is the reputational damage ? Or has he decided that he does not have any reputation worth trying to salvage ?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: What does Musk hope to gain ?

      I wonder if he's just kicking a bunch of cans down the road because Twitter doesn't generate enough money to cover it's costs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What does Musk hope to gain ?

        Seems like the rich guy equivalent of using your Visa to pay your MasterCard.

    2. Ian Mason

      Re: What does Musk hope to gain ?

      Then what is the reputational damage ? Or has he decided that he does not have any reputation worth trying to salvage ?

      I can't presume to speak for Musk, I just don't have an insight into that level of crazy, but I suspect that anyone who has kept an eye on the media coverage of this has long ago concluded that Musk's reputation is now less than worthless.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What does Musk hope to gain ?

      > Or has he decided that he does not have any reputation worth trying to salvage ?

      On the contrary, like many ego-maniacal narcissists, he likely has imagined that he's invulnerable to assault there.

      Which would also tend to explain why he reacts so badly when called out in public and exposed for what he is.

  3. Paul Smith


    What did Twitter expect would happen when they fired Mary from Accounts?

  4. Mad Ludwig

    So he really wants to stiff litigation experts?

    I don't expect that to go well - surely they know better than most how to use the legal system to get their money.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

    as in declare bankwuptcy to avoid paying your debts. I would not put it beyond him to do just that... you know to prove a point.

    which is to make it clear that there is one rule for the mega-mega-rich and one for us plebs (i.e. those who don't have a billion in the bank)

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

      The early stages of a planned bankruptcy involve running up as much debt as possible. In the UK, if it counts as trading while insolvent then Musk would be personally liable. Imminent bankruptcy can be spotted when workers do not receive paychecks. As far as I know, we are not there yet, but we are at the point where ex-employees are being promised1 what they are owed in return for signing a promise never to say2 anything bad about Musk for the rest of their lives. According to internet lawyers3 Musk treats twitter as his personal property so creditors will be able to get their money back from Musk instead of trying to squeeze blood out of the bankrupt corpse of Twitter

      1) Jam tomorrow!

      2) Free speech!

      3) Still marginally more credible than Musk!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

        I'm waiting for the TV News to have live reports of the Bailiffs going into Musk Towers and taking goods or simply impounding his precious private jet although he could probably buy a 747 with the loose change from his sofa.

        The same goes for Trump. Send the bailiffs into Mar-al-largo and remove some of that 'tat' to settle the fines imposed on him last week for filing stupid lawsuits. I fully expect that he'd try to stiff the lawyers for the full amount.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

          No doubt Trump will be appealing that judgment so I doubt he'll be on the hook for paying it for a while until he's run out of appeals. Then he'll wait until the last minute before it must be paid, and only pay if failure to do so would mean he could be arrested as opposed to having more fines assessed he'd drag out in court.

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

      The snag about a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it will hit the current owner hardest, so the ownership would functionally pass from Musk to those who lent him the money. There were about $13bn in loans to Twitter (not Musk) which, alongside the landlords, former employees, government entities levying fines etc. would be seen as creditors. Since the value of the biz is likely roughly a quarter of what Musk paid, the lenders would end up owning the company and Musk would... not.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

        With 80% of the employees gone, many taking invaluable institutional knowledge with them that would be impossible to replace, Twitter being worth 1/4 of what Musk paid is rather optimistic. If it isn't sustainably profitable under his "leadership", its actual value is closer to zero especially if the userbase begins to flee en masse when stuff starts breaking and not getting fixed.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: If Bannon and Trump can do it... So can Musk

          Whatever you think the business is worth, you need to subtract the 13bn dollar debt.

  6. redpawn

    Freedumb isn't free

    Which part don't you understand? Free- Musk gets it for free, by loan or tax benefit. Dumb- It's always dumb to trust a megalomaniac.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Freedumb isn't free

      He can only use the loss as a deduction on his taxes, not a credit, and as his income is almost entirely capital gains he would at most recover 20% of his losses. So if he put in say $30 billion he loses $24 billion after tax writeoffs.

  7. el_oscuro

    Twitter Dead Pool

    Will Twitter die because:

    1. Something crashes and they discover they don't have backups because they fired the people who managed them?

    2. They don't pay the data center rent, and the data center powers down their servers and locks the cages?

    3. If they do manage to pay the data center, they realized they have no idea how to restart everything because they fired the people who know how?

    4. They keep disabling 3rd party clients that are mostly used by their most important users, and those leave?

    5. The entire database gets dumped to pastebin because they fired the people who understood network security?

    6. It becomes the next 8chan and everyone leaves?

    7. All of the above?

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Dead Pool

      There was a rumour that they couldn’t open one building because the guy responsible for access passes had been fired.

      1. GioCiampa

        Re: Twitter Dead Pool

        There was someone claiming to be that guy - but it may have been a parody account:

    2. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Dead Pool

      I think 7 is a pretty good bet. It's already starting to shake to pieces, but it only needs a really big hit to go down entirely.

      Then we'll see how much Musk's investors benefit from having got rid of Twitter, that may prove a very worthwhile investment for them.

    3. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Dead Pool

      There's a 4.5: regulatory authorities in Washington and Dublin (and likely Sacramento and many other places) shut them down for failure to do all the things they agreed to do, and for doing all the things they agreed not to do.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you feel you’re above the law

    These kinds of problems look insignificant to you.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    Exit Plan!

    Petrol - Check

    Matches - Check

    Visit Bridges - Check

    It's Obvious - Checkmate!

  10. vtcodger Silver badge

    Those whom the Gods Would Destroy

    Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first put in charge of a Social Media company?"

  11. Ashto5

    Is Twitter still a thing?

    Has it not collapsed yet ?

  12. The Velveteen Hangnail

    All for naught?

    There are so many lawsuits and whatnot suing Twitter. Elon apparently put most of his debts for purchasing Twitter, onto Twitter's tab.

    Even if every maligned vendor wins their suit, how are they going to collect when Musk simply bankrupts Twitter?

    Unless all these suits can name Elon specifically, and demand damages from him directly, where is the punishment? Where is the incentive to keep Elon and future Elons from repeating the exact same behavour?

    This is all 100% Elon's fault. NONE of the things that have happened in the last few months, would have happened if it wasn't for Elon. All the news involving Twitters woes are just one yawn after another until someone holds Elon directly responsible for the damage he's caused.

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