Lawsuit Says Musk’s Twitter Won’t Pay $197K Private Jet Bill

Ethel Walsh
  • A private jet company sued Twitter, alleging breach of contract and failure to pay for two flights.
  • The flights were “urgent” and authorized ahead of Elon Musk’s takeover, the lawsuit said.
  • A Twitter exec said the company’s new management “wants to hold firm” on not paying, the lawsuit said.

A private jet company sued Elon Musk’s Twitter on Friday claiming the social media company refused to pay a $197,725 bill.

Private Jet Services Group (PJS) said Twitter used its charter services for two flights between New Jersey to San Francisco on October 26 and 27 for the company’s former chief marketing officer Leslie Berland. Berland booked the flight as Musk’s $44 billion purchase agreement neared a close, following months of litigation. The billionaire visited Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on October 26 and completed the deal the following day.

The executive was laid off in November when Musk terminated about half of Twitter’s workforce, Bloomberg reported. The publication was the first to report on PJS’ lawsuit against Twitter, which was filed in the US District Court of New Hampshire.

PJS is alleging breach of contract and breach of quasi-contract in its lawsuit. The company says in the lawsuit that two Twitter employees booked a flight for Berland to San Francisco and a return flight over email and text. The private jet company later sent Twitter a bill for the two flights in early November, but alleges Twitter never paid.

A Twitter spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.

Twitter’s head of global strategic sourcing, Marty O’Neill, emailed PJS on November 16, saying “Twitter is not liable for these expenses” as “only Designated Representatives” were allowed to book services through PJS, per the complaint.

The lawsuit says that Twitter and PJS signed an agreement in 2020 for the social media company to book services through jet firm via “designated representatives,” but Twitter “did not always follow the process” and had allowed employees who were not designated representatives book flights in the past. PJS said Twitter breached its contract by refusing to pay “under circumstances that make it reasonable for PJS to expect payment.”

A Twitter employee who booked one of the flights, Taylor DeLorenzo, responded to O’Neill’s email in November, saying that then-CEO Parag Agrawal had authorized the flights, according to the lawsuit.

“It was an urgent need the week the deal closed, and Leslie was the main person from Twitter liaising directly with Elon,” DeLorenzo’s email read, according to the complaint.

O’Neill responded to DeLorenzo’s email, saying he “can’t emphasize enough that new management wants to hold firm on this,” the complaint said.

It’s not the first bill that Twitter has allegedly refused to pay since Musk took over. Last month, The New York Times reported that some of the company’s vendors and suppliers are owed millions of dollars in back payments. The publication said Musk’s staff said the company did not intend to pay for the services as they were authorized by former management, not Musk.

The billionaire has been taking several cost-cutting measures at Twitter in recent months, from laying off hundreds of workers to eliminating free lunches and auctioning office equipment online. Musk has even floated the idea of bankruptcy, warning the “economic picture ahead is dire.”

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