Elon Musk and Twitter face San Francisco city probe over headquarters

In an aerial photo, a modified company sign is posted outside the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, April 10, 2023.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Elon Musk and X Corp. — the Musk-backed parent company of social media platform Twitter — is facing an investigation into building code violations at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on Market Street, according to online public records with the county Department of Building Inspection.

The investigation, previously reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, follows a lawsuit filed May 16 in Delaware court by six former Twitter employees, who allege Musk’s “transition team” knowingly and repeatedly ordered them to violate local and federal laws, including by making unsafe modifications to the company’s office premises.

The lawsuit alleges that under Musk’s leadership, X Corp. directed employees to turn rooms in the San Francisco headquarters into “hotel rooms,” while lying to inspectors and their landlord they were only “temporary resting places” with some comfortable furniture added and no substance. or structural changes.

The lawsuit says an employee was instructed to place locks on the unauthorized “hotel room doors” that do not meet a California code that “requires locks that automatically disengage when the building’s fire suppression systems are triggered.”

The ex-Twitter employee said in the complaint that Musk’s transition team repeatedly told them that “compliant locks were too expensive” and instructed them instead to “immediately install cheaper locks that did not comply with life safety and exit codes.”

The employee quit rather than violate that law, their lawyers noted in the lawsuit.

The complaint also alleges that the Musk-led Twitter failed to pay employees the severance, severance and benefits they were owed, and discriminated against some senior employees on the basis of age, gender and sexual orientation when it decided to fire them.

In addition, the lawsuit said Musk and members of his transition team, namely Boring Company CEO Steve Davis, ordered employees involved in managing the property to cut costs by $500 million as quickly as they could. In an effort to cut costs, the Musk transition team asked employees to simply refuse to pay landlords who owed the company rent.

When informed of the risk of termination fees for certain leases, Davis told senior staff on Twitter: “Well, we just don’t want to pay those. We just don’t want to pay landlords,” adding, “we just don’t want to pay rent.” the complaint says.

Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is actively courting Musk to move Twitter headquarters to his jurisdiction. On Friday, he wrote on Twitter“let’s get them MIA ASAP.”

CNBC reached out to Twitter for more information, and the company responded with an automated response that included a poop emoji, but no comment.

A representative for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Read the lawsuit here.

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