Musk files lawsuit over compensation package

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the stand Wednesday to defend himself in a shareholder lawsuit over the compensation package he received from the company’s board of directors, which could amount to 55,000 million dollars.

Musk denied that he was the one who decided on compensation or that he attended any meeting on the subject by the board of directors, his compensation committee or the group that helped develop it.

“I was totally focused on running the company,” Musk said.

Greg Varallo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, spent much of his cross-examination trying to get Musk to admit that he controls Tesla so much that he can force the board of directors to do whatever he wants.

Among other things, he questioned Musk for proclaiming himself the “Technoking,” a word that Musk says has “style” and evokes “magnificent dance moves.”

“I think comedy is legal,” Musk declared when asked by Varallo if he was “dead sober” when that title was invented.

Varallo also suggested that one of the reasons Musk developed a “master plan” for Tesla was to let everyone know he’s in charge.

He further noted that Musk makes recommendations regarding compensation for senior executives, and that he unilaterally made the decision to suspend Tesla’s policy of accepting bitcoin for vehicle purchases.

“You are asking complex questions that cannot be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” Musk said when asked by Varallo if he came up with the vision for Tesla.

The lawsuit alleges that the compensation was negotiated by the compensation committee and approved by members of the board of directors who had conflicts of interest due to their personal and professional ties to Musk, including holding investments in his companies. It also alleges that the shareholder vote that approved the compensation was based on misleading statements.

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Musk files lawsuit over compensation package