Delaware’s Denial: Judge Blocks Elon Musk’s ‘Unfathomable’ $56 Billion Compensation Package


A judge in Delaware has blocked Tesla Motors’ 2018 compensation package of $56 billion to CEO Elon Musk. The decision came in response to a case initiated by a shareholder who claimed that the payment was an overpayment. Delaware Judge Kathaleen McCormick deemed the adoption of the compensation package by the Tesla board to be “deeply flawed.” In response to the ruling, Elon Musk posted on his social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter), advising against incorporating companies in the state of Delaware.

The compensation package, which is the largest in business history, played a significant role in Elon Musk’s rise to becoming one of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Throughout the week-long trial, the directors of Tesla argued that the arrangement was crucial to ensure the continued focus of one of the most energetic entrepreneurs in the world on the organization. However, the court concluded that Tesla and Elon Musk’s lawyers failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove that the stockholder vote was fully informed, leading the court to rule against them.

The court’s decision regarding the compensation package left shareholders feeling unfairly compensated. In her 200-page decision, Judge McCormick referred to the sum as “unfathomable.” The court also criticized the Tesla board for being swayed by Elon Musk’s “superstar appeal” when negotiating the pay package. Greg Varallo, the attorney for Tesla shareholder Richard Tornetta, who filed the complaint in 2018, expressed satisfaction with the ruling in an email seen by Reuters, wishing the “good guys” a “Good day.”

Although this ruling has caused a setback for Elon Musk and Tesla, there is a possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court of Delaware. However, the impact of the decision has already been felt in the stock market, with Tesla’s stock falling almost 3% during extended trading in New York. The company’s value has dropped by approximately 20% this year alone.

In response to the ruling, Elon Musk suggested that forming a company in Nevada or Texas would be a better option for those who prefer shareholders to have a determining role. He mentioned on his platform X that anyone who agreed could vote in a poll on whether or not Tesla should change its state of incorporation to Texas, where its physical headquarters are located.

Elon Musk’s vast holdings include not only Tesla but also other companies like Neuralink, a brain chip startup, and SpaceX. He is actively involved as CEO and a significant stakeholder in all these ventures. In an effort to acquire X, Musk sold a significant portion of his Tesla stock, and he now owns approximately 13% of the social network company. However, he has expressed a desire for a larger interest in the electric vehicle manufacturer.

One concern Elon Musk has raised is Tesla’s investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. He expressed discomfort about growing Tesla as a leader in AI and robotics without having 25% voting control. Musk fears that the current ownership structure of Tesla leaves the company vulnerable to a “takeover by dubious interests.” He even stated that he would prefer to build products outside of Tesla unless this issue is addressed.

In conclusion, the Delaware court’s decision to block Elon Musk’s $56 billion compensation package from Tesla reverberated through the business and financial sectors. The ruling highlighted flaws in the board’s decision-making process and left shareholders feeling unfairly compensated. The future of the case remains uncertain, but the impact on Tesla’s stock price has already been felt. Elon Musk’s response to the ruling and his concerns about Tesla’s ownership structure and investments in AI reflect his ongoing commitment to the success and protection of his various ventures.