Never mind its falling share price, problems for Tesla and its chief executive Elon Musk appear to be piling up.
Aside from an SEC investigation into Musk’s tweets about going private, two former employees recently filed whistleblower complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission against the electric car company over potential securities violations, an attorney representing the two workers told FOX Business on Monday.
A former Tesla employee, Martin Tripp, alleged he was fired last month for publicly raising concerns over the conditions at one of the company’s "gigafactories."
“In my view he was tarred and feathered,” his attorney, Stuart Meissner, said.
“After that they filed a lawsuit against him, and they called the sheriff, in what I believed to be a false report of ‘a terrorist incident’ saying that he was on his way to shoot up the gigafactory, which was, in my view, based on the police reports, which we’ve gotten, is completely false and we are looking to have that investigated and pursued,” he explained.
And earlier this month another former Tesla employee, Karl Hansen, alleged that the company failed to disclose thefts of copper and other raw materials, worth more than $37 million, from the company’s factory, Meissner said.
“Mr. Hansen was working for security inside investigations for Tesla, so he knows a lot of things about Tesla and he brought up several issues,” the attorney added.
Hansen was told to stop investigating the matter, Meissner said, and not report it to law enforcement.
In addition to theft, Hansen also alleges that Tesla failed to disclose to local law enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that the factory was involved in the potential sale of “large quantities of narcotics – cocaine and possible meth.”
“Tesla was given, or allegedly given, a tip by the DA task force … of major sales going on by a particular worker at the factory and specific detailed information about those sales and that they are working with the Mexican drug cartel and specific details about that cartel,” Meissner said.
In an email to FOX Business, a Tesla spokesperson said the company “attempted” to address the claims with Hansen but were “rejected.”
“Some of [Hansen's] claims are outright false. Others could not be corroborated, so we suggested additional investigative steps to try and validate the information he had received second-hand from a single anonymous source,” the spokesperson said.
“Because we wanted to be sure we got this right, we made numerous attempts to engage further with Mr. Hansen to understand more about what he was claiming and the work that he did in reaching his conclusions. He rejected each of those attempts, and to date has refused to speak with the company further. It seems strange that Mr. Hansen would claim that he is concerned about something happening within the company, but then refuse to engage with the company to discuss the information that he believes he has.”