Accused of sabotage, ex-Tesla employee cries ‘whistleblower’

Tesla, which was already dealing with production and cash flow problems, is now doing some costly damage control thanks to a rogue employee whistleblower.

June 22, 2018


After Elon Musk accused him of committing “extensive sabotage” and sued him for $1m, rogue Tesla employee Martin Tripp now claims he’s a whistleblower, not a Benedict Arnold.

As the bizarre lawsuit continues to unfold, Tesla also faces external challenges including layoffs, production issues, and flagging investment.

Only the paranoid survive

The snafu started Sunday when Elon Musk alerted Tesla employees that a rogue employee “sabotaged” company operations by stealing trade secrets. Tesla then filed a $1m lawsuit against Tripp.

Musk urged employees to guard against “outside forces” (specifically “Wall Street short-sellers” and “oil & gas companies”) as the company increased production. But outside forces are only part of Tesla’s problem….

Tesla’s got problems inside, outside, and on every side

Tripp responded to the company’s lawsuit by claiming to be a whistleblower — saying he told Business Insider that Tesla used defective batteries and churned through expensive components to address a production shortfall.

Tesla dismissed Tripp’s claims as crazy talk, but the company faces pressure from ornery investors — enough to force Musk to personally buy $25m worth of shares and lay off 10% of Tesla’s workforce.

Lawyers for Tesla claimed the fiasco caused “lost business, lost profits and damage to its goodwill.” Even Musk was mad — in an email thread, Musk and Tripp pulled out the schoolyard insults, calling each other “terrible human beings.” 

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