Fired Tesla employee alleges company spied on workers, knew of drug dealing at plant
An employee fired from Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory 1’ battery plant has accused the electric-car maker of spying on its staff and failing to investigate reports that a Mexican cartel may be selling drugs inside the facility.
Karl Hansen was a security employee at Tesla’s vast ‘Gigafactory 1’ battery-making plant in Nevada. Hansen alleges that Tesla wiretapped employees’ personal phones, in a statement released through his attorney and distributed to the media.
According to the whistleblower, the technical giant failed to tell shareholders that $37 million worth of copper and other raw materials were stolen from the plant in the first half of this year.
@_alexandriapage what planet is $tsla on? “Tesla said it took the allegations that Hansen brought to the electric car maker seriously and investigated.” Allegations he brought ? They 1st assigned him to investigate them! He was their investigator! https://t.co/ENOs5d7LSb— Stuart D. Meissner (@StuartMeissner) August 17, 2018
He also insists that Tesla failed to disclose that it had received a warning from the US Drug Enforcement Administration that an employee had been selling cocaine and crystal methamphetamine from the plant for a Mexican drug cartel.
Hansen claims that he was ultimately fired when he brought his concerns about these problems to management. “I never expected that my employment with such a major public company would lead to uncovering such issues, and am disturbed by Tesla’s highly unusual response to those like me who investigated them,” Hansen said in his statement.
Tesla said that Hansen’s claims were taken seriously, and that some of them are “outright false.” CEO Elon Musk said in an interview with Gizmodo that Hansen “is super nuts.” “He is simultaneously saying that our security sucks (it’s not great, but I’m pretty sure we aren’t a branch of the Sinaloa cartel like he claims) and that we have amazing spying ability. Those can’t both be true,” the entrepreneur added.
Hansen has enlisted the help of attorney Simon Meissner of Meissner Associates, the New York-based law firm famed for winning a $22.5 million judgement for a whistleblower who blew the lid on financial fraud at agri-giant Monsanto.
Meissner stressed to the media that Hansen chose to forego his own anonymity to encourage other potential whistleblowers to come forward. “This is somewhat of an unusual circumstance in that the client specifically requested that I make public not only his name but his attachment to the SEC,” Meissner told CBS MoneyWatch.
Meissner Associates are also representing ex-Gigafactory employee Simon Tripp in a lawsuit against Tesla. A former technician at the same battery plant, Tripp has been locked in a legal battle with Musk’s company for several months.
Mr. Tripp's Linked-in Account was hacked last week. I understand his Facebook account and Drop Box account as well. As a result, along with yesterday, he has determined upon my advice to Terminate his Twitter Account. I think the concern will become clearer as the day goes on.— Stuart D. Meissner (@StuartMeissner) August 16, 2018
Tripp claims that he approached Tesla management to report waste and defective batteries at the plant, only to have his concerns fall on deaf ears. Musk sued Tripp for “sabotage” and stealing trade secrets earlier this summer, only for Tripp to countersue last month, alleging that Musk defamed him in emails and statements to the press.
Venting his frustration, Tripp took to Twitter late on Tuesday night, sharing photographic evidence of sloppy production at the plant.
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