Tesla may have investigated CEO Elon Musk over possible improprieties. The Wall Street Journal‘s sources claim the EV maker’s board launched an investigation over concerns Musk might be using company funds to build a house near the Austin-area Gigafactory. Nicknamed “Project 42,” the initiative is believed to involve a purchase of millions of dollars in special glass — large enough that it drew attention from employees last year. Limited liability firms linked to Musk and executives are also known to have bought large volumes of land in the area.
Concepts for the house included either a “twisted hexagon” or a glass cube reminiscent of Apple’s 5th Avenue store. This appeared to be personal space as it included bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen, the tipsters said.
The status and results of the investigation aren’t known. Tesla disbanded its PR department years ago, and Musk hasn’t commented on the report as of this writing. However, the board reportedly wanted to learn if Musk was involved and whether worker time had been devoted to the house. Bloomberg learned of the glass order last year, but didn’t know about the board or the nature of Project 42.
Executives sometimes receive perks like jets. The policies for these rewards vary, however, and Tesla’s approach is relatively strict. The automaker requires a board committee audit for any expense above $120,000 where a related person, like the CEO, has a material interest.
This isn’t the first time a high-profile tech executive has faced scrutiny over spending. Meta investigated departing COO Sheryl Sandberg over allegations she used company resources to further personal goals, such as wedding planning or attempts to quash a news story critical of her ex-partner Bobby Kotick. Musk’s profile as a major CEO makes this case stand out, however.
The leader is no stranger to legal entanglements. He’s still embroiled in a fight with the Securities and Exchange Commission over tweeting financial data, and survived a defamation lawsuit from British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth over unsubstantiated “pedo guy” accusations.
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