Facepalms Reverberate Across America As Musk Mocks the Regulator That Has Him Over a Barrel

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Tesla CEO Elon Musk loves railing against shortsellers to the same degree that normal, regular people enjoy eating and breathing. As his company’s stock continues a downward slide initiated and perpetuated by Musk’s completely avoidable antics, the CEO decided that mocking a securities regulator and endangering a settlement reached on Saturday was a good and proper course of action. And so he took to Twitter Thursday night to make it happen.

It’s gotten to the point where young investors and diehard Tesla fans have taken to social media, begging him to cut it out.

After the Securities and Exchange Commission slapped him with a fraud charge last week, Musk eventually agreed to a settlement that would see him step down as chairman of the company. A independent director would replace him. Both Musk and Tesla would pay a $20 million fine. All of this stems from a fateful August 7th tweet in which Musk informed the world that there was “funding secured” to take the company private. You know the rest.

Musk and SEC representatives still need to appear in court together to finalize the settlement. And, for the deal to be done, the SEC must feel confident that it handed out the appropriate amount of punishment. In mocking the regulator, Musk seems intent on making his situation worse.

“I’m shocked,” Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, told Bloomberg. “It’s only inviting the SEC to rethink the settlement. And it’s going to make it much tougher to attract independent directors to join the board.”

Stephen Diamond, an associate professor of law at Santa Clara University, told the outlet, “Reading the mind of Elon Musk is beyond my ability, but he is soon to join the SEC in front of a federal judge to defend the recent settlement agreement. If he doesn’t want to put that deal at risk he ought to pay attention to cars instead of Twitter.”

Musk went on to declare that shortselling should be illegal, then pressured shareholders to dump their stock if they had any doubts about the company’s long-term value.

Tesla’s stock fell 4.5 percent in early Friday trading, lowering the company’s share price to $269.10 at publication time. On August 7th, the stock ended the day at $379.57. Both Musk and the SEC have until October 11th to explain to a judge why they think the settlement was appropriate.

So far, the SEC has remained silent on Musk’s latest outburst.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Oct 06, 2018

    Musk is either proving the theory that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. That, or he's just smoking too much high-test weed. Or he's truly just gone off the deep end into insanity.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Oct 07, 2018

    I'll make you a deal : we take away Twitter from Musk and Trump at the same time. I guarantee, the haze of megalomania will begin to clear from the air.

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