Martin Tripp, the Tesla technician who CEO Elon Musk accused of sabotage, has filed a formal whistleblower complaint about the electric vehicle maker and hired a prominent New York law firm to represent him.
In his complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tripp alleges that Tesla has made several "material omissions and misstatements" to investors and taken steps that potentially compromised the safety of its customers.
Tripp retained Meissner Associates, which won a $22.5 million judgement in 2016 in a whistleblower lawsuit over financial fraud at Monsanto. Stuart Meissner, who runs the firm, is a former prosecutor who worked in the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
The Washington Post first reported on Tripp's complaint.
According to the exact language in a statement from Meissner Associates, Tripp alleges that the company:
- Placed batteries containing dangerous puncture holes in vehicles which proceeded to the end of the assembly line in a process known internally at Tesla as “Containment AR622” and which input into vehicles was tracked until the end of the assembly line process;
- Overstated to investors the number of Model 3 vehicles being produced each week by as much as 44%. The whistelblower alleges that the famed factory board which reflects a daily Model 3 production count and often referred to by Tesla is inflated;
- Lowered vehicle specifications impacting upon safety such as placing battery cells too close to one another and which were not properly affixed, risking future combustion; and
- Systematically reused parts already deemed scrap/waste in vehicles without regard to safety.