The secretive project has triggered a federal investigation.
There's a well-known expression that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, meaning that those vulnerable to criticism should be choosy about dishing it out.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, of course, is notorious for doing just that. And now, in a twist so on-the-nose that it sounds fictional, Musk is reportedly building a literal glass house in Austin, Texas — using funds he may be siphoning from his carmaker Tesla.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, federal prosecutors are now investigating Tesla over the secretive project, which is reportedly known internally as "Project 42."
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has put in a request for more information about benefits paid out to the mercurial CEO, and how expansive the structure really is.
And the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has long butted heads with Musk, has also opened its own civil investigation, according to the report.
There are plenty of questions that remain unanswered for the time being, to be clear. For one, we don't know what the glass structure is for or if the CEO is even personally involved. We also don't know how much Tesla is actually spending on the project.
Is Musk stuffing his pockets to build a transparent mansion for himself? It'd be a strange look, since the billionaire loves to brag about crashing on his friends' couches and inhabiting small prefab boxes. But then again, strange is normal for Musk.
The WSJ first broke news of Project 42 back in July, an initiative that triggered an internal probe at the time. Renderings showed a complex, hexagonal structure on waterfront land near Tesla's Austin factory. Other concepts looked more like a glass residential home.
According to the WSJ's sources, Tesla had put in an order for millions of dollars worth of specialized, large-format panels of glass. It's still unclear whether the company ever received the order.
The project could also be related to Musk's plans for incorporating his own "utopian" company town in Texas that could allow him to skirt local regulations.
In short, there's lots we still don't know about Tesla's Project 42 — but given Musk's colorful past and personal loathing of government regulation, who knows what the SEC and federal regulators will end up finding?
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