Tesla board probed expenses incurred for building a glass mansion for Elon Musk, says report

An investigation was launched but its outcomes remain unknown.
Ameya Paleja
Elon Musk

Last year, members of the board at electric vehicle (EV)maker Tesla investigated the CEO, Elon Musk, for misuse of company funds, the Wall Street Journal reported. The investigation was conducted over fears that Musk used company funds to build a glass mansion for himself, referred to internally as "Project 42".

The report flies in the face of Musk's claims that he is a "couch surfer" and often spends his time sleeping in offices, whether at Tesla or even his newly acquired company, Twitter. Interesting Engineering has previously reported how Musk sold his homes in California to move closer to Tesla's Giga factory and SpaceX's site in Texas.

Back then, Musk vowed to "own no house" and tweeted how he stays in a $50,000 property in Texas.

What is Project 42?

According to the WSJ report, last year, Tesla employees were working to build a "dramatic glass-walled building" near the company's headquarters.

Referred to as Project 42, one of the concepts included a twisted hexagonal building with the Tesla factory in the background. Another rendering showed an expansive glass box, much like Apple's store in Manhattan.

Even though plans for the project changed over time, Tesla employees knew that the building included bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen and was being raised for CEO Elon Musk.

Some images also included a waterfall feature around the building and the specialized glass used on the building facade alone cost millions of dollars.

This expense was flagged by the company's finance department leading to an investigation by the board. It is unclear if the glass was ever delivered or the outcome of the investigation.

Don't companies spend on executives?

As CEO of Tesla, Musk does not draw a regular salary. The Washington Post has previously reported that Tesla pays for his private jet's expenses, usually marked as business trips.

So, it would only be fair to assume that the benevolent company Tesla is also building a house for the CEO to stay in. The issue, however, is that in its securities filings, the company claims that any transaction made in excess of $120,000 where an executive has a material interest is audited by the board's committee and needs approval.

So, how was the specialized glass ordered? Who approved it? and what is the status of Project 42? Will Musk stay in a glass house when it is completed?

Since Musk-led companies do not respond to press queries, there is unlikely to be an official response. We simply need to wait and see if Musk has an outburst on Twitter about homes and if WSJ threw a stone at his "glass house" with this report.

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