Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with CNBC, May 16, 2023.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Twitter has suspended the accounts of PlainSite and its founder Aaron Greenspan, a prolific You’re here and review of Elon Musk, Tuesday afternoon.
PlainSite is an online database that makes state and federal court records and other public records freely available to users. The site also offers analytics features to paid subscribers, intended to help attorneys and pro-se litigants better understand attorneys, judges, government offices, and the law.
Greenspan has meticulously tracked litigation by or against companies primarily in the United States, including Tesla, Twitter – which Musk took private in an acquisition last year – as well as competitors GM, Meta and a myriad of others. He and Musk have also been embroiled in litigation over the years.
At the time PlainSite’s account was suspended, it had over 24,000 followers listed on Twitter. Greenspan’s personal account had about 2,500 followers.
The suspension contradicts public statements by Twitter’s executive chairman and chief technical officer, Elon Musk, and new CEO Linda Yaccarino. Yaccarino was previously head of global advertising at NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company.
In April 2022, after Musk announced his intention to acquire Twitter, he wrote in a tweet, “Hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter because that’s what free speech means.”
More recently, Yaccarino wrote in a company-wide memo that a healthy civilization needs “unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to We”. She also said in the memo, “You should have the freedom to speak your mind. We all should.”
Greenspan told CNBC on Thursday that he has yet to receive information from Twitter as to why the company suspended his accounts, although he has asked for both to be reinstated.
He also discussed some of the reasons he started the PlainSite “legal transparency initiative”, and how he came to be seen as a sworn enemy of Elon Musk.
“I started PlainSite with two friends in 2011 because we were all wondering why Occupy Wall Street hadn’t had the impact we expected,” he recalls. “No financial executives were imprisoned for the financial crisis of 2008, even though it was really obvious that there had been criminal acts somewhere. We thought that one of the reasons was that people did not understand what the law said and what shortcomings the banks or executives were able to exploit so as not to be held accountable.”
Over the years, Greenspan has shorted shares of some of the companies he researched and wrote about on PlainSite, revealing those positions when he held them. He’s not short of Tesla today, but he has been in the past, he said.
Why PlainSite started looking into Tesla
PlainSite began its targeted Tesla research in 2018 after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Musk and Tesla with civil securities fraud.
The charges came after Musk tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share and had secured funding to do so, causing trading to halt that day and sending Tesla shares into a period of volatility. during weeks.
Musk and Tesla settled the charges with regulators, without an admission of guilt or an opportunity to maintain their innocence.
Greenspan said: “I wasn’t interested in Tesla until the SEC took action against the company and Elon that year. It made me think it might be overvalued, given that she had problems with the financial regulators.”
A community on Twitter, including short sellers and other subject matter experts interested in what Tesla was doing, became frequent users and followers of PlainSite.
Court documents and public records made easily searchable by PlainSite have often revealed details of Tesla’s issues and tactics. PlainSite records obtained through FOIA requests have been widely cited by the press, including CNBC, Reuters, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and many others.
Since 2018, Greenspan has made available on PlainSite court and other public documents that revealed:
- Twitter has faced more than 25 lawsuits over non-payment from suppliers since Elon Musk took over in October 2022.
- Even as Musk continually promised shareholders that Tesla was on the verge of delivering a “Level 4-5″ autonomous robotaxi, the company’s Autopilot engineers rated its most advanced driver assistance systems as ” level 2″ in official government communications with the California DMV. A Tier 2 system is not self-contained. This forces drivers to keep their hands on the wheel.
- Complaints sent to attorneys general in Texas, Nevada and Ohio showing that Tesla customers were unable to get the electric vehicle maker to provide the documents required to register their vehicles with local DMVs .
- Musk has previously attempted to refer a former Tesla Gigafactory process technician, whistleblower Martin Tripp, to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada for criminal prosecution (p. 192).
- Musk knew but did not tell shareholders that SolarCity was facing a liquidity crunch as Tesla’s board pushed for the acquisition of the solar installer, which was started by the cousins. siblings of Musk and where Musk was a major investor and board member.
In May 2020, Greenspan sued a Tesla promoter alleging harassment, and named Musk as a contributing party to that harassment in the lawsuit.
In February 2023, Musk sued Greenspan for posting correspondence between them on Twitter and PlainSite. Emails are always available on PlainSite.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.