Musk reopens Tesla’s plant, dares authorities to arrest him

By Dana Hull, Sophie Alexander, Ed Ludlow and Josh Eidelson
Elon Musk restarted manufacturing at Tesla Inc.’s solely U.S. automotive plant, flouting county officers who ordered the corporate to keep closed and overtly acknowledging he was risking arrest for himself and his workers.

“I will be on the line with everyone else,” the chief government officer stated in a tweet Monday. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

After keeping off a doubtlessly expensive defamation lawsuit and rising with gentle penalties from a courtroom battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission final 12 months, Musk, 48, appears emboldened to once more attempt his luck with the legislation. The lead lawyer on Tesla’s lawsuit Saturday in opposition to California’s Alameda County over its reopening restrictions helped Musk beat the case introduced by a cave diver he referred to as a pedophile in 2018.
This time round, Musk is doing battle over measures to include a virus that he downplayed beginning in January. After claiming Covid-19 wasn’t all that viral a illness, then calling panic about it “dumb” in March, he’s additionally theorized fatality charges are overstated, promoted the antimalarial medication dubiously embraced by President Donald Trump and wrongly predicted that new circumstances could be shut to zero by the top of April.

‘Sad Day’

Musk has been livid for weeks about restrictions that county officers positioned on Tesla operations as a part of their effort to gradual the unfold of the coronavirus. On Saturday, he threatened to pull the corporate’s headquarters out of California and transfer them together with future initiatives to Nevada or Texas. Tesla has roughly 20,000 workers within the San Francisco Bay space, about half of that are in Fremont.

California Governor Gavin Newsom sought to ease tensions earlier Monday, saying that he believed Tesla would give you the chance to start operations as quickly as subsequent week.

“It would be a sad day if the Fremont police walked into Tesla and arrested Elon Musk,” stated Scott Haggerty, the county supervisor for the district in Alameda the place Tesla’s Fremont plant is positioned. “The tweets that go back and forth are unfortunate, and we need to get to the table, talk our way through this and get people back to work in a safe manner.”

The Musk-versus-Calfornia battle has come to characterize the tense debate that’s enjoying out in states and counties throughout America over how briskly companies needs to be allowed to reopen. To Musk supporters, he’s a hero combating again in opposition to pointless authorities intervention. To his detractors, he’s a reckless and impulsive chief who’s encouraging harmful conduct that might set again efforts to quell the pandemic.

“I don’t think Musk can just fly in the face of the local health order, which is more restrictive than the state’s,” stated Haggerty, who has represented the area for 23 years.

Conflicting Email

Tesla instructed manufacturing employees earlier than Musk’s tweet that it was getting again to work on the Fremont manufacturing facility. Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s head of North American human sources, emailed manufacturing workers to notify them that their furlough ended Sunday and that managers will contact them inside 24 hours with their begin date and schedule. Those who aren’t snug returning to work can keep house on unpaid depart however might now not be eligible for jobless advantages, she stated.


Workers are seen on the Tesla’s main car manufacturing facility after Elon Musk introduced he was defying native officers’ COVID-19 restrictions by reopening the plant in Fremont, California.

The e mail conflicted with remarks that Newsom made through the governor’s every day press briefing, which befell earlier than Musk’s tweet. When requested about Tesla reopening its Fremont plant no matter Alameda’s order, Newsom stated he was unaware.

“My understanding is they have had some very constructive conversations,” Newsom stated. “My belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week, they will be able to resume.”

Tesla sued the county over the weekend after it instructed the corporate it didn’t meet standards to reopen. Newsom, who allowed manufacturing in elements of the state to restart May 8, stated Monday that the county was allowed to implement stricter guidelines round reopening. The well being officers for Alameda and 6 different San Francisco Bay space counties and cities determined late final month to prolong their restrictions on companies by way of the top of May.

‘Green Light’

After Musk’s tweet, Alameda county well being officers issued an announcement saying Tesla’s Fremont plant was working past what was allowed and that it hoped the corporate would “comply without further enforcement measures.” The county has been in an ongoing dialogue over worker health-screening procedures and stated it’ll proceed to evaluate Tesla’s plans.

Capers Workman instructed workers that the state had “given the green light for manufacturing to resume.”

Musk tweeted over the weekend that Alameda’s refusal to let Tesla reopen the Fremont manufacturing facility was “the final straw” and that he’d instantly transfer Tesla’s headquarters to Nevada or Texas.

Newsom stated Monday the state has a powerful relationship with Tesla, calling it “a company that this state has substantively supported for now many, many years.” Musk then thanked the governor in a tweet.

Thank you Governor Newsom!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020

For all his bluster, Musk’s fortune has surged together with Tesla’s shares this 12 months. His private wealth has grown by $12.6 billion in 2020 to greater than $40 billion, in accordance to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“We have a culture in our state where these huge corporations run by billionaires ‘move fast and break things,’” Lorena Gonzalez, a California assemblywoman, tweeted Monday. “Rules. Orders. Laws. People. All without consequence.”

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