A former Tesla employee will pay the electric car manufacturer $400,000 for telling the media about production delays at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory.
The agreement comes as part of a proposed settlement between Tesla and ex-employee Martin Tripp for illegally divulging trade secrets about the production of the Model 3. Tripp has reportedly admitted to violating trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements and also owes the company an additional $25,000 for previously revealing information about the company despite a judge ordering him not to.
Bloomberg reports that Tripp was a technician at Tesla’s Gigafactory from 2017 to 2018 and during his time at the company, sent emails to journalists revealing the company would be unable to meet Elon Musk’s goal of producing 5,000 Model 3s a week. Tesla promptly fired Tripp, sparking a war of words between him and Musk.
Tripp later filed a defamation case against Tesla, accusing the company of spreading false rumors about him. A judge dismissed this case earlier this year.
In addition to telling reporters about production issues, Tripp also stated that Tesla was wasting a significant amount of raw materials during production of the Model 3. The carmaker also accused him of hacking its systems and transferring gigabytes of data to third parties.
At one stage, Musk personally accused Tripp of sabotage and, according to The Verge, ordered investigators to hack Tripp’s phone and spy on his messages. Musk also falsely claimed to the media he had been alerted by an unnamed tipster that Tripp was planning to “shoot people” at the Nevada Gigafactory, a claim that was soon determined to be false by the local sheriff.