Judge Asks Musk, SEC to Resolve Twitter Tiff

April 04, 2019 at 5:12 PM

A federal judge in New York City has given Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission two weeks to settle their dispute over Musk’s impulsive tweets about the company.

If they fail, Judge Allison Nathan says, she will rule on the SEC’s claim that Musk violated the terms of an October settlement about similar issues.

Last year’s dispute began in August when Musk tweeted that he might take Tesla private and inaccurately claimed he had funding arranged to do so at $420 per share.

Musk settled the dispute by paying a $10 million fine, stepping down as chairman and agreeing to have his tweets reviewed by a board committee. At the time, an unrepentant Musk said the fine and an identical one paid by Tesla were “worth it.” Nathan opined that stiffer sanctions might be appropriate for future violations to make violations “not worth it.”

The SEC says Musk violated last year’s settlement in February by grossly overstating Tesla’s 2019 production target for its Model 3 electric car. Tesla concedes that none of Musk’s tweets has been reviewed since the agreement.