Back in September, we reported on a lawsuit Tesla filed against an oil service company, Quest Integrity, and its CFO, Todd Katz, over an email made to look like it was from Tesla CEO Elon Musk that Katz allegedly sent Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler in an attempt to obtain secret information about Tesla.
Katz, who apparently resigned from his position at Quest Integrity a week after the lawsuit was filed, is now responding to the accusation. He is not denying having sent the email, but he defends himself by saying that the impersonation wasn’t “credible” enough for anyone to believe the email was from Musk and therefore, it shouldn’t merit a lawsuit.
When Tesla filed the lawsuit in September, the company claimed that Katz “intended to use that information in furtherance of his employer’s and its clients’ business and financial interest” and linked the effort to oil industry propaganda.
Oil companies like BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil, and others, are listed among Quest Integrity’s client list.
In the new filing by Katz over the lawsuit obtained by Bloomberg, Katz claims:
“Nobody who received this preposterous and grammatically deficient e-mail ever believed that it really came from Elon Musk. Despite the fact that Tesla had posted significant losses for sixteen straight quarters, it has elected to spend its investors’ funds to pursue this petty, ill-conceived lawsuit.”
Katz, who appears to have issues with Tesla’s financial situation, says that nobody would believe the email was from Musk despite being sent from the address ElonTesla@yahoo.com and being signed ‘EM’.
Here’s the original email as published in the lawsuit:
“why you so cautious w Q3/4 gm guidance on call? also what are your thoughts on disclosing M3 res#? Pros/cons from ir pov? what is your best guess as to where we actually come in on q3/4 deliverables. honest guess? no bs. thx 4 hard work prepping 4 today
Furthermore, Katz now claims that a Tesla “employee or agent” hacked into his Twitter account in order to find his identity. When Tesla filed the lawsuit, the company didn’t explain how they managed to find out that Katz created the ‘ElonTesla@yahoo.com’ email account, but seek to be reimbursed for the cost of its investigation into “Katz’s criminal misconduct”.
Now Katz says that his Twitter account was hacked and he could trace back the hack to a Best Buy near Tesla’s Fremont Factory. Katz is asking the judge for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
Here’s Tesla’s lawsuit: