A U.S. security official is investigating Tesla on the plaintiff’s complaint that the company failed to properly inform customers of fire hazards connected to solar panels.
Reuters wrote a letter Monday from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the investigation was “effective and sustainable,” after the former Tesla brand manager who became the finalist lodged a complaint with the regulators of misconduct in 2019.
Steven Henkes was fired from his job by Elon Musk in August 2020 and sued Tesla, claiming he was fired because he raised security concerns.
Henkes claims Tesla and SolarCity, the company it acquired in 2016, failed to disclose “Damage and damage to property, the risk of injury to users, fire and so on to the owners” before and after the discovery.
In his complaint to the SEC, Henkes said he had told Tesla executives that the flames should be turned off, and advised that the company should notify security operators and notify consumers. Henkes says his phones were not ignored, so he went to complain to the supervisor.
“The attorney general warned that any public consultation on the matter could tarnish Tesla’s reputation. To me this is a conspiracy.”
Tesla and the SEC have not commented on the matter, according to Reuters.
Tesla has been facing lawsuits and concerns over solar power for several years. Walmart sued Tesla in 2019 for a connection between its solar and fire engines in seven stores. At the time, Tesla denied the allegations and the case was dismissed in court.
Reports submitted to Reuters by the PlainSite regulatory body also show that several residential customers have sued Tesla and its suppliers for a solar-related fire.
Tesla, the world’s largest electric car manufacturer, is facing a federal security investigation into accidents involving its operating systems.
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