Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, speaks with CNBC on May 16, 2023.

David A Grosjean | CNBC

Twitter suspended the accounts of PlainSite and its prolific founder, Aaron Greenspan Tesla and critic Elon Musk, Tuesday afternoon.

PlainSite is an online database that makes federal and state court files and other public records available to users for free. The site also offers analytics features to paying subscribers, intended to assist attorneys and pro-litigants gain insights about attorneys, judges, government offices, and the law.

Greenspan has meticulously followed litigation by or against companies mostly in the US, including Tesla and Twitter (which Musk acquired in a takeover last year), as well as competitors. GMAnd meta and countless others. He and Musk have also been involved in litigation over the years.

At the time the PlainSite account was suspended, it had over 24,000 followers listed on Twitter. Greenspan’s personal account had about 2,500 followers.

The comment contradicts public statements from Twitter CEO and CTO Elon Musk, and newly appointed CEO Linda Yaccarino. Yaccarino was previously the President of Global Advertising at NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

In April 2022, after Musk announced his intent to take over Twitter, he wrote in a tweet, “I hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter, because that’s what freedom of speech is all about.”

Recently, Yaccarino wrote in a company-wide memo that a healthy civilization needs “unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to us.” She also said in the note, “You should be free to speak your mind. We all should.”

Greenspan told CNBC on Thursday that he has not yet received information from Twitter explaining why the company suspended his accounts, although he has requested reinstatement of both accounts.

He also discussed some of the reasons that prompted him to launch PlainSite, the Legal Transparency Initiative, and how he came to be seen as an opponent of Elon Musk.

“I created PlainSite with two friends in 2011, because we were all wondering why Occupy Wall Street wasn’t having the impact we expected,” he recalls. “No finance executive was jailed because of the 2008 financial crisis even though it was really clear that there was criminal wrongdoing somewhere. We thought one of the reasons was that people didn’t understand what the law said and what loopholes the banks or executives were capable of. On being exploited out of accountability.”

Over the years, Greenspan has downplayed stock in some of the companies he researched and written about on PlainSite, revealing those positions when he held them. He said he’s not a Tesla short today, but he was in the past.

Why PlainSite started looking at Tesla

PlainSite began its Tesla-focused research in 2018 after the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Musk and Tesla with civil securities fraud.

The charges came after Musk tweeted that he was considering acquiring Tesla at $420 per share, and that he had secured financing to do so, which caused trading to halt that day, and Tesla stock entered a period of volatility for weeks.

Musk and Tesla settled charges with the regulators, without pleading guilty or being able to plead innocence.

“I wasn’t interested in Tesla until the SEC took action against the company and Elon that year,” Greenspan said.

The community on Twitter, including short sellers and other experts interested in what Tesla is doing, have become frequent users and subscribers of PlainSite.

Court filings and public records easily searchable by PlainSite have often revealed details about Tesla’s problems and tactics. PlainSite records obtained through FOIA requests have been widely cited by the press including CNBC, Reuters, NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and many more.

Since 2018, Greenspan has made court filings and other public records available on PlainSite which revealed:

  • Twitter faces more than 25 lawsuits Non-payment of sellers Since Elon Musk took over in October 2022.
  • Even though Musk had consistently promised shareholders that Tesla was close to introducing a “Level 4-5” self-driving robottaxi – the company’s autopilot engineers have classified its more advanced driver-assistance systems as “Level 2” in official government communications with California DMV. The Level 2 system is not self-driving, it requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.
  • Complaints are sent to the Public Prosecution Office Texasnv and Ohiowhich indicates that Tesla customers there have not been able to get the EV maker to provide the documentation required to register their vehicles with local DMVs.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk once tried to have a former operations technician at Tesla’s Gigafactory, and whistleblower, Martin Tripp, transferred to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada. For criminal prosecution (p. 192).
  • Elon Musk knew shareholders, but didn’t tell them, that SolarCity was facing a liquidity crunch at a time when Tesla’s board of directors was pushing for a takeover of the solar installer, which was started by Musk’s cousins ​​and where Musk was a anchor investor and a member of the board.

In May 2020, Greenspan sued Tesla’s promoter He claims harassment, and named Elon Musk as a contributing party to that harassment in the lawsuit.

In February 2023, Musk sued Greenspan to post the correspondence between them on Twitter and PlainSite. Email messages It’s still available on PlainSite.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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