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Episode 62
Featuring Lawrence Fossi
Lawrence Fossi started writing about Tesla three years ago under the pseudonym Montana Skeptic. As one of Tesla’s most thoughtful critics, his identity was eventually discovered and used by Elon Musk to phone his boss and threaten legal action unless Montana was silenced. This is Montana’s first public appearance, on-camera.

In Episode 62 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Lawrence Fossi, known by his pen name as Montana Skeptic. Lawrence is the portfolio manager for a family office with over one billion dollars under management. A graduate of Yale Law School, he has 30 years of experience as a commercial trial attorney. Fossi started writing about Tesla three years ago under the pseudonym Montana Skeptic. He quickly developed a reputation as one of Tesla’s most thoughtful critics until earlier this year, when he was "doxed" and his identity discovered. Elon Musk used this information to phone his boss, threatening a lawsuit unless Montana was silenced. This is the first time that Lawrence Fossi has appeared on camera for an interview on this subject or any other. 

 

It was announced yesterday afternoon that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Elon Musk, CEO and Chairman of Silicon Valley-based Tesla Inc., with securities fraud for a series of false and misleading tweets about a potential transaction that would have taken Tesla private. The SEC’s complaint alleges that “in truth, Musk had not discussed specific deal terms with any potential financing partners, and he allegedly knew that the potential transaction was uncertain and subject to numerous contingencies.” Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, was quoted as saying: “Corporate officers hold positions of trust in our markets and have important responsibilities to shareholders. An officer’s celebrity status or reputation as a technological innovator does not give license to take those responsibilities lightly.”

 

It has been reported that Elon Musk turned down a settlement offer by the SEC that would have included a 2-year ban on serving as Tesla chairman, a fine for both Musk and Tesla, and a requirement that Tesla adds two new independent directors. Musk would not have been required to admit wrongdoing, and he could have remained CEO. In a statement to CNBC, Musk said, “This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed. I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency, and investors. Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

 

A statement issued late Thursday from Tesla and its Board states that “Tesla and the board of directors are fully confident in Elon, his integrity, and his leadership of the company, which has resulted in the most successful U.S. auto company in over a century. Our focus remains on the continued ramp of Model 3 production and delivering for our customers, shareholders, and employees.”

 

In their conversation, Lawrence Fossi and Demetri Kofinas explore the insanity that has become the Tesla story. According to Lawrence, Tesla cannot be understood as a business enterprise it must be understood as the new religion of our day. Elon Musk is the minister of this great church and his congregation is deeply faithful. Unless you acknowledge that there is a religious aspect to this where we are saving the earth and we are engaged in a Manichean struggle with these evil fossil fuel companies you are going to have a hard time understanding Tesla.

 

Difficult as it may be to understand Elon Musk and the religious cult that has become Tesla, we must try anyway. There are many lessons to be learned from how millions of people were so easily led to believe that missions to Mars, hyperloops, and electric semis could be commanded into existence by nothing less than the fantastical pronouncements of a modern day carnival barker.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Lawrence Fossi, known by his pen name, Montana Skeptic, breaks his silence for the first time on camera after having been forced to terminate his twitter handle on account of legal threats made by none other than Elon Musk. The impetus for Elon’s threats were Fossi’s critical writings about the company going back to November of 2015, as well as his growing popularity on social media, among a community of skeptics and short sellers. A graduate of Yale Law School, Lawrence has 30 years of experience as a commercial trial attorney and is currently the portfolio manager for a family office with over one billion dollars under management.

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