Tesla Assures Investors That CEO's Divorce Won't Doom Company

Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk getting by with loans from friends

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, center, receives a pat on the back from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during the NUMMI deal announcement, but the company's future may yet hinge on Musk's divorce.

    Electric car maker Tesla Motors says that it hasn't received any money from co-founder and CEO Elon Musk in the last year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The company, which is planning an initial public offering of shares, made the announcement after a report that detailed Musk's financial troubles in the midst of a messy divorce.

    Musk has reportedly been getting by on $200,000 a month, largely loaned from friends, and at one point was entirely out of cash, according to statements filed as part of the court proceeding.

    For much of Tesla's short history, it was Musk who was providing the funding, largely from the $160 million he is estimated to have netted from the sale of PayPal to eBay.

    Musk's estranged wife Justine Musk is asking the court to rescind a post-nuptial agreement that bars her from claims on any shares in Musks companies, which include Tesla, private space flight company Space X and solar power startup SolarCity.

    At stake is a $465 million loan from the government, which rests on the condition that Musk retain control of 65 percent of Tesla's shares, or else the company will be found in default.

    And if Tesla can't get the money to build the Model S sedan, you can kiss the jobs it's promised to create at Fremont's NUMMI plant goodbye.

    Tesla's filing says "we do not believe that Mr. Musk would have to liquidate a significant percentage of his holdings in order to satisfy any settlement." If you trust Tesla, that should sound reassuring. If you don't, well, you probably won't be jumping on the IPO bandwagon.

    Jackson West is just perplexed that somebody could really spend $200,000 a month just getting by.

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