National Spotlight Focuses On Tesla/SolarCity Struggles

County Legislator wants full state audit on the $750 Million project

Brian Mazurowski
August 30, 2019 - 6:53 am

Tesla Plant on South Park Avenue in South Buffalo. August 7, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - The Tesla facility, and New York's involvement in the project, are once again under the microscope.

An expose in Vanity Fair, titled "How Elon Musk Fooled Investors, Bilked Taxpayers, and Gambled Tesla to Save SolarCity" put a national spotlight on the Tesla/SolarCity project in Buffalo, and the secrecy and struggles surrounding it.

The Article was written by Bethany McLean, best known for her work on exposing ENRON and co-authoring the story behind that company, "The Smartest Guys in the Room."

"It's easier to fall in love with ideas than it is to look at reality," McLean said about the magnetism that Musk has and seemingly used to get New York on board.

"There's something romantic and wonderful about the fact that you can have somebody with these big ideas and he can be so convincing that even though his empires lose a lot of money he can continue to raise Billions from the capital markets... At the same time some of the specifics are quite ugly. You had a city that needed this to work... if you're going to take that money from taxpayers, don't you have a responsibility?"

After the article was published, Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon requested the State Comptroller perform a full audit of the Tesla/Riverbend project.

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