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Elon Musk Asks Twitter If He Should Sell 10% of His Tesla Shares, But He Might Have To Anyway

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Musk faces billions in upcoming taxes on stock options and may also want to repay some loan obligations. 


Musk’s Twitter Poll

Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised on Saturday to sell 10% of his stock in the company if the majority of voters in a Twitter poll he posted agreed that he should. By the time the poll closed Sunday, 58% of voters were in favor of the sale, which could be as much as $21 million given recent share values.

In his original post with the question, Musk said, “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance,” and he added ahead of the final vote that he’ll “abide by the results of this poll.”

“I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere,” he continued in a thread of tweets. “I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

Regardless of if Musk sticks to his guns, his poll caused Tesla’s share price to dip as much as 7% in premarket trading, though it’s not unprecedented for Musk to do things that cause Tesla’s stock value to spin on its head. As of Monday morning, share prices have increased somewhat to $1,188, but they’re still trading lower than last week’s close of $1,222. 

“Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.), who has proposed taxing the unrealized gains of America’s wealthiest, tweeted Saturday. “It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”

Why does ur [profile picture] look like u just came?” Musk replied Sunday in a vulgar attempt to troll the senator. 

Musk’s Looming Taxes

Much of Musk’s poll was potentially just face value, as there’s another reason why he might soon make a big sale of his shares: he’s got bills to pay.

In September, Musk told the tech-based Code conference that he needs to sell a “huge block” of stock options by the end of the year otherwise they’ll expire.

Business Insider has estimated that he faces “north of $10 billion” in taxes on those options. Meanwhile, CNBC believes the figure is closer to $15 billion. Both note that Musk, the world’s richest man, may also want to go ahead and repay some loan obligations.

Notably, Musk is using his Tesla stock holdings as collateral for those loans, and as Tesla stated during its third-quarter report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, “If the price of our common stock were to decline substantially, Mr. Musk may be forced by one or more of the banking institutions to sell shares of Tesla common stock to satisfy his loan obligations if he could not do so through other means. Any such sales could cause the price of our common stock to decline further.”

Given all of that, there’s reason to believe Musk has a need to make this sale regardless of the poll’s outcome.

As Dan Ives, an analyst for Wedbush, told Business Insider, “Selling stock over the coming months is not a surprise, although holding a Twitter poll to sell 10% of his stock is another bizarre soap opera that can only happen to one company and one CEO in the world, Musk.” 

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNBC) (The New York Times)

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New Federal Rules Allow Debt Collectors To DM People on Social Media

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Among several limitations, collectors cannot message people publicly, must state upfront that they’re pursuing a debt, and must give people an opportunity to opt-out of receiving additional messages through social media.


Debt Collectors Can Now DM

If you’ve suddenly found yourself flooded with more DMs in the last day, it might not be because you’ve become more popular. Instead, it could be because a new federal rule that went into effect Tuesday now allows debt collectors to message people by email, text, and even through direct messages on social media.

Debt collectors will still be subject to several notable limitations.

For example, if they reach out to someone on social media, it has to be through a private message. It can’t be in a public comments section or anything viewable to anyone except the recipient.

Additionally, if they attempt to reach out by adding a recipient as a friend or contact, they must be clear from the start that they’re pursuing a debt. 

Finally, collectors must allow recipients to opt-out of receiving further messages from them on the social media platform they reach out on. 

Collectors Praise the Rule, Others Express Concern

The new rule, which was greenlit by former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger, has largely been met with praise throughout the collection industry. Kraninger, a Trump-appointee who vacated her office during President Joe Biden’s transition, has argued that the rule is intended to “modernize the legal regime for debt collection.”

Essentially, she and debt collectors have contended that texts, email, and social media are now the preferred methods of communication for many people in America.

Many others, particularly those outside the collection industry, are less happy with the new rule. 

“If left unchecked, this expanded access to consumers could very well contribute to new ways to harass struggling consumers,” Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post said.

“I’ve followed this issue for years, and while many companies operate within the law, illegal operations can do a lot of damage to innocent consumers,” she added. “Debt collection isn’t wicked. But it can lead to embarrassing, unethical and illegal tactics.”

For example, Singletary noted that some companies try to collect debts even after they’re no longer legally collectible. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Business Insider) (CBS News)

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Workers in Alabama Will Rehold Vote to Unionize After Amazon Interfered With First Election, Agency Finds

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Among other actions, federal officials found that Amazon improperly placed an unmarked U.S. Postal Service mailbox in front of its warehouse.


Workers Will Redo Union Vote

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, will revote on whether or not to unionize thanks to a ruling issued Monday by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The workers previously agreed not to unionize by a vote of 1,798 to 738 in April. Had they voted yes, the group would have set a precedent by becoming the first Amazon employees in the country to be represented by a union.

Following the initial vote, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union — which led the charge for employees to organize — filed unfair labor practices charges with the NLRB, an independent federal agency. There, it alleged that Amazon at times broke the law while campaigning against the effort. 

In its Monday decision, the NLRB’s Atlanta regional director Lisa Henderson agreed, saying Amazon, “essentially highjacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controlled the process.”

She additionally noted that Amazon “improperly polled employees when it presented small groups of employees with the open and observable choice to pick up or not pick up ‘Vote No’ paraphernalia in front of” managers.

Amazon Challenges NLRB Ruling

Amazon is expected to appeal Henderson’s decision. 

“It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count. ​​As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees,” spokesperson Kelly Nantel said according to NPR. 

In a statement, Nantel also cited the fact that the results of the first vote were overwhelming. 

Convincing employees to flip the results will likely be an uphill battle. To do so, those in favor of unionizing will need to convince hundreds to vote differently or convince thousands of workers who sat out the last round to now vote. 

Still, this is a second breath of life for pro-unionists. While some believe the outcome could change given high employee turnover rates at Amazon, many others expect it to hold firm as a “no” vote. 

See what others are saying: (NPR) (WVTM) (The Washington Post)

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CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart Helped Fuel the Opioid Crisis, Jury Finds

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While all three chains have vowed to appeal, this ruling is a massive win for plaintiffs who argued that opioid manufacturers and retailers violated “public nuisance” laws when contributing to the opioid epidemic.


Jury Sides Against Retailers

A federal jury in Cleveland agreed Tuesday that CVS Health, Walgreens, and Walmart — three of the country’s biggest pharmacy chains — are responsible for contributing to the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties.

This is the first time that the retail arm of the drug industry has been held accountable for opioid overdoses and deaths. It’s also the first time a jury has been used to decide in a major opioid lawsuit.

Previously, only manufacturers such as Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson faced settlements or penalties, though the latter narrowly escaped $465 million in opioid fines in Oklahoma earlier this month after the state’s Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling. 

Many plaintiffs in thousands of similar lawsuits all across the country are seeing the Ohio jury’s decision as an optimistic sign — especially since most of them are using the same argument. Plaintiffs in Ohio alleged that either opioid manufacturers or retailers violated “public nuisance” laws by ignoring harm caused by opioid abuse that later snowballed into a full-fledged public health crisis. 

Retailers Vow to Appeal

Unsurprisingly, all three chains have promised to appeal Tuesday’s verdict.

There is precedent to think this decision could be overturned. For example, the now-overturned J&J lawsuit first successfully used the public nuisance argument in lower courts, but during an appeal, the Oklahoma Supreme Court thought the plaintiff’s argument was too broad. 

That said, every state has different public nuisance laws, so there may not be a clear-cut answer as to what actually could happen with all these cases. 

Despite a pending appeal, the judge overseeing Tuesday’s Ohio verdict will make a determination on how much these companies must pay after additional hearings in the spring. 

While the retail arm has largely avoided settling up to this point, if this case ultimately does not go their way, it could open the door for future settlements if they decide that route is less costly than going to trial. 

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Associated Press) (The Wall Street Journal)

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