Elon Musk is that rare kind of celebrity that is equal parts fame and infamy. As the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, he’s known for making waves with innovations in everything from electric cars to space shuttles. But he’s equally well-known for his Twitter wars and legal troubles.
In other words, Elon Musk cast a pretty long shadow. In fact, he has a younger brother you’ve probably never heard of. Born in 1972 (making him two years younger than Elon), Kimbal Musk grew up close to his brother. They both endured living with their verbally abusive father after their parents’ divorce, when Elon was nine and Kimbal was seven.
After they grew up, the Musk brothers remained close. Kimbal even co-founded Zip2 with Elon, a software company that provided city travel guides to newspapers. It was the first of many successful business ventures for the brothers.
Although Kimbal has not achieved the fame or notoriety of his brother, he has his own share of controversy. Everything from Kimbal’s solo start-ups to his connection with Jeffrey Epstein made our jaws drop.
If you’re ready to read the whole story, here is the unknown truth about Elon Musk’s mysterious younger brother Kimbal Musk.
Kimbal the restaurateur
If you had to narrow Kimbal down to a single passion, it’s food. That’s why he co-founded the Kitchen Restaurant Group in 2004. His goal is to create a series of restaurants that provide a healthy alternative to the standard American diet of fatty, processed foods.
The idea of disrupting the restaurant industry sounds like something Elon himself would come up with. But to hear Kimbal tell the story, he is motivated more by concerns for his fellow man.
According to Kimbal, the 9/11 attacks were a very formative experience in his life. He had recently completed culinary school and lived very close to the Twin Towers. Deciding he needed to contribute in his own way, Kimbal decided to cook food for the beleaguered firefighters.
Later, he said this event “taught me the power of community, taught me how food brings communities together.” And it was with this in mind that he would eventually create his Kitchen Restaurant Group.
Kimbal plans to grow food on Mars
Kimbal cares about more than serving food in his restaurants, though. He is also deeply involved with growing food and hopes to usher in a new era of urban farming.
Thanks to the growing popularity of plant-based meat alternatives, vertical farming has become more popular than ever. That’s why Kimbal launched Square Roots, an urban farming company, in 2016. His goal is twofold: to provide fresh food to urban areas while cultivating (so to speak) the next generation of young, urban farmers.
Square Roots aims to reduce food waste through its hydroponic farm modules that can be installed anywhere, including industrial warehouses and parking lots. They allow urban areas to grow their own food using software-controlled LED lighting and irrigation systems. They can grow non-GMO vegetables around the clock using no pesticides. And because urban areas won’t have to transport vegetables from far away, there is fresher food and less waste.
“I’m focused on bringing real food to everyone (on Earth), but the farming technology we are building at Square Roots can and will be used on Mars,” Kimbal told CNBC in 2019.
Those may seem like far-fetched plans, but luckily for Kimbal, he’s got a family connection for getting his farming technology on Mars.
Kimbal’s connection to Jeffrey Epstein
By now, the whole world knows about the evils of deceased predator Jeffrey Epstein. But one of the most shocking elements of his story was just how many wealthy and powerful people Epstein was connected to. And yes, that includes Kimbal Musk.
Epstein went out of his way to set his own ex-girlfriend up with Kimbal, according to Business Insider. Though they only dated from 2011-12, this was enough to get Epstein a private tour of SpaceX back in 2012.
“It almost seemed a little more transactional. The rumor has always been that Epstein facilitated introductions to beautiful women, looking for deal flow or access to capital,” a source told Business Insider.
Considering the Epstein connection, we can only imagine Kimbal’s ex has some stories she can share with us. Though they may not be as shocking as the stories from Elon Musk’s ex-wives.
Kimbal is never far from Elon
Kimbal Musk has done a lot to distinguish himself from his brother. While each is an entrepreneur in his own right, it’s clear that Kimbal wants to walk his own path.
But if we’re being honest, that path is never too far from Elon. That’s why Kimbal serves on the board for Tesla and SpaceX. This allows him to financially benefit from his brother’s innovations and even help shape the future of multiple industries.
And Kimbal benefits from a good business sense as well. In addition to serving on these boards, he knows when to sell his shares for maximum profit.
Kimbal knows when to cash out
In 2020, the stock market has been very tumultuous. Some companies are doing better than others. And one company that is doing great is Tesla. Perhaps that’s why Kimbal Musk decided to sell some of his shares for the first time in history.
On June 1, 2020, he sold 7,275 Tesla shares. While that may sound like quite a bit, he still retains a whopping 130,848 Tesla shares and options.
Why did he decide to sell, though? Profit, of course! He bought the majority of the shares he sold for $370.83 each. He then turned around and sold the shares for $895 each. That means he walked away with a cool $6.51 million from this historic sale.
Kimbal’s COVID controversy
Kimbal Musk has worked for many years to establish his street cred as a man of the people. And this extends to his restaurants. For example, he went out of his way to make all the workers of his Next Door restaurant feel like members of his family.
To match actions to words, Musk helped establish a Family Fund where workers could contribute a modest amount ($2.50 from each paycheck). The purpose of the fund was to help workers out if a crisis came along.
When COVID-19 came along, the restaurant chain closed down. Kimbal Musk told workers this was temporary, and they received an e-mail promising they’d each get a $400 grant right away.
Soon, though, Kimbal permanently closed four of the restaurants and fired all of those employees. And because they were no longer employees, they couldn’t get anything from the Family Fund and received no severance. Many of these employees still had sick time that they did not get compensated for.
When HuffPost reached out, Kimbal said he “helped rally the government for the stimulus package to support workers across the hospitality industry.” He seems to think that’s enough, but all those employees whom he betrayed were left holding the bag.
After the HuffPost exposé was published, Musk reportedly gave out 21 of those $400 grants after all. But it seems that this would-be golden boy of the food industry learned some of the lessons of his union-busting brother just a little bit too well.
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