Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gibson Guitars CEO on the Recent Federal Raid

In this radio interview, Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz talks about the recent raid on Gibson's factories in Nashville and Memphis.  Gibson was also raided in 2009 over woods imported from Madagascar with formal charges yet to be filed against the company.  The latest raid late last month was again over Gibson's alleged use of illegally imported woods, this time, ebony from India 

What is chilling is how Juszkiewicz describes it:

"It was a nightmare.  We had over 20 armed men descend upon three factories in different states and our corporate headquarters, and at gunpoint close our factories and evacuate the employees, put them out on the street and in the parking lot.  And then they proceeded to pore thorugh the production facilities and confiscate loads of wood, they grabbed computer hard drives, all kinds of papers, invoices, and generally closed us down for the entire day, and then send us a letter that if we were to continue to use anything, any wood from India, that that would be considered a Federal crime."

"Originally, we had a raid in 2009 that was in regard to wood apparently from Madagascar, and subsequently we have sued them, to recover the goods that they have seized.  We have affidavits from the government of Madagascar that the wood we purchased  was legally obtained and legally exportable." 

According to Juszkiewicz he was told by the authorites that all these problems could be avoided if Gibson were to manufacture in Madagascar -- something which he says is inconceivable.

To top it off, he has no idea why Gibson is being targetted when their competitors are using exactly the same wood, from the same countries.  As of this date, formal charges have yet to brought against Gibson.

"We're the only company that is being targetted.  It's more frightening because the law that's been passed that requires anyone who transports an instrument across borders, they have to know what specie of wood, every piece of that instrument is and where it was acquired.  And while that wood and that specie might have been perfectly legal, the likelihood of your knowing where it came from at any point in time is unlikely.  So even if there's no question about the legality of the wood, the bureaucracy allows people to confiscate that instrument, fine you and produce criminal charges."

As one defiant Twitterer aptly puts it, “They can pry my Gibson guitar from my cold, dead hands.”

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