Gibson fires back at the Feds

gibsonGibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz responded last night to Monday’s news of a settlement between his company and the US Department of Justice, involving a cash settlement and suspension of prosecution.

In two separate incidents, federal agents have raided Gibson facilities, confiscating wood used for guitar fingerboards suspected of having been imported in violation of the Lacy Act. The law in question makes it a criminal act to import animal or plant material in violation of regulations in the country of origin.

Gibson has maintained throughout this ordeal that all woods in question were obtained in compliance with the law. In his recent comments, Juszkiewicz sounds far less contrite that what was suggested in the DOJ press release on Monday, announcing that the company had agreed to fines and payments of $350,000.

“We felt compelled to settle as the costs of proving our case at trial would have cost millions of dollars and taken a very long time to resolve. This allows us to get back to the business of making guitars. An important part of the settlement is that we are getting back the materials seized in a second armed raid on our factories and we have formal acknowledgement that we can continue to source rosewood and ebony fingerboards from India, as we have done for many decades.

We feel that Gibson was inappropriately targeted, and a matter that could have been addressed with a simple contact by a caring human being representing the Government. Instead, the Government used violent and hostile means with the full force of the U.S. Government and several armed law enforcement agencies costing the taxpayer millions of dollars and putting a job-creating U.S. manufacturer at risk and at a competitive disadvantage. This shows the increasing trend on the part of the Government to criminalize rules and regulations and treat U.S. businesses in the same way drug dealers are treated. This is wrong and it is unfair. I am committed to working hard to correct the inequity that the law allows and ensure there is fairness, due process, and the law is used for its intended purpose of stopping bad guys and stopping the very real deforestation of our planet.”

For those interested in the legal minutiae, Gibson has posted the full agreement and statement of facts on their web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Dick Beckley

    Good for you, Henry for sticking it to those crooks and outlaws in the administration in words for their actions.
    It is high time the American public stood up to the gestapo tactics of our government so our freedoms are not further threatened.
    While I understand your financial reluctance to proceed, it is unfortunate that some will still perceive Gibson to be the bad guy.
    We need to stand together and not allow the tree huggers, thieves in the government , and other radical minority organizations to control our lives.
    I was always a fan of your company and now are even more so, a fan!

  • Keith Billik

    Ooh, Henry was bullied? Poor him.

    I don’t agree with all the ways the Lacey Act is apparently being enforced, but anyone who wants to see the other side please look up Gibson’s dealings with PRS and Elderly Instruments.

    BTW, in a recent Reuters survey Gibson’s CEO had a 3% approval rating and was rated the WORST place to work, based on employee opinions.

    And to Dick Beckley: who are these “tree huggers” trying to control your life? Do you really think you should be able to do whatever you want, with no regard for the environment? I didn’t realize we were so oppressed.