Monday, September 12, 2011

Update: The Gibson Guitar Raid

You've undoubtedly heard about the federal raid on Gibson Guitars. Here is an update from Human Events:
Rep. Masha W. Blackburn (R-TN) met with her constituent Gibson Guitar CEO Henry E. Juszkiewicz in her Capitol Hill office Sept. 9, shortly before the two attended the president’s address to Congress on jobs and the economy. Juszkiewicz’s company was the subject of a Aug. 24 by federal agents that Blackburn said raises many unanswered questions.

The Tennessee congresswoman, in whose district many Gibson Guitar workers live, co-signed a Sept. 8 letter to three federal agencies that raided Gibson Aug. 24 demanding status on the government’s investigation.

“Having armed federal agents raid an iconic American company is no way to inspire economic certainty and spur job creation,” said Blackburn, the vice-chairman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade sub-committee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


An affidavit filed with the search warrant request, referred to the illegal importation of wood from India, which the letter also addresses: “The source country at issue, however, has no problem with Gibson’s actions. The deputy director general of foreign trade for India has stated that India would allow the export.”

The letter also raises the idea that Gibson, which has added 600 new jobs during the current recession, is the victim the government selective enforcement, in effect picking winners and losers, based on the fact that Gibson has imported the same wood without incident for the last 17 years, as have several of its competitors, who have not been raided by federal agents.


Juszkiewicz said if he ran into the president in the hall, he would try to reason with him. “We need to be sane about this particular issue and get it resolved.”

The CEO said beyond the legal issues, the raid has threatened his company’s very survival.

“No charges are filed and they grabbed a tremendous amount of inventory,” he said.

“Every guitar has a finger board. They took just about all our finger boards. Without finger boards we can’t build guitars,” he said. The federal agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service seized roughly $500,000 worth of critical wood. “The impact has been severe.”

While the guitar executive said he is scrambling to find replacement wood, he expects he will have to shut down operations in the next few weeks.
You can read the rest here.

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