November 12, 2011

Still no charges in the Gibson Guitar case

Filed under: Bureaucracy, India, Law, Media, USA, Woodworking — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:00

An update in the Wall Street Journal just recaps the background to the case, and has an interview with Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO.

On Aug. 24, federal agents descended on three factories and the Nashville corporate headquarters of the Gibson Guitar Corp. Accompanied by armored SWAT teams with automatic weapons, agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service swarmed the factories, threatening bewildered luthiers, or guitar craftsman, and other frightened employees. A smaller horde invaded the office of CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, pawing through it all day while an armed man stood in the door to block his way.

“I was pretty upset,” Mr. Juszkiewicz says now, sitting outside that same office. “But you can only do so much when there’s a gun in your face and it’s the federal government.” When the chaos subsided, the feds (with a warrant issued under a conservation law called the Lacey Act) had stripped Gibson of almost all of its imported Indian rosewood and some other materials crucial to guitar making.

The incident attracted national attention and outrage. Like Boeing — whose plans to locate new production in South Carolina are opposed by the National Labor Relations Board — here was an iconic American brand under seemingly senseless federal fire.

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