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Gibson Guitar Warehouse Raided: Does That Rock?

News 2011/09/19 15:00:00
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For the second time in two years of the 117–year–old history of the Gibson Guitar company, federal officials have raided the company’s factory’s, believing they violating the Lacey Act, which bans the importing of environmentally threatened plants and animals, USAToday.com reports.

In the latest raid, a government affidavit said that ebony and rosewood imported from India and the guitar manufacturer had purposefully mislabeled boxes with incorrect tariff codes twice to hide the fact that it was illegal to ship here under both Indian and U.S. laws, which is a contention that Gibson denies.

In addition to the August raids at Nashville and Memphis factories, agents also seized $200,000 worth of Indian ebony and rosewood belonging to Windsor, California–based Luthier Mecantile International (LMI). About 60,000 pieces of wood cut in the shape of fingerboards used to overlay on guitar necks were seized from a warehouse owned by Red Arrow Delivery Service, which would ultimately be sold to Gibson, stated Natalie Swango, LMI’s general manager.

Swango wasn’t sure if LMI would be able to continue business if Indian rosewood is now suspect and subject to seizure. “We’re a little company and we want to go on doing our business, but a big part of our business is Indian rosewood,” Swango said.

Environmental groups, like the Forest Stewardship Council have expressed concern about Gibson’s practices. The group said that while Gibson does import FSC certified woods, the rosewood does not have the FSC stamp of approval.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D–Nashville) said that he plans to introduce legislation that amends the Lacey Act to grandfather in musical instruments made before 2008 and revise the law to make it easier for businesses to understand.

Guitarists like Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Jeff Beck, Buckethead, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and the Edge all use Gibson guitars.

So what’s your take? Should Gibson be vilified for importing endangered Indian rosewood, when the language of the Lacey law needs to be clarified?
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Top Opinion

  • PDenoli 2011/09/19 16:03:13
    No
    PDenoli
    +19
    The question is misleading.

    Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?...


    Gibson has not been shown to be importing anything illegal. Everything that was seized has appropriate import stamps and blessings by the Indian government and by US Customs. Three other guitar manufacturers use the same wood from the same sources and with the same documentation - and have not been raided. Only difference? The other three are political donors to the current administration.

    If Gibson is doing something wrong - it would seem that all four companies are doing wrong - since they are doing the same exact thing. The government should either be raiding and confiscating the means of production from the entire industry... or not at all. More importantly, if there's a problem with the wood or the documentation, that should be addressed at Customs, before it is imported and paid for by a US interest... and not afterwards. Let the burden be borne by the foreign entity - IF - some wrongdoing is going on.

    From everything I've read, it seems there's no actual proof of wrongdoing. Just confiscations and a lack of trial or opportunity to redress. In the worst case, this is political thuggery to punish a company that hasn't offered tribute to the administration. In the very best case, it suggests ...
    The question is misleading.

    Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?...


    Gibson has not been shown to be importing anything illegal. Everything that was seized has appropriate import stamps and blessings by the Indian government and by US Customs. Three other guitar manufacturers use the same wood from the same sources and with the same documentation - and have not been raided. Only difference? The other three are political donors to the current administration.

    If Gibson is doing something wrong - it would seem that all four companies are doing wrong - since they are doing the same exact thing. The government should either be raiding and confiscating the means of production from the entire industry... or not at all. More importantly, if there's a problem with the wood or the documentation, that should be addressed at Customs, before it is imported and paid for by a US interest... and not afterwards. Let the burden be borne by the foreign entity - IF - some wrongdoing is going on.

    From everything I've read, it seems there's no actual proof of wrongdoing. Just confiscations and a lack of trial or opportunity to redress. In the worst case, this is political thuggery to punish a company that hasn't offered tribute to the administration. In the very best case, it suggests incompetence by the DHS and DOJ. If the government has a case, there should be charges and a trial... not guilt-by-accusation.
    (more)

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Opinions

  • Christian 2011/11/23 07:15:56
    No
    Christian
    their targeting the ceo because his oppinions they are the best guitar company in my oppinion they are great american made guitars it would be a bummer if they made gibson send workers over seas
  • This is W³ 2011/09/22 17:18:34
    No
    This is W³
    It looks as if a clerical error was the main reason why the factories in Memphis and Nashville were raided:

    http://online.wsj.com/article...
  • Boris D. 2011/09/21 19:41:34
    No
    Boris D.
    That totally does not rock, dude.
  • william keegan 2011/09/21 15:34:49
    No
    william keegan
    This is an example of "Chicago" politics run amok on the national scene. I guess we should have expected nothing less when we elected a Chicago style political organizer as POTUS.The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.
  • brian carr william... 2011/09/29 04:36:23
    brian carr
    +3
    oh yeah everything has a political agenda
  • william... brian carr 2011/09/29 05:59:10
    william keegan
    Have you ever tried to operate a business in Chicago?
  • Fenabarb 2011/09/21 13:43:40
    Yes
    Fenabarb
    not for the workers - the management needs to get their act together
  • Jimbo 2011/09/21 11:38:41
    Yes
    Jimbo
    Buyer beware, the law is the law. So is their lawyers appealing.
  • Heather 2011/09/21 07:52:43
    No
    Heather
    I voted no only because the whole situation sucks! Those of you on here defending Gibson because all the other companies are doing it really blow my mind. NOBODY should be doing it. Illegal or not the fact is the these are endangered trees that the guitars are being made of. I get that some of these guitars are traditionally made from these woods but if the planet is running out then back off so these trees can make a comeback. If they were raided once before than you can't blame poor language of law. They knew what they were doing this time around and did it anyway. Obama can't be the reason for everything. Maybe if a company or a person does something wrong its their own damn fault for doing it. I'm not a tree hugger by nature, but really? If its endangered leave it alone! If these endangered animals and not trees all of you would be feeling a little different. At least I hope, or maybe Obama would be ruining the illegal animal trade too. Nobody would want China to have all the endangered animals to themselves either i guess? Yikes! You guys are nutty!
  • zero resistance 2011/09/21 07:34:06
    No
    zero resistance
    Fun Fact: don't try to take your guitars out of the US as they will be seized unless the origin of the wood they are constructed of can be verified and is approved.

    According to the president of Gibson, government officials recommended to him that Gibson should relocate their production to Madagascar to avoid this problem in the future.
  • Brian Tristan MacQuillan 2011/09/21 07:09:48
    No
    Brian Tristan MacQuillan
    +1
    Is this part of Obama's Jobs Bill?

    obamas jobs Obama Gibson Guitar
  • Xed0 2011/09/21 06:32:53
    No
    Xed0
    +2
    I used to work for them at one time, i can honestly say it was one of the few i have worked for that everything was done by the book and above board.

    This is the Obama Regime.......I mean administration, trying to keep their mockers silent by bullying......Sorry pal, your out in 2012......
  • brian carr Xed0 2011/09/29 04:37:59
    brian carr
    +2
    zzzz boring who r u replacing him with? another corporatist? they are all the same
  • Xed0 brian carr 2011/09/29 14:01:35
    Xed0
    Only a fool would write that off as boring.

    Whats the matter cali boy?
    Afraid you might have to work for a paycheck when he is gone?
  • Rore73 2011/09/21 02:50:57
    No
    Rore73
    +3
    Obama and Holder are after Gibson for one reason, and that is Gibson's support for GOP conservatives. Martin Guitar Company hasn't been touched and they obviouisly use the same materials as Gibson, from the same place!
  • Toots 2011/09/21 01:51:10
    No
    Toots
    +2
    Bo needs to watch just what he thinks he is (a King ) not
  • LKO Leader 2011/09/21 01:31:39
    No
    LKO Leader
    +2
    No way!
  • jay 2011/09/20 23:31:49
    No
    jay
    +4
    Political bullying.
  • LisaSmith 2011/09/20 23:04:57
    No
    LisaSmith
    +1
    Why is the government trying to kill every American job they can? I will be at the rally to support Gibson on Oct 8.
  • Stratweenie57 2011/09/20 22:41:37
  • angelbaby 2011/09/20 22:38:23
    No
    angelbaby
    +2
    It's wrong and very disturbing
  • KoolGuyL 2011/09/20 22:08:40
    Yes
    KoolGuyL
    +1
    meant to say no
  • Kid T. Party 2011/09/20 21:06:51 (edited)
    No
    Kid T. Party
    +2
    Let my rock video do the talking.....



    http://youtu.be/vY30I1Ty5ac
  • Gracie ~Gun Totin' Gracie~ 2011/09/20 19:20:29
    No
    Gracie ~Gun Totin' Gracie~
    +2
    It is a bunch of Bullchit actually! I think obama probably wants China selling all the Guitars too! He won't be happy until there aren't any jobs left at all in America!

    This mob style government that we have has to go!
  • gimini210 2011/09/20 19:14:13
    No
    gimini210
    +3
    So far the government suspects it is they do not know for sure and were wrong before. I, personally think I am going to go buy me a Gibson and screw the government. I really do not trust the government and its raids on republican companies any more.
  • TuringsChild 2011/09/20 18:45:37
    No
    TuringsChild
    +4
    This is stupid. Just another example of idiotic govt regulation cracking down on small businesses. The Lacey Law is horribly designed. If I were to leave the country with my 50 year old guitar, it would be subject to seizure upon my return, as I have no documentation for the materials it was made from.
  • MOMMA THOMAS 2011/09/20 18:30:47
    No
    MOMMA THOMAS
    +4
    WILL SALES GO UP NOW THAT GUITAR PLAYERS HAVE THIS INFO?
  • CantuRebekah 2011/09/20 17:51:05 (edited)
  • Darkitec 2011/09/20 17:11:50
    No
    Darkitec
    +6
    The company was raided because it's a non union shop, and the owner does not send money to support democrats. Despite using the same wood as other guitar manufacturers there have been no raids on their facilities. This is nothing more than government intimidation.
  • Gracie ... Darkitec 2011/09/20 19:12:27
    Gracie ~Gun Totin' Gracie~
    +3
    I think so too!
  • 4570GOVT 2011/09/20 17:00:55
    No
    4570GOVT
    +2
    Yet another case of our corrupt government crushing companies and running roughshod over business . They have unbridled power and need to be cut down a few notches . They are an enemy of of free enterprise . " They " have sullied the reputation of one of the best & most respected guitar companies in the world . They should sue the government ! ................. oops , you can't fight city hall .
  • Lanikai 2011/09/20 16:28:49 (edited)
    No
    Lanikai
    +5
    Considering that the cometitor company uses the exact same wood, from the exact same supplier, but supports DEM causes and has (therefore) not been raided, it is an unfair standard with the damanble dems picking winners and losers again.


    http://landmarkreport.com/and...
  • Jimbo Lanikai 2011/09/21 11:46:08
    Jimbo
    East Indian Rosewood is not endangered, the wood from India and Rosewood from Brazil is endangered. Your argument has no basis in reality with "exact same wood."
  • Lanikai Jimbo 2011/09/21 16:42:05
  • Joe Falzone 2011/09/20 16:16:30
    No
    Joe Falzone
    +1
    It's really not anything to be proud about......Money, money, money it's all about the money. Sometimes it's best to take the long road and only promise what can be delivered.
  • Kris Says Hi 2011/09/20 16:01:28
    No
    Kris Says Hi
    +4
    Tax money is spent on raiding guitar stores?
  • Lanikai Kris Sa... 2011/09/20 16:32:20
    Lanikai
    +4
    Guitar manufactureres, and the competitor company uses exactly the same wood from the same source. The only difference is one supports dems and one supports repubs.


    here is a link to a broader story that shows both places use the exact same wood. AND these raids have been based on an INIDAN law, not an American law.


    http://landmarkreport.com/and...
  • exsecrare 2011/09/20 15:39:08
    No
    exsecrare
    +4
    This is sickening
  • PapaBC 2011/09/20 15:37:03
    No
    PapaBC
    +3
    Government over control at work.
  • J 2011/09/20 15:34:20 (edited)
    No
    J
    +7
    What a bunch of crap! We spend millions trying to put a long-standing company out of business but can't seem to find or deal with the millions of people here illegally. This government is so out of touch with AMERICA it is unreal.

    p.s. Just so you know, a big chunk of the EPA vehicles are SUVs. Talk about "do as I say..."

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