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Gibson Guitar Raided Again on Alleged Lacey Act Violations
There haven't been any high-profile instances of Lacey Act enforcement within the wood flooring industry, but the same cannot be said of the guitar industry. On Wednesday, agents from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service again raided the offices and factories of famed Gibson Guitar in Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., for alleged Lacey Act violations. It was the second such raid on the company in two years.

In a press release, CEO and Chairman Henry Juszkiewicz said, "Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights. Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of any wrongdoing." Due to the raid, his company was forced to cease operations and send employees home for the day.

In the latest raid, agents seized business computers after observing a shipment of ebony and rosewood from India delivered to a Gibson storage facility, according to Reuters; Gibson said agents seized wood from its factory, too. The agents were watching Gibson after they detained a shipment of sawn ebony logs from India in June; the accompanying paperwork fraudulently identified the shipment as Indian ebony fingerboards but did not name Gibson, according to Reuters. With the initial raid on Gibson in November 2009, agents seized guitars and ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar, according to Gibson.

In recent years, Gibson has taken steps to ensure more of its products are sourced from sustainable forests. Three of Gibson's manufacturing facilities have been issued FSC Chain-of-Custody certificates, according to the Rainforest Alliance, and Gibson manufactures the Les Paul SmartWood and Raw Power guitars, which are sold as FSC-Pure with a certificate of authenticity from Gibson. The FSC certificates cover products made from hard maple, mahogany, muira piranga and swamp ash. According to Juszkiewicz, the wood seized Wednesday was FSC-certified.

Agents have yet to arrest anyone at Gibson in connection with violating the Lacey Act, but Reuters said the authorities are "weighing charges against the company or its executives for illegally importing wood" in violation of the Lacey Act.
Interesting. Buying FSC flooring has been promoted as a way to demonstrate 'due care' as required under the Lacey Act. Now the most high profile alleged Lacey Act violation in the wood industry turns out to be FSC wood. Mmmmmmmmm.
Comment By Joe B. At 8/29/2011 4:08 PM
The article said Indian Ebony - Diospyros ebenum - their FSC Certification does not cover that species. Therefore they have no FSC 'due care' to show. They only have 5 species that they can process under FSC rules.

African and Indian Ebony are considered endangered. IF they purchased it from an FSC Certified supplier, that will help their defense.

FSC is not a blanket 'Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval'. It is very specific.
Comment By George Celtrick At 8/30/2011 8:59 AM
The bottom line is the government is out of control and it needs to be reined in now not later.
Comment By John At 8/30/2011 3:51 PM
Gibson’s CEO is a donor to a couple of Republican politicians. C.F. Martin (a Gibson’s competitor), is using the exact same wood but is not raided because its CEO is a long-time democratic supporter. Typical of this administrations tactics.
Comment By Marlin Yoder At 8/31/2011 5:53 AM
Really, Marlin Yoder? If you wish so sew a ridiculously-hilarious conspiratorial political agenda to the illegality, please then show your contention that 'the Democratic guitar manufacturer' does, indeed, commit the same illegality. Note, however, that this is not scorched earth politics. One guy doing it doesn't make it ok for the other guy to do it--- political donations only matter to you, who're trying to sew that pathetic narrative. If another company's doing the exact same thing? Then they deserve to be called on it, as well.
Comment By Honest Abe At 8/31/2011 10:44 AM

My comments regarding FSC were only in reference to the CEO's comment that the wood seized was FSC certified. The product line they market as FSC pure as you point out has nothing to do with this.

What will be interesting to see is if the wood they bought was in fact FSC certified and if so, how much that helps their defense if the wood is found to be illegal.

Buying FSC wood is promoted as being at least one example of exercising due care as required under the Lacey Act.
Comment By Joe B. At 8/31/2011 5:52 PM
Gibson has all the documentation and certifications that is necessary and the US Government feel India has interpreted their law the wrong way. How is this possible when all the documentation is from India, What they don't know their own laws now? The US authorities have stated that if the finial work was done over in India that there would be no problem. So we now lay off American workers so that they can have another American product manufactured overseas? The other Guitar manufacturers who are donating to the Democratic Party are also UNION SHOPS - Gibson Is Not. Holder says no politics - all I have to say is.......Are You Really Sure about that?
Comment By Kathleen At 9/8/2011 10:45 AM
Honest Abe, don't kid youself, Marlin Yoder is right on target with what he wrote...
Gibson is being attacked because they are anti-union, and 100% American! BOTH of these traits are a threat to Obama and his union-thug minions...
Gibson has STILL not been charged with any wrongdoings for the 2009 raid, and in fact they have not had the materials seized in that raid returned to them either! How's THAT for due-process of law!?! This current raid is also a equally rediculous sham.
Read some more:

Gibson's response:

After the current raid. Gibson gets advised by the US DOJ to outsource its' labor to Madagascar to avoid future issues!!!
How's THAT for an All-American kick in the groin!!!

Marlin IS right! Wake Up America!
Comment By pat At 9/13/2011 9:26 AM
I am not going to jump to conclusions on this story, but this is very troubling. Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp, in his press conference states that he feels that his company has been abused by the federal government, specifically the agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The chain of custody issue may eventually find its way into this industry as well. 'Lack of due process' for anyone, even corporations, is unamerican. That is what is particularly troubling.
Comment By EGSOMES At 9/14/2011 2:24 PM
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