Skip to comments.DOJ Advises Gibson Guitar to Export Labor to Madagascar
Posted on 09/01/2011 10:10:47 AM PDT by Sarajevo
The Gibson Guitar saga has taken a sinister turn.
It seems that the Department of Justice wasnt satisfied with merely raiding the law abiding factories of Gibson Guitar with armed agents, shutting down their operation costing them millions, and leaving the American company in the dark as to how to proceed without going out of business.
Now, according to CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, agents of the United States government are bluntly informing them that theyd be better off shipping their manufacturing labor overseas.
In an interview with KMJ AMs The Chris Daniel Show, Juszkiewicz revealed some startling information.
CHRIS DANIEL: Mr. Juszkiewicz, did an agent of the US government suggest to you that your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of American labor?
HENRY JUSZKIEWICZ: They actually wrote that in a pleading.
CHRIS DANIEL: Excuse me?
HENRY JUSKIEWICZ: They actually wrote that it a pleading.
CHRIS DANIEL: That your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of our labor?
HENRY JUSKIEWICZ: Yes
So the government attacked them in the first place by citing obscure regulations that probably werent violated about importation of wood. Now they are suggesting that all these problems would go away if they simply exported their labor.
Had it simply been said in passing by an agent, one could write it off as a lone sarcastic agent, trying to push buttons. But the fact that they actually wrote it in the pleading is a level of hubris that goes well beyond over zealous law enforcement officials and passes straight into what can easily be translated as an out of control and corrupt targeting of an American corporation.
When President Obama gives his jobs speech next week, lets hope he has an answer for why our government would want to force and coerce corporations to send jobs overseas.
Note: Audio at the link- S
Some of the comments at the link are pretty good!
Economic terrorism .
NOT an exaggerated term.
Why aren’t the other guitar companies that use the SAME wood getting the SAME treatment?
Does the Obama Admin know that the people of Madagascar are not actually African American?
Somebody should let them know.
looks like 0bama really is focusing on jobs!
shipping US jobs out of the USA
If the law was so bad, Bush should have vetoed it in 08.
The doj should move to Madagascar
I live in Memphis. Almost all the workers producing products at Gibson are black and middle aged. They used to wear Obama tee-shirts.
Gibson is located in a Right-To-Work state (Tennessee) and uses non-union labor. It all makes sense now, doesn't it?
This needs to get wide, wide play.
Maybe Boeing should move it’s South Carolina plant to Madagascar. That would solve the problem.
I heard Glenn interviewing the CEO this morning and this is scary stuff. Holder and his minions in the DOJ are just as dangerous as the B O in the White House. We’ve GOT to get these people out next year......our country and our lives depend on it. I’m contacting my Rep and Senators about this.
Wow, more Repub. campaign material. It was just yesterday that The DOJ blocked the ATT, T-Mobile merger...a little known part of that merger was the repatriation of 5,000 call center support positions back from overseas. I guess The WH is more interested about punishing big business and US manufacturers than it is about jobs and job creation.
Obama has infested our government with communist appointees. After we boot his rear end out of office in 2012 we clean house of these vermin and prosecute accordingly.
Stop over and ask them how that Hopey Changey thing is working out /sarc
blackdog I hate to say this but I do wonder how many of them will be wearing those tee shirts next year. So sad.....:(
President Urkel ought to talk about this brilliant decision during his big jobs speach. Can’t call this the blind leading the blind, these retards have been causing wholesale destruction of our economy.
Also.. isn’t Gibson an iconic American brand? Isn’t the Les Paul, along with Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster) a guitar that musicians worldwide respect and seek to own? I happen to be proud of America, and trashing anything that is great about our country pisses me off. The Socialist-In-Chief doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism and fails to honor all that’s great about the USA.
I hope our next president will totally clean out the DOJ and every department with new blood......not like Bush who kept most of the previous administration on.....remember that “new tone”?
Gibson has broken no law. The DOJ is acting fraudulently.
It's their city. This was not a smart move on the part of Obama, because it's their music and their culture here. I enjoy it by large.
Gibson even has a section of the plant which is a tourist museum and gives plant tours all day long. Memphians are proud of their heritage.
Nothing is at it appears.
They need to start selling “save the Les Pauls” t-shirts.
Too bad we don’t have laws that protect U.S. jobs from going overseas like India does, although I’m guessing that would go over like a fart in church here too.
Don’t worry, if President Obama is re-elected, when Gibson finally does move production overseas (better to survive somewhere then die everywhere), we’ll have a contingent on FR denouncing Gibson as terrorists and sellouts and their CEO as a traitor...
The US Government is the number 1 reason we lose jobs. It was always “soft” pressure in the way laws and regulations and taxes were written, putting strong pressure on companies to move manufacturing jobs overseas or eliminate them here with ever-increasing levels of automation (replace the worker with foreign workers or machines).
Now it’s just gotten to be hard, explicit pressure to move out. Gibson will hold on for the 2012 elections, but I guarantee if President Obama is re-elected, they’ll move manufacturing overseas before the 2014 mid-terms.
My point exactly. I love Memphis and that’s why I find it sad that many of these people will STILL support B O just because he’s black......never mind that he’s giving them a royal screwing and not only in Memphis. That’s what 40 some-odd years of liberal brainwashing will do.
Gibsons suck anyway. I just hope Fender isn’t in the same boat.
You can't export raw Madagascar rosewood or ebony out of Madagascar except with a specific exception for that one shipment from the Minister of Madagascar.
However, the Madagascar government allows certain Madagascar tradesmen to make products out of ebony and rosewood if the fallen logs are recorded in the government records, such as those knocked down in a storm, or felled before a certain date (I think it's 2004, but I'd have to check on it). With the right paperwork, those handicrafts and manufactured products can be exported. But not the raw wood.
Gibson imported the raw wood to make its own fingerboards. The government's position - in response to an argument made by Gibson - was that there was a potential legal source for Madagascar ebony fingerboards. Gibson could buy fingerboards made in Madagascar by Madagascar labor. Because Madagascar could issue a permit for those to be exported. Gibson didn't want to play by those rules.
The government didn't ask Gibson to send its manufacturing to Madagascar. The government told Gibson that its only potential source for legal Madagascar Ebony fingerboards was to buy ones made in Madagascar.
That may still sound unreasonable, but not as unreasonable as how Juszkiewicz tried to spin it.
You can download the documents from the litigation (U.S. v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms, Case No. 3:10 CV 00747 (Middle District Tennessee)) at www.pacer.gov by searching under the Case No. or name of the case.
For those who are interested, here's the underlying affidavit that led to the recent raids on the Nashville and Memphis Gibson plants, and the Red Arrow Delivery Service Warehouse.
These recent raids started with containers that entered the U.S. at the customs port of Dallas (by air).
Thanks for that context.
I think this is what happened with India more recently. They actually had parts finished in India to let them have the jobs and then, after getting the parts shipped here, stripped them down and redid them here in the U.S. so they would be up to specifications. Apparently the DOJ didn’t like this. I think it’s simply a shakedown.
Still to avoid Ricky and Racky's Emperial entanglements, Gibson would HAVE TO EXPORT JOBS TO MADAGASCAR.
It don't matter how many candy layers you put on a cat turd, it's never gonna be a tootsie roll!
I’ve been watching this for the last week.
I’m calling BS on this until they produce evidence (e.g. DOJ confirms, or Gibson releases the pleading). There has to be something more that is not being reported.
It’s not that I don’t believe BO’s DOJ is capable of this, it’s just hard to believe that the DOJ is so politically inept.
If this is found to be true, every GOP presidential candidate will use this to crucify Obama - and the WH must know this.
Has any candidate picked up this story?
Our country is mutating into an Anglicized copy of Nazi Germany. We have seen public outbursts of racism by members of the government, and overt acts of Fascism in the control and strangulation of private businesses. The media is all but directly State controlled. How much longer before people start “disappearing”?
I think the East Indian Rosewood raids by the government were silly but, respectfully, what you suggested is not what happened.
Gibson bought unfinished blanks of East Indian Rosewood. Some were 510-530 by 75-70 by 10mm and some were 510-530 by 72-62 by 10mm. They were unfinished.
The ones that triggered the raid were shipped to the U.S. into Dallas in two containers without a Lacey Act declaration. Some import papers showed the ultimate consignee as Luthier's Mercantile (a small company in Californina) but had instructions to ship them to a warehouse in Nashville; some import papers left the ultimate consignee blank. The description on one container said it held veneer; the description on the other container said it contained finished products.
When the representative from Luthier's Mercantile was contacted, she filled out Lacey Act form and missing customs papers and stated that the ultimate consignee was really Gibson.
The government went to the address of the warehouse in Nashville and found another shipment of unfinished East Indian Rosewood fingerboard blanks that had come into U.S. customs through Canada, showing Luthier Mercantile as the ultimate consignee. However, the warehouse showed the feds an email from Luthier Mercantile stating that for customs purposes, Gibson was actually the ultimate consignee.
At this point, I think the government thought Gibson was involved in some kind of 'hide-the-ball' conspiracy stuff in getting the wood into the country and to Nashville.
From this . . . there were raids on Gibson.
I think the government's position is bad because everybody (and I mean everybody) uses East Indian Rosewood along with NON-Madigascar ebony as fingerboard wood on guitars (even Fender, which also uses maple). India may have Harmonized Tariff Schedule rules that prohibit the export of split or cut wood over 6mm in thickness (it does; India's HTS is online), but I don't think India's ever enforced that for fingerboard blanks.
Gibson made itself suspicious by using this proxy company and cloak-and-dagger stuff to get these shipments from Dallas and Canada.
Jonno, Henry Juszkiewicz is playing the media (the conservative media especially) like a fiddle.
The truth is almost certainly between what the government alleges and what Gibson is saying. Gibson's press releases are very carefully worded and leave out some key details. You'll notice that Gibson's first press release states that no criminal charges have been brought against Gibson or its executives and that Gibson has recently brought a civil action to regain the Madagascar ebony seized in the first raid.
From that, you would have no idea that the government brought a civil action more than a year ago, and that the civil action was sealed recently in preparation of criminal charges, would you?
Don't believe what the government says. But don't believe what Gibson says, either.
I linked a number of sources here,
I think there’s three possibilities:
1. Gibson is non-union
2. Their competitors donate more to the DNC than they do
3. Plain ‘ol stupidity on the part of Holder & co.
Now, if Fender gets raided, then I’m REALLY gonna get ticked off.
Bite your tongue!!
The black community will eventually get it right. That will be in another 25 years when the president is named Gutierez or such.
Now that’s weird. I’ve been a guitar geek for most of my life, and I’ve never heard of guitar fingerboards actually being MADE in Madagascar (or India, etc), or any legal requirement that they be so. They’ve always been made in-house, just like the rest of the guitar. Slotting, radiusing, fretting, etc.
And don’t all the guitar companies use the same woods for their fingerboards? So why the jihad against Gibson?
blackdog I hope and pray that the black community as a whole will see this shameful sham that has been played upon them for so long. It’s Jim Crow in a different way. Uncle Sams Plantation is more like it...and I think more and more are seeing it for what it is. If they finally see that the Sharptons and Jacksons and their ilk are not FOR them but playing AGAINST them with the Demonrats they’ll come around.
I've been taught quite a lesson since moving to Memphis from Wisconsin.
Thanks for the additional information.
Like you, I've been a guitar geek for most of my life. I've been a collector for exactly forty years this year, and a very serious collector for over twenty-five.
The Madagascar ebony raid of 2009 is a different case than the 2011 East Indian rosewood raids of 2011.
I'll just address the East Indian rosewood.
I've said in many of my posts regard the East Indian rosewood fretboard blanks that I think the government's position is silly.
All of the large manufacturers, electric and acoustic, use some East Indian rosewood fretboards. Fender also uses maple; most manufacturers use East Indian on their lower-end guitars and NON-Madagascar ebony on their higher-end guitars. So . . . at first glance, the government's position on Gibson's East Indian rosewood fretboards is silly.
However, there are some other issues. They're going to sound picky, but what set of government regulations isn't picky?
First, there's a tiny chance that Gibson may have violated the law by importing wood that was pre-cut and planed to the approximate size of fretboards (and 10mm thick). India's Harmonized Tariff Schedule (online) clearly states that you can export veneer (under 6mm), finished wood products, and logs, but you can't export chipped, split, or cut wood over 6mm in thickness. Gibson - while Henry is singing about how he's saving American jobs and labor - saved money by not importing Indian rosewood logs and having the work done in the U.S. Now, I think the government's position is folly. My guess is that the Indian government has no idea what's in its HTS and that it exports rough fingerboard blanks for guitar manufacturers all the time. However, I don't know whether Fender and others do that. Fender may buy its blanks from an American company that imports the logs (legal under the Indian HTS) and makes the rough blanks.
Second, Gibson went through some 'creative' steps to acquire the East Indian Rosewood that triggered the raids.
Containers came into the customs port of Dallas by air.
There was no Lacey Act declaration on the containers.
None of the import or export paperwork on the containers had the name "Gibson" on them anywhere. In particular, Gibson was not listed as the 'ultimate consignee' on the paperwork.
On some of the paperwork, a small (10-17 employee privately owned) California company called Luthier Mercantile showed as the "ultimate consignee;' on other forms the 'ultimate consignee' was left blank.
However some of the paperwork had instructions to ship the containers interstate to an address in Nashville - an address that wasn't Gibson's - and to notify Luthier Mercantile in California.
The Fish and Wildlife people inspected the containers (and, no, I don't think you need a search warrant - it's like opening your suitcase when you come through customs) and found that one with paperwork that said it contained veneer under 6mm in thickness contained fingerboard blanks. They found that another with paperwork that said it contained finished wooded products for musical instruments contained rough-cut, unfinished, fingerboard blanks.
The Fish and Wildlife people contacted Luthier Mercantile to complete the Lacey Act paperwork and customs forms. The Luthier Mercantile representative arrived, did so, listed Gibson as the "ultimate consignee" on the Lacey Act paperwork, listed Gibson as the "ultimate consignee" on the blank paperwork, and upon questioning, admitted that Gibson was the ultimate consignee of the wood.
If you import something, you're the "importer of record." If you import wood for somebody, they are the "ultimate consignee."
The agents tracked the address in Nashville to which the wood was supposed to be shipped (supposed to be shipped initially to "ultimate consignee" Luthier Mercantile of California). Turns out it was a warehouse that didn't belong to Gibson. Inside, there was another shipment of Indian rosewood fingerboard blanks.
The second shipment had come from India to Canada, then entered the U.S. under paperwork showing Luthier Mercantile of California as the ultimate consignee, but with an address of the warehouse in Nashville. Upon questioning, the warehouse produced an email from Luthier Mercantile instructing the warehouse that, for customs purposes, Luthier Mercantile wasn't really the ultimate consignee - Gibson was.
There may be an innocent explanation for all of that, but it led to the government deciding that Gibson was trying to hide these shipments by leaving its name off of the export and import paperwork and using a proxy ultimate consignee.
That's when the feds got a warrant to raid Gibson's factories in Nashville and Memphis, and the warehouse.
Gibson doesn't ever mention the raid on the warehouse. I've wondered if that's because it opens up a whole can of worms regarding the use of a proxy ultimate consignee and export/import documents without Gibson's name on them.
Luthier Mercantile, by the way, has no employees in India. Gibson does. And Gibson retains a firm to handles its imports and exports. That's why it's odd that Gibson's nowhere on the paperwork.
I still think that the government was probably wrong on the East Indian rosewood raid - except maybe that Gibson engaged in a scheme to import that wood without putting Gibson on the paperwork, or except if other manufacturers are not buying fretboard blanks to save money, but are buying logs or buying their fretboard blanks from sources that bought logs and made the fretboard blanks.
The government seized computers and a flash drive in the latest raids. That may be key because some of the best evidence disclosed by the government in the Madagascar ebony case are Gibson emails regarding the legality of importing Madagascar ebony.
You should also note that Gibson's initial press release is careful to leave out the fact that civil "import contraband" charges were brought by the U.S. government against the Madagascar ebony more than a year ago. Gibson mentions its recent civil action, but leaves out the continuing government action that's more than a year old. Gibson also fails to mention that the civil action, which has been public, and has public documents, was sealed by the judge at the request of the government sometime after the government found out about the 'proxy ultimate consignee" stuff but before the raid. That means that new evidence and warrants filed by the government are sealed from Gibson in preparation of criminal charges. The old documents are still available.
>>If the law was so bad, Bush should have vetoed it in 08. <<
There’s a LOT of stuff Bush should have done, and was derelict.
>>Nothing is at it appears.<<
Yes, the DOJ could not be doing anything wrong here, with their stellar record (New Black Panthers, etc).
>>Gibsons suck anyway.<<
Yeah, who cares about these tyrannical threats to America?
“They came to take away the Gibsons.
I did not object, because I did not play a Gibson.”
“.. its just hard to believe that the DOJ is so politically inept.”
You can’t possibly be serious.
Eric “My People” Holder, Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder, Eric “New Black Panthers” Holder, etc. etc., ...cannot be so politically inept????
Put down the crack pipe.
I left one out...
Do you mean Eric “’I oppose Arizona 1070.’ ‘Have you read it?’ ‘Actually, no.’” Holder?
HE can’t be so politically inept?
Again, you can’t *possibly* be serious.
Hey - watch the friendly fire!
Each of the instances you note are actually more aggregious than this fiasco. However, they can all be spun as simply “disagreements” - and dismissed.
With the current economy - high unemployment, etc., It seems incredible even with this inept bunch that they would expose themselves it this way - actually encouraging sending jobs overseas!
Heck - BO was even smart enough to reverse some if the ridiculous EPA dictates. I would think he would be all over this one...
But of course they are fools - and there are so many mistakes to fix...