Skip to comments.Gibson Sticks Thumb in Obama Administration's Eye with 'Government Series' Guitars
Posted on 02/01/2014 11:02:05 AM PST by Impala64ssa
In 2011, the Department of Justice raided Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville, alleging a violation of the so-called Lacey Act, a law that bans the importation of certain kinds of wildlife, plants and wood.
At the time of the raid, Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show that the feds confiscated tonewood imported from India for the guitar Gibson manufacturers which would result in a cost of $2 to $3 million for his company.
At a great expense in legal fees and time, Juszkiewicz fought the federal government tooth and nail. But in August 2012, he settled with the Department of Justice by agreeing to pay a penalty of $300,000 and a $50,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
At the time, Breitbart News suggested that the federal government targeted Gibson because of the conservative ideological stance it had supported. But according to the Gibson Guitar website, the tonewood was returned and made into the Government Series II Les Paul guitars:
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
Well, as long a no road lanes were closed - What difference does it make???
The current administration is a repressive, fascist organization, using the powers of the government against its political enemies. This is an impeachable offense.
The wood was returned, so it must have been legal. So why were there fines and penalties?
Extortion and the bonus of making Gibson some sort of example for the masses.
I am waiting for the tonewood, ivory and spotted-owl-beak series of the guitar.
It’s called extortion.
EXTORTION, my friend.
Be honest they not real musicians
they are computer generated music artists
If you talk Blues men like Buddy Guy get back to me LOL!
This is Chapter 1 stuff at the Jesse Jackson School of Economics.
F the government
Clickthrough the Breitbart article to the Gibson webpage. The comments at Gibson are fantastic!
They missed the mark:
Should have been made into the Obama Les Paul Model...
Eric the Red Les Paul guitars
I believe it was Wilson Combat during the Clinton Administration who sold 10 round magazines under the brand name “Bureaucrat”, as a way of making fun of the magazine limit.
LOL! Hope they build a Ted Nugent model.
The Government Series is not limited to just the Les Paul, but includes SG, Flying V, and Explorer.
This SG comment is priceless:
I think Gibson to do this one better by issuing a very decorated “Super Patriot” line of guitars, featuring elaborate decor and very high prices.
Various models might by special made for military units, including their unit commendations and major battles.
They could also do a Confederate flag version.
There could be a Bill of Rights version. A Tea Party version. etc.
Pick guard made from sea turtles too
You guys all know that this was done at the behest of Martin Guitars, a substantial contributor to the DNC.
Gibson continued to issue press releases about the East Indian Rosewood but never spoke a word about the East Indian ebony.
We made these government model guitars out of mahogany and rosewood, because making them out of bullsh*t probably wouldn’t work out so well.
Once “Autotune” became an industry standard, I don’t believe that any “vocalist” has one iota of talent and it is all contrived and manipulated.
Many prosecutions today are done out of political retaliation against good Americans.
Unfortunately you are probably correct. I love my 1970 Martin D-18, and have had the best of service from Martin, but they are helping destructive elements of society.
According to Dana Loesch, the Nuge has one.
Thats good news. Thanks.
No, I don't. I've written on this at length and may be the only FReeper who has read all of the legal documents since the first raid. What caught attention here was the second raid.
Gibson got in trouble the first time by buying Madagascar ebony from Roger Thunam, a convicted lumber trafficker, through Theodor Nagel Gmbh. Gibson employee Gene Nix toured Madagascar and visited Thunam's lumberyard. He reported by email to Gibson executives that Thunam's wood was all under government seizure, and there was no legal source of Madagascar rosewood. Gibson bought seized Madagascar rosewood from Thunam, who shipped the wood without the appropriate Malagasy government authorizations and using Harmonized Tariff codes for assembled roof joists. The government was notified of Thuman's shipment by a source within Madagascar.
Gibson never technically got in trouble the second time; Luthier's Mercantile did. Luthier's Mercantile imported East Indian Rosewood and East Indian Ebony using one Harmonized Tariff code for export. Once exported, LM changed the coding to a second Harmonized Tariff code. When the wood arrived in Dallas, the Harmonized Tariff code had been changed to a third code, the ultimate consignee was shown on the import papers as Theodor Nagel, GmbH, there was no Lacy Act paperwork, and the import paperwork said to ship the wood to a warehouse in Nashville, with a contact phone number that belonged to Gibson.
When the shipping containers were opened in Dallas, the product identified on the shipping containers and paperwork was not the product in the shipping containers.
At this point, government agents tracked the shipment to a private warehouse in Nashville, where they were told the wood belonged to Gibson as ultimate consignee, despite what the import paperwork said. At this point, Gibson had never paid a dime for the wood and it legally belonged to Luthier's Mercantile. The wood was seized.
Both Luthier's Mercantile and Gibson brought actions to block the forfeiture of wood shipped in violation of the Lacey Act (which is too broad), in violation of import laws regarding correct identification of the ultimate consignee and the imported product. The product was contraband under U.S. import laws.
The values of the seized wood declared in Gibson's legal filings did not match the values claimed in Gibson's press releases and interviews.
I appreciate the detailed information you have provided, and will look at further details. I would appreciate any sources you can share.
But did they really need to hold the employees at gunpoint during this raid?
Even today artists used computer like Autotune
FYI Michelle Robinson O spent enough time in theJesse Robinson Jackson home to be called Siz by the siblings. Noah Robinson JJs half bro is doing life for his involvment with the black Muslim street gang Michelle wore their colors to several of the inaugural events.
More information then anyone really wants to know starts at 745 on this thread
The agents were armed. Most were in khakis and polo shirts with handguns, not in the SWAT uniforms like the photos Gibson's PR agency continues to release.
The best source of information is www.pacer.gov.
From there, you can download or view all of the legal documents from the first (Madagascar ebony) raid by searching for U.S. v Ebony Wood in Various Forms, Civil No. 3:10cv00747 (U.S. Dist. Ct. Mid. Dist. Tenn.), and from the second (East Indian rosewood and ebony) raid by searching U.S. v. 25 Bundles of Indian Ebony Wood, Civil No. 3:11-cv-00913 (U.S. Dist. Ct. Mid. Dist. Tenn).
There's a small per page charge to download documents from pacer. I have all of the legal documents on my computer.
One thing you will find interesting is that Gibson stalls discovery in each case until the Judge has to get involved. Curious, since Gibson publicly complained about how long it was taking the government to act.
Some of my information (but none of the key points) comes from within the industry. I've collected guitars for over 40 years and know Chris Martin, Henry Juszkiewicz, Bob Taylor, David Berryman, and others in the industry. Juszkiewicz and Berryman graduated a year ahead of me from Harvard Business School. The other players in the guitar industry believe the Lacey Act is too broad, but believe Gibson got what it deserved, particularly with respect to the Madagascar ebony raid.
I consulted for two members of the NAMM committee that presented its proposal to Congress for changes on the Lacey Act. I also was invited to meet with the staff of Rep. Jim Cooper (D, TN) to discuss his proposed amendment to the Lacey Act (Cooper received a political donation from Henry Juszkiewicz and then introduced an amendment to the Lacey Act providing for a minimal financial penalty for the first violation). I spoke with them on the phone but never visited WDC.
I consulted with a professor at the University of Florence on an academic paper written on the Gibson cases.
In short, I've paid attention to this subject.
There’s something about that idea I like.
The government never said that in pleadings and Juszkiewicz was never able to produce this alleged government pleading.
I really appreciate your facts. There is so little detail from other sources and I don’t wish to disseminate false information. Thanks.
Of the large acoustic manufacturers, Gibsons are on par with upper-middle end Martins, in my opinion, although neither can hold a candle to some of the smaller luthiers like Collings.
My favorite Gibson is a '52 Southern Jumbo.
The only problem is I haven't been able to play guitar, mandolin, or banjo since 12/29/11 due to an injury that affected my left hand.
In 1960 or 1961, Gibson sought a U.S. customs court ruling that the East Indian Ebony and Rosewood fretboards it was importing from India were unfinished parts of a musical instrument and not finished parts of a musical instrument, because Gibson didn't want to pay a tariff on the fretboards. This made sense, because the 'fretboards' varied in length, width, and thickness, and each requiring shaping and fitting by Gibson before being fretted.
Jump ahead to the second government raid and the confiscation of Indian rosewood and Indian ebony fretboards. Gibson now argued the 'fretboards' of the same varied width, length, and thickness were finished fretboards (contrary to its own 60/61 Customs Court ruling), because Indian export law now allowed the export of finished fretboards, but not unfinished ones.
The same raw material is unfinished when Gibson wants to avoid paying a tariff, and finished when Gibson wants to avoid seizure.
I'll bet you never heard that from Henry Juskiewicz.
When will ANY media person ask the GOP Elites and Tea Partiers what steps they will take when next in power to ensure that Administration overreaches will be stopped from happening in future? So far, there has been a deafening silence from both sides of the microphone.
Let’s see what high profile musicians have the balls to publicly use the Government Les Paul.
“F the government”
You WILL learn to love BB. ;-)
“the tonewood was returned and made into the Government Series II Les Paul guitars”
The guitars are sold with one string, cannot be tuned, and cost ten times the amount of a typical instrument.
The latest raid was the best thing that could ever happen to Gibson. Gibson was in financial trouble after the Nashville flood. It had failed to produce audited financial statements to its lenders for two years, which was a default under its loan agreements.
Gibson's sales went through the roof after the publicity about the raid and quite a few people I trust say that in keeping up with demand, Gibson couldn't keep up with quality control (I didn't find that to be the case with acoustics made in the Bozeman factory, but I haven't purchased an electric since the last raid).
Also, I don't think the Obama administration cares a whit about this. I think Fish & Wildlife cares a lot.
“Government Series Guitars”
They should overpriced, hard to play, and impossible to dispose of.
Autotune is a vocal “fixer” that came out in 1995. Since that time, I believe nothing of what I hear is authentic.
I would buy a FUBO series guitar.