Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby tcsned » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:19 pm

Good point Jonnyboy. I had a buddy who worked in the montana factory and he told me some horror stories about their ethics or lack thereof. Those folks are certainly not above skating the laws for a few $$. I still think consumer end enforcement is stupid and should still be handled on the supply side. Once the tree is cut it's too late.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby strumminsix » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:41 am

Looks like our representatives may be joining up to protect us, the players!

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/ ... 0-21-38-21
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Grateful Dad » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:51 am

Good news. Although the feds came into the Gibson plant with guns drawn several months ago, they found nothing! No charges filed. Case dismissed.

Gibson 1 - Federal Goverment 0.

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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Jon S. » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:18 pm

There is considerable ignorance displayed in this thread - not stupidity, mind you, but a lack of knowledge and understanding of the law and facts with Gibson. There is also political posturing - using the Gibson situation to score quick political points by people with preexisting biases. The former can be lessened with better information. The latter is impervious to it. I spent some time, on the Birds and Moons (BAM) forum, responding to both. I won't do it again here. But when BAM is back up again (it's down tonight), if I can, I'll post the URL to their thread here for anyone interested in further exploring the topic.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Grateful Dad » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:24 pm

Jon S. wrote:There is considerable ignorance displayed in this thread - not stupidity, mind you, but a lack of knowledge and understanding of the law and facts with Gibson. There is also political posturing - using the Gibson situation to score quick political points by people with preexisting biases. The former can be lessened with better information. The latter is impervious to it. I spent some time, on the Birds and Moons (BAM) forum, responding to both. I won't do it again here. But when BAM is back up again (it's down tonight), if I can, I'll post the URL to their thread here for anyone interested in further exploring the topic.


The crux of the matter is Gibson's abiding or ignoring Indian law on the export of unfinished wood, in this case rosewood. From what I have researched our federal government overreacted in the way they handled the raids. The Gibson company and its employees took a big financial hit during the shutdown. The fact that after all these months the feds could not get a charge to stick speaks volumes.

Seems like Gibson has two choices to avoid being shut down by overzealous federal agents again:

1) Make hefty campaign contributions to their federal reps and the Prez.
2) Take their business and jobs out of the U.S. and avoid both the overregulation of the feds and paying the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

Quick political points made..... :lol:
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Thomas Lieber » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:26 am

It is political, has any of the Fender plants had the feds shut them done? Gibsons owner Henry is a republican and has been treated unfairly by the feds. Especially when there is all this talk about the need for USA made product and a bad economy, an no jobs etc... give us a break !!!

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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Smolder » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:36 am

Meh... I don't buy this at all.

Gibson has alway had the rep of a fine, somewhat old school, guitar builder. They would logically seek out the very best woods... That's the reputation and the brand. They are also a huge company. That combination is perfect for a PR agenda. And it worked. The entire industry was scared shitless for months with companies pulling the wood specifics off their websites and with UPS seizing guitars that fit the description in mid shipment. There are even documented cases of guys shipping guitars for repair and the shipping companies working with customs to detect and seize them.

Fender by contrast, is a company built on efficient manufacturing. They don't have that same history or reputation of acquiring fine hard woods. their guitars are basically wood planks with pickups.

That Henry is a republican probably has very little if anything to do with it. I'm sure he pays plenty for lobbying and other favors. That he is a butthead may be part of the formula, but again, I doubt it.

This is simply government, and I'd guess someone's career agenda pushing regulation way too far.



Thomas Lieber wrote:It is political, has any of the Fender plants had the feds shut them done? Gibsons owner Henry is a republican and has been treated unfairly by the feds. Especially when there is all this talk about the need for USA made product and a bad economy, an no jobs etc... give us a break !!!

Go after Wal Mart!!!
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Jon S. » Sun May 06, 2012 1:34 pm

After weeks being crashed, BAM is finally back up today so here are my posts from there with some minor edits for clarity and sorry for having taken so long.

1st post:

I'm sorry, to say Gibson had no choice but to move to laminate boards is wrong. The correct observation is Gibson had the same choice as all other wood importers in any of the many manufacturing sectors that use imported wood: put a system in place to ensure legal compliance for the imports; or stop using them. Such a system would be simpler, quicker, & cheaper to put in place than certification under International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001, 14001, or any of the other such certification protocols. Or Gibson could have chosen to engage one of the many available 3rd party certification organizations to accomplish this. Instead, Gibson apparently chose 1st, after their 1st brush with law, to paper their way around the issue and, now, to try to sell us a load of s- on laminate fingerboards. We all have our own underlying political leanings that each of us brings to every issue and discussion and that's cool but we should not allow this to overwhelm our assessments of the realities and merits of specific situations.

2nd post:

As just a quick example, here is one of the many independent 3rd party organizations currently available to provide Lacey Act verification/certification services. I have no personal or professional relationship to this particular group - I highlight it only to exemplify how easy it would have been for Gibson to have chosen to avail themselves of this route rather than move to lam's.

Image

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/verification/legal

Or Gibson could have chosen to self-verify and certify. There are many self-certification protocols on the market for this purpose. E.g. (again, I have no relationship with this firm, I provide them as but one of many possible examples):

Image

http://www.laceyactresources.com/order.html

=======================

P.S. The Justice Department can be between a rock and a hard place with investigations of this nature. When they're quick, they're accused of rushing to justice, when they're slow, they're accused of dragging their feet. I have no inside info. on this one (nor would I share it had I any) but one would expect the Dept. to move methodically even while proceeding with confidential negotiations with the other party.

Last point I'll make is, as some of you may recall, this is not the first time Gibson got itself into trouble for importing illegal wood. After the first time, Gibson had 3 choices: quit importing wood period; set up a legit self or 3rd-party certification system like those I describe above; or configure a middleman importer scheme whereby Gibson continues with business as usual but now its corporate name isn't expressly on the bills of lading for the wood (the middleman's is). I don't know any more than you do if the latter is what Gibson actually did here as some in the internet rumor mill have suggested. I suppose we'll find it all out in the end when the investigation concludes. I can tell you that the Justice Dept. would be unlikely to react positively to such a situation.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:40 am

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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby strumminsix » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:40 am

Tennessee Jedi wrote:http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/06/news/companies/gibson-imports-wood/index.htm?hpt=hp_t3

Brings up more questions than it answers like:
1. Was it cheaper to pay the fine?
2. Why was the US DOJ is targeting a US company with manufacturing plants in the US and fined them for unfinished wood from India which the wood itself is perfectly fine to own but India;s commerce laws require it to be finished in India.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby tcsned » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:46 pm

I'll see if I can find the other article I read today but they were saying the Gibson knowingly imported wood with false labels on them. Also an article from Taylor where they have set up their own ebony grove and were showing Martin, Fender, PRS, Collings, and others how to do it for themselves and have the ebony they need and still be in compliance with the Lacy Act. Gibson showed no interest. I had a friend who worked for Gibson in Bozeman in the early Juskowitz (sp?) era and had very little that was nice to say about how he ran things. Brought a great company back from the dead but was not necessarily concerned with quality or following rules.

When this story first broke I thought it was much ado about nothing but this latest round has me thinking a little differently. I wish there were endless supplies of Brazilian Rosewood, Ebony, and mahogany but our desire for the best guitars does not trump the viability of these trees in the future.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby JonnyBoy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:45 pm

The proof is in the pudding. They know how to do it right, and they chose to do it wrong. They are fully aware of what's easier, what's more profitable, and what's legal. They knowingly put all their customers at risk to have their instruments potentially and legally siezed. They are aware of all the possibilities to buy materials properly, as stated by Jon above. Hell they manage a "tree hugging" nonprofit, that has outlined, developed and supported many proper importing protocols.

IMO, You plead guilty when you are guilty. I don't buy the, "its cheaper to plead guilty" BS. With this high profile type of case, for the govt to make it stick all the way to the "last ditch fighting phase" in court means the Govt. had a good case on them. I think Its a good thing that the govt isn't turning a blind eye anymore to big money at the expense of our environment, especially overseas. It is everyone's duty to stand up for our planet in my opinion.

Actually my biggest gripe is with the instruments, that can and may be siezed, purchased by the public or music stores. They may not go that far, but they could and that is just plain shitty to be put in that situation.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Yankee Tim » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:57 pm

Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the customers who bought these Gibs and face the threat of conficastion is in order here.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby tcsned » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:03 pm

From what I read the gov't isn't coming after people are bought guitars. It seems kinda stupid, what are you going to do with that wood now? Burn a bunch of guitars? That would just as bad as the douchebag corporation that chose to skirt the law.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby mgbills » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:11 pm

For me...it's an integrity issue. Humanity is a plague with regards to greed. If it means for $$, a big percentage of us will always fall. I ran an Organic production faculty (beer) for many years. (Which already tips my hat.) I was heavily scrutinized because I was producing alcohol (TTB & State Liquor Board). I was also under the National Organic Standard, and subject to state inspections. Did I ever jeopardize that integrity, and attempt to use non-organic ingredients. No. Not once. If my employees smelled that greed or were asked to participate in diluting that ethos, it would all over the Brewers networks. Once integrity is compromised, it's near impossible to recover. If the public held the notion that I was skimping would they buy my product. Doubtful. Not in the Pacific NW.

Gibson obviously has questionable integrity. You folks have heard it. You've also probably heard that very few people/companies go to litigation because they're ignorant. Trials happen for the guilty. See Tennesee Jedi's link. Bob Taylor is working on a sustainable solution. He makes wonderful instruments, and he charges top dollar for those instruments. In most peoples minds those instruments have value.

Some of this has been a huge slippery slope of logic. I can't imagine where the resources would come from to pluck individual guitars (unless there was a Carey Hawksbill in the body).

Rant concluded. Incidentally...when I resigned due to a change in corporate "Culture", the first question asked was "Why the exorbitant COGS?"
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