Gibson Guitar Corp. CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is defending his company after federal agents raided the company’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis.
U.S. fish and Wildlife Service agents seized hundreds of items from Nashville, believing Gibson is illegally smuggling wood from India, according to the Tennessean. The agents seized shipping documents, guitars, travel records and hard drives and Juszkiewicz said the day of closure could cost the company $1 million.
“What is more troubling is that the Justice Department’s position is that any guitar that we ship out of this facility is potentially obstruction of justice and will be followed with criminal charges,” he told the paper. He said he would defy the government and resume operations.
“I have taken personal responsibility. I have instructed our staff to continue building product.”
Juszkiewicz said the wood was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible forest management. According to the search warrant, the feds were more concerned with the way it was imported to the U.S., not how it was harvested.
The CEO also was angry about the suggestion that Gibson imported fretboards partially finished by Indian workers.
“Over the last two years, we have hired 580 American workers,” he said. “We are one company that is manufacturing in the United States, that is hiring people … and yet the government is spending millions of dollars on this issue. … We feel totally abused.”
It is the second time the federal government has raided the company in two years.