The tale of the Gibson guitar raid -- the one focused on the legendary guitar maker's alleged importation and use of illegal wood -- has taken an odd turn. Now CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is claiming the Feds told him that some of his problems "would go away" if the company used Madagascar labor.
In an interview with Beck radio affiliate KMJ 105.9 in Fresno, California, Juszkiewicz told host Chris Daniel that the government made the point "explicitly:"
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 in a pleading.
CHRIS DANIEL: That your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of our labor?
HENRY JUSKIEWICZ: Yes, yeah. They said that explicitly.
Gateway Pundit has the audio:
That's an interesting charge. But what is it all about? Well, Juskiewicz is not referencing the latest raid, but rather a similar raid that occurred in 2009 when authorities confiscated ebony fingerboard blanks and accused the company of importing them illegally. According to Juskiewicz, those accusations are false.
“Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported ... and that no law has been violated,” the company says in a news release.
So why the comments about Madagascar labor? The latest raid may offers some insight. In the most recent case, the Feds say Gibson violated the U.S. Lacey Act by importing wood from India not finished by Indian workers. But Gibson says the Lacey Act only applies if foreign law has been violated, and it hasn't been in this case:
The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.
That could then explain the alleged comments by the Feds that Gibson could avoid problems by outsourcing labor to Madagascar: if workers in Madagascar finished the wood then -- considering the DOJ's interpretation of the law -- there would be no problem.
Either way, the raid has been costly on the American business that employes about 2,000 people. According to Juskiewicz, "my personal guess is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million to $3 million."
That's a lot of money considering the Feds have yet to file charges in the 2009 case.
(Listen to the entire KMJ interview here.)
Juskiewicz joined Glenn Beck on radio Thursday to discuss more details about the raid -- including how it went down -- and about the investigations. He confirms and expounds upon his earlier comments as well as explains the implications of him moving his business: