Gibson Guitars Still Under Fire From Government
Gibson, perhaps the world's most famous guitar maker, is waist high in "green" muck over allegations they are destroying rainforests in order to produce their instruments. The US government is preparing to charge Gibson with trafficking illegally obtained wood. Armed federal marshals from the Department of Justice raided the Gibson factories in Nashville and Memphis confiscating wood last August. This was the second round of raids.
In November of 2009, a shipment of rosewood and ebony, allegedly from Madagascar, was seized. Rosewood is a rare commodity that is largely found in rainforests. According to NPR, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz stated that the company has "been implicated in wrong doing but haven't been charged with anything," stating that their loss has been in the millions of dollars.
Juszkiewicz told The Daily Caller that "there’s a very real possibility we will have to move at least some processing jobs overseas, I’m trying to avoid that but that’s a very realistic possibility." The company has now hired Washington law firm Crowley & Morley LLP.
Gibson appears to be in violation of the Lacey Act, a piece of conservation legislation that actually dates back over a hundred years. It was initially put in place to protect endangered species, but the law was amended in 2008 as part of the 'Farm Bill' to include plant life and plant products.
Guitarists from Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, pictured above with his 1958 Les Paul, favor Gibson axes. The Les Paul model is perhaps the most iconic of the entire Gibson line.