The Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Company agreed this week to settle its imported wood case with Federal investigators who raided the firm and confiscated pieces of ebony that were going to be used for guitar fingerboards. U.S. Senator Rand Paul told WKU Public Radio that he doesn't blame Gibson for paying three hundred thousand dollars to settle a case that could have cost millions in legal fees.
However, the Bowling Green Republican maintains the case was unfair from the beginning.
"I think they settled so they didn't have to go to jail," said the Bowling Green Republican. "The government threatens people with going to jail for breaking foreign laws. I have a bill that would have taken care of this, and if my bill had passed, Gibson would have broken no laws."
Paul says Gibson was punished for using American employees to work on imported fingerboards instead of having the wood prepared by workers in another country. Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told WKU Public Radio that the raid at his Nashville plant in 2011 cost the company about one million dollars in lost productivity, because armed federal agents came onto the production floor in Nashville and sent workers home.
U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin says the settlement "goes a long way in demonstrating the government's commitment to protecting the world's natural resources."