By ERIK SCHELZIG
Federal prosecutors say a deal has been reached to drop the criminal case against Gibson Guitar Corp. after the instrument maker acknowledged its exotic wood imports violated environmental laws.
Under the agreement announced Monday, Nashville-based Gibson is to pay a $300,000 penalty. The company also agreed to forfeit claims to about $262,000 worth of wood seized by federal agents and contribute $50,000 to promote conservation of protected tree species.
The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gibson’s decision stands in contrast to a 2011 publicity campaign mounted after agents raided Gibson facilities in Memphis and Nashville.
Republicans and tea party members rallied behind CEO Henry Juszkiewicz (JUS’-kuh-wits) when he denounced the raids as overzealous federal regulation that threatened American jobs.