SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—After filing Chapter 11 last week following a federal indictment, GuildMaster said it is conducting business as usual and shipping all products.
The company was served a federal indictment on nine counts on Dec. 12, for importing lamps with unauthorized Underwriter Laboratories stickers. GuildMaster filed for protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri the next day. GuildMaster also filed suit against the government for the return of 5,150 lamps now held by Customs Border Patrol. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized the lamps earlier this year, and GuildMaster said the bankruptcy protection filing was triggered because of this and the legal costs associated with it. The federal indictment calls for forfeiture and destruction of the lamps, which GuildMaster has valued at $900,000 and the government has valued at $1.9 million.
The lamps, manufactured by Dongguan Yangming Hardware Crafts Limited, a lamp factory purchased by GuildMaster in November 2011, applied removable, unlicensed stickers indicating a UL trademark without the knowledge or approval of GuildMaster’s U.S. management team, GuildMaster said. Steve Crowder, GuildMaster CEO, said they learned of these stickers the day after the seizure, on Jan. 27, 2012, and immediately had the stickers removed and destroyed in China.
GuildMaster said that the lamps are constructed of UL-certified components and their safety was never in question. The stickers are considered counterfeit because GuildMaster does not hold a license for UL-certified lamps.
GuildMaster is following its normal schedule of product introductions in its permanent showrooms at the Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas markets next month as well as at the High Point Market in April. It continues to manufacture products without disruption at its plants in Indonesia and China.
“While this has been a distraction for management, we are manufacturing and shipping orders on time as usual,” said Crowder. “Since we own our plants in Indonesia and China, we control our supply chain and have not faced difficulties there. It is business as usual.”