That story jives with what i've heard.
Some more digging around, and I came up with a contact who purchased about 100 of these frame copies. He had been getting authentic Gios stuff for a couple of years in small qty's from the American distributor shipped to Canada. Around '88 or '89, the frames that showed up were suddenly poor quality copies, and phone calls to the distributor went unanswered, and then they disappeared. This source for these copies was found to be Jim Miele. When he went out of business a couple of years later, there were all kinds of decals and lugs in boxes in their warehouse.
Earlier I suggested Gardin may have built some frames, but now i'm thinking that's not the case. My contact worked at both places, and as both guys had gone out of business a couple of times, i think i mixed up some parts of the history. He assured me it was Miele.
Grant McLean Toronto, Canada
From: "The Maaslands" <TheMaaslands(AT)comcast.net> Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 16:14:57 -0400 Subject: [CR]GIOS story as told to me
I worked for one of the German distributors of Gios in the late 80's and early 90's and spoke to Alfredo about this. He told me that a North American distributor had (illegally according to him) registered the brand GIOS in the US without him knowing. When they dropped the distributor, the distributor felt it to be his legal right to continue to sell Gios bikes. It took an expensive legal action to resolve the matter. I don't know if it went to court or an out-of-court agreement was reached, but for many years the rights to the GIOS name in North America were in doubt.