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Manufactured Housing Institute’s Three Stooges? SECO ‘Leaders’ George F. Allen, Spencer Roane, Tom Lackey and ‘Rent to Own’ Scams?

January 16th, 2019 No comments

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoSECOlogoSoutheasternCommunityOwnersSymposiumLogoGeogeAllenSpencerRoaneTomLackeyMHProNewsMasthead

 

Tony…as I think you know, it’s ALWAYS been my position that lease option and rent to own are illegal if they are a “workaround” for chattel financing, which is what most such schemes are…” – MH Industry attorney, not an association exec, in off-the-record comment about his legal perspective about the issue that follows.

 

George F. (F?) Allen has protested the use of the quote above to MHProNews from a non-association industry attorney who wanted to remain anonymous.

Perhaps Allen doesn’t honor off-the-record, but we do.  Beyond honoring the pledge of protecting a source, is an attorney’s name even necessary? Arguably, not when the New York State Attorney General has successfully sued and forced about 100 manufactured home communities and their owners to settle their own rent-to-own cases.

That’s a nettlesome fact for Allen and company, see the NY AG press release to MHProNews, linked here.

 

AGUnderwoodAnnouncesMajorSettlementWithManufacuredHomeParkOwnesToReformRentToOwnFollowingAGIndustryWideInvestigationMHProNews

The issues are many, but let’s simplify some of them to these bullets.

 

  • Allen, Roane, and Lackey are all ‘leaders’ in SECO – the Southeastern Community Owners Symposium.
  • All three of the above fellows have drawn negative mainstream media attention for the use, or defense of the use, of ‘rent to own,’ ‘lease purchase options,’ ‘contract for title,’ or other forms of arguably “disguised credit transactions.”
  • Allen, Roane, and Lackey have all personally earned money from ‘rent to own’ (RTO), ‘contract for title,’ ‘lease purchase options’ (LPO) – or whatever you went to call the modern version of a Lonnie Deal (see download, linked here).  What might have been lawful prior to the Safe Act, and the advent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is now deemed in the eyes of legal authorities as a “disguised credit transaction.” They are routinely seen as a form of predatory lending, and have reportedly harmed numerous consumers who trusted Lackey, and others.
  • You don’t have to look beyond the NY AG Case against for proof, do you? If larger manufactured home community (MHC) operations could not make this work in a legitimate fashion, per the NY AG, are industry independents really going to believe that Allen, Roane, Lackey and SECO know some trick that the large portfolio operators attorneys didn’t discover?
  • Perhaps to protect their own revenue stream and reputations, Allen and Roane defended and/or refused to condemn Lackey.
  • And over the course of several years, hundreds of manufactured home community owners have trusted Allen’s and Roane’s respective Schticks. How many ticking time bombs await?
  • Can you imagine the glee a consolidator might feel, if hundreds of more communities hit the market at a depressed price, due to bad advice taught at SECO and/or by Allen?
  • Allen likes to do magic tricks to entertain his audience. Let’s see what rabbit Allen tries to pull out of a hat to distract his readers and students from the cold hard facts that the NY AGs cases exemplified.
  • But the risks to consumers and independent manufactured home professionals arguably doesn’t stop with problematic RTO or LPO contracts for title. Because they have sponsors and often ‘big name’ supporters. Among them? Joe Stegmayer, who stepped down from Cavco leadership under a SECO Investigation cloud, but who has stayed on as MHI Chairman. Beautiful.
  • Stegmayer graced Allen’s ‘roundtable’ stage, giving each other some measures of ‘respectability.’
  • Fleetwood, a division of Cavco, has given SECO support too. So has MHVillage, and others. Will they demand indemnification for the so-called education that has been taught?
  • But has anyone asked what the liability and exposure are for those who sponsor so-called education that is flawed and risky at best, or illegal at worst?
  • What will that costly MHM certificate Allen sells mean to outsiders, if Allen, Roane, and Lackey end up in more media and/or legal hot water?

 

Ironically, it is Allen who volunteered or was deputized by MHI supporters to call for a boycott of this publication. That can be antitrust trigger. How ironically hypocritical.  See evidence of that and more at the download, linked here.

Besides years of arguable jealousy by Allen over our many-times-larger professional audience, is the fact that MHProNews has previously warned industry communities and retailers about the potential risks from using disguised credit transactions in today’s legal and regulatory environment.  Not to be overlooked are ties with MHI…

 

 

MHI Ties?

Where is MHI on this? A check of their website would suggest, silent. Rather akin to their silence on other issues – like the slow monopolization of the industry – that might be useful or importance?

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoDIsguisedCreditTransactionMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

Allen, Roane, and Lackey can be viewed as the part time critics, and de facto part time supporters of MHI and their ‘big boy’ backers. Don’t ask for consistency from Allen, because you won’t likely find it, save in his arguably hypocritical inconsistency.

But the warning to industry pros is once more given. Allen, Roane, Lackey, and SECO are the typical stew of seemingly useful, but also problematic education. MH Industry

Professionals, hungry for educational opportunities, turns to them in desperation, and they find smiling carnival barkers.

State AG Files Suit Against, Manufactured Home Community, Rent to Own, Lease Purchase Option Warning

A entertaining and feel good blathering isn’t the same as genuine, legally sound, knowledge.

Just read the list of questions, linked here, put to George F. (F?) Allen and his cronies, and Allen’s non-answers.

DuckDodgeDismissDistractDetractDefame6DsMastheadCommentaryManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

Caveat emptor. Let the buyer of such education beware. But sponsors, beware too. Because some legal authorities tell us that sponsors of legally risky education may have liability too.

In closing this column, let’s state the obvious. We are not the New York Times or Fox News. We do business development and other expert services to manufactured housing, not just publishing.

Our form of trade journalism is different than what mainstream journalists do.

But no serious person in our industry has disputed the facts, documents, evidence, and concerns we’ve raised. Allen, despite his roar and bluster, was given the chance to disprove a single claim. He hurled invectives instead. Again, the give and take are linked here, and included several individuals in BCCs on both sides.

One catches flak only when over the target. One of numerous examples is the target below.   The axis hates it, because its’ their own words, how do they argue against their own words? Allen and company have the same problem.

 

Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier

 

Be it the three stooges, or the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, their allies and surrogates, our catching flak is a badge of honor, given the sources.

From the smallest to the biggest firms in our industry logon daily to MHProNews by the thousands. They find the content relevant and useful. As an MHI member executive said in the quote below, what we may have periodic typos, but we make a logical case.

 

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That’s what vexes the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis. And it is nettlesome to the three stooges whose purportedly ‘educational’ efforts more closely resembles scams. Sad. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

Former Manufactured Housing Institute President, Manufactured Home Owners, Urban Institute, and You

 

New Era in National U.S. Manufactured Home Community Representation Underway?

The Future of Retail, Disney, ‘Trailer Trauma,’ and Manufactured Housing

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Housing Alert, Affordable Housing Crisis, MHI’s #NettlesomeThings Response

 

 

 

 

 

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

June 19th, 2018 No comments

Only3OptionsTheElephantIntheRoomManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A) In manufactured housing production, the elephant in the room is Clayton Homes. They are owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which also owns the 2 largest industry lenders, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF). Berkshire also owns a large stake in the industry’s third largest single family manufactured home loan lender, Wells Fargo.

There are only three (3) options on the following topic. The Berkshire owned manufactured housing brands either:

1)     know very specifically what must happen to grow manufactured housing sales up to the industry’s sustainable potential, which some estimate to be between half a million and a million HUD Code manufactured homes (MH) annually.

2)     The Berkshire brands in MH don’t know what must occur to grow the industry to reach its potential.

3)     Some point on the spectrum between numbers 1 and 2 above.

That’s about 150 words. The rest are details and commentary.

 

B) Arguably, any of the 3 positions above ought to be alarming to the vast majority of the industry’s independents. Why?

The case has be made by voices inside and outside of MHVille, that the Warren Buffett led Berkshire brands in MHVille dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

While he’s been silent in recent months, MH Communities pro Frank Rolfe was among the industry’s professionals who blasted MHI and their “hypocrisy” and failed “leadership” in defense or promotion of the MHIndustry.

Marty Lavin, a MHI award-winner, said on-the-record that MHI only works for the interests of the big boys.” Lavin added that MHI only work for the interests of smaller companies if they happen to align with the interests of “the big boys.”

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was cited by the Washington Post (WaPo) as having been the driving force for the removal of Pam Danner at HUD. MHI‘s EVP Lesli Gooch specifically told WaPo they took no part in removing Danner. Why not?

We could outline other examples, on the Duty to Serve (DTS), DOE and the energy rule, or how Pam Danner got her job in the first place. MHI has been on the wrong side of numerous issues, plus the execution on other important issues.

The bottom line is that MHI’s track record are seen by several professionals as problematic, save for the consolidation of smaller companies into the hands of larger ones. That’s about 275 words. The rest are details and commentary.

 

C) So in about 400 words above, a case has been outlined. Logic and evidence-based concerns, plus common-sense reveals why the Berkshire brands and MHI arguably should not be trusted by the vast majority of MHVille independents. The rest are details and commentary.  We’ll invite them again to debate this publicly via video.  If we were wrong, why don’t they take us up on that invite and prove us wrong?

 

D) State communities associations have broken away from MHI. They are in the process of formalizing the launch of an independent manufactured home national communities association.

Those MH Communities have split because they lost confidence in MHI representing their interests. The rest are details and commentary.

 

E) Smoking Gun 3 documented and outlined how 21st Mortgage questionably pulled-back on lending to MH Independents in 2009. Hundreds of retailers folded afterwards.

As a result, a number of HUD Code manufactured home producers either failed, or were absorbed by Clayton.  Some where absorbed by Cavco, which is led by a former Clayton division president. Skyline Champion recently combined. Now 80 percent of the industry’s production is in the hands of those three vertically integrated firms.

The rest are details and commentary.

 

F) Manufactured housing is increasingly being recognized as the affordable housing solution that is hiding in plain sight. MHLivingNews touted that theme years ago. Others in media have been picking up on that very theme. Coincidence?

There is a need for 8.3 million affordable housing units in America today. It can only be provided cost-effectively by some form of factory building. HUD Code manufactured homes are the most affordable solution today.

 

G) Even though Clayton and MHI each have marketing and PR people, they have routinely allowed bad news stories that unjustly harm the industry’s image to go unaddressed. They have done so for years. 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, the prior MHI Chairman, admitted on-the-record that the case could be made that every unfair story about MH should get addressed. Frank Rolfe has said similarly.

The above is about 700 words total to say that MHI and Berkshire may not cause every bad news story in MHVille, but they fail to address the majority of them.

The upshot? Limited new home sales and more Consolidation. See what award-winning Alan Amy said about that in the video.

 

H) The MH Communities sector recognized their need for independent representation. Retailers and others in the post production sector arguably need representation do too. MHARR is clearly representing the interests of the industry’s independent producers, as WaPo, the SBA, George Washington University and other third-party sources reflect.

 

I) Is there any reason why the Berkshire brands couldn’t repeat what they did in 2009? Shouldn’t every independent operator realize that they have a symbolic target on their head?

The rest are details and commentary.

 

J) Thanks to our supporters, we planned ahead years ago by creating the industry’s first and premier pro-industry educational platform with MHLivingNews.com.

MHProNews was a key part of the rebirth of the Louisville Show, as everyone in show management at the time said on camera and/or in writing.

We’ve proven our ability to get into mainstream media, such as Washington D.C.’s The Hill. Or consider often-referenced by others in media, Value Penguin, which ranks among the top 2 percent of all websites in America. Value Penguin dwarfs anything in MHVille for traffic.

 

K) We and those that support our efforts know what must be done to remove the shackles that have hobbled manufactured housing for years. Information and understanding are the First Phase.

Armed with evidence and reason, we are at the cusp of starting Phase 2.

The details and next steps will follow in the days ahead. Stay tuned, and sign up for our industry leading emailed headline news updates. From the biggest names in MHVille, to the mom-and pops, and thousands in between, we continue to lead the industry in readership. The reasons include insights like those above.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Anti-MH Industry MHAction Protesters Have Struck Manufactured Housing Again, and Again

May 12th, 2018 No comments

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In the aftermath of last year’s Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) annual meeting, an MHI advocate metaphorically taunted MHProNews for our reporting on looming protests of their meeting.

That skeptic isn’t doubting the forecast of MHAction protests any more.

MHAction initially targeted the MHI annual event in Orlando last year.  But a combination of disruptive factors – including a hurricane and MHProNews coverage of the predicted protests by the activist group -resulted in a change of the activist group’s plans.

Since then, as the Daily Business News has reported, MHAction has protested a Frank Rolfe event and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s recent speech at the MHI Congress and Expo.

MHAction had only pivoted from Orlando.  There have been, and are, other MHAction efforts underway besides these two noted today.

There is a cost to getting people to a protest like these. That bus used by MHAction wasn’t free. There’s a price for MHAction’s staff.  There are expenses to organize friendly or receptive media outlets to provide coverage for their negative-coverage seeking behavior.

An MHI member told MHProNews after the attempts at disrupting Secretary Carson’s address at the Paris Hotel in Vegas that the protestors were “ineffective.”  “Secretary Carson easily turned them into a punch line,” that member told me.

While the come back from the stage by Dr. Carson was quick, the video below reveals that disruption at MHI’s event nevertheless took place.

It is one more example of a challenge that is bubbling up periodically, and which is drawing problematic media coverage for not just MHI, but for the industry they represent. The MHAction protest was mentioned by the Washington Post in their story about HUD.  This particular protest in Vegas last April at the MHI meeting has been mentioned or covered at some length by a number of progressive media outlets.

It is one more item that requires an effective response from MHI.  Even with the repeated forewarning MHProNews provided, which MHI never thanked us for, they seemed ill prepared to deal with MHAction at their Congress and Expo. You can see for yourself.

 

What will these media seeking MHAction protestors do next?

How will it impact the image of the vast majority of the industry’s ethical manufactured housing businesses?

Watch for an upcoming report on MHAction. To learn more about prior reports about this activist group, see those Related Reports linked below. To sign up for MHProNews’ industry-leading emailed headline news, click the link below.  It’s all part of the industry’s most popular, independent, and trusted trade media news.  MH Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

Frank Rolfe, MHU/RV Horizons Protest by MHAction; Nathan Smith/SSK/MHI Flashbacks?

Meet the Faces, Groups Behind Anti-MH Industry Activists, Protesters

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

 

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Industry News, Reality Check

April 4th, 2018 No comments

ClaytonHomesManufacturedHomeIndustryNewsRealityCheckMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

Clayton Homes made the news several times in recent days. As a heads up to readers, this mentions legislation, but that isn’t the headline topic. The example that follows exemplifies a reality check that will tee up an “Aha! Moment” for many.

The subjects Clayton Homes has been included in mainstream media reports included such topics as their support for the amendment proposed to S. 2155. That amendment is based upon the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) rule proposal found in the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. That’s fine.

The point? What’s the Reality Check? 

  • Clayton Homes,
  • Berkshire Hathaway,
  • Warren Buffett and his family like son Howard,
  • can get into the news virtually any time they want to do so.

That said, why doesn’t Clayton routinely go after each and every example of mistakes made in the mainstream media about manufactured homes?

2018-04-04_1725ClaytonHomesInManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsMastheadCommentaryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLet’s rephrase for total clarity.

    Berkshire Hathaway owns a press release service.

   Berkshire Hathaway owns numerous media outlets.

   As one of the nation’s largest home builders, Clayton could correct each and every example of mistaken reports in the media.

   Clayton has their own communications and marketing people.

   The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) also have public relations (media) professionals.  For years, the MHI executive committee has included 2 of the 4 seats held by Berkshire Hathaway, plus years of Tim Williams, President and CEO of 21st Mortgage as MHI Chairman.  The other 2 of 4 the executive committee seats had ties to Berkshire Hathaway too.

Clayton, MHI and Berkshire Hathaway can comment on – or correct the record on – any misleading, mistaken, bad terminology – – anything! – – associated with the industry.

Will anyone seriously question that claim?   Please, send me a response that explains this topic in some other logical fashion.

Given that premise, that Clayton/MHI could correct any or every flawed media report, how about this question. Why don’t they do so?

For over a year, we’ve done a periodic test. It’s this.  We’ve contacted mainstream media about a problematic news report about manufactured housing that they ran. We ask, has Clayton, MHI or others in the industry contacted you about this? In essentially every case, the answer has been “no.” One example was in Clayton’s home state.  The routine answer was, no, they’ve not reached out at all. (The exception was the Urban Institute, where Clayton and MHI were promised anonymity, per informed sources at UI – see that, linked as a resource below.)

Why does Clayton and MHI allow poor terminology about manufactured homes to continue to go unaddressed? For example, why do they allow the media to call a manufactured home community a “trailer park?” [sic].  Why do they allow any bad information to go unaddressed?

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These are just some ‘trailer park’ [SIC} news stories this week. This happens week after week, year after year. Given that no one I’ve ever met aspired to be ‘trailer trash,’ can you see why this terrible terminology needs to be tackled? Where is Clayton and MHI on this or other negative media related issues?

 

In interview and discussions with home owners and professionals, concerns about being stigmatized by the term “trailer trash” ranks high. It’s a reason millennials have given for not even considering a “mobile homes” – manufactured homes – as an option (see related reports, linked below).

Image and misleading information directly or indirectly costs the industry hundreds of thousands of new home sales per year.  That’s billions in sales a year.

Why doesn’t Clayton and MHI go aggressively after that improper media reporting and terminology issue? Not with more lame advertorials, which industry statistics prove beyond a doubt failed to move the needle for the industry.

DarrenKrolewskiMHVillageDataComp=PostedMastheadBlogMHProNews

Darren Krolewski, Co-President at MHVillage, DataComp.

I asked Darren Krolewski during the Tunica Show why the millions who watch a classy Clayton video, or who visit Clayton’s or MH Village’s websites aren’t buying more homes?  Krolewski said publicly and privately, he doesn’t have a good answer.

We do. A big factor can be summed up with improper information and image. Pretty pictures and videos alone will not fix this. What will? We know this from experience in the field with clients.

Correcting the record, time after time, lifts the industry’s shoppers from interest to buyers.

Now I happen to believe that Warren Buffett, and Kevin Clayton are intelligent people. Tim Williams said it himself. There’s a good case to be made for correcting the record each and every time.

So why don’t they???

 

The 64 Billion Dollar Question

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, famously observed that when you eliminate the possibilities, whatever remains must be the truth.

Kevin Clayton said over 6 years ago that they were “ready” then to do an image/public relations campaign.

They can get in the news when they want to do so. Why don’t they fix this?

As a state association executive told me today, MHI has a full time media person that could make that routine outreach whenever negative, inaccurate news hits. 

Then why don’t they do so?  Here’s the answer to that, the plausible premise…the Reality Check

  • Warren Buffett said he likes a bargain.
  • Buffett also commands his company presidents to expand their “moat” year after year.
  • By keeping the industry’s image problematic, it obviously keeps new manufactured home sales at a lower level than it would otherwise be
  • That in turn arguably hurts every other business of every size engaged in manufactured housing in America.  That means that other factories, retailers, etc. can be purchased cheaper than they otherwise would be.  
  • It also means that their market share can grow, until the day comes that they take their foot off the brake peddle.

Isn’t this stating the obvious? That’s the reality check. They can get in the news.  They can correct poor reporting, every time, if they wanted to do so.

Clayton and MHI are not responsible for every piece of bad news that hits the media each and every week. But they are 100 percent able – and thus, responsible – for not doing all that they can to fix bad reports when they occur.

Those MHI “image” videos and advertorials are clearly ineffective. The only thing those videos and advertorials do is give them a fig leaf when they are questioned about the topic of image, media engagement, marketing, public relations, and education.

ManufacturedHomeShipmentTrendsPercentageNewHomeStartsSkylineChampionPowerPointMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The facts don’t lie. MHI has admitted at times that the industry is still performing at historically low levels. Why? Isn’t poor public perception, fueled by problematic and flawed media reports part of the problem? Then why doesn’t Clayton and MHI address each and every flawed report? Former MHI Chair Tim Williams admitted that it is a valid approach. Then whey not do it?

Their failure to do so is part of what keeps the industry suppressed. It logically keeps the prices paid for buying the factories and retail centers of others lower than they otherwise would be.

We can call this an allegation that manufactured housing is struggling due to the apparent failure of Clayton, Berkshire Hathaway and MHI to act.

Or we could say the obvious. They have the resources. They know the need. Tim Williams admitted the logic of correcting the record in writing to MHProNews.

The level of acceptance of manufactured housing is directly tied to this issue. Others like financing also have Clayton, Berkshire and MHI finger prints on them as to why they are unresolved (see related reports for details).

Don’t they obviously the MH Industry to remain small, until they’ve consolidated enough that they take their foot off the brake peddle? Isn’t that the reality check for today?  The truth that’s hiding in plain sight? “We Provide, You Decide.” (C) ## 

Related Comments, Quotes and Reports:

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

FrankRolfeNegativeArticlesOnIndustryNoCommentbyManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIRVHorizonsMobleHomeUniversityPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Since these comments and others, 21st Mortgage has reportedly been paying Rolfe for promotions, and Rolfe has stopped making these kinds of public critiques of MHI, Berkshire Hathaway or Clayton Homes.  http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/frank-rolfe-blasts-mhi-for-poor-media-engagement-industry-reactions/

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews-500x277FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

 

Warren Buffett Success Secret$, Video Interview Including “The Moat”

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

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award-winning consulting, publisher, web, video, recruiting, sales training, business development service provider.

MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Office 863-213-4090 |

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7 Things – > 300 Words – Every Manufactured Housing Industry Professional, Investor Should Know

November 4th, 2017 No comments
  1. Every professional should have a sense of the industry’s history; how manufactured housing evolved from trailer houses, to mobile homes, to modern manufactured homes. It’s proven profitable! You can begin that survey of manufactured home history, linked here.

7CoolThingsEveryIndsutryProsShouldKnow

  1. Every manufactured home pro should understand how to explain and defend the truth about the industry. You can begin with three-top rated, key-videos on MHLivingNews on windstorms linked here, an expert’s overview on how the affordable housing crisis solution is found in manufactured homes linked here, and an elected public official explains modern manufactured homes, linked here.

ItsUnbelievableHowMuchYouDontKnowAboutGameYouveBeenPlayingAllYourLifeMickeyMantleBaseballHallFameMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

  1. Every manufactured home pro should know key quotes and terminology, to support others better understand manufactured housing today. The top link will get you started, we’ll plan a quote collection soon. Terminology explanations, linked here.

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  1. Every manufactured home pro should understand why free enterprise is superior to other economic systems, vs. other nations’ sad history of broken promises. Start here.
  1. Every manufactured home pro should know why MHLivingNews and MHProNews have always been, and will always be pro-industry, as well as pro-consumer. Anyone who tells you something different is jealous, selling something, or distracting from the obvious truth of our 8+ year history as the industry leader in pro-industry “News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use.” ©.

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  1. Every manufactured home pro should know that readers are leaders. Today, viewers of the industry’s most followed and trusted news sources. To sign up for free emailed news updates, click here.

  1. To send news tips to MHProNews, click here, and to get professionals services or sponsor our profit-building, pro-sustainable growth work, click here. ##
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L. A. “Tony” Kovach presenting to a packed house.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.    IReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM-comMHProNews (1)

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

October 7th, 2017 No comments

Question. Where the manufactured home industry’s profits in the mid-to-late1990s, false or real?

When money is earned, it can be spent. So it may seem odd to discuss profits as “false.” 

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As anyone who’s watched the movie Scarface knows, crime is a business. It may be illegal, but it’s business.  The risk/reward equation for a criminal enterprise is different than for a legal business.

Back to the opening question. Where the manufactured home industry’s profits in the mid-to-late 1990s, false or real?

They may have seemed real at the time, but it was a reality built on quicksand. 

A sinkhole developed under that mountain of bad MH loans.

The new home shipment graphic below tells the tale. The MH Industry has not yet fully recovered, almost 20 years later. 

ManufacturedHousingIndustry30YearAnnualShipmentsCavcoMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

False profits? In Wisconsin, they might answer, “youbetcha.”

The FEMA Trap

In 2006 and 2007, after all those FEMA orders from the 2005 hurricane season, some where praying for more bad weather.

Duh. Short-term thinking has harmed the MH industry and image numerous times.

FEMA orders were similar to those bad MH loans from the 1990s. Those bad MH loans hurt our industry’s reputation. Once seemingly ‘profitable’ companies collapsed in the wake of the 1990s MH credit crash.

Another, smaller wave of companies failed as a result of the post-2005 FEMA housing rebound/impacts.  But it was already a smaller industry.

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We’ve had numerous comments from industry professionals who say that too many in manufactured housing have not learned the lessons from FEMA/Katrina.  That the industry is walking into a pit, let’s call it ‘the FEMA trap.’

The industry professional who sent this linked commentary was right, the federal government could do FEMA much better, and could save taxpayers in the process. 

Doing FEMA right – instead of wrong – would be better for those being served, the public in general, and could protect the industry’s independent businesses more too.

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Some will profit from FEMA going in, and will also make money on the flip side — when those homes flood (pardon the pun) ‘back onto the market’ – and get auctioned off. That’s free enterprise.

But it is also wasteful and harmful to taxpayers and to much of the industry and the public interest.

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The industry voices talking to MHProNews about FEMA and related challenges are often in unison on one point: there is a better way for taxpayers, the public, for the MH Image, and for many professionals in the industry at large.

It’s a fine line to speak of promoting the MH Industry and free enterprise, yet also to say that the industry ought to be wise enough to learn from the past.  We’re walking that line today.

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This Masthead blogpost isn’t blasting those who profited off of FEMA. This Masthead is saying there are better ways for all involved.

 

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A “Masthead” can mean in publishing, the editorial page. A ship’s masthead is the highest perch on that vessel. “You can see farther from the vantage point of the Masthead.” – The Elk.

 

Then and Now

Today’s manufactured home lenders are arguably profitable and more financially responsible.  Lessons learned.

That doesn’t mean all is perfect.

The CFPB, however well intended, has created as much or more harm as good, and it has cost taxpayers tens of billions in the process. The cost of the CFPB has been much even more in terms of lost economic benefits, caused by that agency’s implementation of Dodd-Frank.

The industry hasn’t successfully addressed CFPB, nor has it fully learned and applied the lessons of FEMA and disaster relief. 

There’s no doubt, the federal and state governments are doing much better than it did with Katrina and Sandy.

But there is room to improve.

Those improvements would save taxpayers money.

Improving FEMA might cut the wild profits of a few – short term – but they would lead to more sustainable profits for the many that could endure for years to come. 

It’s the difference between false and real profits.

It’s the difference between sustainable, long-term thinking and short-term money.

We’ll talk about the false prophets another time. Let me close by sharing my personal thank to the hundreds who’ve sent kind 9th anniversary ‘kudos’ messages.  ## (Commentary, news, analysis.)

LATonyKovachMHLivingNewsMHProNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryPublisherMarketingSalesTrainerConsultant-

Socialists, Communists, Capitalists, Clarity, Smear, Truth, and “Kissing Ass”

September 27th, 2017 No comments

Stating the Obvious for clarity. It’s complex world, where the agendas are often hidden or disguised. It isn’t always easy to know the truth on a subject. In manufactured housing, that’s also the reality.  Knowing the truth can be challenging.

We’ll get to the he headline later, but for now, please let me note the following.

We love:

  • this industry,
  • family, faith, flag, and free enterprise (if my wife is reading this, not necessarily in that order of importance).

We are pro-success, done ethically. Because we believe in a Supreme Authority, our values ideally are guided and enlightened by those ultimate truths. Having laid out our principles in often detailed statements before, let’s jump beyond that to the topic for today.

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Hey, there are some who just don’t have a free will choice, due to some circumstance. But others play the game because they think they benefit from it. The reality in manufactured housing is, exposing the game and playing it straight is more profitable than playing the game, or kissing someone’s donkey.

The Smear

One popular example from the left of “the smear” is to call whoever opposes them “a racist.” It’s been used for so long, it ought to be worn out by now.  The right can use Smear tactics too.

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The reason Smear Tactics can still be effective is because millions are too busy, to distracted by work, family, friends, sports, drink, drugs, sex, the tube, social media, or whatever else.

But today, there are other media options beyond the mainstream media.

This publication seeks to serves what is good and the truth as it is known and understood to be.

We have in the past given the benefit of the doubt to certain voices, until the doubt has been removed by a long preponderance of evidence carefully examined, and shared with you, the Industry’s:

  • Owners, executives, managers, and rising stars,
  • Investors,
  • Political operatives and elected officials,
  • Mainstream media,
  • Researchers, educators and political officials.

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Some in MHLand:

  • have egos the size of Texas,
  • blow with the wind,
  • will kiss any ugly -ss for a dollar,
  • just don’t know,
  • are into their habits so deeply, they don’t see reality, etc.

During the 2016 campaign, Warren Buffett said he supported what
Sec. Hillary Clinton
supported. That’s why he backed Clinton.
Sec. Clinton supported Dodd-Frank and the CFPB.
Do you see the disconnect
between MHI’s stated
position on CFPB and Preserving Access,
and what Warren Buffett said several times?

WarrenBuffettSupportedBarackObamaBuffettSupportedDoddFrankCFPBMastheadBlogMHProNews

TimWilliamsCreditLinkedIn21stMortCorpCEOManufacturedHousingIndustryMHIChairmanWarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairman

The truth about MHI is in several ways hiding in plain sight. But the MHProNews exclusively obtained documents from Tim Williams speaks volumes. But only to those with an open mind to reality, vs. fantasy. Click here to see the brief, yet powerful, report.

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The slide is from then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage Corp. Isn’t it obvious that what Williams was saying was the polar opposite of what Warren Buffett supported?  Are we to believe that MHI’s chair that worked for Buffett opposed Buffett’s positions?  Arrows and commentary in red from the Masthead blog, MHProNews.com.

But a number of others have no choice for economic reasons have to play the MHI game, but they don’t like what is going on, and help inform us all they can.

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MHProNews.com/Pixabay.

Those later sources often provide priceless insights. Thank you, one and all.

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Got a tip?  Document of general interest?  Help us help the industry. iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

Then, there are straight up supporters or those who are allied through mostly common visions or interests.

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Quick History – Conspiracy Theories and Reality

James Watt was the Secretary of the Interior Department, under President Ronald Reagan.

He was known as a pithy comments and quote machine. He has several interesting insights you can find on those quotable quotes websites, or Wikipedia.

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But the following quote of Watt’s I can’t find anywhere online, so I was not able to verify it precisely.  It goes something like this.

I don’t believe in what are commonly known as conspiracy theories. What I do believe in are people with common interests, acting in ways that benefit their common interests and that therefor look to be conspiratorial.’ – James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior.

That was so powerful, it has long stuck with me. Does it apply to manufactured housing? “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

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“Conspiracy” Hiding in Plain Sight?

Set against the James Watt point that people with common interest often behave in ways that align with those interests – thus appearing to be conspiratorial –  let’s note the following.

If you or I are accused or questioned about something that’s demonstrably not true,
the normal person simply disproves the allegation, and moves on.

Correct?

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So, if the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the powers-that-be behind MHI can readily disprove the array of questions and concerns about their favoritism and performance, why don’t they do so?

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Isn’t it likely they are ducking out precisely because the accusations are true? Because they have no good come-back?

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Why didn’t MHI ask to use this image, or create one like it of their own? Could it be that that Berkshire Hathaway owned companies like Clayton, VMF or 21st would benefit, whether or not the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act bill passed or not?  Sources tell MHProNews that the non-profits would have made a deal on the MLO rule, which would have benefited every MH Lender and every retailer, communities, and consumers.  Why didn’t MHI take that deal?  Why spend millions and fail? Or was that pro noted above correct, that BH profits either way, so why compromise at all?  Didn’t they win if it failed, or win if they succeeded?

The Truth is Hiding in Plain Sight

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Whatever MHI wants to say about trying to cut back on HUD overreaches, it is obvious that the easiest possible step is to ask the Trump Administration to have Pam Danner reassigned.  Why do they duck the obvious conflict between their words and deeds? Photo – Pam Danner, JD, addressing MHI members. Photo credit, MHProNews.

  • Pam Danner
  • Lois Starkey
  • Duty to Serve (DTS) (FHFA/GSEs)
  • CFPB and Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – Opportunities Missed
  • Monopolistic Practices that use Heavy Regulations to Force more Consolidations
  • Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) and enhanced preemption
  • Racism and Steering
  • Not Defending the Industry and its Image, etc., etc.

These are just some of the issues that have arisen or been spotlighted in roughly the last two two years.

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Some date back further, such as a column in 2014 that spotlighted the high cost – and risks to the industry – from low volumes of new home sales.  That risk to independents is hitting the industry again now, in the growing FEMA fiasco.

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Insider Sources

We have used a combination of inside voices off the record and visible professionals speaking on the record. While we often agree with MHARR, we are not joined at the hip.

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Perhaps the most compelling for thoughtful readers are the quotes from people in MHI, in their own words. Videos and their own written statements, carefully analyzed in the light of known facts.


From within the Berkshire Hathaway owned family of Clayton, Vanderbilt, 21st and other units;

From within MHI,

From state, professional, and third-party groups studying the industry – often with no axe to grind – MHProNews has provided a series of reports and exposes unlike anything that the industry has ever seen.

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MHI, Clayton, 21st and VMF have not engaged directly in public on these issues. But they have done so indirectly and often behind the scenes.  They don’t try to refute/disprove us, rather, they try other alleged tactics to undermine our efforts – which benefit the bulk of the industry’s professionals and investors.

Long term, our call to reform MHI and their alleged monopolistic masters would benefit them too.  Because monopoly inevitably leads to a break up, and it harms the market place, public and society.  That’s why there are laws against monopolies.

Thinkers simply have to wonder: why do the mega-rich take a public position that seems to contradict their own interests?  Isn’t the obvious answer from years of evidence that they posture one thing, do another, because it has worked for them time and again?

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

We’ve taken our precautions.

We’ve called out the powers that be to debate, or discuss, or be interviewed on video, so all can see it.  They duck, dodge, detract, distract, delay, etc. If they were right, they’d simply publicly seek to prove me to be a fool. Why are they reluctant to stand up for their track record? Do they de facto admit that they lack success at their own stated goals?

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The reason thousands come – including they and their allies daily – is because we say what’s real and support allegations with credible evidence.

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MHI Meetings, Networking and Events Can Be Replaced

The one thing that we hear that MHI ‘does okay with’ are their networking meetings.  That brings real value to some professionals.  But IMHO, they could be done better and for less.

We can’t say if MHARR will expand after their November 2017 meeting. But they have publicly supported the need for a third association that truly represents the “post-production” sector of MH – meaning others besides factory home builders.

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There was some movement by a few groups to do a true association, they’ve never come to pass.

It would be very profitable for the industry to do so.  Ironically, it could benefit the big players over time too. Because monopolies tend historically to fail over time, and harm many along the way to failure.

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Note, quoting someone on a topic should not be construed to imply we agree on all topics. That said, the above by George Allen on his own blog was interesting.

The industry is growing faster beyond Clayton and Cavco, their own statistics prove it.

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It’s time for the break up, since MHI has declined offers to reform itself.

Industry Pros Question the Effectiveness of National Association – Bob Crawford and Frank Rolfe from ManufacturedHome-ModularHomeNews on Vimeo.

 

NewManufacturedHousing1trillion9PercentNew1percentExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsFinally, we will continue to spotlight politics, because it routinely impacts our industry in clear or subtle ways. I know some question our support for the president and his agenda. We appreciate the candid feedback from those who see that topic differently.

While the GOP – as an independent, I’m not a member of that or any other political party – may be gripped by its identity crisis, the Trump wing is gaining ground.  As odd as it sounds, the victory of Roy Moore over Luther Strange in the Alabama Senate primary proves that to be true.

The RINOs – perhaps better known as the “Establishment” Republicans – will, if this pattern continues, fade from the scene over time.

Americans are seeking to take back their country.

Manufactured housing professionals want to take back their industry.

The two go hand in hand.  That’s why we supported Donald J. Trump when MHI put two pro-Clinton speakers on their stage just days before the election last November.

Manufactured Home Industry Leaders Praise MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

The hypocrisy and the game playing, the masks and deception are coming to an end.

When their allegedly manipulative music stops, watch a growing number of industry pros exit MHI.  They won’t want to be associated with that crew.

In the meantime, we’ll be spotlighting the issues that can help industry professionals and investors maximize their returns and success.

Read the news and commentary.  Consider what it means to you.  Then, think about how you and your location and organization can benefit by applying the insights you find here on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews.

You don’t have to spend a dime with us to do that, do you?

Of course, for those who see the value of what we do, it is common sense to support our efforts.  Because no other organization in the history of the industry has produced more pro-industry insights and defended the industry more than MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

We are only able to do so thanks to sponsors and client support.

Allegations, Reality and the Future

The powers that be have already lost, they may not realize it yet.  The momentum has shifted.

With the masks, and smoke screens falling and blowing away, the industry can grow at a pace it has only dreamed about for years.

We and select clients know how that is done.  Its profitable, and done at the local level.

Think about why MHI has turned us down time and again, and failed to respond time and again.  Think about why – on an issue as simple as Pam Danner being exited from her role in the manufactured housing program office at HUD – they won’t take a public stand for doing that, even when a growing number of their own members want that to take place.

Yes, we think the days of MHI and their masters as it has existed are about over.  Oh, they’ll continue on in some form or fashion, because Berkshire Hathaway and their allies need an organ like MHI.

But for the majority of members, aren’t you feeding the hand that bites yours?  ## (Commentary, analysis, news.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachMHLivingNewsMHProNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryPublisherMarketingSalesTrainerConsultant-

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.