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Prosperity Now, Protests, Indivisible Project, Warren Buffett, George Soros, POTUS Donald Trump, MHAction and Manufactured Housing – Following the Money

November 9th, 2018 No comments

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Prosperity Now. MHAction. Indivisible Project. Billionaires George Soros and Warren Buffett. Each of those are all interconnected. Each of those are involved in protests against manufactured home businesses, President Donald J. Trump, and his supporters.

 

Who says?

Let’s follow the facts, evidence, and the money trail.

1)    The billionaire George Soros funded “…Open Society funds are only a small percentage of Tides‘ total…” budget, says the Tide Foundation’s own website.  It’s in a post by Tides on their own website entitled “Why does the right hate Soros?

Rephrased, the self-proclaimed progressive Tides Foundation admits the connection between Soros, the Open Society and George Soros.

2)    As MHProNews and MHLivingNews have previously reported, the Tides Foundation also has major funding via other foundations by Warren Buffett.

Buffett, as focused manufactured home industry pros and observers know, is Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns giant Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, 21st Mortgage, Shaw Carpeting, and other firms that are in or supply housing and factory-builders. Berkshire is widely seen as the dominating force behind the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Thousands of industry professionals were no doubt surprised that Buffett’s money flowed through Tides to anti-manufactured home community protesters, MHAction.

Manufactured Home Resident Group President Cautions Against MHAction, Surprising Background Reveal to Manufactured Housing Action

 

ICYMI, or want to refresh your mind, see two of those reports documenting ties between Tides, Buffett and MHAction, see the above and below.

 

Expose! Why Has Warren Buffett/BH Funded Anti-MHC Activists, MHAction? Why Fund Attacks on ELS, Frank Rolfe, Blackstone Group?

 

  1. Thanks to Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage Corp, There’s More…

We believe in giving credit where it is due, whenever possible.

Tim Williams, the prior MHI Chairman, and the 21st Mortgage Corp president and CEO, mentioned something a couple of years ago in a conversation with me that will connect to this picture.  We’ll spotlight that tie-in to this follow-the-facts, evidence and money report in the days ahead.

But my hunch is that when he reads this – and our sources say that he will – Tim just may recall what we’re teasing as the next shoe to drop for the MH Berkshire brands, MHI, et al.

Tim, thanks again.  In hindsight, that was a very insightful conversation.  Thank God for the gift of memory, right?

While some can’t be roused by anything, for others that report will be an earthquake for many in MHVille. We hope to have it in time for Thanksgiving. If you aren’t yet on our email list, you can sign up at the link shown on the banner.

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To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

Moving on now to the balance of the headline topic.

 

  1. Influence Watch, and The Indivisible Project, Soros and Buffett

Influence Watch is one of several organizations that track the often befuddling trail between various non-profits, foundations, and deep pockets like billionaires Buffett and Soros. Here’s what their research reveals.

The Indivisible Project (or Indivisible) is a left-of-center 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., and created in late 2016 as a response to the election of President Donald Trump. The Indivisible Project was established to provide liberals a practical guide about “Resisting the Trump Agenda.” [1] Despite connections to elite donors, Indivisible claims to be a grassroots movement. The organization was founded by two left-wing activists with congressional experience and ties to the left-of-center economic policy advocacy group Prosperity Now.[2] According to a spokesperson within the organization, Indivisible’s goal for 2018 is to replace all elected officials who don’t reflect their views with “diverse, progressive, local leaders.”[3] [4] Indivisible claims to represent over 5,800 groups and has a website that has been viewed over 18 million times.[5]

I can almost hear the sweat rolling off a few foreheads in Knoxville, Arlington, and Washington, D.C. based Prosperity Now. Some industry friends and colleagues of mine should also take notice of this too, because they know where these dot-connections are leading.

Here’s what they say about funding.

 

  1. Indivisible Financial Overview

Indivisible has published the nonprofit’s revenue from both its 501(c)(3) Indivisible Civics, and 501(c)(4) Indivisible Project for 2017.[9] In 2017, Indivisible raised “a total of $7.5 million,” with “$2.8 million” through the 501(c)(3) and “$4.7 million” through the 501(c)(4). Over the course of 2017, Indivisible was fiscally sponsored by the Tides Foundation and the Advocacy Fund (a Tides affiliate) until it “was granted 501(c)(4) status from the IRS” during the tax year.[10]

Of Indivisible’s 2017 revenue, 35 percent was raised through small dollar donations, and 65 percent was received through major gifts and foundation grants. [11] Of the $7.5 million raised, $3.4 million was spent on organization expenses,” according to Influence Watch.

 

  1. Founders of Indivisible

Established by left-wing activists Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg in December 2016, Indivisible was originally organized as a movement along the lines of the conservative Tea Party opposition to President Barack Obama’s administration. [6] To that end, Levin and Greenberg’s first project was a 26-page political organizing manual entitled “A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. The manual highlighted the best methods to “beat back” President Trump and defeat the new conservative majority in Congress.[7]Since that original document was distributed, the movement has evolved into an effort to disrupt civil discourse and “sustain a powerful progressive movement.”[8]

Keep in mind that Prosperity Now is pro-manufactured housing, progressive operation, but is also favorable to issues like rent-control and has taken other problematic positions.  Prosperity Now used to be known as CFED. More on them in the days ahead.

 

  1. What Kevin Clayton said…

Now, with the above in mind, you see:

  • Non-profits
  • Foundations
  • Deep-pocket billionaires, including George Soros and Kevin Clayton’s boss, Warren Buffett.

 

With the above in mind, circle back to that video of Kevin Clayton in Smoking Gun 3.  Recall how Kevin was virtually gushing in that video about Clayton working with foundations and nonprofits?

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

 

Is the bigger picture coming into focus?

 

Facts & Analysis – Senator Elizabeth Warren re: Manufactured Housing Institute Memo to MHI Members, 10-3-2018

Now, keep in mind that companies associated with MHI, including but not limited to, Clayton and Cavco, are under various kinds of federal investigations.

 

Cavco Chairman Joseph H. Stegmayer Steps Down Under SEC Cloud, “Personal, Confidential” SEC Document, Cavco Industries’ Statement

 

News of Cavco’s SEC woes just broke this week.  But MHProNews has been reporting for some years about Clayton-Berkshire related federal investigations. Certainly, people are innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty.  That said, when there is smoke, is there a fire?

 

Much, Not All

The manufactured housing industry has been gamed by a rigged system for years.  Our industry once had hundreds of manufacturers, and literally tens of thousands of independent retailers. Some of those vanished due to natural events.  But others have arguably fallen due to unjust manipulation of regulatory, capital, political and other forces.

It is now becoming clear that protesters are just part of a broader plan. We’re political independents, and we strongly assert that most of the Democrats or MHI members that we personally know are fine people.  But they have often been mislead into believing certain things harmful to their interests.  A decade ago, the same could be said about swaths of the GOP too.

President of the United States (POTUS) Donald J. Trump is disrupting the rigged system.  That’s why elites in both major parties opposed him tooth and nail.  He is arguably taking the Republican Party, and turning it into a small-to-midsized business, white and blue collar workers party. He’s taken elements from both major parties, and is blending it into something new.

That’s a threat to everything that billionaires who control the Democratic party stand for, because the rigged system has purportedly made them billions of dollars. That’s why the invest so heavily in it.

We’re all for bipartisanship, and working with people of all backgrounds. But that starts with facts and evidence. If you or anyone you know can find any factual errors in the above, by all means, let us know.

 

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For feedback or to report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

Or if you have your own tips and stories to share, you can contact us via the link above, or my contact information below.  See the related reports, with one more to be posted late today, further below. That’s “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, Commentary, analysis. – Notice, the right to share this unedited, with a link back and proper credit, is hereby granted).

(See Related Reports, further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquoteBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – 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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Related References:

Divisions in America, and Manufactured Housing – Reality Check 1 – 11.9.2018

 

#DeFangBM

 

 

Principle of ‘The Lesser of Two Evils,’ and MHVille’s Future

September 11th, 2018 No comments

 

NationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssocLogoMHActionLogoMastheadManufacturedHomeCommentaryMHProNews600x315

There’s a simple but profoundly useful concept taught be ancient to modern thinkers who ponder business, ethical, moral, political or other issues.

 

It’s called the principle of ‘the lesser of two evils.’

It’s simple.  When confronted with a choice, neither of which is perfect, by definition each is a some level of ‘evil’ or imperfection. Which choice does the thoughtful person make?

Morally or logically, the lessor of the two imperfect or ‘evil’ choices.

1)    The featured image above, are MHAction and the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA). Both of those groups purport to be working on behalf of the interests of the owners of pre-HUD Code mobile home owners, as well as the millions of owners of manufactured homes.

2)    There are currently two, and an emerging third, national trade association.  There is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). They each have a different mission statement, with MHI claiming to represent both production and post-production interests, and MHARR plainly stating that they work for the interests of mitigating regulatory issues that face independent producers of manufactured homes.

3)    There are two major political parties. As almost any American adult in the U.S. would know, there are Democrats and there are Republicans (a.k.a., the Grand Old Party or GOP).  Each major party, plus minor parties like Libertarians, advance their candidates for local, state or national offices.

4)    For fun and fairness, we could point to ourselves as trade publishers, and say the same thing. Compare what we do, with what any other remaining or new trade publisher does in manufactured housing.  Who brings you pablum, platitudes, or thinly veiled promotions vs. who brings you news, facts, analysis, and commentary that can be used to navigate the waters that businesses, professionals, and investors face?

Note none of the above – including ourselves – are perfect. By definition, any lack of perfection in philosophical jargon is some degree of ‘evil,’ not pure evil, but an imperfection.

Between imperfect choices, which choices from the above will people make?

 

Decisions, Decisions…

Elections are about choices.  Decisions. On a practical level,

  • one votes for a Democrat,
  • a Republican or other party, or
  • one doesn’t vote at all.

Those who don’t vote, have ‘voted’ not to participate, and have thus yielded to those who do.  The resident groups are right about this.  Their power is at the ballot box.  Just ask long-time industry professionals in states like CA or Delaware – not to mention a number of other states in between the east and west coasts – and they’ll tell you that resident groups have caused bills at the local and state level to pass that include measures such as rent control or “rent justification.”

The industry often opposes these.

Resident groups are engaged at the state level by a number of state associations. MHI and MHARR have engaged at various times and ways with NMHOA, though on differing topics. MHARR is not directly involved in community issues, but they do promote a robust entry by the GSEs into manufactured home lending, as one of several topics that are important to communities, retailers, and thus producers.

 

With the Table Set Above…

There are good reasons to believe this the upcoming midterm election could be the biggest in years, perhaps, in a generation or more.

Rob Weymouth, has been claimed as a member by the leadership of Delaware Manufactured Home Owner Association (DMHOA), which affiliates with both NMHOA and MHAction.

Weymouth, perhaps not realizing his illogical argument, in several letters to the editor in his area, has written arguing that Democrats needed to be elected, even though he admits in his own column, that the Democrats who passed a rent-control bill was “useless” to manufactured home owners.  Useless legislation, but vote for those that passed it?

MH Communities, Owners, MH Independents Alert – NMHOA and MHAction Next Steps? – Part 1

That said, Weymouth is urging manufactured homeowners to vote Democratic.

Tim Sheahan, is the president of the NMHOA. He had a lengthy submission to the FHFA on the topic of the Duty to Serve (DTS) by Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In it, he made several interesting points, which wittingly or not, he later logically contradicted.  See the report, linked below for specifics.

Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President, Controversial Points of Agreement with Marty Lavin, George Allen on Communities

The tactics and positions taken by NMHOA or MHAction tend to align more with Democratic than Republican politics.  If they see that differently, they’re leadership is welcome to send me a letter to the editor to clear up any confusion on that point.  But so far, what’s been communicated privately and publicly led us to that conclusion.

Let me be clear.  The analysis we’ve done are not put-downs to Weymouth or Sheahan. Manufactured home residents deserve respect.  There are few in the industry who’ve done more to lift up the image of manufactured home owners, as what we’ve done on MHLivingNews.com. For years, we’ve spotlighted morality tales of what not to do, when we publish articles about businesses that have gotten in legal hot water for wronging one or more residents.

So, the purpose of public discourse – there’s, our’s or other’s ideas – is to advance concepts.  Those visions ought to be examined and tested logically, using our God-given common-sense.

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No formal training in logic or debate is needed to analyze someone’s perspective.  What is needed, is objectivity and common-sense.  What’s helpful is applying simple principles, like the lesser of two evils.

For some time, MHProNews has systematically examined numerous issues that impact manufactured housing and manufactured home owners.  It has led up to this moment.

 

What’s the best way to advance the interests of manufactured home owners and businesses alike?

Let’s keep it simple.  Some respond to emotional appeals.  Set aside pure emotions, which can be manipulated.  As Poverty Inc demonstrated, what sounds big hearted can in fact be harmful to the very people that people of good will intend to help.

Let’s give NMHOA and MHAction the benefit of the doubt for now.  Let’s say, for discussion’s sake, that they want the best interest of hundreds of their members or millions of MH residents.  Let’s further say they aren’t working – as MHAction’s ties suggest – for the interests of billionaires like George Soros.

If that is so, then who is doing more for manufactured home residents?  Is it Democrats, as Weymouth and his DMHOA leadership think?  Or is it the emerging new GOP, under President Donald J. Trump?

 

Compare – and Decide

What precisely did the administration of President Barack H. Obama do for MH residents during his 8 years in office?

Compare that to what the President of the United States (POTUS) Donald J. Trump has already done to raise millions of more people out of poverty?  Think about how in 20 months millions are off of food stamps, have new jobs with higher pay, have lower utility bills, more take home pay, and more.  Better paying jobs that President Obama said would never come back, are back under President Trump.  Set aside style or tweets, etc, and look at results.  Considered objectively, isn’t it an easy comparison between Mr. Obama and POTUS Trump?

Former President Obama, unable to stand on his actual record, is now back on the campaign trail.  He’s trying to imply or claim in recent days that the increasingly booming economy is due to his policies.  That’s easily debunked nonsense. Coal, manufacturing, and other jobs that Mr. Obama said would never come back, are under President Trump’s pro-growth policies.

The fact that Mr. Obama even feels the need to make such obviously false claims should speak volumes.  Don’t let the supposedly soaring rhetoric carry your colleagues off.  Because a growing number of the former 44th president’s supporters left him for the Trump movement.

In fact, about 1/3 of the counties that candidate Obama won, where won years later by candidate Donald J. Trump.

Under President Obama, starting with his first midterms, Democrats lost a net of some 1,000 seats at the federal, state and local levels.

Keep in mind, that President Trump, much like the late President Ronald Reagan, is a former Democrat. That fact caused concerns for many in the GOP power structure.

President Trump has been:

  • good for job creation ,
  • Blue collar workers,
  • Good for minorities,
  • Good for women,
  • has reduced the numbers on public assistance,
  • has boosted investments in American businesses, which is good for owners, investors, and professionals.
  • It is those investors that could – under the right policies – begin building more communities that could rebalance the supply-demand equation for manufactured home community residents.

Here’s the bottom line.  Democratic policies since the Great Society some 50 years ago, spent over $22 trillion dollars until 2014, with no appreciable difference in poverty rates.

UCDavisUnitedStatesPovertyRateSince1959to2015DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

The principles of Poverty, Inc – applied to the U.S. – will tell us that what’s needed is to clear the path for small businesses to open, operate and do business that lift people out of poverty and create opportunities.

Acclaimed Poverty Inc. Video, MHVille – Why Left & Right Should Listen, Learn From Each Other

Superficial thinking has arguably gotten:

  • manufactured housing professionals by the thousands, and
  • manufactured home owners by the hundreds of thousands,
  • both into less than ideal or even problematic positions.

It will take clear thinking, facts, and evidence to correct what’s gone wrong in manufactured housing.

MHARR, outspent by some 7 to 1 by MHI, has routinely picked the correct positions time and again on issues that face the industry.  By contrast, MHI has repeatedly taken positions that they claim are good for many, but in fact work for the interests of a few ‘consolidators’ of smaller businesses.

FEDs, MHI, Buffett’s Berkshire’s Clayton Homes Moat, Affordable Housing, and Billion$ in Manufactured Home Market Manipulation

It is hard to find something good to say (sorry) about the public positions and actions of MHAction.  There is clear overlap between MHAction and NMHOA.  That said, both NMHOA and MHAction, along with their state affiliates need to be engaged, as some professional associations have tried.  But it is resident group’s thinking that must be engaged, analyzed and put on display, as we have in articles linked from this column, above and below.

Ishbel Dickens said she was open to a public discussion debate of the issues with me, but never actually did so.  We’ve more recently made a similar invitation to NMHOA and MHAction’s current leaders.  We’ll see what they do, but so far, there’s no one jumping at the chance.  Why not?  Do they lack confidence in their positions?

If they are not willing to defend their positions, perhaps they should consider changing them?  In fact, that’s the purpose of analysis and debate. To discern through testing what’s true, what’s not, so that people can make the best decisions moving ahead.

The answer for residents is demonstrably not rent control,  Nor is it Democratic policies.  Frankly, it isn’t purely Republican policies that will fix things either.  As an independent, President Donald Trump’s policies – which blend elements from both major parties – are what could prove to be the path ahead.

MHARR’s president and former president said as much.  See the video, below.

Looking back, isn’t it clear that they were right?

Life is full of decisions, as we all know.  It often comes down to two imperfect options.  Pick the better of the two, which the ancients called the principle of the lesser of two evils. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy 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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Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

 

Related References:

Racism – Getting Increasing Prosperity, Stability, Safety, and Certainty

Life, Liberty, Property – Supreme Court – and Manufactured Housing

Cong Keith Ellison, Others Accuse Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lenders, MHI of Monopolistic, Racism, Steering, Predatory Lending, and More

September 11th, 2017 No comments

When testifying in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Kevin Clayton, CEO of Maryville, Tenn.-based Clayton Homes and head of the Manufactured Housing Institute…” – HousingWire.

Mobile home [sic] loans and borrowers are different. Clayton Homes dominates the industry. Clayton charges borrowers of color a lot more. Clayton targets borrowers of color and steers them into…” National Consumer Law Center.

OpenMindCiteSourcesFromAcrossTheSpectrumMHProNews

American Banker, Seattle Times, BuzzFeed News

RacialJusticeEqualEconomicOpportunityProjectNationalConsumerLawCenterKeithEllisonD-MN5DanielWagnerBuzzfeedMikeBakerSeattleTimesDiscrminationMHProNews

Notice: Independent Thinkers can consider points and evidence from across the economic and political spectrum. To see the report this screen capture was taken from, click here or the image above.

…These are just some of the operations that have identified the third rail in the manufactured housing industry’s economic and political landscape.

ThirdRailPoliticsDefinedMHProNewsBerkshire Hathaway (BH) Owned Clayton Homes dominates the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Isn’t that evident by…?

  • Third party media analysis (examples, from both right and left wing media)
  • The fact that 2 out of 4 of the MHI Executive Committee seats are held by Clayton Homes’ Tom Hodges and 21st Mortgage, Tim Williams,
  • The third seat is held by a former Clayton Homes division president, Joe Stegmayer, now Chairman of Cavco Industries, and
  • Howard Walker, ELS which uses BH lending and other BH connected products and services?
MHIannouncestheirnewExecutiveCommitteeboardmembersAward-WinnerscreditMHIlegal500mhpronewslinkedin-postedtoDailybusinessnews-

Some of the photos above are by MHI, or 21st, BH companies, and are provided under fair use guidelines.

Clayton Homes and its sister operations have been charged by several third parties with racism, steering, and predatory lending.

  • It’s 9.11. 9/11/2001 was like a wake-up call, but it also brought the nation together.
  • Texas and Louisiana have just endured Hurricane Harvey.
  • Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have, are or soon will be feeling the impact of Irma.
  • We have a builder/businessman in the White House.
  • President Donald J. Trump has prefab housing interests.
  • Vice President Mike Pence understands and respects manufactured housing, perhaps better than any VP in history.
CampaignForAccountabiltyClaytonHomesLogoBerkshireHathawayVanderbiltMortgageRacismSteeringPredatoryLendingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews720x403-575x322

Each of those lodging allegations discussion on this page are reported in the Daily Business News post, click image above.

The president’s agenda is pro-business, pro-growth, American Business and American Workers First.

IamGoingToLowerYourTaxesEliminateEveryUnnecessaryRegulationUNleashAmericanEnergyPlacingAmericanBusinessandWorkersFirstDonaldJTrumpNationalViewsMastheadMHProNews

The president has shown by his actions that he is implementing his campaign promises.  The DC Swamp is Fighting Back.

That Swamp is perhaps best defined as the intersection of Big Business, Big Lobby, and Big Government.

The Above Is Like an Executive Summary,

The Below are Some Details, Facts, Allegations, Concerns – What It Means to Manufactured Housing, and

Potential Next Steps

 

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world” – Matthew Kelly

Skim at your own risk.

Open your mind, and consider the following objectively, without passion, habit, or emotion.

While some of those claims by parties outside of manufactured housing could be nuanced, questioned or debunked, the persistence of the allegations above and below by third parties are significant. We’ll note right now that our raising this issue as a pro-industry trade publisher, and citing these topics from these sources, doesn’t mean we endorse everything these parties are stating or alleging.

Rather, we’re doing what every good trade media does in other industries. We report the good, the bad and the problematic.

There is no way to solve a problem if you don’t first identify it, analyze the options, and then begin to work to solve those identified issues.

TheSystemIsRiggedHUDRossKinzlerDonaldTyeJrFederalOfficialDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Thanks to our sponsors, team and supporters, we bring day-by-day the Manufactured Home Industry’s “News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.”  It’s all about team work.  While the commentary is that of our organization, we must in gratitude in turn thanks those:

  • Sources,
  • Supporters,
  • Sponsors,
  • Service users of our operation,
  • That make our work possible. We could not do this alone.  We don’t operate in a vacuum.

We salute those who support us, and our thousands of readers should use their products and services at every opportunity.

USRepMaxineWaterEmanuelCleaverKeithEllisonMikeCapuanoMastheadDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

These Democratic lawmakers have raised the issue of racism with respect to the companies that dominate MHI. MHProNews is the first in the Industry to notify industry readers that the Center for Accountability, about two weeks ago, put out a press release that they are pursuing this racism, steering and predatory lending issue. MHProNews asked MHI’s leadership about this, asking them to reject racism. After several days, they have not yet done so. Now, MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch admits that Rep. Ellison is opposing the MHI Preserving Access bill. Will any thinking person be surprised if Ellison, the CfA or others accuse MHI’s leadership of racism?

Congressman Ellison and others pushing DOJ and CFPB Investigations

MHProNews documented in the reports linked that third parties are pushing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and/or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to release findings about Berkshire Hathaway operations on the issues of racism, steering and predatory lending.

What is not entirely clear is the degree to which anti-trust allegations may be part of DOJ or other investigations.

While we have sources in and close to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Those sources state they are carefully monitoring all that we publish.

To our knowledge at this moment, MHI and the Berkshire Hathaway (BH) brands have not responded to these issues raised last month or previously.

Why not?

Allegations, Allegations – Facts, Figures and The Record

We’re told that MHI and the BH brands have attorneys that go over our articles and posts, looking for ways to shut MHProNews and MHLivingNews down.  Why? Are they trying to control the narrative? So that only their voice is left?

We have sources that have told us that they’ve directly and/or indirectly pressured our advertisers and sponsors.

We’ll layout those concerns and allegations above and below. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

The Third Rail in Manufactured Housing

There is a reputed third rail in manufactured housing.

BH has so much influence – some believe – they industry professionals and companies are economically fearful of standing up to them.

But thanks to some courageous, wise, committed, sponsors and supporters – we’ve been able to carry on.

That should not be construed to mean that those sponsors agree with each and everything we do.  We don’t ask some’s permission to publish or produce. We have quiet advice from a variety of sources. But we make our own decisions, based upon the facts, input as we see them and experience.

We strive day-by-day to act in what we believe the facts and experience reveals are the root issues that hold manufactured housing back from doing 5 to 10 times more business annually than the industry currently does.

We’ve said for years.  If RVs are outselling Manufactured Housing by some 5 to 1, why can’t almost every honest retailer, every ethical community operator be selling about 5 or more times the number of homes that they do?  RVs are a luxury for most, while manufactured homes are one of the necessities of life.

 

TanstaflThereIsNoSuchThingAsAFreeLunchProtectLifeLibertyPropertyRevDonaldTyeJrLATonyKovach

Click the image above to read the post this joint statement of opportunity and hope that this graphic comes from.

MHI and Surrogates

Suzanne Felber and George Allen have and are said to be receiving promotional benefits from MHI, and/or certain forms of work from MHI and/or Berkshire Hathaway (BH) companies.

SuzanneFelberFrankRolfeRichardADickJennisonAmericanHousingAdvocatesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews600

Notice, we will be circling back this weekend to post missing links and additional information for this report.

Is it a coincidence that Felber’s site fawns over Jennison, HUD’s Pam Danner, Clayton Homes, and MHI?

Allen’s situation is perhaps more complex, as the emailed discussion linked here reflects.

GeorgeAllenDownBy100MHIFlyInDownby60ilyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notice, we will be circling back this weekend to post missing links and additional information for this report.

What is clear is that Allen periodically lashes out via email and/via his blog, etc. against this writer and MHProNews with unsubstantiated claims, designed to dissuade his followers from putting stock in MHARR, this writer, or the MHProNews trade media.

Why?

Allen – by accident, design, hubris, envy or some combination – thus provides de facto ‘cover’ to MHI and the BH brands.

That cover comes from the one person – Allen – who made a serious claim at starting a post-production association. But after a number of years have gone by, his COBA7 is not a formal association at all. Emails between members of COBA7 provided to MHProNews by their own followers suggest they are unsure what to do about MHI or how to best advance the industry.

It wasn’t always so with Allen, as the screen captures and weekend email exchange attached reflects.

At a minimum, we’d allege that Allen’s not been consistent.

At a minimum, Allen’s failed to follow the logic of what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and others have pointed out.  That doesn’t mean he should be condemned to perdition’s flames. I’ve said many times, if Allen’s followers didn’t see some value to his work, then he’d have no audience.

But is the main value Allen brings his networking meetings?  And given the steep decline in his meeting attendance since we were involved in cross-promotion with him, is Allen’s influence rising, or fading?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

By citing Allen, Felber or whomever, that should not be construed as a blanket endorsement. We are pointing to specific facts, statements or claims made. Links will be added, likely this wekened. Please check back.

MHARR, MHI, and MHProNews

While MHARR and MHProNews have some overlapping interests, each organization is a distinct and independent operation.

Allen wrongfully conflates MHARR and MHI’s respective missions. We’ve covered that before, so won’t belabor that today.

For several years before MHARR used MHProNews for some modest ads, this writer was periodically taking MHARR positions at MHI meetings.  We as trade publishers did so when we felt MHARR was correct.  I personally did that privately and in public, both before and after my being elected by my peers as a board member of the MHI Suppliers Division.

MHI knew exactly who I was – a goal and solution oriented, pragmatic idealistic – because I don’t keep that secret. It’s part of every email MHProNews sends out.

obstacles-are-those-frightful-things-you-see-when-you-take-your-eyes-off-the-goal- henry-ford-inspiration-(c)lifestyle-factory-homes-llc-posted-mhpronews.

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

A search of our articles going back in time will reflect the reality that we supported MHI on some topics, MHARR on others.

MHI's New CEO, Dick Jennison

This was one of the photos taken by MHProNews, a behind-the-camera, behind the scenes effort some years ago to get MHI and MHARR to work more closely together. Richard Dick Jennison, left, Mark Weiss, right. Weiss is now MHARR, President and CEO.

It should also be noted that at one point in time, perhaps naively believing that MHI and MHARR could be ‘reconciled,’ we attempted to do just that when Dick Jennison came on board as MHI’s president.  There are a number of industry pros, beyond

  • Dick Jennison,
  • Rick Robinson,
  • Mark Weiss,
  • Danny Ghorbani,
  • Joe Stegmayer,
  • Dennis Hill,

and numerous others who know this to be true.

It should be noted that MHProNews always took editorially the view our parent company’s management – Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC – dba/MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com, et al – believed was in the best interest of the industry, based upon then available information.

 

They can’t have it both ways.

We Operate by the Same Principles Now as Then.

Some of those stands were controversial, as Financial Services Chairman Dick Ernst said in the video above.   But as he also said, it’s because of our desire to bring the industry together in a cohesive way.

Cohesion – peace and cooperation – are only possible among those of good will.

After years of efforts, often behind the scenes, we came to the painful conclusion that MHI staff did not want peace with MHARR.

We also came to the painful conclusion that MHI allegedly wanted to so dominate MHARR, and if possible,

  • buy out,
  • draw in as members of MHI, and/or
  • force out of business each MHARR member, and thus silence MHARR for good.

As new facts or insights emerged, we as trade publishers tried to adapt to those insights. We had inside and other sources at MHI that gave us some tips and insights as to what was coming. Some of those insights were about plans, months or years in advance of their being enacted.

Finance, Monopolistic Actions, and Duty to Serve (DTS)

It’s clear in hindsight that on a subject such as the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing lending by the GSEs, that my view previous view on accepting MHI’s stated support for the same was naive.

MonopoliesTrustsAntiCompetitiveMarketsCrashCourseDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogo-575x333

Still from the video on the page linked above.

Naïve.

We have since carefully laid out our concerns and allegations that while

  • MHI staff stated their desire to want DTS to become reality, in fact,
  • Tim Williams/21st Mortgage,
  • as well as Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance,

have practically foiled those efforts at a robust chattel DTS program or pilot.

How did they do it, one might ask?  A fair question.  Here’s how.

21st and VMF did so by not providing the data that the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs or Enterprises) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as their sources say, needed to responsibly enter into the chattel market in a spirited fashion.

ElephantAssGSEFannieFreddieFHFAPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Collage credit, MHProNews, logos are those of their respective organization, and are shown here under fair use guidelines.,/i>

There are other factors too, this document can’t be all encompassing.  But we previously documented with comments from experts such as Titus Dare, Marty Lavin and others.

Anyone can go to

  • Industry Voices,
  • the Daily Business News (DBN),
  • Industry in Focus Reports, prior
  • Masthead blog posts,
  • or previous featured articles and interviews,

and you’ll see that step-by-step, for years, we’ve laid the foundation for what we are stating today.

ThanksTonyDoWhatYouFeelIsRightBerkshireHathaway-F-ckEm-MHProNewsNMHOA and MHAction

We have often taken NMHOA or MHAction to task, and still do for supporting rent control or other efforts that are arguably harmful to their own claimed followers.

We think rent control may be well intentioned, but fails to accomplish the goal it desires.  We’ve cited

  • Paul Bradley of ROC USA,
  • Sam Landy, JD, of UMH Properties,
  • Sheila Dey, JD, of the WMA

and numerous others in pointing out the weakness of the concept of rent control. It harms business, affordable housing in general, and manufactured home communities and residents in particular.

But on the narrow subject of DTS and monopolistic practices by MHI and BH units, there may be common ground possible between industry professionals and those consumer-focused groups.

That said, we continue to call on NMHOA and MHAction to revisit and reject their own mistaken support for rent control, and other actions that harm the very people they claim to want to benefit.

We’ve invited public debates

  • with those ‘consumer groups,’
  • with MHI,
  • and MHI’s de facto surrogates to debate the issues by video.

While NMHOA has not yet accepted that invitation, to their credit, Isbhel Dickens at least acknowledged in writing their willingness to consider that kind of direct engagement.

By contrast, MHI and their surrogates have not accepted that offer on any level.

If they were right, why do they duck a public debate?

DuckDodgeDismissDistractDetractDefameFromIssueTacticsByThoseWithNoGoodAnswersMHProNews

Duck. Dodge. Distract. Detract. Delay. Deny. Demean. Defame. Destroy.

When you see an indirect, semi-public or no reply by MHI, BH and their surrogates, think about those 9 deadly Ds.

When you see or hear about efforts by MHI, BH, or their surrogates to

  • defame,
  • marginalize,
  • starve out,
  • or destroy MHProNews and MHLivingNews, you have to ask yourself, why?

Why has MHI not taken on the issues that we’ve raised, until the last few months, and then, only in an arguably weak or even counterproductive fashion?

When you see MHI, BH and their surrogates try to

  • buy out competitors,
  • harm competitors through heavy regulations,
  • feint an argument for X, when their powers that be are doing the opposite,

or try to pressure MHARR members into becoming MHI members, you have to ask yourself, why?

regulatory-compliance-costs-for-manufacturers-source-national-assoc-manufacturers-posted-masthead-mhpronews0-com-_001

MHI and MHARR Independent HUD Code Producers

In my enthusiasm to debunk the Atlantic and IBIS World, several years ago, I missed their powerful point that was hiding in plain sight.

AmericasFastestDyingBusinessMobileHomesManufacturedHomesAtlanticIBISWorldDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews

Their headline claimed that manufactured housing was a dying industry.  We strived to debunk that claim, and I’d stand by that to this day.

IBISWorldAtlanticManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsMHProNews

But I missed the nuance necessary for the point they made about Clayton dominating MH retail.

MHProNews has had independent MHI and MHARR members alike tell me that while they may not officially be up for sale, for the right price and terms, they’d sell.

AnotherClaytonAquisitionLoomsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsReportsResearchMHProNews

Clayton logo is their property, and is shown here with a collage by MHProNews, under fair use guidelines.

MHProNews has had independent MHI and MHARR members alike tell me that the biggest thing that holds them back having enough independent retailers to distribute and sell their products.

MHProNews has had state association executives tell me that several of their independents are undercapitalized.

MHProNews has had independent community owners and retailers tell us that there’s just too many issues to navigate.

They sell out or close down.

Wasn’t The Atlantic was right about that point?

What the Atlantic and others may or may not understand is just how the industry got to this point.  That will be laid out in future reports, stay tuned.

We will also circle back, perhaps this weekend, and hot link the various bullets and allegations noted in this document.  Stay tuned.

A “Brilliant” BH Strategy to Dominate Manufactured Housing, While Avoiding the ?

Look carefully and objectively at what Cong. Ellison and his colleagues PowerPoint on racism, lending and monopolistic practices.

Look carefully at what we’ve been publishing on MHProNews for months and years.

While we’ve worked independently of each other, there are several points in common.  Coincidence?


BH’s Clayton’s willingness to buy from independents, or to use Triad Financial, or Credit Human (formerly San Antonio Credit Union) or other lending sources and suppliers, those were arguably shrewd moves in a strategic and tactical sense.

  • First, it undermined the claim of monopoly. After all, how can you be a monopoly if you are buying from a competitor? That gives them some cover with DOJ or the FTC.
  • Next, by failing to succeed at passing Preserving Access, or
  • Third, by failing to succeed at getting HUD, or DOE or others that could be cited to relent in some regulatory overreach, they were indirectly allowing pressure on the independent producers and the independent retailers. That too is useful to give them cover with DOJ or the FTC.
  • But one reason why – primarily, but not solely via MHI and their surrogates – by trying to marginalize, silence, buyout, or crush MHProNews and MHLivingNews – weren’t they trying to control the industry’s narrative?
  • To the degree that they control the industry’s narrative, aren’t they trying to create an information monopoly?
  • By controlling the information – the inner industry dialogue – aren’t they trying to avoid the very kind of analysis and fact checks that MHARR and MHProNews produce?

Why won’t MHI release their own bylaws?  We’re told that isn’t even legal, but they’ve still done it.

Why does MHI have inaccurate consumer information?  The last we checked, they’ve not corrected it.

DougGormanHomeMartMHILogoAwardWinnerManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchDataReportsMHProNews

Yes, the industry is growing, and we should be happy about it, but we should be unhappy with how low the total sales volume is at a retail center, a community and the industry at large. When you look at the bulk of the mainstream media accounts, isn’t Tom Fath correct? Isn’t the industry under attack? Where is MHI’s defense of the industry? 

Why did MHI try to keep us from doing certain interviews or attend certain public addresses by elected or appointed officials?  That – per attorneys we’ve spoken with – raise a variety of legal and constitutional issues.

Isn’t it arguable that these moves are designed to choke off competition, including competing news and commentary?

 

Isn’t the Truth Hiding in Plain Sight?

Isn’t Warren Buffett precisely what Tim Williams/21st/MHI Chair arguing against in this exclusive report?  Every slide was provided by Williams and/or a source at MHI.

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.

Mighty MHARR?

MHARR has a tiny fraction of the MHI budget, but they are consistently correct on the issues.  Frankly, the only things they’ve missed, IMHO, are fairly nuanced areas, more a matter of style than substance.

If MHARR can be correct on issue after issue, why is MHI wrong so often?

If MHARR can be logical on so many issues, why is MHI so often double minded?

doubleminded man, is unstable in all his ways,” – James 1:8

Odds are excellent that one or more of the 9 D’s describes the motive for MHI, BH and their surrogates from not replying straight up, or debating straight up.

If they were in the correct, why not take a stage in a video debate of the issues?

Could it be that they are concerned that they would lose?

DebateMastheadblodTonyKovachMHProNews

We’d debate MHI, BH, NMHOA, MHAction using video on the issues that face the industry. MHProNews.com/Pixabay.

That’s not hubris, because frankly MHI and BH has attorneys who are trained in such matters such as debate.  Ishbel Dickens is an attorney, and she too is trained in debate. They have a training this writer doesn’t have. That’s not my area of expertise.

They have time, money and resources we don’t have.  Yet, they are the ones playing the 9D game.  Why?

Duck, Dodge, Distract, Detract, Delay, Deny, Demean, Destroy, Game.

 

Why an Independent-Focused Post-Production MH Association is Needed

News, education and even promotion can only do so much. We’re not lobbyists, but we can, have, and do support lobbying activity.

The industry needs someone with the mindset of President Trump’s and VP Mike Pence’s stated agenda to lobby for that to be applied in Washington, D.C.

MHARR has said as much in writing for years.

There is a real need for either a third association to represent the post-production sector, or for MHARR and/or NFIB to step up and expand their offerings to fill that role.

Frankly, in a perfect world, what I think should happen is that MHARR expand, and team carefully with NFIB.

MHI-MHARR-MHEC-DC-MHProNews-collage-copyright2016WeProvideYouDecide

Image credit – collage of Industry Association logos by
MHProNews, each logo is the property of their respective
organization, and is used here under Fair Use guidelines.

As an FYI to the detail minded, the last time MHProNews had an in-depth conversation with NFIB officials, they stated that their preference was to work with an existing association on specialized topics, while providing the added muscle on bigger issues such as tax reform, repealing and replacing ObamaCare, and the like.

That leaves it to MHARR to decide in their November conference call if they may want to expand to serve the broader manufactured housing industry, as opposed to just independent HUD Code manufactured housing producers and some state affiliated associations.

We have repeatedly offered MHI the opportunity to respond in writing to the issues and concerns we’ve raised. We also routinely cited MHI, or their surrogate’s own words in our reports. That’s how fact checks and balanced reporting works.

MHI Wants to “Stop the Leaks”

We are now being told that MHI is trying to ‘stop the leaks’ – which includes even their own publications to members!  Why?

Could it be, as we’ve alleged several times, that they want to control the industry’s narrative?

Could it be that they want to propagandize the industry, to the detriment of those being manipulated?

Where is MHI’s self-proclaimed clout?

Where’s Rick Robinson’s self-proclaimed MHI Zen?

Aren’t MHI, Allen, Felber and others guilty of the very things that they claim MHProNews does?

To rephrase, aren’t they projecting onto us, what they themselves are guilty of doing?

MHIGotCloutWheresTheBeefMHProNewsThat’s why, ICYMI, its necessary to engage with these parties, and to refute their spurious allegations, while challenging them to debate the issues or at least prove their claims.

They’ve always declined or bow outed, why?

If they were correct, and MHARR or MHProNews were so wrong, why would they not debate? Unless they lacked the confidence of the guts to stand up to closer public and industry scrutiny?

A Missed Opportunity to Deny, Decry and Denounce Racism

RevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword_001We also offered MHI’s executive committee members, plus Clayton, VMF and 21st the softball opportunity to deny, decry and denounce racism and the monopolistic allegations against them.

Go back to the top.  See what Cong. Ellison said. If you happen to be right or centrist, don’t let Ellison’s positions keep you from looking at what has been presented.

Facts are facts, no matter who presents them.

The scriptures have said, separate the wheat from the chaff.  That applies to all, very much to me  and our work included.

President Trump Accepted that Opportunity from Media he Doesn’t Trust, Then Why Would MHI not do the Same?

In the MHI/BH wisdom, they did not accept that opportunity. Any excuse they use to their members will be convincing to those who blindly want to believe them.

We’ll begin to draw to a close this Masthead commentary and analysis with the following.

Smaller to mid-sized firms are de facto paying for what the larger ones want.

Smaller to mid-sized firms are arguably feeding the hand that bites them.

Those that sit on the sidelines are de facto supporting the powers that be.  Any excuse will do to sit on the sidelines.  You don’t like the color of my hair, I’m too tall, short, fat, skinny, the wrong gender, skin color, whatever excuse you want will do.  Ditto with respect to mighty MHARR.

The larger firms benefit from the lack of progress on a range of issues, which they claim to want to accomplish.  What team keeps hiring a coach and QB to keep failing to win?

There is no logic to saying – as MHI does – that HUD is overstepping their authority, while not at the same time asking for Pam Danner to step aside and be reassigned as director of the Manufactured Housing program.  Isn’t that only logical?

It is fishy at best that MHI’s VP Lois Starkey left MHI and now works at HUD. To my knowledge, MHI has yet to comment on that issue.  If they have nothing to hide, why does MHI hide on the Starkey and Danner and other issues?

LoisStarkeyRichardADickJennisonManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryTonyKovachMastheadBlogMHProNews

Why has MHI told some that replacing Pam Danner is a close subject?

Why has MHI allegedly prepared Lois Starkey to fill Danner’s spot, if Danner does step aside?

We’ve pointed to arguments made by Sam Zell, or Jenny Hodge, and drawn them to their logical conclusion.

We’ve pointed to the arguments made by MHI Chair, Tim Williams, and drawn them to the obvious open question.  How can Williams claim to be at odds with Warren Buffett?  Hasn’t Buffett openly supported Dodd-Frank, the CFPB, Secretary Clinton and Barack Obama?  Hasn’t Buffett and BH favored heavy taxes and regulations that they can better avoid?  That, by the way, is among the places where Cong. Ellison and I would part company.

Because we’ve been citing for years third-party research that has documented what common sense tells the objective thinker is true.  Heavier regulations harms independents more than big companies.

That’s why even U.S. Bank backed away from manufactured home chattel lending, even thought they had a success program.  That’s and low volume, which MHProNews raised that concern years ago, while I was elected by my peers to be on MHI’s Suppliers Division Board of Directors.

That’s why this quote from Dick Jennison, an unforced admission by him on video is so powerful.

 

MHProNews led the Independent’s Industry Charge for the Trump Admin

My wife and several industry pros were on the Trump train before this writer became convinced. I saw one decent Democratic candidate, Jim Webb, or dropped out early. Several of the GOPers were okay on paper.

  • But Donald Trump had deep pockets,
  • the street fighting, counterpunching skills,
  • and the name recognition that made him a viable candidate.

12ReasonsEducatedIranianAmericanWomanSupportsDonaldTrumpPostedMastheadBlogMHProNews954x846

Fault him for this or that tweet, but I think the man is a genius. POTUS Trump isn’t perfect, but neither are you or I.  Trump is a genius. I’ve followed him for years off and on.  He was right about trade when conservative icon Ronald Reagan might have done better, by listening to Trump.

Can You Spell, Phony?  Hypocrisy? Con Job?

We remind readers that while MHI took no public position on the last election, just days before the election, they had not one but two pro-Secretary Hillary Clinton speakers on their stage in Chicago.

They did not lift a finger to help pro-business, pro-worker Donald Trump become president.

buffett-obama-mhmsm

Warren Buffett, left. President Barack Obama, right. Credit, Wikipedia. Why didn’t Buffett and Obama work to fix Dodd-Frank, if Berkshire Hathaway controlled MHI is serious about it?  Has Preserving Access been a delusion?  A multi-million dollar head fake?  Hubris by MHI for not making a deal on the MLO rule, which alone might have kept U.S. Bank involved in MH lending?  Why does MHI not answer such questions?  Could it be that the answer is an embarrassment to them, no matter what they say?

No two people agree on everything.

My 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.

My80%FriendIsNotMy20%EnemyRonaldReagan-postedMHProNews-com

We’ve worked with those from every racial, ethnic, religious, economic or any other group you care to mention.  We are realistic idealists. We are optimistic pragmatists.  We know that only some will come together to advance the industry, not all.

For approaching 9 years since we began publishing, thanks to those that we work with and who sponsor us, we’ve created a site that reports best practices, covers news that often no one else in MH does, and identifies issues that hold the industry back.

Frank Rolfe and I would not agree on everything, as he’d be the first to say.  But he’s right when he said that it is the industry itself that has held manufactured housing back from achieving its full potential.

TitusDareEagleOneFinancialPostedManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

Titus Dare and I would not agree on everything either, as he’d be the first to say.  But he’s right that MHI has used problematic messaging that opens the Arlington, VA based association – and by extension, those that mimic MHI.

GuaranteeingAppreciationQuickSureWayToGiantLawsuitTitusDareEagleOneFinancialIndustryVoicesDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews595

Dare’s comments were in reference to an MHI advertorial quoting Dick Jennison. Links will be added in the days ahead, but you can use Yahoo, Bing or Google to find this with a  good search query. MHI’s advertorials have been a mix of useful and problematic information. Some of their statements have drawn harsh criticism, like the example by Titus Dare, above.

We could go through that same litany over and again.  Some of our strongest supporters don’t agree with every specific thing we do.  There are some that think, for example, that it is a waste of time to reach out to MHI, Allen, etc.  There are reasons that we do so. For example, recently an industry pro we respect tried to privately get Allen and I to bridge the gap.

My take is that Allen is not willing to do so.  But that’s not the biggest thing on the radar.

That biggest thing is the threat from within the industry posed by MHI and BH.

That biggest threat can be overcome, through a wise use of facts, history, common sense, critical analysis and reason.

BH dominated MHI has not defended the industry when it could.

BH dominated MHI has not succeed at getting Preserving Access passed, when numerous sources told us that MHI could have had the MLO rule by agreement with the non-profits.

That would have benefited Triad and Credit Human, along with every other MH lender.

 


Why didn’t Tim Williams and VMF agree to that half-a-loaf is better than none deal?

Do you see how there is a consistent pattern of failure by MHI to succeed in areas that they could do much better at than they currently are?

Are they incompetent?

Ill-informed?

Too arrogant?

Or is clever, head fakes and cunning?

Whether they succeed or fail at Preserving Access, or other issues, several industry voices have told us that BH benefits.

 


The MH Alliance

Freedom isn’t free.

Easy doesn’t pay well.” – John Bostick

unzipped-green-eye-black-background-collage-manufactured-housing-professionals-mhpronews-com-704x872pic-framed--347x430

Principles and integrity alone will produce long term success for manufactured housing.

IMHO, without a moral, ethical faith-based foundation, our industry and our nation will continue to struggle.

easydoesntpaywelljohnbosticksunshinehomesredbayalmanufacturedhomes-com-mhpronews-com

Everyone with a belief that they contradict in word or deed is a hypocrite. This writer claims no perfection, my wife can correct anyone who mistakenly thinks otherwise.  We have for years and years said that all that we do is a result of team work.  All success is team work.

But every team can use a coach, guide, and cheerleader.

We know what works.  MHI – even while I was an active, board member – would not help promote any of the solutions that we provided.

Even when those solutions advanced what they claimed they wanted done, they didn’t use it or provide it to others.  Why?

How else to explain it than?

  • Are they incompetent?
  • Ill-informed?
  • Too arrogant?
  • Or is clever, head fakes and cunning?
  • Do the powers that be win, whether or not MHI succeeds at what they claim to want do accomplish?

 

MHI Literally Picks Winners and Losers

After a few appearances on MHI’s stage, while still an MHI member, not long after Dick Jennison came in as president, and while he and I were supposedly still on good terms, they stopped allowing me or others we believe in any time on an MHI stage.  Why?

LisaTylerPhDBethelUnivEvidenceDisprovedMisconneptionNegativeStereotypesContinueLocalGovernments-postedMastheadBlogMHProNews-

To download Examining Community Attitudes by Dr. Tyler, click here or the graphic above.

For example, we promoted Lisa Tyler, Ph.D.  Dr. Tyler is a terrific believer in manufactured housing.  She’s reportedly the first person to get a Ph.D. in perhaps 20 years with a specific manufactured housing focus.

Why did they give Dr. Tyler no time on stage?  Dr. Tyler, to my knowledge, had no beef with BH.  Still, she was given no stage time.  Why not?

nadeen-green-mhpronews-com

For years, Nadeen Green, JD, did Fair Housing articles for MHProNews.  Some state associations would promote her writing, but not MHI.  Why not?

 

At no cost to MHI, about 4 years ago, this writer promoted a concept at the Suppliers Division that would have made us not a dime.  But it could have made the industry’s independents billions of dollars by getting to the root issues that keep tens of millions from taking manufactured housing seriously.

Lois Starkey was the point coordinator for MHI on that issue.  We were told that Dick Jennison opposed that effort, if so, why?  That was true even during the time that we were supposedly working to promote Preserving Access together.

Why did Jennison oppose what would have been a super low cost, easy win for MHI to promote the entire industry?

Why didn’t Starkey ever advance the concept to completion?

Dozens of Supplier Divisions members know exactly what I’m talking about, because the above was not a secret. Hundreds if not thousands of MHProNews readers would read a periodic notice about that, and may have wondered, what ever happened to that infotainment initiative?

Perhaps it would have been too useful to smaller and mid-sized companies, and not useful enough to larger firms?

Allen criticized me privately and publicly for taking quotes out of context or not dating quotes.  Sorry, George, but you and I both know that isn’t accurate. We provide more context than almost anyone in media.  Some think we provide TOO much detail, and this post will be an example of that claim.

The reality is that you just can’t please everyone, and you just can’t please some people, period.

But the videos on this page are all part of the picture of what has held our industry up, and how this industry advances.  By choking off growth, people like Nathan Smith and other larger, connected players benefited at the expense of the smaller independents, isn’t that a fair reading of what happened?

Isn’t that what Smith is laughing about in this video?

 


A New Source for Pro-Industry Events

A non-MHARR source has touched base with us more than once on the idea of doing events independent of MHI.  We commend the initiative, should it advance.  Frankly, we’ve considered doing the same thing.

One of the few things that MHI does that has value for many are networking and educational events.  Not only this writer, but many – including MHI members – have told us that MHI charges way too much for their events.

That can be all be changed for the better.

We’ve said for months, MHI needs to be reformed or supplanted.

We’ve said for years, that the state associations are routinely far more effective than MHI is at getting their stated agendas done.

MHProNews and MHLivingNews are proof that there is no third rail in the MH industry.

 

ThirdRailPoliticsDefinedMHProNews

 

No one has killed me.

No one has beat me up.

We have spoken with legal counsel about MHI – and by extension BH? – efforts to marginalize, and if possible starve us of advertisers and sponsors.

We will do whatever we think is best, honorable, honest, and should we do so, we’ll do that with the least cost to us, and the most impact on them.

ExtortionRICOAlelgedlyIllegalDirtySideofManufacturedHousingExposedDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews

Links will be added, or you can go to the Daily Business News and use the search tool. To see the article, click the image above or click here.

While MHI has had some success at scaring off some sponsors, we still have enough to sustain our needs, thanks be to God and those who support our work.

The point is,

  • these allegedly monopolistic forces can be beaten, even though they are far better funded.
  • They make mistakes. Look at BH/Clayton’s iHouse.  How did that work for them?  Did they ever figure out why that failed?
  • Those mistakes are revealed through fact checks, history and their own statements!

The irony is that I’m not opposed to big business, but we editorially are opposed to monopolistic practices.

There are good reasons why anti-trust – anti-monopoly – laws exist. It is harmful to the public and to small business, which creates the most jobs.

Could I be wrong on President Trump? About VP Mike Pence? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.

I think Mark Weiss and Danny Ghorbani are right.  If the industry fails to advance in Washington under the Trump Administration, shame on the majority for not acting while we have the chance!

 

Historic

In our industry and in America, there has historically been three types of groups and people.

1)    Those who take one side,

2)    those who take the other.

3)    Those who sit in the middle, trying to figure out who to support.

The American revolutionaries had the odds against them. The British had historically won war after war before the Revolution of 1776.  The American insurgents rallied enough of the people to beat the English. Yet the Brits at the time was the world’s only super power.

David beat Goliath.

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Nettles, thorns…you get the idea, right? Of course…

If we take all of the independents in MH combined, they actually outnumber MHI’s giants.  Nor do we need them all, but we do need enough people and companies of integrity to step up and be goal and solution oriented.

I’m not going to say it is easy.  Easy doesn’t pay well.

But what we want to do is doable. It’s been successful.

We think BH’s monopolistic control over MHI and several state associations needs to end.

 

We think if MHI fails to reform itself, then those professionals of good will need to do a post-production association ourselves.

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Image credit, Political Vel Craft.

Those who think that manufactured housing can’t be change are right, and wrong.  They forget that 20 years ago, it was Fleetwood and Champion who competed for being number one and two.

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

While the industry is advancing, third generation professional – millennial Tom Fath – has said is manufactured housing is in decay and under assault.  He’s growing, and he’s right.

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The MH Alliance was started to advance the MHLivingNews, MHProNews and related efforts, It works for those who actively participate. It only needs to be scaled by more forward looking, goal and solution oriented industry professionals and companies.

The MH Alliance – P.E.P. The ADL and NAACP of Manufactured Housing

My father was a philosopher. He taught us kids that you can’t give what you don’t have. MHI can’t give what it doesn’t have.

For whatever reason MHI has not defended the industry nor itself.

That’s a hard to dispute fact, but we’ll call it an allegation, while we challenge them to debate in public and prove me wrong.

The industry must do what the ADL and NAACP did for their respective groups.

Tye quote

Now is the Time for All Good People to Come to the Aid of their Country.

Now is the Time for All Good People to Come to the Aid of their Business and Industry.

If not now, while the industry is somewhat recovering, when? If not now, when the nation is facing perhaps the greatest affordable housing crisis, when?

Summary

Doing and fighting for what’s right is profitable. But regardless, it is always the right thing to do what’s right.

MHLivingNews and MHProNews are prepared to support intelligent efforts to supplant what MHI does.

Why not let the big companies keep their big boys club?

Why not let there be an association that works on behalf of everyone else?

Feedback on this is welcome.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Fisking, Analysis, News, and MH Industry Commentary.)

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

LATonyKovachMHProNewsMHLivingNews5StateConventionMastheadBlogMHProNews

Click on the graphic above to learn more about the rapidly approaching 5 State event.

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is the managing member of  LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.  The Mastheadblog represents that editorial perspective, and may or may not represent the views of sponsors or others.

MHProNews is open to a diversity of professional viewpoints.  We routinely seek, get, and publish feedback from industry professionals that represents a range of diverse views and backgrounds.

MHI is once more invited to publicly debate via video, available both live and for later playback, their track record on protecting and promoting the manufactured home industry.

Because MHI directly and through surrogates has postured legal action and other similar threats, we are going to use the word alleged for the above, and encourage thoughtful readers to dig into the facts for themselves.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

$45 Billion On the Table? Non-Profits, the Media, Resident Relations and Manufactured Housing Success

September 29th, 2016 No comments

Every professional knows this to be true.  Success is always predicated on a system that routinely produces a reliable result; a desired outcome.

Factories have systems.  Lenders and insurance companies, they have systems.  Attorneys – boy do they have systems!  Perhaps one of the least systematic areas in our industry would be marketing and sales, we won’t talk about those today – but good operations have systems there too. 

Now, against that backdrop – we will look at non-profits, the media and resident relations.

First, almost all in media are in business.  An editor knows that drama sells papers, brings more viewers or causes more click-throughs. While not everyone in media has an ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ mentality, it is a common thread.  Think about the last terrorist attack, the last – or next – senseless murder, and you know that drama moves the audience, and thus attracts those in media to cover it.

There are mainstream news stories about apartment closures, or older conventional housing that gets bulldozed for redevelopement.  These are NOT just manufactured home community news stories.

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While we are years into the MH recovery, we as an industry are still thin compared to our history or potential.  The Bloomberg charts exemplify the point. So bad news harms us more in MH than it does other industries.

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If something in MH occured comparable to what happened to BP or VW, it might have killed off manufactured housing producers

The non-profits, some of my forward thinking and successful for-profit industry friends and colleagues tell me, are powerful voices in public affairs.

Manufactured housing professionals who seek only to battle or beat non-profits are short sighted in their thinking.

Operations like CFED are akin to any MH operation, there are good points and weak ones.  But they see the value of modern manufactured homes. They are pro-affordable housing, and they have studied MH enough to believe in the quality of our product.

But when MH pros and non-profits disagree, both sides need to come together and talk issues through.  Now, I know some will say – perhaps on both sides – we’ve tried that, it didn’t work.’  That’s an excuse by anyone who uses it, because some things are worth many, many good efforts.

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The non-profits are – potentially – among our strongest MH allies

I first reached out to CFED a few years ago, long before they took the heavy-hand in efforts akin to the Seattle Times or PBS news stories.

Being blunt, the reason that HR 650/S 682 isn’t already law is largely because of the non-profits.

That means, the for-profits failed to convince them.

In some cases, they chose to battle them and in a sense, that was inevitable. Because CFED and their allies do oppose the kind of chattel lending that two of our industry’s largest personal property lenders offer.

But that is an educational issue. We did those video interviews with Triad Financial Services’ Don Glisson Jr in part to help non-profits and

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Triad Financial Services Chairman, Don Glisson, Jr.

others see the light on the truth of MH Lending.  Personal property lending is simple business math, and when done properly, it works for lenders, sellers and consumers alike.

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Jan Hollingsworth, award winning journalist.

We were also blessed by those columns by Jan Hollingsworth on manufactured home chattel lending. She laid out the case on Dodd-Frank, CFPB and all of those harmful consequences that followed.

The non-profits are made up of people quite like anyone else in life.  They have an agenda, it is often good, so it isn’t always bad, wrong or in conflict with MH Pros.

We’d all agree they are correct in supporting manufactured housing as a good option that can build value and save money for millions of consumers.

Where we disagree with CFED or others – that’s obviously where each side needs to enter into a serious discussion.

One of those areas are regular hot topics in manufactured housing industry circles, because it is a hot sector. Land-lease manufactured home communities, rent control and community closures.

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John Howard’s home, Oshtemo, MI.

Thanks to the many fine, recent inputs from MH leaders and professionals on Industry Voices, we have the start of the needed dialogue.

Timely topics – such as Joe Dyton wrote on Measure V, or RC Williams’ article on the battle over community owner vs residents rights are equally important part of that process.

To the degree that we as a pro-MH Industry trade publisher cover the news objectively and present the various perspectives – strongly noting that of MH Pros – the mainstream media and others who make an influence policy will find us relevant.

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Faces of writers named on this page, see respective links to learn more.

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Tim Williams.

That relevance is important to MH. Who says?  Tim Williams.

Fractured Family

I’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know that some in manufactured housing leadership roles have been – nervous to put it politely – about some of the topics we have taken on this year.

Rest assured, each and every time we tackle an issue, we’re doing so because we sincerely believe it to be for the long-term good of the MH industry. Your Masthead writer is not suicidal – fire properly handled can be useful – and I’m goal and solution oriented.

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Navigating all the nuances and issues of the many industry and other groups may require threading the needle, and that’s just fine.

Part of that long-term good includes tackling thorny issues like community closures, aggressive rent increases in communities and the like.

Not moi, but highly invested attorney and fast-rising UMH Properties CEO, Sam Landy had some powerful things to say about those topics this month.  Others have sounded off on that or other hot-button issues, in alphabetical order:

These and other Industry Voices we’ve quoted in recent weeks are the START of a conversation on nettlesome issues, such as rent control – and its perceived causes, goals and realities.

Look carefully at what Paul Bradley says, because he makes important points that forward thinking for-profit operators could agree with.

Sam Landy politely stresses something similar. What Measure V seeks to stop, Landy’s large, growing and successful company does on its own.

Before Green Courte Partners sold out their MHC assets to Sun Communities, a top level exec there told me privately about something that was pretty public. They had pro-resident, “good neighbor” policies. They paid off.

Being pro-resident is good business.  Duh!  Why do we even have to say it?!

Just as obvious, being pro-consumer and pro-resident doesn’t mean that they are always right.

In the wake of our Cal-Am story, I was called by a resident-group organizer.

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We don’t make it easy for people to find our contact info on MHLivingNews – we are busy, and stay lean. So the resident had to track down my number, and that caller was motivated.

We spoke for nearly 40 minutes.  I listened, asked some questions and listened some more.

Near the end, I explained that I’ve been a resident too, and that I’ve played a role in the management of many communities – in supervisory roles and as consultant – for well over a decade. I then pointed to Paul Bradley’s column and said, we need to be thinking in terms of mutual victories.

That means resident group organizers need to understand management, and vice versa.

ELS may not realize it, but gratis I helped them head-off a problem at one of their properties over a year ago.  A different resident group contacted me about a location of theirs, with the kinds of concerns you might expect. After hearing their thoughts, I explained why organizing group protests and causing a storm of negative media coverage results in harming the home values of everyone in the communities where they protest.

That specific group had not thought about that aspect of the matter before.  But frankly, ELS could not have said that to them, and been credible.  As an independent – yes pro-MH Industry and pro-consumer publisher – I could.

We are pro-free enterprise.  Socialism always fails in the end. But that doesn’t mean that free enterprise is perfect.  The marketplace works best when the true interests of all parties are addressed, as Jim Ayotte suggested.

Sheila Dey is right – see her and Jim’s links above – rent control is wrong for California – and the rest of the nation too.

We will promote SOLUTIONS on MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews. Cheerleading works only to the extent that you have a team that is able to put points on the scoreboard. Reality and honest motivation must meet, and embrace.

With the help and support of industry pros like yourself, we can tackle the thorny issues – for the long term good of the industry.

Our advertisers and sponsors – who may at times feel uncomfortable – still know we have the biggest audience of its kind in manufactured housing trade journalism. Tackling controversies brings readers – so honest examination of issues has its value and rewards.

Ignoring a toothache doesn’t make it go away, does it?

As we approach our 7th anniversary of publication, we proudly say we are agents for positive, profitable change.

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Thank you! To the sponsors, pros, contributors and readers who are make this possible!

Doing things right would be worth no less than $45 billion dollars annually in money now going to other housing options.

Do you as a community operator, retailer, producer or supplier want your part of that $45 billion? Duh, right?

For-profits, non-profits, resident groups – by working together – can produce more good mainstream media news stories, like the ones we routinely spotlight here.

The system – the method to what some might think madness – is that the truth well told is powerful!

MH Pros should address issues, not bury them.

Let’s fix what is wrong, and celebrate what is right.

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Do what’s right. Some inspirational thoughts from Coach Lou Holtz, which hangs on a wall near your Masthead writer’s desk.

Let’s pick up that $45 billion dollars lying on the table, because another $100 billion a year awaits after that, once pick up that first $45B.

We need to heal the family divisions. It’s doable. It’s profitable. It’s the right thing to do.

None of us among the quick can ever be perfect, we are human.

But the better we get at doing what’s right on issues raised in the Industry Voices and Daily Business News items noted above, we hasten the day that our sales skyrocket, more homes will be sold – and more manufactured home communities will be filled, planned, developed and those new ones will get filled up too.

Small, medium or large…

The right thing to do, is the smart and profitable thing to do. That’s a simple system, isn’t it?

The truth well told by credible voices is powerful. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach caricature. Kovach is the publisher and managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC parent to MHLivingNews and MHProNews, and their various consulting and professional services. See LinkedIn.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Media Wars, MH Industry and Pros Like You – In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)

September 14th, 2016 No comments

When speaking at live industry events, one of my favorite questions for attendees is this. By a show of hands, how many of you think that media stories about manufactured housing and wind storms harms our industry, and our sales?

So far, every hand in the room will shoot up to that question. No one – not one – has yet to say, those negative media stories helps manufactured housing and the industry’s sales.

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For image credits, please see the article and click above.

What that example tells us is this obvious truth. The media can harm – or help – the MH Industry’s image, public perception and thus how prospective home buyers respond to our products and services.

But the media also impacts public officials, policy wonks (no disrespect intended) and the various spectrum of housing advocates.

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Joe Dyton, guest writer for the linked Daily Business News report.

We published a story this morning by our new guest writer, Joe Dyton. That story, is linked here.

Within an hour of that article, the guest letter from UMH CEO Sam Landy came in. His letter to the editor, is linked here.

With that public comment in hand, we are now better able to respond to such rent control stories in the future.

Not everyone will agree with our tackling thorny issues publicly. I understand the school of thought that says, ‘better to let bad news blow over…’

…but the problem is this.  After years of “bad news” mainstream media stories going unanswered, that has clearly only harmed MH.

ICYMI – association executive Jay Hamilton shared the following, which is right on point.

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The popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things, the same way, and expect a different result.  MH Pros must engage ‘negative stories’ if we are ever going to be accepted as mainstream housing – and thus reach our true potential. Facebook post to Tony Kovach. Image credit, Facebook.

With the help of solution oriented professionals, MHProNews and our publicly focused sister-site, ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com (aka – MHLivingNews.com) have worked for several years now to build the foundation necessary to tackle the thorny issues.  That foundation includes, but is not limited to, video interviews with dozens of MH residents, MH experts and with those outside of our industry too. We can influence the media, because our operation is trade media. 

  • Public officials
  • Investors
  • Policy advocates
  • Educators
  • Non-profits
  • Attorneys
  • Association professionals
  • Producers
  • Suppliers
  • MH Retailers and of course
  • beaucoups Manufactured home community pros

 …all of whom logon daily by the thousands. That professional connection between us as pro-MH Industry trade media and with you and others are “all good” and useful.

But the next step is tackling ever more robustly the thorny issues that keep MH from advancing.

For that, we need more comments, mutual understanding, feedback and support that the MH Industry alone can properly provide.

On tornadoes, hurricanes and windstorms? The ‘answer’ to that issue is linked here.

On the nettlesome topic of rent control, we are in the process of building the MH Industry’s answers. Sam Landy’s comments will be useful. Others are invited too. The more takes, the more insights, the better our ability to respond becomes.

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The MH Industry used to sell 500,000 units in the early 70s. In the late 90s, the industry topped 372,000 homes. Today, we are looking at a SAAR of some 80,000 homes? Why are we settling for such a low level of sales and production?

The industry did not get to sub-100,000 homes a year by accident. We will not climb back up to our potential – which is over 500,000 homes a year  – overnight.

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There are millions of housing sales every year.  MH’s SAAR hovers around 80k. Hello? Image, perception, education – call it what you will. NAHB, NAR and MH Industry statistics on new manufactured home sales compared to existing home resales and new home starts. Still from a slide from Tuesdays With Tony webinar.

That we can do it is precisely why we launched MHProNews almost 7 years ago.

We truly are all better off working together. The naysayers, ne’er-do-wells, the short-cut artists, the uniformed, those stuck in a rut, those satisfied with the status quo, they are all who they are. Redeemable?  Sure, but we’re looking for the forward thinkers and doers that will share – in words and deeds – the answers and solutions that will make many wealthy via a great product and service to millions of Americans.

Here’s to surpassing the outcomes of yesteryear – by doing right and learning to tell our story well! R U Ready? ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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Photo taken during New York Housing Association meeting, Tony questioning regulators.

L. A. “Tony” Kovach.