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

August 9th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

FEDsBuffettsBerkshireClaytonHomesMoatManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIBillionsMarketManipulationAllegedMHProNews

For billions of souls who believe, since the time Cain killed his brother Able, history records how dark emotions and desires have motivated some to harm or dominate others. 

 

In manufactured housing, Terry Decio with Skyline quipped on camera “I’m tired of being the best kept secret, I’m ready to help house America.” Terry’s father Art was on the cover of Time Magazine, and in a good way. MHProNews has reminded readers that American Presidents like Nixon and Ford have at times spoken and acted favorably toward our factory buIlt-home industry.

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The Decio family had Art on the cover of Time Magazine decades ago, the industry improved, so what happened to the MH Industry since then?

So how could it be that during a growing affordable housing crisis, that the numbers of manufactured homes (MH) shipped are just a fraction of the glory days when the industry shipped north of 372,000 new homes one year in 1998?  Or the even more inflation-adjusted prosperous days when the pre-HUD Code MH industry was selling more than 500,000 new homes in two consecutive years?

ScholasticCororatonFigure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

Realtor University, Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, CBE.

 

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Each photo is of a modern manufactured home, which can be some 2400 sq  ft or more in size, 1 or 2 levels, set over a basement, or can be as modest as 320 sq ft. These homes are built to federal construction, energy, and safety standards that went into effect on June 15, 1976.  They are administered (regulated) primarily by HUD, and are thus known as “HUD Code Manufactured Homes.”

 

Media, Money, Government, and Market Manipulation

Stephenie Meyer once observed, “Sometimes the best hiding place is the one that’s in plain sight,” per Goodreads.  

It’s a matter of history and fact that the interaction of media, money, government officials, and market manipulations have occurred in the U.S. – or any nation you care to mention – going back several centuries.

Even before the Seattle Times reported that federal investigators are probing Clayton Homes and their subsidiarity lenders – Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and 21st Mortgage Corp – those Knoxville metro business units of Warren Buffett’s Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway were known by this publisher to be under federal investigation. We had already reported federal investigations on the Daily Business News on MHProNews.  

But it is quite likely that the Seattle Times knew of some investigations that we didn’t, and vice-versa. While we’re the most read trade media by far in MHVille, the Seattle Times budget and resources blows us away.

That’s reality.

Kevin Clayton said in his own fashion that Berkshire/Clayton likes to use and work with nonprofits. Do certain Google searches, and the video of Kevin Clayton posted below is among what pops up on page one.

The video below edits not a word Kevin spoke, but written commentary was added by MHProNews to the video interview originally commissioned/authorized by Clayton/Berkshire. So, that video is also the truth hiding in plain sight.

 

 

For a variety of reasons, Harvard’s Eric Belsky predicted that manufactured housing would overtake conventional on-site construction by 2010. Belsky was wrong on that projection, why? Because Warren Buffett is a smart man – Kevin Clayton said so in the video – and Buffett reads a lot.  

Buffett arguably came to the same conclusion Belsky did.

Would it have been a surprise if Buffett knew what Belsky wrote, before buying Clayton Homes and other parts of the manufactured home industry? Didn’t Kevin Clayton obliquely suggests as much in the video, when he said that “Warren” does his homework?  Isn’t that what Buffett suggests himself, in this next video?

 

 

That’s the truth hiding in plain sight, online, among billions of other items. So, you or any researcher only has to look to find it. Or once found, to cross check the data we provide, and verify the accuracy of it. 

What Harvard’s Belsky likely didn’t count on when he said manufactured housing would overtake conventional housing in new construction by 2010, was that Buffett’s Berkshire would buy Clayton, Oakwood, Vanderbilt and 21st, and use “the Moat” principle discussed and linked from herein to manipulate the market. 

As the HUD Code manufactured home industry had been sliding downhill for some 5 years by that time, the new combination made Clayton Homes number one in MHVille, with deep capital pockets Kevin speaks about on camera.  

Buffett explains his principle of the strategic “Moat” in his own words in the video above. Notice how often Kevin Clayton speaks about the “Moat” in his video too?

That’s the truth hiding in plain sight. 

Belsky also noted that credit is the lifeblood of housing.

Presidents Nixon and Ford knew that credit was critical for affordable housing too. They took steps to make more financing available for what was then “mobile home” buyers. That took place prior to the formal dawn of HUD Code manufactured homes, which occurred on June 15,1976. All that’s true, easy to document, and is hiding in plain sight.

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Why does MHI no longer reference this, as they did prior to Clayton Homes being bought by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway? 

 

For the Record 

We’ve previously published numerous examples of what could logically be alleged as market manipulations, carried out by the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Isn’t that a restraint of trade? An antitrust violation?

Voices within manufactured housing and outside observers alike have concluded that MHI is the association/nonprofit tool of Omaha. It fits what Kevin said about nonprofits on that video. 

If you are Warren and Kevin, how do you widen your “Moat?” Why not do that by cutting off lending to competitors during the aftermath of the drama of the 2008 mortgage housing crisis? 

Why not do that by U.S. Mail, fax or other intestate communications?

Need proof? How about this letter below, signed by Tim Williams of 21st, a Berkshire Hathaway sister company to Clayton Homes?

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticConcernManufacturedHome

See key parts of the text from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter that contradicts important elements of what this 21st Mortgage Corp letter claims. Click this link here for those Buffett quotations, taken in context.

 

What was the impact and fallout that followed that 21st letter? What did it accomplish in the manufactured home market?  

Read carefully all the facts, and then what MHI’s own document deductively suggests. Isn’t that all the truth, hiding in plain sight?

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

These graphics reflect what the facts reveal.

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2011MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

This graphic is a snapshot of the industry at about the time of the Kevin Clayton video, posted on this page. In that video, Kevin says what “Warren” teaches about competition and the Moat.

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

While several mainstream media allegations of monoplistic practices have been made against Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway, this trade publication is the only one known to date to have produced documentary evidence.  The documents, quotes from Buffett, Kevin Clayton and others reveals their own stated practices, and how that plays out in the real world. Neither Berkshire brands in MH, nor MHI has attempted to refute or debate these allegations or concerns, though they’ve been given the opportunity, as long-time industry readers know.

We’ve shown the above 21st document to investigators.

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesBalanceofIndustryManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews-e

One reason so few are willing to speak out publicly on this issue is that they don’t want to be the next in line for disappearing as an independent business. Fear is what state association executives and others have told us holds them in check

We also know that some in the mainstream media are looking into this topic. But the timing of other reports, or investigators on such matters being made public is never a given. 

Buffett has said he likes to invest in businesses that make sense.  Isn’t what’s summarized below, one of the reasons manufactured housing made sense to Buffett?

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data


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Democrats and Republicans alike are voicing concerns over monopolies, and some are pointing to Clayton and Buffett by name.

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

But they have not yet used these specific “smoking gun” documents – nor the videos – shown on this page.

To the mainstream media, these 21st letters are “news.” 

Look carefully at the linked article below, and you will see how Warren Buffett’s own words contradicted 21st’s Tim Williams – who served several years as the chairman of MHI – and his letter, shown above. That 21st letter by Williams was at best a half-truth, or debatably, a manipulative lie.  Sent in the aftermath of the mortgage credit meltdown, it was plausible to may of those reading it.

The result? “Consolidation.”  The Berkshire/Clayton Moat grew. See the graphics above. People arguably have suffered as a direct result.

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

 

We’ve given Tim Williams, Kevin Clayton, their attorney, and MHI and their inside and outside counsel opportunities to reply, rebut or refute the claims, concerns and allegations of market manipulation that arguably involve them in antitrust and other kinds of illegal activities. So far, silence.  if MHProNews was wrong, why not refute us?

When MHI’s President, Richard “Dick” Jennison was scheduled to speak at the Louisville Show earlier this year, we emailed to our thousands of industry readers that morning a link to 12 questions they should ask Jennison.

Jennison abruptly cancelled that long-planned appearance in the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show’s  ‘educational’ session.

But MHI’s president was photographed at the Louisville Show, feverishly speaking on his cell phone with somebody, during the time he was supposed to be on stage. Who was on the other end of that phone call? Will the Feds do what it takes to find out?

 RichardDickJennisonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCEOLouisvilleManufacturedHomeShowByClaytonHomesDispalyPhoto2018MHProNews

 

The irony is that MHI and Berkshire Brand team members own behaviors essentially pushed this writer into discovering the truth hiding in plain sight. Questions and comments to me from industry members kept piling up, forcing this writer to take another look, a deeper dive. Among those that began to trigger my concerns were these publicly stated points, linked here. Among many others, was this comment shown below, also made publicly to MHProNews as part of an interview. 

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

They and others know it took me time to wake up; my apologies for my tardiness. 

Because I was slow, I can relate to why others may be slow to accept reality too.

New Manufactured Home Industry National Association Related Statements

This helps shed light on the following question. How was it possible that so many outside of MHVille – HUD Code manufactured housing (MH) land, or the thousands of industry professionals like Terry Decio – how could the clear need for manufactured homes become so obscured?  Is it because MHI won’t routinely clear up the record on modern manufactured home realities?  The examples of unaddressed issues by MHI are numerous.

 

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Some key manufactured home industry facts at a glance. How is it possible that MHI can’t even get all the basics of the MH data correct?

Presidents Nixon and Ford knew the pre-HUD Code MH industry, and supported it.  

Federal studies, university level research, and insurance reports going back at least twenty years specifically said that manufactured home quality had evolved from the days of ‘trailer houses’ and the later ‘mobile home’ era.

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

Vice Mike Pence knows this industry well, say our sources. Because as Governor of Indiana, Pence knew modern manufactured homes, and RVs, both built in that state. 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson says he hears the manufactured home industry, Carson has publicly promised a new era of cooperation. All that and more is the truth hiding in plain sight. Additional details are in the report linked, and heavily cross referenced, found below.

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

 

What that article above, and the one linked below, reveals is the harm that market manipulation has debatably cost everyday Americans, federal, state, and local taxpayers.

FEAR, a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis, and the Manufactured Home Dilemma

 

Secretary Ben Carson, Brian Montgomery, and Dana Wade at HUD are among those that should be aware of the “enhanced preemption” that’s called for by existing federal law with respect to manufactured housing over local jurisdictions. The Washington Post obliquely noted how the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) pushed for an end to regulatory abuses by one Pam Danner at HUD. MHI SVP Lesli Gooch at MHI admitted to the Washington Post that they did not make an effort to stop Danner’s overreaches. Why not? Isn’t that the truth about MHI, now hiding in plain sight?

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

The applied logic of the two NBER researchers linked below is this. A lack of affordable cost the nation trillions. 

Local zoning is the apparent headache.  But when 99 percent plus of Americans don’t know about the enhanced preemption of manufactured homes under federal law, the obvious solution is overlooked.

When millions don’t realize the quality, they only consider the stereotypes, fear and prejudice kick in.  Thus the failure to embrace the reality of manufactured homes vs. the outdated myths and misconceptions of the past costs America some $2 trillion dollars a year in lost GDP.  While they aren’t talking about MH, that’s the NBER researchers logic, when applied to our misunderstood and maligned industry.  Put differently, there is no need to pass new laws.  The federal laws already needed to cure the affordable housing crisis have been on the books for years.  HUD officials surely know about it.  When their review of the manufactured housing program is complete, will they apply what they know, and fix these issues?

IthinkFairSawLowerThePeriodicCostSatisfactoryHousingTheGreaterOnAverageWealthCreation

Ken Johnson provided this as part of his reply when asked about manufactured homes as a path to personal wealth creation. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/researchers-shake-up-american-dream-rent-vs-buy-ken-johnson-florida-atlantic-university-exclusive-to-manufacturedhomelivingnews/

 

Rephrasing the Truth

Rephrased, if Secretary Carson, VP Mike Pence, and the Trump Administration simply apply existing laws, our nation’s economy will soar. Home ownership will rise.  The need for subsidized housing will fall.

That will occur naturally, without artificial stimulation, because the lack of affordable housing is choking off the nation.

The future of housing in America, and around the world, is found in factories. Almost everything else we as a nation do is from a production center or factory. Why not housing?

 

The steady pressure of the truth hiding in plain sight, thanks to the tips and support of the few forward thinkers in this industry, has made it possible for manufactured homes to have a potential breakthrough moment.

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Starting at Page 48, see her 30 page report on manufactured homes, linked here. Please watch her footnotes.

 

Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton at the National Association of Realtors (R), among others, has made it possible for long-obscured realities to come into sharper focus.

But the truth is that Lisa Tyler, Ph.D., tried to spotlight much of this years before, when she did her doctoral dissertation on manufactured homes. I personally tried to get MHI to spotlight Tyler’s work several times. Tyler’s was useful research for the industry. Why didn’t MHI give Tyler’s important work a boost? Or the time of day?

 

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See the related report, linked here.

Open market manipulation can be described as a kind of confidence (con) game. With that thought in mind, the following quote from American Thinker seems to apply. “Never let your con grown stale. Never give up the con.” It’s a different topic than ours, and like this next quote from the Tucson Weekly, both seem to apply. Through speaking with his fellow inmates, he distilled the four major aspects of the criminal enterprise: 1, Develop a plan; 2, Recruit; 3, Make the pitch; 4, If caught, always deny, never give up the con.”

The “Rajin’ Cajun,” Bill Clinton campaign wizard James Carville obviously demeaned millions of Americans, while using a slur to distract from the sexual-scandal-plagued woes of his boss when he said, “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” 

MHI’s prior chairman admitted that there were good reasons to defend the industry against such slurs.

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews-500x277

But they routinely don’t defend the industry. It’s an oblique kind of open manipulation of people and thinking that’s oft repeated.

That derogatory prejudicial slur has kept manufactured homes wrongfully in the shadows for so long. So why didn’t MHI address that prejudice over and over, like the NAACP did racism? Surely all those smart people at MHI with all of their degrees know that every once in a while, an advertorial about the industry or social media pages aren’t enough.  The irony is that most of the negative stories, about fires and what not, are about older pre-HUD Code mobile homes. Today’s manufactured homes are statistically as safe as conventional housing, per the NFPA

The point is that MHI could simply reply, as prior MHI Chairman Williams admitted. But as MHI member Frank Rolfe has repeatedly complained, instead, MHI remains silent. It’s a subtle way of letting the industry struggle, while Berkshire brands and other ‘insiders’ consolidate large parts of the industry. 

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

Millions are being denied the American Dream, because of openly used influence, information manipulation, pejoratives that yield prejudice, finance and regulatory abuses. 

Couple that’s with years of a failures to apply existing federal laws. Do the $2 trillion dollar math. This tragedy is costing the average American household some 24k in lost GDP annually.

Rephrased, monopolistic “Moat” manipulations by billionaires and multi-billion dollar entities have cost American trillions a year in lost productivity. These issues ought to be placed on center stage during the next 90 days. They must be kept in the national limelight long after the next election, until the issues are finally fixed.

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

Earning an honest buck, I truly admire. Earning billions honestly and ethically is fine too.

But please don’t manipulate hundreds of millions of people, and cost your nation trillions in the process, all to make several billion dollars a year in sales. Once understood, who can abide by that kind of costly white-collar con?  Where’s Equal Justice Under Law?

WarrenBuffettTheMoatQuoteMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

Buffett’s own words, the graphic is by the third party shown at the bottom left. The truth has been hiding in plain sight, but the various threads – plus the documents and videos above – had to be pulled together to paint the complete picture.

So, industry pros should not expect anyone in Arlington, Knoxville, or Omaha to confess.

But we already have what “Kevin” and “Warren” have said on videos posted above.  They’ve explained in their own words key parts of the moat and how its used to throttle competition. Marry that up with the balance of the facts and evidence.

The odds are that they will never willingly give up the con of a system they’ve debatably rigged and manipulated.

Like the solution to the affordable housing crisis, it’s the apparent truth hiding in plain sight. We’ve alleged it, we provided the evidence others first gave to us. We’ve given Berkshire’s brands and MHI an opportunity to publicly debate it, or refute it. MHProNews laid out the logic of evidence and the facts.

Now, what will you do with this knowledge?

Because if they did it before, what’s to keep them from doing it again?

Cain killed his brother Able out of mere jealousy. Some have scammed others since nearly the beginning of time. May God help us all. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (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:
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Related References:

“Waste, Fraud, and Abuse” – FHFA, GSE Federal Oversight Announcement

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRMarkWeissDTSFHFA-GSEsGoingtoLargestBusinessesCorpAffiliatesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-575x268

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

“Insulting” – Local News Report on “Mobile Home” Fire Underscores Why Terminology Matters

Affordable Housing Focus Group – Comparing Housing Options – Conventional Houses, Condo, Rentals, and Manufactured Homes – Up for Growth, National Association of Realtor, Studies

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090