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Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

May 13th, 2019 No comments

 RopeADopePreservingAccessManufacturedHousingActMomDadYouMastheadLATonyKovachMHProNews

 

There may be no one analogy that is entirely precise enough to make the point that the promoters of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act purportedly hoped to accomplish with their bill. All analogies limp at some point, but those disclosures made, let’s begin with the ‘rope and dope metaphor’ from boxing.

 

Per Google and Bing:

 

rope-a-dope

/ˈrōpəˌdōp/

nounINFORMAL•US

  1. a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches.

 

RopeADopeWikiGoogleMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNewsLATonyKovach

 

It is fair to say that most if not all of us have been wrong or misled about several things or people at various times in our lives. To make the point relevant in manufactured housing, let me hereby point the finger at my own chest, by hereby admitting to being misled myself.

In 2015 and before, this writer in word and deed supported and encouraged others to support the Preserving Access bill. While the bill was technically correct – a point that will be made further below – in hindsight, Preserving Access was doomed from the start.

In retrospection, the bill was arguably part of a hoax perpetrated on manufactured housing independent retailers, community owners, lenders, and others who supplied or provided professional services to the manufactured housing industry’s businesses. We’ll briefly make the case that the goal was to wear out marginal players, to cause them to sell out their business interests for less than the intrinsic value of their operation, and/or to fail entirely.

Rephrased, Preserving Access fostered consolidation and reduced values.  To see a current left-right snapshot of that issue more broadly, consider the Daily Business News on MHProNews report posted earlier today.  Senator Booker is one of several voices, on both sides of the two major party aisle, that has pointed to consolidation and monopolistic concerns.

 

Senator Cory Booker – ‘We Need a President…to Enforce Antitrust Laws,’ Digging Warren, POTUS Trump

 

In teeing up the notion that Preserving Access was a hoax, that’s not to say that it was a grand conspiracy involving scores of people.  That’s not necessary, as will likewise be revealed further into this fact-check and analysis. Literally a mere handful of professionals could have arguably pulled this ploy off.  The precise numbers and names – who knew what, and when – are for legal investigators to determine.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethical Conduct encourages several useful principles.

  • SPJ says that media are to be candid about errors made by journalists,
  • another is to hold the powerful to account.
  • This column aims to do both, and more.
  • Because not only where myself and thousands of others in our industry apparently fooled, the evidence and logic reveal that the rope-a-dope nature of the Preserving Access hoax has morphed and is ongoing.  Rephrased, this isn’t one and done.  It’s an ongoing ‘enterprise.’

 

SPJSocietyProfessionalJournalistsCodeofConductMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

 

We are among the billions who believe that we are given our talents and gifts from above.  There are both a healthy and unhealthy kinds of pride. Not many would say this writer lacks intelligence, so it wounds pride to to admit that I was as fooled as thousands of others were by the Preserving Access ploy. As the managing member for the parent company of this – the single largest audience in all of manufactured housing professional trade media – I’m hereby saying I’m sorry for falling into the rope-a-dope trap.

At the same time, to maintain integrity and credibility, one must lay out the facts that are known, as the realities become evident.

 

HowardWalkerJDViceChairEquityLifestylePropELS-ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoViceChair-postedMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryResearcMHProNews

 

That said, it is important to explain how it occurred, why the lessons from Preserving Access still matters, and the steps useful in avoiding the ongoing usefulness of the ‘Rope-a-Dope’ to a powerful few.

Rephrased, what took place with Preserving Access arguably continues, only under a different banner.  It could happen over and over, so it must be understood, exposed, and appropriate corrective measures taken to stop it from occurring again. Furthermore, those who’ve deployed this stratagem should be held to account. With that prologue, let’s look deeper.

 

Examples of Who Were Harmed by the ‘Rope-a-Dope’

In one of numerous state or national association meetings over the years arranged to promote Preserving Access, I vividly recall a man who had been successful for decades in the manufactured home land-lease community business.  He was standing in the doorway to the association conference meeting room, returning from a break between sessions.  He wasn’t a young man; rather, he was an industry ‘veteran.’

That long-successful professional had a deer-in-the-headlights look to him.

  • He indicated that he cared for treated his residents fairly and that they were happy.
  • That used to be part of the recipe for success in any business in America. Identify and serve a need, develop happy customers, and let them tell others, so your business can grow.

But that perplexed gentleman who owned that land-lease manufactured home community, in a fairly short period of time, watched as the business-model for his enterprise – along with tens of thousands of other manufactured home communities like his – was significantly transformed.  There was a loss of thousands of independent retailers.  There were fewer lending options. New regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and others.  Lower net-inflation/adjusted revenues was the rule for thousands of independent retailers and communities.

There were no easy fixes in sight.

That community owner was tired.

Another professional community owner that comes to mind, whom I knew better.  He too fought the regulatory fights, attended the association meetings, made the move into selling homes in his communities. His firm got the new licenses, and did most of the things his state and the national umbrella association told him that he should do.  But he too finally wore out, and he too sold out.  He likewise grew tired of battles that for decades before previously didn’t exist.

It was just those sorts of once-successful professionals – and thousands of others like them in retail, communities, production, or you-name-it in manufactured housing – that the rope-a-dope tactic was purportedly deployed to knee cap. Consider the thousands of communities that have changed hands in recent years, as smaller operators sold out to larger ones. Wear the little man out with regulations, a lack of access to financing, or by putting out of business the retailers and factories that once supplied them.

 

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

 

ICYMI, or need a reminder, the reports linked above and below in the hot-linked text-image boxes provide a sense of how many firms and how much this rope-a-dope tactic harmed independents.

 

Manufactured Home Community Case Study, UMH Properties, Lessons for Independent Community Owners, Investors

 

In pondering the scheme, in hindsight, here was the obvious goal.  The aim was arguably to slowly consolidate an increasing number of manufactured housing’s independently-owned operations into the hands of a few ‘big boy’ players — or drive the independents out-of-business altogether. Wear them out, and then sucker-punch them.  Only the knock-out blow might come in the form of a smile, friendly handshakes, and a check at a closing table.  The victims may have been paid, often thanked by their buyers, and it may not be until this moment that some who fit into this scenario will realize just how much they and others were ripped off.

That a small sense of the Rope-a-Dope in action in manufactured housing.

That was years before MHI award-winner Marty Lavin told MHProNews the following in 2018.

 

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Elements of How Its Done

That outlined, let’s step back a bit more.  Because there are subtle psychological forces at play that can harmfully be duplicated.  Thus, this must be exposed, or the dirty tricks and related errors will continue.

With politics, associations, a church or charity, if you get someone to:

  • Give time, even if it is only a little,
  • Give money, even if it isn’t much,
  • Take a stand, even if only briefly,
  • Go to a meeting, and enjoy pleasant networking or conversations with peers,

and you are subtly training them to do that again-and-again.  Why are we seeing political campaigns ask for as little as $3? It is for the reasons those bullets outlined.

Big boy companies operating in the manufactured housing segment of the affordable housing marketplace are purportedly using trade associations to do the same.  It’s tragic, but one can make the case that trade groups are working against the interests of their own dues payers.  Needless to say, if professionals understood that to be so, they would not normally do that of their own free will.

 

Congressional Efforts

That said, this writer made the correct technical arguments on issues framed by Preserving Access. I personally spoke to congressional staff and politicos from both major parties, as well as the public at large. My Congress blog post on the closely followed in Washington, D.C. The Hill website on the topic of Preserving Access was praised by Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams 21st Mortgage Corp President, CEO and then Manufactured Housing Institute Chairman, and scores of others, as the linked post below reflects.

 

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/248665-regulations-for-manufactured-home-loans

 

Perhaps Kevin and Tim laughed their heads off.  But time will tell who gets the last laugh.

Beyond admitting to being duped, and explaining how this ploy operated, this is an example of why on MHProNews is using the maxim, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me.”

It is not my intent to be fooled again.  To the extent possible, we hope to utilize MHProNews and MHLivingNews to prevent as many others as possible from being fooled, while holding those who did the hoodwinking accountable. Because now having confessed my error in falling for the rope-a-dope ploy, the focus must now pivot to holding the responsible parties to account.

If there was a scheme:

  • how did it occur and operate?
  • Who benefited from the maneuver?
  • Who was harmed?

We’ll aim at addressing each of those questions plus more herein.

 

 

How Rigging Preserving Access Was Accomplished

The system in MHVille was arguably rigged so that the Preserving Access bill would never pass at all. The truth was hiding in plain sight, and not enough of us understood that at the time. Let me stress that while some of the key players were clearly Democratic supporters, this was a bipartisan manipulation. As an independent, if I were a member of either party, I’d be incensed. Once more, let’s hold those who did the manipulating to account, rather than fall for the red-herring trick of blaming the messenger or whistleblowers.

Here are the factual elements of the rope-a-dope at work in Preserving Access.

 

  • Warren Buffett was a prominent supporter of 2008 candidate – and later the 2012 re-election campaign of – former President Barack Obama.
  • Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway has several of the largest brands in manufactured housing, including Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), a big stake in Wells Fargo, and ownership or stakes in several others.
  • Buffett’s brands arguably dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) along with dozens of state associations, through dues, board positions, select allies, and other forms of influence.
  • Buffett – often though so-called “dark money” channels – has been a financial donor, has ties to, and/or is influential with organizations that opposed Preserving Access in word or deed. See the report with evidence and details, linked here.

The article linked below outlines the numerous voices in MHVille that raised concerns that point to specific players and their surrogates.

 

Joe Stegmayer, George F. Allen, Manufactured Housing Institute Slogans, Slump, Slurs, Solutions

 

On the one hand, Buffett and others supported those who passed Dodd-Frank, which had onerous regulations harmful to the interests of manufactured home retailers and consumers too. That’s is why it was technically correct to support the bill, for an example, see one of several reports we published that explained why and how consumers and independents were being harmed linked here.

But as another report at that time also reflected, zoning/placement were as big or an even bigger issue.  Failure to deal with that placement/zoning issue is another element in the current downturn, per the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

 

GaryAdamekFayetteCountryHomesQuotesZoningPlacementDoddFrankPreservingAccessCFPB

 

CFPB regulations harmed the industry’s independents and consumers alike, but as the above suggests, it was one of several issues that impacted the industry. Preserving Access was fueled by MHI’s leaders in a way that it was sucking up the oxygen of the bulk of the industry’s lobbying efforts.

That said, with Barack Obama pledging a veto of any change in Dodd-Frank, the hope of passing Preserving Access law was near zero.  Who said? MHI’s own SVP of government relations.

 

JasonBoehlertPhotoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHISVPGovtAffairsQuotePreservingAccess

It was the truth hiding in plain sight. 

 

The Truth Hiding…

The panel discussion I established for the Tunica Show, where the video below was captured and later produced, was part of my evolving awakening to the farce that Preserving Access was.

In citing Frank Rolfe, it should not be construed that I’m endorsing the controversial practices of he and/or his partners. There is wheat and chaff in us all, and I firmly believe in the principle of finding the wheat and separating it from the chaff. Rolfe may arguably be wrong on several things, but on Preserving Access, he was proven to be quite correct.

Thus, Rolfe’s commentary on Preserving Access in 2016 was and still is useful.

So too were the insights shared by Bob Crawford, the President of famous Dick Moore Housing, one of the oldest and highest performing retailers in all of manufactured housing history.  Dick Moore’s business has a fine A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. He has owned retail centers and land-lease manufactured home communities, which some errantly call ‘mobile home parks.’ With that introduction, here’s the video.

 

 

 

MHI’s Chairman Tim Williams, per state association sources, exercised raw power over numbers of state executives in mobilizing them to support Preserving Access. See the report, linked below. Williams pushed state executives into supporting the 21st/Clayton and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) promoted legislation, even though many execs had concerns about its viability.

 

 

For several years, millions of dollars were spent in the effort to supposedly get Preserving Access passed. Meanwhile, problems of local zoning, issues at HUD, or other concerns festered. As manufactured housing industry success story Gary Adamek and others put it, zoning was a far more vexing issue.  Adamek wasn’t alone.

 

 

JayHamiltonZoningPlacementAffordableHousingCrisisManufacturedHomesGaManufacturedHousingAssocPhotoMHProNews

 

Despite the assurances of Nathan Smith, MHI’s prior Chairman to Williams, that the industry – often a euphemism for MHI – would be more pro-active instead of reactive, MHI in hindsight emphasized Preserving Access so much, that other issues arguably slipped.  It was as if MHI could only chew gum but couldn’t walk or talk on other pressing or festering issues.

 

 

The point is that Buffett and a few key people had arguably rigged the system in a way Preserving Access would never pass. Yet MHI continued to pursue it.

That disconnect should have been obvious to MHI.  Indeed, as was noted above, it was MHI’s  SVP in charge of government-relations Jason Boehlert said as much in 2012. Yet for four more years, MHI pursued a hopeless bill?

That begs the question, why did MHI continue to pursue a plan that was a dead end?

Seen through the lens of rope-a-dope, a plausible picture emerges.  It was done to foster the consolidation of more businesses into fewer hands, and/or drive more competitors out of business.

That concern raises other problematic issues, such as this.  Is MHI’s leadership so corrupted that the Arlington, VA based trade group has and continues to deceived hundreds of their own members?  As the evidence began to reveal itself, what to do?

 

Mom and Dad

It’s Mother’s Day as I’m drafting this article. My mother and father were both intelligent, well educated, informed people. They survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary.  They lived in the shadow of Soviet Russia for years before that tumultuous time.  When the Soviet Union’s brutal armies were pressing into Eastern Europe near the end of World War II, my parents abandoned virtually everything, took their children, and fled West to the Allied lines. They endured harrowing experiences in that trek. They finally made it to an American controlled zone. They spent years in a Displaced Persons, or DP Camp, educating others. After years of waiting after they applied to come to America, they were sponsored into the U.S., where I became the first of my parents 7 children to be born in the USA.

Two of my siblings didn’t survive the war, what my parents went through was that bad. That speaks volumes, as does what follows.

My parents faced life and death decisions. They did what they could under difficult circumstances in an enemy occupied land. Intelligent, motivated – yet they still learned only later how official deceptions – such as how the war was going for the Nazis – were just that, lies. Propaganda. Hold that thought.

When they came to the U.S., the civil rights movement was on. My parents were known supporters of civil rights for all. Later, when pro-communist speakers came to campus, they went to publicly dispute the false communist claims.

My father was a university professor.  Years after the war, he returned to Europe and was the first Ph.D. to earn his doctoral degree in philosophy “summa cum laude” – with highest honors – in the five century history of the respected University of Cologne.  My parents sacrificed as a couple so my father could return to Europe to earn that degree, and thereby make a better life for his family, while teaching others too.

During the Nazi occupation, my father had a minor governmental position. Reflecting on WWII and the Nazi occupation, several points he and my mother shared stand out. One, while Christians, they secretly helped feed hungry Jews during the Nazi occupation, at their own peril. Two, my parents said that while they knew the population was being propagandized, it wasn’t until after the war that they realized how extensive the Nazi propaganda was. 

The point is that even highly intelligent people can be deceived, but once a deception is grasped, the moral thing to do is right the wrong as best as one’s station in life allows.  They also demonstrated that you do the best you can, based on what you know and can do.

We each learn from a variety of things. Ultimately, in the natural order – meaning apart from Divine intervention – learning comes down to just two prime sources. We learn from the experiences of others, and we learn from our own experiences.

Books, articles, teaching, videos, discussions, or other forms of learning are the related experiences of others.  The simplest child can teach us something, if we are open to it, while one learns from the most profound wisdom of the greatest minds of all time.

Looking back to 2016 and that Tunica Manufactured Housing Show panel discussion, Frank Rolfe – however controversial he may be, and however much I disagree with some of his terminology, etc. – taught me something valuable. Bob Crawford did too.

Tim Williams and MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison taught me as well, albeit in an oblique fashion.  In hindsight, Williams and Jennison revealed parts of the game in manufactured housing has been played.  At the time, it made no sense, in hindsight – with the rope-a-dope in mind – the ploy and what it was used have become quite clear.

Manipulating others becomes easier, given certain dynamics. Get a group going in a certain direction, and momentum makes it easier to keep them going that way. Busy independent business people don’t have time to dig under the surface. That’s why they pay a trade organization.

Independents trusting MHI or other weaponized trade groups has purportedly been part of the rope-a-dope scheme.  There is in hindsight, as Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, an ‘Illusion of Motion.’ That illusion of activity – that MHI claims is to improve the industry – is enough to fool busy professionals that trusted the Arlington, VA based MHI trade group, while their members are focused on their business.

 

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

Not only for this writer, but for others in manufactured housing, the evidence of in hindsight of deception by leaders connected to MHI began to crop up. One big clue was an email from MHI to its own members, shown below in its entirety. A source in MHI’s organization told me that the “Housing Alert” – shown below under fair use guidelines – were only giving part of the story about a Senate hearing on Preserving Access between Senator Joe Donnelly and the CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Rephrased, that source claimed MHI was at best giving their members a half-truth.  Going to the CSPAN video, that MHI source proved correct.

 

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We produced the following video – shown a few paragraphs below – during that time-frame.  But frankly, the full meaning of what occurred only become clear in the rear view mirror, years after these events referenced by MHI’s message.

Let’s note, Senator Donnelly or Director Cordray may have been oblivious to what was occurring. MHI no doubt provided Donnelly with certain questions, they indicated as much at the time. Nevertheless, Donnelly or Cordray could well have been obvious to the fact that each were playing a part in a costly and harmful drama.  If Donnelly and Cordray were figures in a staged play, they should desire a federal investigation into these events as much as tens of thousands of industry professionals should want it.

MHI’s Senior Vice President Lesli Gooch, Ph.D. sent that message, as the email above indicates.  It was obviously with MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison’s okay. As such MHI “Housing Alerts” were sent to their own members.  Because affiliated state associations would resend MHI messages, this kind of ‘alert’ was distributed to thousands of others in manufactured housing.  The quotes used by MHI were accurate, but they were a half-truth.  It was arguably meant to deceive, as their own headline indicates:

On Capitol HillMHI Advances Manufactured Housing Finance Reform.”

There was no advance of Preserving Access. Barring Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate acting against their stated positions, no advance was possible.  The bill never, ever passed into law.  How could it?

MHI’s omissions changed the entire tenor of the Cordray-Donnelly Senate hearing discussion. That’s arguably why that MHI source sent us the tip at that time; that insider source wanted us to know that MHI was telling a half-truth that had so much spin, that it was arguably a lie.

Once more, at that moment in time, I still didn’t get it that Preserving Access was a rope-a-dope head fake. But I knew that morally, it was wrong to deceive their own members. The why behind the deception took time to uncover.

So, about 3 years ago – based on what looked like clear evidence of deception of their own members – this writer publicly called for the resignation or termination of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison and Lesli Gooch, Ph.D.  Not knowing more at the point in time, there was nothing more that could be done.

 

RichardDickJennisonLesliGoochManufacturedHousingInstittueMHI-postedMHProNews-

This report was in 2016, and the evidence kept mounting.

http://MHProNews.com/industry-news/hot/why-richard-dick-jennison-and-lesli-gooch-at-mhi-should-resign-or-go

 

That said, their deceptions made me look deeper, and ask, why wasn’t MHI using the best arguments with the CFPB and Richard Cordray?

Still supporting the logic of the bill, while opposing the tactics being used, our operation paid for the following production.

 

 

 

As this writer acknowledged in a Clayton Homes related report, linked here, our videographer wasn’t the greatest. That’s my bad, for not doing a better review of that person’s claimed credentials. That said, the videos he produced are useful. Perhaps videos and articles we produced at the time are more useful today in hindsight, then they were at that time.

Our graphics and videos have improved since.  But at a minimum, what we produced should have inspired MHI to do something similar and better.  They had the budget and they had the responsibility for advancing their own agenda.

With those disclaimers and logical points, we made this summary of statements made by CFPB Director Cordray to Senator Donnelley (D-IN).  Those pull quotes were and are revealing.  Because not only were Gooch and Jennison failing to be honest about the breadth of discussion at that Senate hearing, but MHI was also failing to use their best arguments.  Why didn’t they take Cordray’s own logic, and show him why Preserving Access could and should be done by Cordray by agreement?  After all, Cordray had that authority to change CFPB regulations himself.

 

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

A prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney builds a case with one fact laid next to another. That’s what this article is doing, laying facts out, and showing how they relate to this issue.

 

Rephrased, if MHI’s leadership were serious about getting their bill passed – or the actual intent of the measure was to get Cordray to relent and place the same regulations  into effect – then why didn’t they do some similar or better efforts to what we provided our readers and viewers?

Or even easier for them, why didn’t MHI actively support and promote our efforts to help them pass their measure – given that we were MHI members, and that we were promoting what they say they wanted?

Bear in mind, that MHI’s then chairman praised this writer, and our publications.  He did so precisely in the context of thanking us for our support of Preserving Access. The disconnects with MHI’s actions where all over, but it they only became clear in hindsight.

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

Do you see how the logic and evidence that MHI leaders were shadow boxing, playing rope-a-dope, mounts in the enhanced clarity of the rear-view mirror?

 

 

What Then MHI Chairman Tim Williams Did

As the linked report documents, MHProNews and I personally had called Jennison and Gooch out for their deception publicly. Tim Williams response?  Williams backed them after their apparent deception was revealed.

At a subsequent MHI meeting, Williams held a vote of confidence, which given ‘how gold rules‘ of course passed, in favor of Jennison.

These events took place in the view of thousands of readers, and dozens of MHI member event attendees.  Bear in mind that Williams, Jennison, and others had long praised our work.  Of course, for a time, we were useful to them.  Ouch, if so, but there it is. However one looks at it, what looks bad is that the perpetrators of these deeds were arguably part of a purported fraud.

Yes, not just deception, but fraud is a plausible argument.

FraudLegalDefinitionManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Yes, this article is laying out evidence that supports a possible case for fraud committed by specific Berkshire Hathaway and MHI leaders.

 

Given that MHI’s efforts were ‘ongoing,’ used ‘the wires’ – i.e.: the internet, and the U.S. mails too, that can all be elements of RICO.  “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a U.S. federal statute which provides criminal penalties and civil action for any act performed as a part of an ongoing criminal organization,” per US Legal.

 

IllegalLegaRICOWireMailFraudManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Yes, this article is laying out evidence that supports a possible case for RICO by specific Berkshire Hathaway and MHI leaders.

 

 

Once more, at that time, RICO or fraud were not on my mind.  But in hindsight, there is an argument to be made that those who’ve participated in this alleged fraud could be subject to federal, state, and civil actions.

That noted, let’s flash back again.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuoteMastheadMHProNews

Quote from an MHI member, business executive. We do have our typos…

The Williams ‘vote of confidence’ and related fueled my interest in peeling back the layers of the onion.

I won’t go into much more, other than to say that there were numerous voices inside and outside of MHI that helped me arrive at the point that I am today.  At the time, I was so behind Preserving Access, that I pressed MHARR to support the bill.  They calmly told me that if anyone called, they said they were for the goal of the measure, meaning more access to more lending.  But MHARR’s leaders apparently had a better sense that the bill was going nowhere, no matter how many meetings MHI held, or how many emails they sent out to the industry.

That noted, let’s pivot to a related point to the issue of consolidation.

For example, a source provided MHProNews with documents in 2017 that reflected an apparent violation of antitrust law, aimed at eliminating independent retailers and others they did business with.  Put differently, this was a more active move vs. the more passive ‘rope-a-dope’ ply.  The evidence provided us involved letters from 21st Mortgage’s Tim Williams.  That caused us to research what Kevin Clayton at Clayton Homes, and Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway said during that same timeframe.  The documents, direct quotes, and video linked below are perhaps the definitive report on that topic to date.

 

 

We’ve asked Clayton, 21st, and MHI leaders to respond to these concerns several times. Silence.  They’ve not confirmed or denied the allegations of market rigging done in a fashion that is arguably a violation of antitrust laws.  If they rigged the market in bold ways, why not in more subtle ones?

 

What Does This Mean For Investors and Manufactured Housing Professionals?

What Does This Evidence Mean for Affordable Housing Advocates?

First, this pattern of behavior took place over a period of years.

Second, while experts on the topic are useful, the elements of the case are laid out from this report.

Third, while we believe the evidence and its elements are compelling, the accused are deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, or by a plea/settlement.  These are allegations at this point, although they are arguably logical points with solid evidence and patterns of activity provided herein.

Fourth, this arguably impacts virtually every independent business, not to mention, home owners, workers, investors, home seekers, and tax payers.  The economic harm is in the billions annually.

Fifth, initially, some of these players – for example, Richard Jennison or Lesli Gooch – could well have been mere pawns initially. They may at first only have been following orders. But as certainly, as we published various fact-checks, analysis, and research, it becomes harder for them to argue that they lacked knowledge. That’s problematic for them, if legal action occurs, unless they use their insights to flip against those who pulled their strings and ordered various actions.  It should be stressed that sources at MHI have already provided MHProNews with useful information that helped unpeel layers of the onion.

Sixth, several state association executives arguably have a similar problem at Jennison and Gooch have.  Some of those executives publicly praised our work, and they praised that letter to the Hill that this author published. Once more, similar to Jennison, some state executives may have begun as mere pawns. But with MHI staff or state association staff, there is evidence that they are routine readers.  Their own emails to others will reflect their knowledge.  Failure to report a crime can lead to a charge of being an accomplice after the fact.  It should be noted that state execs are among our sources for tips.  When the time comes, we can testify on behalf of those that did what they could to battle the corruption, through their news tips.

 

SubmitNewsTipsManufacturedHomeProNewsMHProNewsLogoMastheadMHProNews

Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com.  Put “MHProNews Comments” or “News Tip” in the subject line.

 

Seventh, while legislators often support bills and make speeches in favor of legislation that they know will go nowhere, that is arguably different than being part of a fraudulent scheme.  For 2020 and other motivations, legislators and other advocates may be motivated to do what is right with respect to the Rope-a-Dope and related schemes to consolidate manufactured housing into ever fewer hands.

Eighth, as some linked articles reveal, there may likewise be connections between non-profits that benefited from Warren Buffett’s largess – directly or obliquely – that these same numbered points apply to from a legal perspective. One may begin innocently as a mere tool or pawn in a fraud.  But as realization hits, there are legal and more reasons for them to step forward.

Ninth, advocates and unelected public officials also have a role in acting as they digest this.

Certainly, once an allegation is made, evidence is presented, and reason is applied, a reader can and should double- check the claims.  We don’t ask that any of this be taken on blind faith. I’ve routinely invited key people in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis to debunk or explain away previous reports, some of which are linked in this one.  In the past two years, they’ve largely been mute directly.  Indirectly, they’ve arguably taken several steps, including hiring an outside attorney for MHI to threaten this writer and our publication. If we were mistaken, why didn’t they simply point out our fact error or any misstep in reasoning?  Instead, MHI used threats and other tactics.

 

Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You

 

This writer has already taken certain steps with state and federal officials, and will plan to take others. So while this is a mea culpa, it is more.

Tenth, one or more individuals in this circle have purportedly misused the mails in an effort to threaten and/or embarrass this writer via a form of extortion. They perhaps didn’t realize  that every such step only confirmed that we were on the right track. As our team or myself have said before, sure, there are some things that would be embarrassing for me, but it could be explained in 60 seconds.  There’s a keen difference between an embarrassing moment, vs. fraudulent or criminal activity.

Why would someone engage in such a fraud and use the ‘rope-a-dope?’

Let’s let Warren Buffett help us explain the answer to that question.

 

How Warren Buffett Sheds Light On This Issue

Hindsight isn’t always 20/20. But Buffett, whom I disagree with numerous points of his purported business or other (lack of) ethical practices, has nevertheless said some things that were useful to me in understanding what occurred and why.

Paraphrasing the Oracle of Omaha:

 

  • The rear-view mirror is clearer than the windshield.
  • The lesson of history is that most don’t learn the lesson of history.
  • If you take a long view of an investment in an industry, you can do more than those who only take the short view.
  • Buffett stresses that he only invested in industries that make good sense. That was confirmation of the value proposition of manufactured housing.
  • Reputation is important.

 

But oddly, Clayton and their related lenders have behaved in ways that arguably stoked problematic reputational issues. ICYMI, or to see the connections, please check out the related report, linked below.

 

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – Investor Lessons Learned

 

In hindsight, looking at the evidence, the case can be made that Buffett had the goal of monopolizing a big part of the industry.

Buffett did so by manipulation of access to financing and capital. This is a realm where the advocacy of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was useful to me and others in the industry.  The Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became law in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), a measure MHARR successfully backed.

But a decade later it is still not being fully or properly implemented. What can that lack of implementation be traced back to? MHARR has argued that fingers point to GSE foot dragging, Berkshire Hathaway lender’s that de facto foiled its earlier implementation, and MHI working to re-direct DTS to an untested and more expensive so-called ‘new class of homes’ built under the HUD Code.

 

Buffett and his fellows in MHVille, in hindsight, has been both revealing and concealing.

What’s arguably occurred is often done in plain sight.  If someone had checked the records as we have, they could have come to the same or similar conclusions. Buffett’s merry band of leaders in MHVille have purportedly played rope-a-dope for years. Thus, the ongoing nature of this matter, which is why RICO – IMHO – can and should be applied.

Cutting off lending to thousands of retailers who didn’t buy Clayton products harmed many, causing numbers to fail. That in turn tipped some factories out of business or caused them to sell out later at a discount.  It also harmed independently owned manufactured home communities, that for decades counted on retailers to fill their vacant sites.  So much changed after the events in this linked report.

More recently, Buffett’s money apparently funded the underlying research used by Oliver’s video, linked here.

These are arguably slow-motion methods of getting ‘undervalued acquisitions,’ and do so in a manner that could easily elude federal antitrust regulators and/or their victims.

The linked reports are crucial for grasping the evidence of how this purported plot has been carried out. Let me stress that initially, only a few would have had to know. But as our reporting has unpeeled the layers, plausible deniability has slowly escaped their various tools and pawns, as those individuals have gained understanding of the elements of the ploy.

Ronald Reagan said his 80 percent friends are not 20 percent enemies. That’s an important principle in manufactured housing for those NOT in on the rope-a-dope.  There have been useful tips from past and present MHI staff and members, MHARR leaders and their members, independents, or others who have since broken with MHI as the rope-a-dope became clearer to them.  I’d like to think we’ve been helping each other against the threat of still more costly market manipulation.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has arguably done the industry a big favor in his recent statement. See that, linked below. Ask yourself, why doesn’t MHI have the entire speech on their website? Once more, just before publishing this, we’ve verified that this isn’t on their website.  Are they that lazy and incompetent? I’d say, no.  So, is there something else – like the illusion of motion and the rope-a-dope – at work at MHI?

 

 

Dr. Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Manufactured Housing Conference Remarks New Orleans, Louisiana, Hyatt Regency Hotel, May 7, 2019

 

Imagine a candidate pondering replacing MHI president Dick Jennison, other than say Lesli Gooch.  Imagine that a candidate uncovers a report like this. Who would want to go work for an organization that one of their own prior presidents effectively dissed as he exited?  Who would want to fill the role of an allegedly corrupt organization?

  • There is evidence that supports the reality that MHI has been shadow boxing as well playing rope-a-dope.
  • Buffett has demonstrably been funding opposition to manufactured housing interests, including Preserving Access.
  • The industry’s members were getting purported propaganda, spin, and weaponized half-truths directly from MHI and indirectly from state associations.
  • More recently, weaponized information has come from a new publication launched that largely is a purported MHI propaganda tool, aptly named MHInsider. Berkshire brands and others who are benefiting from consolidation are among their sponsors. MHInsider isn’t alone, consider the head fakes from purported pawn and rewarded surrogate, George F. Allen. For still more, see the below.

 

B2B Statistics, Trends 2019 – April 2019 Snapshot of Manufactured Home Professional Readers

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

20 years ago, manufactured homes outsold RVs by about 3 to 2. Today, RVs outsell manufactured homes by some 5 to 1. Manufactured homes are normally purchased for full time living, many RVs are for recreational or part time living. Many RVs – which are towable as well as motorized – can be higher than a manufactured home. The cost per square foot for a manufactured home is routinely lower.

 

 

How Manufactured Housing Has Been Manipulated and Stunted During an Affordable Housing Crisis

There are at least 4 principles that have been at work.

  • The power to tax is the power to undermine value and potentially to destroy a business or industry.
  • The power to regulate is the power to destroy.
  • The power to manipulate, limit, or cut off capital and financing is the power to undermine or destroy a business’ value.
  • Last for now, but not least. The ability to artificially generate opposition in media, politically, and otherwise can limit, undermine, and destroy a business’ value or potential.

Buffett’s donations can be traced to a nonprofit called MHAction. MHAction was part of a group of three nonprofits that did a white paper on problematic business practices by manufactured housing brands that provided key material in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral and errantly named “Mobile Homes” video. That video attacks Buffett’s own companies.

But so too did the Center for Integrity, whose journalist co-authored the first Seattle Times attack on Clayton, their lenders, and de facto the Preserving Access bill. Buffett’s money found its way to that nonprofit too. See the third-party research, linked here or above.

So, there is an ongoing pattern of activity. This is why we believe that their is a case for RICO, fraud, as well as antitrust.

 

 

Summary

We are left with a picture of Buffett and his key henchmen in MHVille apparently playing rope-a-dope with the industry. Initially, only a few people had to be involved in the sense of being ‘in the know.’ Later, plausible deniability arguably faded for certain people, say MHI key staff, as our reports on the issues became more focused.

There’s more evidence to unpack in related reports linked from this one. But the essential points are undisputed at this point by Clayton, 21st, VMF, MHI, and that MHI outside attorney – all of whom have been directly asked and asked again to respond to the evidence, concerns, and allegations.  They have the right to remain silent.

Perhaps they have no good response to the evidence?

Freedom isn’t free. My parents taught me that me that in word and deed. You resist and fight back any way you can, based upon your circumstances in life.

Economic freedom is as important as free speech, free assembly, the right to vote, and so on.

Antitrust, RICO, and other federal or state corrupt practices investigations must be made and done as publicly as possible so as to deter others from such ploys.

Millions of lives have arguably been impacted, using Secretary Carson’s logic. Tens to hundreds of billions of dollars a year are arguably being lost in our industry, with a ripple effect in the country that makes the total economic harm far worse.

Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act  – under this premise – was a head fake, and the record is now being set straight. My apologies for not seeing it earlier. Now, help us help you be sharing this with others, and then acting accordingly.

That’s a lot to digest. But by laying it out, step-by-step, dotting i’s and crossing t’s, and linking the evidence, it provides those looking in and those within the industry to follow the evidence.  That is the start of fixing what has artificially suppressed manufactured housing. See the related reports below.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, fact-checks, and analysis.)

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Ross Kinzler Confirms Allegations, MHEC Peer Claims “Association Malpractice;” Member Backstab, MHI Failure Concerns

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues, May Updates

 

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

Independent National Manufactured Housing Post-Production Association Takes Major Step

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multibillion Dollar Opportunities Knock in Solving Affordable Housing Crisis

May 1st, 2019 No comments

 

MultibillionDollarOpportunitiesKnockSolvingAffordableHousingCrisisLATonyKovachManufacturedHomeMHProNews

In a truly free enterprise system, various needs are identified. Then a means of profitably yet honestly serving those needs are established. Ideally, both the customer and product/service benefit. The happy customer(s) then tell or send their friends.  That pattern repeated often enough yields success.

 

For millions, perception is reality.

For millions, the words “manufactured homes” – if understood at all – brings up images of old mobile homes. Properly understood and acted upon, that is both an obstacle and an opportunity in disguise.

To make a point about misunderstandings about manufactured homes, let’s first step back and consider a few subjects that are divisive and raise widely differing views and reactions.

 

  • Climate change.
  • Abortion.
  • Income inequality.
  • President Donald J. Trump or former President Barack H. Obama.
  • Socialism.
  • Immigration and the U.S. Mexican border.
  • Democrats or Republicans.
  • CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News.
  • Big Tech and Monopolies

 

The list could go on and on. But that is enough to make the next point. Millions of intelligent people are on either side of those issues, organizations, or personalities.

So why is it a surprise that there is a wide disparity of views on manufactured homes?  By the way, to us, manufactured homes – like affordable housing – are non-partisan or bipartisan issues.

 

Opportunities Knock

Applying the point above, there are stark differences between how some insiders involved in manufactured housing view the following.

  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Arlington, VA.
  • Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, based in the Knoxville, TN metro.
  • Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, in Omaha, NE, where their annual meeting is about to be held.
  • Prosperity Now (formerly CFED)
  • Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction)

to name but a few.

Interestingly, the central bullet listed – Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway – are tied by investments, traceable donations, or other financial/advocacy interests to all of the above.

It should go without saying that Buffett, Berkshire, their BH Media Group and other media access, plus their billions could promote a clear and compelling case for modern manufactured homes.  It is the most proven permanent form of affordable housing in U.S. history.  So properly understood, investing in manufactured housing is a safe bet.

 

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

Each photo is of a modern manufactured home, which can be 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 all built to federal construction and safety standards that went into effect on June 15, 29176, administered by HUD, and are thus known as “HUD Code Manufactured Homes.”

InfographicMobileManufacturedHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryFactsDataResearchMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNews-445x768

 

Buffett enters an industry precisely because he thinks it is a good bet.  So the fact that Buffett and Berkshire could use media and marketing to successfully break through the noise about manufactured homes – leads a clear-thinker to this interesting possibility. They arguably don’t want to clear up the misinformation about manufactured homes at this time.

If fact, sources that have received directly or obliquely funding from Buffett and Berkshire have attacked him and his manufactured housing business units. It is a fact that MHAction is listed as having co-authored a white paper that Last Week Tonight with John Oliver used as a central source for his viral “Mobile Homes” video.

Buffett/Berkshire on a variety of examples have been on both sides of an apparent fight. Beyond the John Oliver/MHAction example, let’s look at one more instance.

The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act aimed at amending Dodd-Frank. It was authored and promoted by MHI, Clayton Homes, and their Berkshire Hathaway manufactured home lenders.  Yet Berkshire Chairman Buffett himself backed candidates Barack Obama for re-election to the presidency, and Secretary Hillary Clinton, both of whom opposed any changes to Dodd-Frank. Prosperity Now – then known as CFED – opposed those changes. MHI, and dozens of state associations supported Preserving Access.  These are easy to document facts.

Buffett backed forces were on both sides of the Preserving Access fence. The reasons that can be profitable to him are many.

Th objective mind is left with this impression. Buffett and his allies have a motivation to obscure the truth and performance of manufactured housing at this time.

 

Behind Every Deception is a Motivation

Stating the Obvious can clarify an issue. When intelligent, successful people are behind some deception, there must be a motivation.

Further, good marketers know that you either define yourself, or others will define you – often to your detriment.  But what if you funded undermining the message, precisely to harm the interests of smaller players?  What if that allows you to consolidate at a discount other firms?  Doesn’t that – in a cunning fashion – fit the ‘value investing’ principle Buffett himself portrays?

There is evidence that we won’t dive deeply into in this column that suggests that Buffett and his allies know precisely how valuable manufactured housing is, which is why he entered the industry in the first place.

Using Buffett’s strategic Moat principles, the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis are slowly building a monopoly that would have been barred by federal antitrust regulators had that been done swiftly. That doesn’t mean that they haven’t violated antitrust laws.  Berkshire connected documents and their own words are linked here, which lays out the trendlines.

That hypothesis must be proven in a court of law, or by some sort of pleading between the harmed parties and those accused of market manipulations that arguably violate multiple laws.

So how can those who have strong evidence against them respond?  They have been given multiple opportunities, and they don’t respond at all, not directly. Rather, they seek to undermine those who dare challenge and expose their #RiggedSystem.

 

 

Opportunities in Disguise

Every problem that is properly understood in a free enterprise system is an opportunity in disguise. The fact that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their nonprofit surrogates are on both sides of several issues can dissuade some from getting into manufactured housing.  Perhaps wisely so.

But others will see or discover that if they are willing to lawfully use such insights, the opportunities to prosper while honestly serving potentially millions of Americans arises.

Restated, this revelation means that those willing to challenge Buffet/Berkshire may find the key that unlocks the door that solves the affordable housing crisis. Doing so is good for federal, state, and local budgets. Addressing affordable housing needs are good for taxpayers.  It is good for those stuck in a lifetime of paying for rental housing.

Such efforts to buck Buffett and his minions can be successfully done at the local, regional, or national levels. It doesn’t require infinite resources.  But it does demand serious resources, will, and staying power to cut through the Moats around the Clayton and their lending castles that Berkshire brands have established or allowed to exist and expand.

The evidence that they can be beaten is in or linked from this very article.  The irony is that these same point-people allied with Knoxville and Arlington praised our work for years.  Right up to the point that we began grasp, unravel, and then to publicize their questionable activities.

 

TimWilliams21stMortgagePublicationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNews1

HowardWalkerJDViceChairEquityLifestylePropELS-ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoViceChair-postedMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryResearcMHProNews

TimWilliamsOhioManufacturedHomesAssocExecDirectorRecommendationTonyKovachMHProNewsLouisvilleManufacturedHousingShowPromotion

One of over 1000 endorsements and recommendations, most of which were given without being requested. We thank each sender for that honor.

 

We are more than publishers here at MHProNews/MHLivingNews. We’ve been acknowledged and praised by some of the very people that now seek to oppose our pro-industry and ethical pro-growth work. Our parent operation and related business units have had documented success at turning around previously struggling or even failed situations in manufactured housing.

That may be seen as a threat to some, but as a blessing in disguise to others.

Just as there are a range of viewpoints on the hot button issues noted above, or on

 

  • manufactured homes,
  • land lease communities (a.k.a. ‘mobile home parks’),
  • manufactured housing financing,
  • or other aspects of the broader factory built housing industry

 

there are a range of views – past and present – about this writer, our publications, and our business development and related training, recruitment, and consulting services.

Given a highly polarized America, where hidden agendas often are at work, is it any surprise that there are differing views about myself or our proven systems?

 

DannyGloverQuoteItsNotOnlyAMonopolyOfWealthItsAmonopolyofInformationasWellDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

You may or may not agree with Danny Glover on a range of issues. At MHProNews, we use a ‘wheat and chaff’ principle. That statement by Glover is demonstrably insightful. This quote is wheat. We buck the monopoly of obscured information that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis have purportedly fostered. 

 

The truth has been weaponized by some, hoping to push an agenda they believe benefits themselves. To some, it doesn’t matter how many independent businesses are harmed, or how many millions of lives are being cheated of an opportunity to own and build personal wealth.  Secretary Carson said in 2017 that the average rental household has a net worth of some $5000.  The average homeowner household, per Carson, has a typical net worth of some $200,000.  Some of the very nonprofits that Buffett’s largess is aligned with have made similar arguments. Prosperity Now and the Ford Foundation, to name but two, have made the case that manufactured housing is a proven path to building personal wealth.

It requires an expert to discern what is real news and what is ignorant, fake, spin, or weaponized news when it comes to manufactured housing.

See the related reports, linked below the byline and notices for specifics.

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We believe in this industry, its potential, and know it from the inside out.  Buffett and his buddies believe in manufactured housing too, and they deploy their methods to keep others at bay.  We believe there are several proven ways to foil them profitably.

Time is money. Knowledge is potential power. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, analysis.)

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LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By 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.

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Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

B2B Statistics, Trends 2019 – April 2019 Snapshot of Manufactured Home Professional Readers

 

Profiting & Correcting – Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls and Swindles

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

 

 

 

Cui Bono? “Killing Me Softly,” Manufactured Housing’s New Theme Song?

April 4th, 2019 No comments

 

CuiBonoKillingMeSoftlyManufacturedHousingNewThemeSongClaytonHomesBerkshireHathaway#MHIUpdateMastheadMHProNews

Whitney Houston died a tragic death. She began her career in Gospel. It was Roberta Flack’s, not Houston’s song, but one might suspect that near the end of her dramatic life, the lyrics “killing me softly with his song” were perhaps filled with deep meaning for Whitney.

 

11,582,041 YouTube views – published Mar 16, 2016.

When a company is a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, there is not much they are unable to afford, so long as it makes good business sense.

Need great marketing? Berkshire can provide the capital needed. Research? Warren Buffett led Berkshire has personal connections with the Urban Institute, along with other nonprofits. What they may not want to pay for directly – for whatever reason – they can hire done in the way of consumer or other research.

One could go on, but the point is simple.

 

During well-documented affordable housing crisis in the U.S., how is it possible that the most proven solution known in the U.S. is languishing? How is it that Buffett and Berkshire would allow Clayton Homes to be in the manufactured home industry that 2 decades ago was doing 4 times the level of sales that it is today?  How is it possible that once more, for the last 6 months, the industry’s sales are shrinking during an affordable housing crisis?

 

 

The Investigators Question – Cui Bono?

The Latin phrase ‘cui bono‘ is a question that means, ‘who stands or stood to benefit?’ If one is looking for a criminal or a motive for an action, the question cui bono – who benefited – helps narrow down the suspects.

Clayton Homes and their allies demonstrably dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). They and a handful are what MHI award winner Marty Lavin, JD, called big boy” firms that arguably rule the Arlington, VA based MHI roost.

The latest new manufactured home production and shipments data is out for February 2019. It’s sobering. Yet, when MHI put out its latest missive to their members yesterday, there was no mention of the roughly half-year downturn in production and shipments of new HUD Code manufactured homes.

Instead, in an “MHI Update” there is blather about other topics, including the theme for their upcoming Congress and Expo, “Let’s Keep Building.”

The irony and hypocrisy are so thick, a good steak knife and fork are needed. But it’s part of their purported M.O., to borrow from the song lyrics, of “killing me [or thee] softly.” Happy. Upbeat. All is well. New research…

If MHI is doing it, then the big boys must want it done that way, right?

Please try to explain the logic of allowing federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes to languish during an affordable housing crisis? Who benefits? How did or do they benefit?

The answer we’ve logically deduced at MHProNews is as sobering as the latest shrinking production data.

For newcomers, Berkshire is based in Omaha, Clayton and their affiliated lenders are in metro Knoxville, and we’ve noted earlier that MHI’s office is in Arlington, VA.

 

That said, as was noted in Soheyla’s market report feature on 4.3.2019, the question was asked. How does one of explain the manufactured home industry’s poor performance since 2003?

 

SoheylaKovachMD-MHProNewsMHLivingNews“There are only a few possible logical options.

 

  • The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington (OKA) axis and their allies are incompetent. They don’t know how to sell affordable manufactured homes during an affordable housing crisis.
  • The OKA axis are posturing efforts to address concerns that for whatever reasons are not working. This is what MHARR called the “Illusion of Motion.”
  • The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis have a plan, and they are acting upon it. That plan does not short term include short term steps that will fix the headwinds that are buffeting manufactured housing.”

  

We respect the intelligence of Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, Tom Hodges, Rick Robinson, and others in the mix noted above. They are smart, successful professionals. So, one may logically deduce that the OKA axis must for some reason want or accepts these historically low levels of production and sales.

If so, why? Cui bono? Who benefits from it?

The logical answer is stark. Let’s sum up to this point. If one agrees that these are intelligent, capable people, here’s what one comes to conclude. There is some arguable benefit to those who want to consolidate pieces of the industry slowly at a bargain price. Whenever the powers that be are ready to take the foot off the brake pedal, the manufactured home industry will roar back to life. The value of their assets’ that were acquired at a bargain rate will then soar.

We’ve provided several opportunities for Kevin, Tim, Tom, Rick, Lesli, Dick, and others to publicly refute these contentions and concerns. We did so as recently as last week in Tunica, where they and/or their attorneys could have attempted to explain away the following. We invited them to give their version of the impact of what Berkshire Hathaway brand records and video linked below described.  Click on the linked text-image box for the details and ‘smoking gun’ evidence.

 

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

 

The reply from the fine folks in Knoxville and Arlington was silence.

Let me confess that some of what we do is arguably unorthodox. For instance, I documented those outreaches to Kevin and his crew with bcc’s to individuals who are in the industry, to federal or other legal officials, and to MHI members and non-members. We’ve advised MHI’s outside counsel, who had previously informed us that he is assigned to monitor moi and our publications.

Put differently, they can’t deny that we’ve given them every opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings. If there is an alternative reading of these linked facts, or others like it, they remain mute. Keep in mind, until 2 years ago, they routinely replied promptly. But now, they rest instead on their 5th Amendment protected right to remain silent.

We respect that right, along with the others protected by the U. S. Constitution.

They’ve made the claim for years that MHI represents ‘all segments of factory-built housing.’ If so, they are failing. If they don’t change behavior, it implies they are either insane – or they must want this outcome of declining sales –  for whatever reasons.  The opportunities for HUD Code manufactured homes are amazing, but the performance doesn’t rise to the level of tepid, based on current and historic trends.  In a U.S. market that did $1.6 trillion dollars in new and existing housing sales in 2018, manufactured housing couldn’t crack $8 billion?  Consider the facts and pull quotes.

 

2018DataShareofHousingMarketManufacturedHousingInfographicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews612

 

Meanwhile, as the industry sags, the routine of pleasant MHI and other meetings goes on. The steady drone of MHI happy talk and happy music strums on.  Cui bono?  Why not take Warren Buffett at his own words?

 

WarrenBuffettAZQuoteCriticalFactorDetermineValuePayFairBargainPriceMastheadTonyKovachMHProNews

GoodBusinessIsLikeAStrongCastleWithaDeepMoatAroundItSharksIntheMoatIwantItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteMHProNews

 

If you listen to Amazon’s Alexa Fund estimate in 2018 for the potential for prefabricated housing sales in the U.S., they estimated that at some $330 billion annually.  There are several kinds of prefab housing, but manufactured homes are outselling the others.  So let’s cut that Alexa Fund estimate in half, or $165 billion.  That suggests the industry could be doing some 20x the sales volume it is currently achieving. Is that sufficient motive to manipulate a marketplace?

 

 

Whitney, you were a superstar. Will you warn the advocates for affordable housing that the powers that be, like with thee, are killing the pain of independents softly, with their song…?  “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By 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:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

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

 

Related References:

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

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

 

Surprising Discovery on Manufactured Housing’s Enhanced Preemption, Hidden Gem$

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

 

“Democrats Are Sinful Hypocrites. Just Like All of Us.” Weaponizing Information, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and MHVille

Profiting & Correcting – Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls and Swindles

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

MHARR Urges Congress to Preserve DTS In GSE Reform Legislation DBN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

February 9th, 2019 No comments

 

ConquestCapitalismThoughtsofChairmanWarrenBuffettBillionaresCampaigntoControlTrillionDollarAffordableHousngMarketDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The year was 1998. It happened to be the year that manufactured housing hit its last peak, but it was also the year that Simon Reynolds compiled and published “Thoughts of Chairman Buffett – Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha.”

 

ThoughtsofChairmanBuffettThirtyYearsUnventionalWisdomSageofOmahaSimonReynoldsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsUntil you turn to the back of Reynold’s book, not many pages in my copy of his thin volume are even numbered. Starting on page 141 are the following subheadings, bulleted below.  With those one can start the journey of understanding Buffett and his success formula.

 

  • Think Long Term
  • Buy Businesses You Understand

 

After the second bullet, you find this quote, “Remember his [Buffett’s]Circle of Competence theory. Step outside of it and the vultures will begin to gather. Stick to investing in industries you know something about.  When you have a feel for how the game is played, you are much more likely to score a home run…”

Later, Reynolds says this…

Part of understanding a company is understanding its management team. Are the executives competent?

Are they experienced? Or, as Buffett would say, are they fanatics?”

 

  • Don’t Overdiversify

You can’t be Bo Jackson in investing. Spread your energy and capital too many ways and you are courting disaster.”

For those who don’t know – or need a refresher on – Bo Jackson, here it is.

 

BoJacksonBaseballFootballWarrenBuffettQuoteMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Disclosure

We are editorially pro-free enterprise.  But for reasons that will be understood from the research and linked reports, our publication is a Buffett critic.  Some believe he ‘saved’ manufactured housing in 2003.  Did he save this industry, or rather, did he start his conquest of it?

The evidence-to-date suggests that the third-richest man on the planet has purportedly mastered the art of the conceal with respect to manufactured housing.

After years of Buffett and industry research – plus my roughly quarter-century of direct involvement in this profession – there are many things that Buffett says that ought to be understood through these prisms.

  • What Warren Buffett said,
  • What he means.
  • The head fake.

Buffett is routinely selling. First, he is selling himself.

Then, he is selling his business and investing model.  There are plenty of takers on that, in investing, business, media, politics, and so on.

Third, Buffett is coy. Some things he says are straightforward and spot on. Other statements from Buffett have a veiled or hidden meaning. As a critic, let me note anew that with all people or organizations, the principle of ‘wheat and chaff‘ should be applied. Learn what to keep and utilize, but also learn via discernment what ought to be ignored, discarded, or understood in a different fashion than what the speaker may imply.

 

Conquest Capitalism

Let’s begin to popularize or coin a new phrase. Not crony capitalism. Not vulture capitalism. It isn’t a phrase from Reynolds’ book.

In Buffet-World, it is all about we what we are hereby going to dub “Conquest Capitalism.”

Buffett uses capital, information, headwinds, and understanding – including the essentials of human nature, and human weaknesses – to conquer.  “The Moat” is a term for the strategic principles used by Buffett in conquest capitalism. 

Conquest capitalism occurs through capital and the understanding and maneuvering of basic principles. Some of those are noted in Reynolds thin volume, like those quoted above or what follows.

Here’s a gem under the heading, “On Independence” – “You have to think for yourself. It always amazes me how high-IQ people mindlessly imitate. I never get good ideas talking to other people.” So said Buffett, claims Reynolds, citing U.S. News and World Report, June 20, 1994.

Or this “There’s something about smart people explaining ideas to an orangutan that makes their decision making better.”

Or “…people are creatures of habit.” Know right now that Buffett and his Berkshire brands count on that, big time. He counts on your habits. Buffett and his acolytes count on the habits of your team, and the habits of millions of others too.

Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values,” said Buffett per Forbes 8.6.1979. Reynolds has that under the heading, “On the Advantage of Chaos.”

Buffett is also quoted saying “… – it’s the weak link that snaps you. And frequently, in the financial markets, the weak link is borrowed money.”

One could go on, but that’s more than enough Buffett quotes to outline what follows.  On his borrowed-money point, consider the reports linked here and here.  Arguably, no one can grasp why manufactured housing is as small as it is today without reading and understanding the nuances of those two reports, and others like it.

Buying and selling housing in the U.S. is a multi-trillion dollar proposition over the course of a decade. Last year, per the sources cited in the infographic below, sales of new and existing single family-homes and condos equaled about $1.6 trillion dollars in 2018 alone.

What the data reveals is that manufactured housing, properly understood, could take a huge leap ahead of its currently poor sales levels.  If you are an investor pondering this sector – or are already in manufactured housing – be mindful that the growth potential is stunning.

But if so, the curious mind should ask questions like this one. Why hasn’t MHI – or Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance for that matter – done a better job of marketing or advocacy on issues like zoning and placement, financing parity, and other key obstacles?

Or why have the powers that be that flow from Omaha to Knoxville, TN and into Arlington, VA seem to constantly be in motion, with so little to show for it at year’s end?  Isn’t there plenty of demand for affordable housing?

Ponder the 2018 factoids, data, and quotes that follow in this infographic.

 

2018DataShareofHousingMarketManufacturedHousingInfographicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews612

The headline for this article includes the word “billionaires,” plural. There are more than one in the hunt, so that is not a typo. But Buffett has a clear edge at this time. One of his close friends, Bill Gates – whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Buffett is a trustee of – has been exposed to Clayton Homes and manufactured housing too.

 

When you examine years of research, what you may learn by considering the history of MHVille is this. The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis are posturing activity that seems to the casual observer to aim at promoting growth, or removing regulatory barriers. That said, note that the powers-that-be are not using their best possible arguments for zoning or other issues. The text/image boxes below are each hot-linked to a report on that topic.

 

State of the Industry 2019 – Reality vs. Potential for Manufactured, Modular, and PreFab Homes? New Infographic

 

Meanwhile, Berkshire’s market share in manufactured housing grows.

 

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

 

They are making billions now. But through patience and conquest capitalism, manufactured homes could swell into one of the largest growth industries in the nation.

 

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

Clayton claims they had ‘only’ about 47.7 percent of the market at the end of 2017. Other sources indicate the total could be 50 percent. Either way, the Moat is working.

 

Steady persistence is an element of the Buffett play.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuoteMastheadMHProNews

Quote from an MHI member, business executive.

Had Buffett’s Berkshire tried to buy the entire industry in 2003 – which his resources could have allowed him to do – regulatory alarms would have sounded.  Patience allows him several luxuries. One is less regulatory scrutiny. Less chance for antitrust action.

Two, patience in a depressed industry sector allows him to acquire pieces of manufactured housing at a bargain “value,” which is also part of the Berkshire Moat model.

 

 

 

While You and Others Sleep

While you are running your path today, Buffett’s zealous business-unit leaders and their minions are waging a slow-motion war. Their leaders are taught to think long-term. Most others in this industry are thinking only about today, this week, month, or quarter.

That’s part of what allows conquest capitalist tactics – including that strategic Moat they use –  to beat competitors over time.

Some sell out to Clayton, or one of the other big three firms that dominate manufactured housing.  About 5 years before Berkshire entered manufactured housing in 2003, the three biggest firms had about 44 percent market share, said Buffett in an annual letter to shareholders.  Today, three firms have about 80 percent, and those 3 are all different than what existed 20 years ago.

Somewhat related, the SEC, it should be noted, will not yet say what stock(s) Joe Stegmayer, former Chairman and President of Cavco Industries and still Chairman of MHI, invested in that purportedly caused their legal fracas to erupt.

Over a dozen shareholders’ plaintiffs attorney firms are circling MHI member Cavco.

As a factoid, before going to Cavco, Stegmayer used to be a division president for Clayton. The growth at Cavco occurred after 2003, the same year that Buffett bought into MHVille. Coincidence?

Nor will the SEC say what investigation, if any, they are doing regarding possible collusion between various brands in manufactured housing. But if there were no investigations underway, wouldn’t the SEC just say so? We know from other sources that the CFPB and HUD are investigating the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing. Time will tell what comes of it.

 

Information and Disinformation

It isn’t just information, it is disinformation, that the Omaha-Knoxville and their nonprofit cat’s paw in Arlington, VA use.

Buffett and Clayton frankly don’t need their pawns in Arlington to understand anything. That’s not to demean anyone at MHI.  Rather, it is a simple reality. As long as MHI staffers do what Omaha-Knoxville want, as they want it – their ‘job’ is secure.  They can fail or succeed, it matters not for the purposes of their Moat.  The Illusion of Motion is what matters.

So there is no need for a conspiracy theory. The folks at Arlington could be Buffett’s proverbial “orangutan– see quote above – and that part of their strategic Moat system will work just as well.

From Buffett’s tower in Omaha, does it matter if MHI is hopelessly inept and ineffective at their claimed goals? Does it matter if MHI is cagily corrupted? Or some mix of those?  How did the manufactured home industry – which once outsold RVs 3 to 2 about 2 decades ago – slide so far that it now trails RVs by some 5 to 1?  What coach could keep their job with such poor performance?

Unless poor performance is okay? Who would pay bonuses for performance facts like that?

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

In 1998, manufactured homes outsold RVs by about 3 to 2. Today, RVs outsell manufactured homes by some 5 to 1. Manufactured homes are normally purchased for full time living, many RVs are for recreational or part time living. Many RVs – which are towable as well as motorized – can be higher than a manufactured home. The cost per square foot for a manufactured home is routinely lower.

 

Failure or success by MHI – either can suit the needs of the Berkshire brands.  Meanwhile, conquest capitalism is purportedly deploying the Moat to strike at the Achilles heels of various manufactured housing organizations’ interests

Rephrased, Buffett’s brands deploy capital – Buffett’s term – plus a clever blend of spin that includes facts, near facts, missed facts, and the confident trust that many won’t check the facts.

Plus, he counts on the fact that you and tens of millions won’t read, study, think, and plan as long-term as he and his colleagues do.

That’s a possible weak link. Because as soon as someone does thoughtfully study, in large part by looking objectively in detail backwards, one sees the picture that hundreds of millions miss.

 

InBusinessWorldTheRearViewMirrorIsALwaysClearerThantheWindshieldWarrenBuffettVASpapinquoteManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

If you don’t pay attention to history, trends, and plan years ahead, Buffet’s conquest capitalism can sneak up one day and crush you. Another example, linked here.

 

Several thousand will read this column. I can’t say quite how many going in, but the rear view mirror trend lines suggest that our audience will find this topic of keen interest. Those thousands of readers will include the serious, as well as the merely curious.

It’s the few who are zealously informed and focused on ‘never quit until victory’ who will end up making the difference.

With some $500 billion of new capital coming back or into the U.S. in 2018 as a result of the tax cuts and jobs act of 2017, plus the Trump Administration regulatory reforms, this is possibly the best time in years to challenge Berkshire’s Moat.

 

CNBCCapitalIntoUSSinceTaxCutsJobAct500billionto1TrillionMastheadBlog

 

The Clayton retailers and Knoxville lenders’ can be outperformed. We’ve seen it done. We know those who are doing it in specific markets. On the consulting side of our operation, we’ve been part of several projects that have done it and are doing it at their local level.

 

That’s the introduction. Here’s the balance of the opening headline.

Corruption is rampant in America. That doesn’t mean that most are corrupt. That’s not necessary. It does mean that you can effectively buy off a few key people in high, important roles, and influence events in ways that few can imagine.

It means that billionaires can collude in ways that the SEC, FTC, or DOJ might not consider. We respect law enforcement, but one need not look far to see examples of justice gone awry in America.

So, if the Feds do get it on what’s happening in MHVille, they may or may not be willing to try undertake the effort to stop the collusion of the “conquest capitalists.”

Few should better understand than manufactured housing professionals how much misinformation is out there about our misunderstood industry.  Yet those misunderstandings are accepted as true.  Where is MHI’s efforts to correct the record?  Or to promote and explain the reality vs. the myth?

 

Our widely misunderstood industry is the wake up call for affordable housing industry pros. Misunderstanding is also the wake-up call for investors.  There is demonstrably no more proven solution to the affordable housing crisis than manufactured homes.  How is it even possible that it is so misunderstood?

 

InfographicMobileManufacturedHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryFactsDataResearchMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNews-445x768

2018 infographic with 2017 data.

 

Misinformation can be Opportunities in Disguise

A source with deep ties to Clayton Homes said that they have a two to three year plan to roll out 1,000 to 1,200 Clayton retail centers within a two to three year time span. To most, that defies belief. We have no documentation to reference, it’s a discussion, per sources. Unlike other tips, there is no evidence we have seen yet for that claim. It might even be a false flag.

But is it possible? With Buffett’s billions, of course it is.

If it is true, that number of new retail locations would mean that every remaining independent is no longer necessary to Clayton. The dust hasn’t settled yet on the story linked below. But that recent – and still ongoing issue – is an example of how bold Clayton is already behaving.

 

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

 

Part of the word heard is that Clayton, following our report linked above, reached out to Regional Enterprises to try to ‘mend the fence’ that CMH allegedly busted. But however that scenario wraps up, it is a huge wake- up call to the industry’s independents, isn’t it?

The similar story below was exactly one year ago.  No one else in the industry trades other than MHProNews covered either one. Why not?

 

How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”

 

Or where are the other trade publishers on this third-party report, linked below?

 

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

 

It is very possible that Buffett and the folks in Knoxville have the following in mind. They are clearly supporting mostly Democratic candidates. They got a lot done – from their conquest vantage point – during the Obama Administration.

Well before the 2018 midterms were over, the 2020 contests were already underway. More precisely, as 2016 results became known, the battle for 2020 was launched. Buffett and his buddies are already deep in the hunt for those who will advance their agenda.

 

buffett-obama-mhmsm

Warren Buffett, left. President Barack Obama, right. Credit, Wikipedia.

 

For those who buy into those photo ops of ‘MHI leaders’ with administration or elected officials and their staffs, never forget that you don’t get more influential that the photos on this page.

 

WarrenBuffettBarackObamaAwardMedalMastheadManufacturedHOusingIndustryMHproenws

Warren Buffett’s grandson worked in the Obama Administration White House. You don’t get much closer to than that in terms of access. So MHI’s arguably red herring photos of MHI staff or board members with some representative or administration member, how does that compare to this? If Warren Buffett had wanted regulatory relief during the Obama years, don’t you think he could have had it? Isn’t it all part of his strategic Moat?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryInsightsManufacturedHousingInstituteMHICartoonMastheadCommentarySatireMHProNewsLifeStyleFactoryHomesLLC

MHIEmeraldCityOzManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIhumorsatireparodyMHProNews

It wasn’t until after we first published satire like this that MHI’s ‘engaged lobbyists’ reached out to the CFPB, and asked the business-friendly Trump Administration to consider changes that MHI claims to have been working on for years. Who said? A source at the CFPB.

RichardDickJennisonMHIPresidentPhotoBrianMontgomeryEnhancedPreemptionFHATitleChattelLoans1010RuleTimWilliamsDontLearnFromHist

We took MHI photos and turned them into satire. Instead of attempting to refute what MHProNews or MHARR reports, MHI has been using photo op images – like the one above – to ‘prove’ how much influence they have in Washington, D.C. and beyond. But you don’t get much more influence than Warren Buffett sitting with then President Obama do you? Why is mainstream housing roaring, and manufactured homes snoring? Why do MHI staff get bonuses? Photos are fine, but where are the measurable results for millions spent every year on lobbying, meetings, and promotion?

 

The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington head fake is –  as Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR aptly put it – the illusion of motion and activity. When was the last time a con artist confessed until formally charged with crimes?

Factory-built homes are potentially a trillion-dollar-a-year industry. Patience and conquest capitalism is winning, and there is no reason to think that won’t continue. Unless the ploys are exposed, and then arguably the axis and their allies have to be defeated.

If we were wrong about our analysis of the facts and evidence, why doesn’t Knoxville and Arlington accept the offer to publicly refute our concerns? Why don’t they accept the offer to publicly discuss these issues, to be video recorded for later reply, in front of an audience of manufactured home industry independents?  Why not have the mainstream media attend such a discussion/debate?

Only in hindsight and by peeling away at enough layers of the onion does the fact-pattern and logic of their strategy become clear. The rest are details and commentary. See the linked text-image boxes for more details.

Investing? It would be hard to find a better bet than manufactured homes. Go back to the top and author Reynold’s quotes.  Grasp how logical affordable housing is as a business to invest in.  But to be successful, one must know how the game is played. Because the system, while arguably rigged, can be profitably beaten. Several are in the process of challenging the system, even as this is being written.

 

 

The Late Howard Walker and “The Book”

The late Howard Walker, Vice-Chairman for Equity LifeStyle Properties told me that “the money is in a book.” In context, he meant that the right book about manufactured housing was worth a fortune.

Properly understood, Walker’s point was arguably correct.

Whatever Simon Reynolds may have earned from “Thoughts of Chairman Buffett – Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha” was only a drop in the bucket compared to what is possible from shrewd investments combined with P.E.P. in manufactured housing.

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

Protect. Educate. Promote – P.E.P. Officials. Advocates. Investors. The public. They are looking for us. Graphic credit, MHProNews, all rights reserved.

Not a ton of money from a book per se, but rather from the lessons that Buffett and his strategic/economic “conquest capitalism” Moat yields.

 

  • Some don’t fight the Moat because they don’t understand it.
  • Some don’t fight the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies out of fear. We’ll explore the question of extortion and lack of options another time.
  • Some don’t fight it because they believe they benefit from it too. As Buffett Moat crowds out smaller players, some of the mid-sized ones think they can gain market share as well.
  • Some are the axis that makes up the Moat proper.

The industry is poised to be disrupted again, for a variety of reasons already in motion. The case could be made that this is the best time in decades to jump into manufactured housing, or to expand through prudent challenges to the Moat builders.  Because either out of patience, or whatever other reasons one cares to mention, Clayton and company are underperforming too.

So motivated, focused, well capitalized, disruptive performers could get in, and blow by them in just a few years. That will be explored too in an upcoming column.

The Moat and conquest capitalism are the truth hiding in plain sight.

To learn more about the Moat, see the linked related reports, further below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By 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:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

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

 

Related References:

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

Surprising Discovery on Manufactured Housing’s Enhanced Preemption, Hidden Gem$

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

 

“Democrats Are Sinful Hypocrites. Just Like All of Us.” Weaponizing Information, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and MHVille

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

Don’t Be Another Victim, Push-Back Pay$, Phase Two of Manufactured Housing Revolution

January 14th, 2019 No comments

DontBeAnotherVictimPushBackPaysPhaseTwoManufacturedHousingRevolutionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

If you look around the world, Americans have much to be grateful for, and so too does our once far greater industry. But as one carefully peers and ponders the details, one begins to sees that there’s so much more that could be accomplished in our nation.

 

 

The same holds true for manufactured housing (MH).

Our MH Industry has underperformed for decades.  What will you do about it?  How will you be part of the solution?

Let’s be blunt. Thousands of our fellow industry independents have already failed. Don’t believe it? Click to see the third-party, data-laced report by the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson by clicking the linked text/image box below.

 

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

 

Derek’s data points – linked above – are your latest third-party-inspired wake up call.  It’s sobering.

 

 

Bigger Boys, But Not A Giant?

While thousands of our readers are from mom-and-pop operations, direct reader-feedback plus third-party metrics tell us that this is the runaway most read by the so-called ‘big boys’ too, and all those in the mid-ranges under that big boy level too.

Useful information and straight talk vs. spin and happy talk pays.

Never forget or ignore authentic manufactured home history.

The old Fleetwood and Champion homes of 20 years ago are gone. Once the two leaders in MHLand, the only things left of old Fleetwood and Champion are their names. Hey, it was Warren Buffett’s annual letter that declared those two plus Oakwood had once held 44 percent of the industry’s market share.

The old giants of yesterday fell, in what now today is only MHVille.

Since Buffett wrote that, Clayton hovers around 50 percent market share. Want to wait until it is 60 percent, or more?

The Atlantic report is just one of numerous reminders that thousands of pros who once had successful, thriving businesses are no more. Many were millionaires in their day. Today, their old firms are Dust in the Wind.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. It’s happened to thousands of others. The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis is slow, deliberately so. They are also relentless. Do you want to be their next discounted acquisition? Isn’t that the name of the Moat-builder’s game?

 

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

 

So you, we – and all others who want to be long-term in MHVille – must be equally relentless too. They have advantages.  So do you and we, BUT only if you properly understand the dynamics at play.

 

Why Is Manufactured Housing Struggling During an Affordable Housing Crisis? Former MHI President, VP, Other’s Quotable Insights

 

The arguably hypocritical, corrupt, and years of misfires at MHI – linked above and below – are just examples. There’s more.

 

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

 

Why did Lesli Gooch defend Clayton and their related lenders against claims of monopoly leveled by Doug Ryan at what today is known as Prosperity Now?

 

AmericanBankerLesliGoochManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopolyAnythingButManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoLesliGoochPhotoMastheadManufacturedHomeMHProNews

Gooch is arguably as successful at defending the interests of manufactured home independents, or the millions of home owners, as she was at running for Congress.

 

Why doesn’t Gooch and company just as enthusiastically defend the industry each and every time a lesser challenge is hurled at what harms the rest of MHVille?  Where is Gooch or MHI on the Disney controversy?  Or one of the many mainstream media stories that misuses terminology or otherwise mischaracterizes our industry every week?  Facts are #NettlesomeThings.

 

TimeEndMonopolyOverManufacturedHousingDougRyanProsperityNowPhotoAmericanBankerClaytonHomesMHI

There are points that Doug Ryan and Prosperity Now are correct on, and others that they miss the mark. A wheat and chaff approach must be taken on every one, and everything, in order to sift and find the truth of a topic like the monopolization of manufactured housing by the Berkshire Hathaway brands.

 

 

The Dirty Little Secret…

Apparently, failure to act by MHI to defend the broader good name of manufactured housing is fine with Berkshire Hathaway and their brands in MHVille. Here’s the dirty little secret. If MHI wins or loses on an issue, Berkshire, Clayton, and their sister firm’s win either way.  Ponder that. We’ll show that another time, but the people that shared that tip have proven to be correct, time and time again. Clayton’s market share just grows.

 

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

 

Because avoidable, artificial, regulatory, media, and other headwinds are arguably part of the vale acquisition strategy of Moat building deployed against independents – or you? – by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

 

 

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. But the trend lines make clear that without pushback, your firm could be a conglomerate’s next meal. 

 

As a prior reports reflected, even working for the Clayton’s and Berkshire brands doesn’t make you safe. It’s just that you’ll get the painfully purported shaft later in life.

There is a struggle. But why not team up now, and lessen the pain?

It can be as simple as tips. It can be as sobering and profitable as open support, or steps in between.

 

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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.

 

What Will You Do To Advance Your Location, Business, Organization, and Thus Your Industry?

Let’s be clear.  We write what we write.  If someone has guest comments that we opt to publish, then they are speaking for themselves.

Put differently, we don’t expect or even ask a sponsor to sign off on any given article.

Think of it something like a talk radio station.  They often play a disclaimer, ‘the views and news here may or may not represent those of our sponsors’ or business development clients.

Sponsors benefit because we have the largest audience, and the most engaged one in MHVille. Period.  No one else in MH trade media even comes close.

Legacy Housing – for example – may be with us for a another few months, or for years, we have no clue.  But what we do know is what Legacy has said in their own words.

 

“Huge” February 2019 Manufactured Home Sale Announced, Competes with Louisville, Tunica?

 

Legacy have a backlog, the biggest in their history, while the industry at large is slipping.

 

Production Decline Continues in November 2018

 

 

In the wake of their ads on MHProNews last fall, they had two reportedly very successful events in the last half of 2018. Legacy came back for more.  That activity contributed to that backlog.  That’s the logic of their own published statements. Their big GA event was so successful, they are repeating it.

 

Push Back Pays Dividends

MHVille Marketers, are you paying attention?  Not only is push back against the powers that be smart, Legacy proved it pays off too.

The industry won’t cure slurs against it’s products and home owners without resistance.  MHI clearly hasn’t given that kind of leadership. The MHI vision arguably one of lemmings being led off a cliff, like lambs to the slaughter at the altar of Berkshire or some other allied big boy firm.

If you happen to be one of those allied firms, never forget the lessons of those who helped topple Tsarist Russia.  Once the revolutionaries were successful, their allies were routinely among those executed.

This is a war. It’s a business war, within and around our industry.

 

Exploring Corporate, Association, Individual, Investor, and Governmental Corruption Involving Manufactured Housing

 

It is peaceful in the sense that it starts and continues using information.  Thus, as an MHI member-producer called it, this is an Info War. That’s a war we can win. Why?  How?  Because truth properly told and repeatedly shared can triumph over lies and deceit.

Some will choose to have their feet in both ponds.  Okay, that’s a company’s free will right of choice.

Monopolists are slowly gobbling up America.  It has been so for decades.  Only now, it is quite visible.

We celebrate honest success.  We are not socialists, but neither are we crony capitalists. We believe in the American Way, which is free enterprise and limited government that protects the people and their rights.  Have you noticed how the crony capitalists often support the political left? Or how they often buy political influence in both major parties?

It’s about power and money.  Money begets political power, and political power begets money.

You can’t ignore the trend lines and facts forever.

 

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Both a plank in the Democratic Party’s ‘new deal’ plan and a draft by the Trump Administration – each on paper – are aimed at the problem of growing monopoly in America. We plan in 2019 to press both Democrats and Republican leaders on this issue, especially as it relates to manufactured housing. Watch for it.

 

Antitrust and RICO

The good news is that antitrust action can win this struggle, but that too requires good information.  There are civil, state, and federal actions and suits that can be brought.

While its bad news for them, and is potentially – potentially – good news for the industry – is that more than one ‘someone’ in the MHI camp of surrogates have misused the U.S. Mail, and misused ‘the wires’ in an obvious attempt to silence us.

That – per legal experts we’ve spoken with – can constitute elements of RICO. RICO has civil and criminal components too.

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MHI has failed to properly promote our industry. We have, by contrast, the letters and related that demonstrates that we know how to grow business honestly at the local level.

 

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Once more, after publishing a prior report on this topic of how apparent allies of MHI have misused the mails in an attempt to silence our reports – and after asking MHI, Clayton and 21st leaders about these allegations – the letters like the above have stopped. Coincidence? Investigators may well find out. Time will tell. But the issue isn’t us, it’s YOU.  If they do this to us, why think that they won’t do this to you?

 

These bullets and factoids combined are part of how MHVille can become – once more – MHLand.  In time, with the correct approach, manufactured housing could emerge as the MHNation.

That’s a slow, but arguable goal of the monopolists too.

When Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Alexa Fund invested several million in a prefab start-up, that’s a wake up call to you, every MH Pro, and every MH investor or advocate. The Alexa Fund estimates this marketplace to be worth $330 billion a year.

 

$300 Billion Market, As Predicted, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Alexa Fund Dives Deeper into PreFab Homes

 

Poor, inept, uncaring MHI apparently can’t even get the math right about our industry’s size. They keep saying it is $3 billion a year that MHVille ads to the GDP.  They are demonstrably wrong by more than half.  They are an embarrassment to themselves, and to the industry. The total is closer to $6.5 billion, because it is a retail sales figure, not wholesale or Lord-knows what number they pulled out of a hat to arrive at the clearly wrong $3 billion figure.

That’s mentioned only to show once more that they are either inept, incompetent, uncaring, or whatever phrase you might use to describe people that have spent millions, while shipments stalled, and finally, fell.

Comparing Conventional Housing Data for November 2018, to Manufactured Housing Industry Data, Nov 2018

 

Conventional housing data – in historic context – should be telling us why manufactured homes ought to be roaring, not snoring.  That’s an indictment of MHI, and their puppet masters, pure and simple.

 

Manufactured Home Production Decline Accelerates in November 2018

 

Professionals – often members of MHI – say that a lack of good information is part of what holds the industry back.

Others – producers, for instance – say the lack of retail distribution is holding the industry back.  Pay attention to why Legacy Housing said they pursued their IPO. It is to increase their retail distribution.

There are solutions to every problem that the industry’s independents face.

You can feed the hand that is biting your hands, if you want to.

You can feed the hands that are backstabbing you, if you want to.

Perhaps, you may think that you don’t have a choice.

You do.

Join those who are calling for their own, or are working with us, to start the next phase of the Manufactured Housing Revolution. We’ll be meeting privately in Louisville and Tunica to discuss this with select professionals.  How about you?

Finally, information properly shared is power. There are arguably reasons why the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis is risking a RICO charge in the first place.  It’s simple.  They have their eyes on their part of a $330 billion dollar pie. The biggest threat to them is a breakup under federal, state, and civil RICO and/or antitrust.

That breakup of Berkshire and other monopolistic moat builders will require good information.

State and federal officials – we know first-hand – are already on this matter.  It takes time.  Don’t expect a headline tomorrow, that’s not how this works.  It’s actually quite interesting that the local Knoxville media carried the report shown below.

 

 

Experts have told us that our safest place is being out front. In the open.  Guess what?  That’s where your safest place is too.

WVHI’s Andy Gallagher blew his own cover over a year ago, at his own request.  Did Andy lose his job?  No.  Why?  IMHO, because we publicized the matter.

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The experts and the evidence suggests that the safest place in MHVille is in being public. We may end up with a Clayton paid security detail, LOL, because if something happened that appears unsavory, state and federal authorities know where to start looking. Debatably every ploy the monopolistic want to use has a legitimate, legal, counter-punch.

 

Your safest place to hide is in plain sight.

NAMHCO is doing it.  See the related report, further below the byline and notices.

MHARR has done it for many years.

We have survived and grown our readership, while ‘they’ are trying their best to undermine, intimidate, and destroy us.

For an employee at Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington related firm I get that you want to stay anonymous. We are thankful for every tip we get.

 

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Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

 

For those in business, look beyond a nice time you had at a MHI meeting. That’s Buffett’s Buffet. You are an upcoming meal, arguably nothing more.

Don’t roll over and play dead. In whatever ways your circumstances allow, this is the time to fight back.  Info Wars is on, but the next phase is underway. Stay tuned.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By 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:
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:

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profitably Defeating “the Long Knives” – 2019 New Year’s Resolution for MHVille

January 2nd, 2019 No comments

 

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“…Tony, these guys have long knives…” read part of a message from a former, high ranking, MHI member.

Here’s a longer quote from another company president.

“…See you in Louisville.  I just finished a book on [name of book withheld]. One of the sayings from that…comes to mind: “Don’t give up the ship!” Tony, You are so correct about this [Arlington-Knoxville-Omaha Axis].  I always knew you were gonna get attacked.  Don’t give up the ship! (or never quit-something like that)…”

 

Something Different in 2019 on MHProNews and for Manufactured Housing

We’re going to do something different in 2019, but never think for a moment that 2018 and the prior years weren’t necessary.

For those who look back, 4 years ago, we named no names of who were at the root of the industry’s internal problems, we simply pointed out the problems.  Later, we began naming the names, while also citing the evidence. IMHO, these predicate steps were essential as a foundation for what comes next.

Let’s start by setting tonight’s table, then we’ll lay out the logical next step.  By the way, we’ll use a phrase once this post and the content linked from this column cover for simplicity.  We believe that the evidence suggests that the manufactured housing market has been manipulated in a fashion that violates several state and federal laws.  We will say ‘alleged’ to cover this topic, so that any attorney for operations based in Arlington-Knoxville-Omaha, their surrogates and allies, won’t have anything they can use against us in court.

That said, use your common sense, look at the linked and provided evidence and here’s the view from the Masthead.

We became a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member close to a decade ago, based on the advice and encouragement of Ken Rishel and George Allen. If we at MHProNews and our affiliated operations wanted to see the industry advances, Rishel and Allen said that joining MHI was how that could best be accomplished.

Perhaps Ken and George meant well.  Maybe they didn’t, I’m not going to belabor that either way.

TheMastheadEditorialCommentaryLATonyKovachMHProNewsWhat your Masthead writer slowly learned as an MHI member, then as an elected MHI board member for their Suppliers Division is this.  The powers that be at MHI picks winners and losers. Literally. That’s not just winners and losers for ‘contests.’ It is also for who they will support or undermine at MHI, and within the broader industry.

We believe in what we have provided evidence for these things.  So, in fairness to George we’ve often said that with him, one must separate wheat from chaff.  There are things that myself and every human does or has done that is chaff, and is best tossed out.  Some things you, I, or all mortals do are wheat.  Wheat properly prepared, for those whose diets permit it, is worthy of our tables.

The very people and/or organizations that we are exposing are some of the very ones that publicly praised us for some time.

Ken, George, Richard [the] ‘Dick’ Jennison, Jim Clayton, Tim Williams, Kevin Clayton, Darren Krolewski, and we could go down the list of those who publicly, on video, and/or in writing have praised our pro-industry, pro-growth work.

 

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But even while some of those where praising our pro-growth efforts, there is evidence that at the same time, our operation – as a member – was being undermined by MHI, and by some of their members.  I frankly wasn’t seeing it at first.

Nor is ours the only such case, as we noted some time ago that George Allen discovered that after years of membership, MHI’s NCC division went into competition with him on several items that he had previously done, like his annual list of the largest community operators. Allen charges for that, MHI gives it away for free. Note too that MHI did so after negotiating with Allen about buying his assets and lists. They reportedly entered into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), reviewed what Allen had, and ‘failing’ to come to terms, began to compete on some of those same ‘services’ that Allen rendered.

What message does that send to others in the industry, when the trade association you are a member of, suddenly becomes your competitor?

So it wasn’t that I didn’t have clues.  Another MHI board member told me that he didn’t trust the Dick Jennison from the first time he met him. Someone connected with the Louisville Show said the same thing to me, “Tony, I wouldn’t trust Dick Jennison any farther than I could throw him.”

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I was wrong about Jennison, they were right.

What the Arlington-Omaha-Knoxville (A-OK, but not okay) Axis do is a bunch of BS, and I’m not one to curse very often.  Tim at 21st attempted to deceive thousands of industry independents with that letter of his, posted below.

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The letter was window dressing for a bold plot to put hundreds of retailers out of business.

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Consider these satirical cartoons to be summaries of what you can in fact find comments on by Kevin Clayton in the video posted on this page. He stated it differently, but it points to these cartoon paraphrases. Those who’ve watched the full video after reading the direct quotes from 21st President Tim Williams, and Warren Buffet’s annual letter in Smoking Gun 3 say that the and report are eye opening.  It is arguably clear evidence of antitrust style action. Who says?  Some attorneys who have reviewed the 21st letter above, the video, and linked article above.

We’ve documented before at the links below the byline and notices that Warren Buffet, and later Kevin Clayton, each contradicted what Tim’s letter claims.  They – 21st – in fact had access to what Kevin said in the video was ‘plenty of money,’ which Kevin said they used to buy other lenders loans plus more industry acquisitions.

So it seems apparent that Berkshire Hathaway simply didn’t want to use those funds to support independents that didn’t buy Clayton products or sell 21st repos.

That’s a manipulation of the market. IMHO, since there were multiple parties involved, that’s collusion.

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Collusion – per attorneys in or familiar with antitrust law – is one of the possible triggers for antitrust action.

 

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We know for a fact that federal investigators are on these matters, because I’ve personally spoken with some of them.

So, we don’t need this mainstream news video below.  But for our growing number of new readers – that add to our already industry leading audience size – it’s a placeholder and reminder that Clayton’s Knoxville metro’s home town media has said some of the same things we’ve reported.  But mainstream media normally does a story like the video posted, and then they move on. Trade media – like ourselves – can spend more time to focus on such concerns.  Industry comments – like the on near the top – and third-party data tell us that our audience eats it up.

 

 

But the purpose for doing any report isn’t click-bait.  The goal or purpose is to get to the root of what holds manufactured housing back from achieving its true potential. This writer began in this industry in the early 1980s, and I’ve been a true believer ever since. That potential for manufactured homes is arguably in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year for several years. That’s why Warren Buffet and several tech giants are keenly into factory-built housing, and/or are exploring it.

Professionals want to know.  Professionals, investors, and those outside our industry who are researching manufactured homes or factory-built housing have asked me for years a variation of the following question.

 

 

With the value so high on a HUD Code manufactured home, why isn’t the industry doing much better?

 

 

It’s an obvious and logical question.

 

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Both a plank in the Democratic Party’s ‘new deal’ plan and a draft by the Trump Administration for antitrust action – each on paper at this point – are in theory aimed at the problem of growing monopoly in America. #OpenMarkets. We plan in 2019 to press both Democrats and Republican leaders on this issue, especially as it relates to manufactured housing. Watch for it.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

The answer, once one sees and ponders the evidence, becomes clear. Market manipulation. Or to borrow a phrase from the political left (Senator Bernie Sanders VT-I, who caucuses with Democrats) or the GOP’s President Donald J. Trump, it’s a “rigged system.”   The rest are details and commentary.

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

While several allegations of monopolistic practices have been made against Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway, this website is the only one to date that is known to have produced evidence of how that was actually accomplished, and provided with that evidence, this kind of logic, and related data.

 

 

While we as an LLC are responsible for our own work product, nothing we’ve done in the past 3 years has been solo.  We’ve had thoughtful and tangible support from numerous industry professionals. The number of news tips from within Clayton, or from withing 21st, or MHI, et al are growing.

 

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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.

 

The Long Knives…

So, while MHI, their surrogates and allies have tried to:

  • Chase off our advertisers,
  • Try to cast doubts or dispersions about my personal life, character, or work,
  • Try intimidation tactics, from more than one attorney/law firm,
  • Try using part-time surrogates – like George Allen, Suzanne Felber or others – to attack or undermine us,
  • What they didn’t do is try to refute a single allegation we’ve laid out.
  • George claims to be this big supporter of independent communities. Pardon me if I’m not buying his BS. If he cared about them as much as he cares about himself, he’d be working with us to expose this manipulators, rather than acting as their surrogate against us. Whatever MHI and the ‘powers that be’ are doing for Allen, I hope he enjoys it, because it arguably won’t last. Some of George’s followers are now also among those who send us tips.
  • If we were wrong about any of this, why don’t Kevin, Tim, Dick, Lesli, Rick Robinson, Joe Stegmayer, Nathan Smith, or any of the others in the mix take me up on the offer of discussing this live in Louisville or Tunica in 2019? Why not do a third-party moderated discussion on stage, in front of hundreds of industry professionals? Why not do so with their ability to call witnesses or experts, and our ability to do the same?  Why not video record the whole thing? Then, why not provide that video and its content to HUD, DOJ, SEC, FTC, the U.S. Postal Service and other federal or state agencies?  We’d of course post the video, so that MHPro readers from coast to coast and from Texas into Canada could watch it for themselves.

If they had the guts and the wisdom, they’d take me up on that often extended offer in a New York minute. But IMHO, these are white-collar con-artists, being called out publicly – with evidence being provided – for their confidence job.

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When Clayton team members start telling us some of what will come out in planned reports on MHProNews in the days ahead, you’ll see that a number of our readers are ‘getting it.’ Of course, others are still pondering the matter, while some naturally back MHI. That’s life.

When consumers find us on MHLivingNews and call to tell us their Clayton-21st-VMF ‘tale of woe,’ we listen.  It won’t be long before a report on MHLivingNews will be published, and that will further set the stage for the general public on Clayton’s business practices that we began laying out for the industry’s professionals. Of course, we’ll use all of the proper disclaimers.  Clayton won’t like it, but the law arguably is on our side.  If they try a legal maneuver to stop us, we’ll take it to mainstream media contacts we have already been cultivating.

 

Transparent vs. Opaque

We’ve been highly transparent, because it is the right thing to do.  A federal investigator told me that the A-OK Axis (he referred to “the Oracle of Omaha,” meaning Warren Buffett) is “trying to show you that if you investigate them, that they can investigate you.”

That Fed said it was a clear intimidation tactic.

I’ve looked in the eyes of independent community owners, retailers, producers, and others who lost their businesses, and/or others who Clayton tried to put out of business. That’s their “moat strategy” in action. To me, it smacks of RICO, and the reason it does is a former prosecutor who is an attorney advise us that it looks to him like RICO.

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If that former prosecuting attorney, and our suspicions, are correct, these are not only immoral practices by the A-OK Axis, they could be criminal practices.

I’ve spoken with attorneys in and out of MHI, and in and out of our industry. We have a working plan.  While we’ve been very transparent about many things, we will play a few cards later, and hold them closer to the vest.

ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhoto

There are several things needed for the industry to advance and for independent operations of all sizes to embrace for their own sake, if they care about the future value of their business.

1)    A new post-production association.  MHI is hopelessly corrupted, inept, lies, and has repeatedly failed our industry’s consumers and professional members.  See the graphic below as but one reason why no one should logically take them seriously.  Keep in mind that MHI’s own prior president, Chris Steinbert, used his exit message in the Journal to politely slap them for a string of misses and failures. So George, in saying what you have – you’re either ignoring reality – and/or you are showing your true colors.

2)    As part of the above Post Production association and/or a body that works with the above, there needs to be an ADL of manufactured housing. As part of that concept:

– Every time a city, county, state, or other group tries to block the placement of a HUD Code manufactured home from being properly installed on a home site, they would get contacted by an attorney representing that ‘ADL of MHVille.’

– Every time media, a researcher, or any other public figure misuses terminology or makes a claim in a manner that is inaccurate, they need to be called out first privately, and if needed, publicly by the ADL of MHVille.

– the NAACP and the ADL for years were successful with a similar approach, and that’s not a commentary for or against their organizations at present.  The point is our industry needs that in order to break through to our full potential.

– We’ve had some MHI semi-supporters say words to the effect, ‘Tony, MHI has tried a few similar things in recent months.’ Of course they have, but what more have you heard about it? That’s part of the MHI-MO. We published about a year or so ago that MHI didn’t meet with the new acting director of the CFPB.  What was the next thing they did?  Meet with the CFPB. MHARR or MHProNews calls them out on a topic, and in time, they put up a fig leaf as cover.  It’s part of the MHI con of their own members. We pushed them on image issues, what did they do?  Put up a series of videos.  A fig leaf that was so modest, that Frank Rolfe has videos that totally dwarf the number of views that MHI’s ‘promotional’ videos do. Something similar is true for Clayton Homes.

3)    We’d encourage more members for the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Yes, they advertise with us, but so have others, including MHI. That disclosure aside, even while I was an MHI member, there were numerous times I publicly took MHARR’s position on a given issue, because they were demonstrably correct.  For example, Kevin Clayton and others were in the MHI meeting room when I took MHARR’s position on the fire sprinkler issue. Dozens where in that room. Kevin just looked, as he has on numerous occasions at shows or whatever when our public position differed from his. I took MHARR’s side on the fire sprinkler topic, because they were correct.  By contrast, MHI’s proposed position was dumb on its face, unless you see that limiting the industry is part of the Buffett-Clayton moat. Something similar could be said about MHARR and MHI on the DOE proposals.  MHARR is consistently right, while MHI is often inept, deceptive, wrong, corrupt, or whatever you want to call them.

– As a footnote to the above, we at MHProNews have no animus towards the vast majority of MHI members, they are often very fine people.  There are some on MHI’s staff that would possibly be worth keeping, but some on the MHI staff are hopelessly corrupted. As with all things, Wheat and Chaff.  In my view, just as I was misled about MHI, many if not most of the current MHI members have been led down an errant path too.  We all catch on to something at a different pace, as I admitted about myself further above.

4)    Local market level marketing, and coaching in sales.  Call it a shameless plug, but we know things that Clayton Homes apparently doesn’t know, or can’t replicate successfully.  Clayton has purchased locations that we worked with on a consulting basis, that’s interesting, isn’t it?  On our consulting/business development side, we have a proven system that works on marketing and selling manufactured homes to those who are thinking about a site built housing. It is based on candor and surprising people with the truth.  It works, whenever it has been properly used.  When it is improperly used, it doesn’t work.  But duh, that’s true of anything else in life.

  • All sales are local.  All marketing in our industry ought to have a local focus.  Manufactured housing is not the RV or automotive industry.  When enough good local efforts are in motion, that will have an interstate reach.  That is how our industry will recover its greatness.  That is how manufactured homes could become a million unit a year industry, honestly and sustainably.
  • Don’t think for a second that Clayton has their own plans to accomplish, once they’ve captured enough of the market and they don’t think they can squeeze any more competitors out via their “Moat.”
  • But Clayton also has an inherent conflict of interest at MHI.  They are into site building. At present, Clayton wins no matter what happens on issues such as the enforcement of the HUD Code’s enhanced preemption, made law by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

–      We do believe in being competitive, but we don’t believe in driving others out of business.  We’ll leave those underhanded tactics to George, MHI, the rest of the A-OK Axis and their surrogates.

A federal investigator told me we needed to notify local law enforcement about the issues we’ve been dealing with.

 

Words of Caution…

Some in MHVille say in their own words, Tony – don’t talk about the ways they have come after you, that plays into their fear tactics.’ Those voices may or may not be well meaning, but I respectfully disagree.  When we spotlight the A-OK Axis and their dirty tricks, they have often paused or backed off, at least on some of their tactics.

That’s not to say that the time won’t come when they will try to take us to court.  People can sue over almost anything in the U.S. We can’t stop them from that, but they know that as soon as they do, we’ll counter and seek discovery.  We get steady dribbles of information from news tips.  With discovery in litigation, there will be reems of material generated.  Even if they try to destroy some material, other material will out. There will also be witnesses that will be speaking via discovery about matters that they won’t speak about otherwise.

So, if they want that legal fray, so be it.  I’ve told their purported attorney – Graydon Law, that asked us to ‘cease and desist’ has been told just how we’ll deal with them and their ‘clients.’ Transparent.

 

 

Putting a Tail On Us?

That said, and we still haven’t determined who this next person is, but law enforcement will figure it all out.  This person may or may not be connected to the A-OK axis.  The man in the car in the photo below (we’ve cropped off the face of the man and his license plate) was following my wife while she was biking.  A neighbor of ours spotted this “dude.” That neighbor is ex-military and has another resume point I won’t mention today.  But he has good vision, and will be a terrific witness if we need that someday.

 

PurportedStalkerFollowingSoheylaKovachLakelandFloridaMHProNews

We are covering this face, for that person’s privacy at this point in time. But we have that vehicles license plate and his face, thanks to the veteran – a neighbor – who contacted us about his concerns about this matter, see the narrative. Authorities will hopefully do their thing well. As this develops, what we learn, we will share as appropriate.

 

That veteran, still a younger man who is fit and has good vision, etc. told that “dude” following my better half that ‘Dude, if you know what was good you’ for him, ‘you’ll never show your face in this neighborhood or follow that woman [Soheyla Kovach] again.’

It wasn’t until the next day that that neighbor caught up with my wife, Soheyla, and we all three got together for a few minutes face-to-face.  That neighbor shared the photos he took of that ‘dude‘ and said he is happy to testify.

The two quotes from industry voices I opened with above – and others like it above – are right. The A-OK Axis have long knives. Some say they will stop and nothing, but why?

Because housing is more than a trillion dollar a year industry, and Amazon’s Alexa fund has said they see a $330 billion dollar a year market for affordable housing.

That kind of money is tempting to Buffet, Kevin, Tim, or anyone else.

But the irony is that in their greed, they’ve put what they’ve done at risk.  In their greed, they’ve forced perhaps thousands of independents out of business and/or caused them to sell out for less.  There has already been one lawsuit against Clayton on that kind of topic.  We’ll talk about that lawsuit another time.

 

Meeting at Louisville, Tunica…

We plan to meet with some select industry pros at Louisville, and against at Tunica.  We want that meeting to be transparent. We’ll post the details before they come out.

The thrust of the working plan is this. If the A-OK Axis won’t do a public discussion and/or debate, well then yours truly is happy to put on a live presentation with or without MHI, Clayton, 21st or whomever. Your Masthead writer is happy do a power point, lay out the evidence, the money trail, invite the media, and take questions live and answer them.

When we schedule and do that planned presentation, we’ll even invite MHI-Clayton-Berkshire brand surrogates or team members to come.  Why? Because nothing will be more powerful or transparent than to have them ask questions, and let me answer them live.  We can video record that entire presentation. We’ll post that for the industry at large.

Let’s be clear.  We are going to cover a full scope of topics that impact manufactured housing.  But Frank Rolfe, who has backed off public criticism of MHI and their puppet masters, was arguably right when he said that the greater threat is from within our industry.

Let’s also be clear on this.  I won’t stop, our family won’t stop until the last stich of this tragic rigging of manufactured housing has been fully explored, and resolved.  If I ever stop, you can bet that foul play was at work.  We’ve taken steps in that event too.

The greatest thing the industry’s members have to fear is NOT standing up to the A-OK axis.  The data in those graphics, illustrations and videos above clearly reflect the trend lines.

If they aren’t stopped, sooner or later, it will be you at some time down the road.  Why not stop them, now?

MHVille is Buffett’s buffet, and the Monopolistic Housing Institute is his buffet smorgasbord. We have, are, and will publicly call them out, supply the evidence, while others are supporting us in calling them out.

We are going to reclaim what’s right about manufactured housing, while rejecting all that is wrong.

That’s how we’re starting 2019.  That’s our new years resolution.  We are going to do our part to make manufactured housing great again, greater than ever before.

How about you?  Want to join us in Louisville or Tunica?  You can use the link above or below to contact me, and we’ll begin the planning and execution of the next steps. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By 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:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

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

 

Related References:

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

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

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

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

Forbes Focus on Manufactured Home Communities, Spotlights Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), MHC Investing

2019 – ‘Don’t Tease?’ RV Horizons, MHI v CSPAN, HUD’s Brian Montgomery, Clayton – New Year’s Spotlights

 

Eye Opening – Manufactured Homes in National, Global Context

 

 

#DeFangBM

November 4th, 2018 No comments

 

#DeFangBM=DemocraticExitFacebookAmazonNetflixGoogleBerkshireHathawayMicrosoft-byMHProNews

The following are not the only purported purveyors of monopolistic moats, manipulating misinformation, or harmful policies and practices. But they are a good start.

 

#DeFangBM
is short for this acronym:

 

Democratic Exit
Facebook
Amazon
Netflix
Google
Berkshire Hathaway (includes Clayton Homes, lenders Vanderbilt MF, 21st Mortgage, et al)
Microsoft

The companies listed ought to broken up under federal antitrust laws.

Not regulated. Broken up. Don’t worry, the world didn’t stop when the AT&T monopoly was broken up in the 1980s, America benefited. Affordable cell phones and the internet followed the break up of the old AT&T trust (monopoly). 

 ThisIsntAnIndictmentRetributionRecognitionHealthyEconomicCyclePruningFirmsInvasivePrematureDeathWontLetOthersEmergeScottGalloway

 

Similarly today, the breakup of #FangBM would be good for the economy, jobs, and consumers.

Why would these 6 companies/conglomerates – #FangBM – feature leadership that promote failed ideas, like socialism?  Why have many Democratic leaders embraced socialism?

Why have Democratic leaders – like the following listed – decry billionaires, but then take money from those same billionaires and their affiliates? 

   Bill and Hillary Clinton

   Barack Obama

   Bernie Sanders

   Nancy Peolsi

   Chuck Schumer

   Elizabeth Warren

   Maxine Waters

   Tom Perez

   Keith Ellison

   Or other Democratic leaders like them? That’s why, it’s #DeFangBM

Why do rich and famous stars or performers endorse the above? #ManipulativeEntertainment 

Why do so many in mainstream media give cover to the above? #FakeNews

There’s an echo chamber effect of many in media and #ManipulativeEntertainment carrying the message of the billionaire #FangBM conglomerates and their paid political operatives above.

This is NOT against members of the Democratic Party. We have friends and colleagues who have been or are Democrats. But you don’t let a friend drive drunk, and you warn your friends about to vote Democratic for similar reasons. It’s an act of love to honestly share the truth.

Nor does this mean that the GOP is perfect. But right now – writing as a political independent – the #NewRepublicans are the better choice who are fighting for everyday Americans, and most honest businesses. 

 

Two Part Solution

Part one, vote against all Democrats. #DemocraticExit, #WalkAway. Democrats were the party of the violent Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Slavery, and Jim Crow Laws. Democrats are the party of violent AntiFa or of deceptive #MHAction. Democrats have deceived many for years, to the harm of millions of Americans, and thousands of honest small- to mid-sized businesses.

 

 

Part Two

As political independents, not a member of either major party, a #RedTide in the House and Senate on Tuesday allows this new breed of:  

   American Jobs First,

   American Businesses First,

   American Security First,

   American Prosperity First,

   #AmericaFirst in the GOP –  a.k.a. the Republican Party – to return to the roots of the Republican Party that gave us #PresidentAbrahamLincoln and #PresidentRonaldReagan.

   Keep in mind #POTUSLincoln and #POTUSReagan had strong opposition too.

Today’s #NewRepublicans should break up the conglomerates listed above (trusts, monopolies).  Only the federal government is big enough to break them up. Breaking up #FangBM via #DeFangBM is good for the #AmericaFirst economy. It is pro-free enterprise, by being against crony-capitalists who back socialists.

The #POTUSTrump Administration antitrust (anti-monopoly) order is already drafted, but a Democratic House or Senate could work to stop it. That block against antitrust must be avoided by sharing the #DeFangBM truth and then voting wisely.

 

 

No organization, party or person is perfect, and that includes President Donald J. Trump. #POTUSTrump never pretended to be a saint. Candidate Trump admitted he used the system, which is why he knew how to fight this rigged system.

But there are reasons why members of his own party fought him, because he is challenging the #RiggedSystem. This has not been pretty, nor will it be. The rich and famous who may have come by their wealth in often manipulating or #RiggedSystem ways won’t give up their power without a fight.

Once this new #AmericaFirst #NewGOP has a strong hold in the #USHouse, #USSenate and the #ExecutiveBranch, #antitrust laws must break up the parents of the #FakeNews media giants and the companies listed in #DeFangBM. 

#DrainTheSwamp takes time. The swamp wasn’t built overnight, and won’t be cured overnight. Freedom takes time and effort, but it is always worth it. There is already real progress being made toward #MAGA. American jobs are coming back. American wealth is returning. #CommonSense is making a come back too.

Vote to keep the momentum going. #VoteRepublican, #VoteNewRepublicans, vote to support the #StableGeniusPresident. ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing,’ paraphrasing #EdmundBurke.

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:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

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

 

Related References:

 

“Girls of Steel,” 3 Untold Stories of Job Creation, Growing Opportunities for MHVille

 

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, a Novel Yet Proven Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis That Will Create Opportunities, Based Upon Existing Laws

 

“I knew right from the beginning.” When President Trump, First Lady Melania, VP Pence Toured Manufactured Home Community

 

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

 

Brad Says POTUS Trump is Right: More than Facebook & Twitter, Google Threatens Democracy, Online Freedom

 

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