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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.

 

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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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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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

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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.

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

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Related References:

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profiting & Correcting – Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls and Swindles

March 23rd, 2019 No comments


ProfitingCorrectingManufacturedHousingTrapsPitfallsSwindlesMastheadBlogManufacturedHomeIndustryLATonyKovachMHPronNews

Think triple damages potentially worth millions to some pros that you know, and billions collectively as you read this. You, a friend or colleague may be entitled to it, and you may not even know it. It may be easier than you think. That will be explained further below.

 

I can picture in my minds eye a couple I met at an Illinois Manufactured Housing Association meeting some time back. They were seniors. They were pleasant, well spoken, and successful for decades in the manufactured home community ownership arena.

But at the time we met, they were facing a crisis with their community. For years, occupancy had trended down. Their business model, as was true if thousands of other community owners for decades, depended upon so-called ‘street retailers’ to sell homes into their community.

When thousands of street retailers vanished in a matter of years, land-lease community owners like them lost a leg in their business model’s 3 or four legged chair. A series of other events in the late 1990s into the 2000s hurt them as it did others.

With dwindling occupancy, deferred maintenance became critical. Those often turn into headlines that for some years now are among those that has haunted land-lease communities – and by extension, the rest of the industry – in news stories and headlines like those shown below.

Mainstream media reporters may or may not be aware of those background dynamics. All they know is that sewer lines that once worked fine, are now a problem. Or water systems may need updating, but haven’t been properly care for due to such economic challenges.

Rephrased, take out retailers, and a series of other events created a cascade effect that continues years after those ‘street dealers’ vanished. Factories that supplied those retailers were shuttered. Lenders and financial services firms lost a once steady and dependable stream of business. Suppliers, transporters, installation, workers of all kinds are harmed.

Nor can manufactured home resident impact be overlooked. Resale values, the entire normal supply and demand chain equilibrium is disturbed.

All of that occurs by removing thousands of independent manufactured home retailers.

Much of the industry and its home owners has yet to recover. Headlines like the ones below hit mainstream news. Of course, it’s a turn-off to prospective manufactured home buyers.  

ManufacturedHomeCommunityMobileHomeParkNewsMHProNEws

Then, ponder the effect of a vertically integrated firm like Clayton Homes and their Berkshire Hathaway sister companies. When you have essentially an unlimited pool of capital, you can afford to lose money at dozens of locations. Never forget that Kevin Clayton said on camera that it would be okay with “Warren” if he lost money for five years, as long as Clayton was widening its “Moat.”

It is simply impossible to fully grasp the impact that kind of strategy has on the industry, until it is carefully understood.

The problems mentioned above then create “value acquisitions” for consolidators. So while Berkshire Hathaway benefited, because Clayton Homes expanded its Moat from some 13 percent to about 50 percent of the market in just 15 years, it also made it easier for several larger community operators to buy distressed communities. Those distressed communities may have operated just fine for years.

The residents in those once properly operated, but years later turned into distressed neighborhoods were suffering the impacts too.

A few “won.” Thousands of independent businesses lost. Millions of Americans were impacted.  But even big boy companies are harmed today, because the image of living in a manufactured home community was shifted over time from happy to problematic.

That’s just one part of the cause and effect of the traps, pitfalls, and swindles that have cost Americans tens of billions of dollars. A few benefited, but at what harm and cost?

This is a topic worthy of debate. Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, their attorneys ought to explain or refute the evidence, if they can. Joe Stegmayer, MHI Chairman, a former president at Clayton Homes ought to stand before their industry peers and explain the documents, direct quotes, and video recorded statements if they can.

They and their purported puppet association in Arlington, VA have the right to remain silent. Never forget that for years, they each promptly responded to questions from MHProNews. It was about two years ago that all that publicly changed. But what they can’t erase are the impacts on the industry. Nor can they erase the times they publicly praised MHProNews in writing, verbally, or even on video.

These problems are opportunities in disguise. Time will tell if Clayton et al will appear before their industry colleagues next Thursday afternoon and explain the documents, quotes, money trail, trend lines, and evidence compiled here or on MHLivingNews over the years.  

But if they come or not, be one of those who see, listen and learn how the pains of the past and present can become a silver lining to a dark cloud.

How so?

Several ways. We will mention only one today, but more ground will be covered next week, in person and live. The opportunity for class action lawsuit that are handled by plaintiffs attorneys who will sue those responsible on contingency.

That harm artificially caused could logically extend to millions of manufactured home owners, because their resale values have been impacted by such purported market manipulation.

That harm also extends to those whose businesses were sold at a discount or failed all together.

Manufactured housing has seen several large class action lawsuits over the years. It remains to be seen if the SEC, which won’t confirm or deny that they are studying market manipulation in the Cavco Industries case, will dig into such matters. It remains to be seen if shareholders attorneys are going to look into these issues. Why should they? Because if Stegmayer as a former Clayton executive understood all this, and did it didn’t do certain things at Cavco, it obviously impacts business performance and share holders stock value.

It may not pay independents and others on the spot to be at the Tunica next Thursday, March 28, starting just after 12 noon. But it could be worth millions to some businesses, thousands to millions of home owners.

On my personal library’s bookshelf is a chess book. It’s title includes the phrase, Chess Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles. It never dawned upon me just how much that title may apply to our industry. “Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles.

 

Profiting & Correcting – Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls and Swindles
You or a Colleague’s Opportunity to Collect 3 Times What You Lost

Plaintiffs’ attorneys inform MHProNews that such cases can bring triple damages.  As most readers will know, a contingency lawsuit means that the attorney bears the brunt of the costs and risks. The only reason they take on such a case is because of their confidence in winning it.  You or other victims don’t even have to know how it happened to you.  You only have to have been a victim in order to participate in such a potential landmark case.

 

Speak No Evil, Only Evidence. Tunica Show, Feds, Clayton, 21st, MHI, MHARR, Public Debate, and You

 

Please RSVP for Tunica next week for session 1. It’s open to legitimate industry members who are coming to participate or learn. We are seeking to expand the meeting room space from what was originally reserved. Details will be updated via our emailed headline news, so make sure you are signed up. 

Here’s that email link.

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There will be a Q & A after each session. To learn more, click here the linked article above or further below the byline and notices.  

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HistorySeriesEventsDescribingAmbitiousTriesDominateManipulateOppressOthersThatCreatesDesireAmongFreedomAmongThoseBeingManipulatedDisadvantagedControlledLATonyKovachBy 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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Speak No Evil, Only Evidence. Tunica Show, Feds, Clayton, 21st, MHI, MHARR, Public Debate, and You

 

“November Rain” – DoJ’s Top Antitrust Cop – Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim ABA Speech on Antitrust Enforcement for Americans

Tim Williams, PBS News’ Bad Bargain, Manufactured Housing Institute, Buffett’s Mirror, and Clayton’s Costume

Minnie Driver, Millionaires, and Billionaires – Debunking “Housing for the Poor” Image of Manufactured Housing

“Tug of War” – Manufactured Home Community Legislation – “Vicious Cycle Goes On,” Impacting Industry, Home Owners, and Potential Buyers

Warren Buffet’s Quotable Quotes on Business, Institutions, Behavior, and News Reporting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Sense of Humor, Tilting After Windmills, Manufactured Housing – Merchants or Crusaders?

January 27th, 2019 No comments

 

GodsSenseofHumorTiltingAfterWindmillsManufacturedHousingMerchantsOrCrusadersMastheadMHProNews

What’s wrong is that enough people don’t ask what’s right – that’s a faithful paraphrase of the brilliant writer and believer, G.K. Chesterton.

 

One need not look far to discover that the Creator of all has a healthy sense of humor.

 

Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams – among their allies, pawns, lackeys, and stooges – could not have counted on their strategic economic Moat encountering the various resistance personalities found working in the manufactured home industry today.

Former Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) President Chris Stinebert made a series of arguably interesting, inaccurate, and mistaken comments in his departing message to their association members and followers. One colorful piece of advice Stinebert gave was not to go tilting after windmills.

There are those who understandably believe that it is safer to be a so-called “Merchant” – someone who a self-described MHVille merchant said will do business with anybody –  than it is to be a Crusader, who could be defined as someone who fights for whatever is right.

But as the manufactured housing industry approaches 43 years since the construction of the first HUD Code for manufactured homes on June 15, 1976, there is an increasingly self-evident reality. It’s this. After decades of many MHVille industry pros being mainly merchants, the pool of merchants has steadily shrunk since the last industry high water mark of 1998.

Buffett says he loves to read. He finds value in history, facts, and figures. It’s a point the Oracle of Omaha and this far lesser known Masthead writer concur on. Wheat and chaff. Accept the truth, from whomever or where ever you find it.

In God’s grand sense of humor, Buffet’s minions picked an avoidable fight with this multiple award-winning history major, who happened to be a philosopher’s son. What rich irony!  That divine joke keeps me rolling, in more ways than one.

Not everyone in MHVille is a short-term thinker who will sell out the Master for 30 pieces of silver.

America is a nation filled with tragedy as well as hopes, with a rich tradition of attainable dreams.

Only those who will use some of their time, talent, and treasure to support the crusaders for justice in MHVille will hope to see the day when MH Nation becomes a reality. MHNation is attainable, but it requires enough sufficiently motivated efforts, hands, wit, and resources to help build and sustain it.

 

 

Big and Small, They Lost It All

Over the years, this writer has peered into the eyes of mom and pop businesses who didn’t understand what happened to their once thriving enterprises or land-lease communities.

This Masthead writer also watched as the once mighty fell too.  Previously dominating ‘old Fleetwood’ or ‘old Champion’ vanished in less than a decade, under the headwinds of the builders of Buffett-style strategic economic Moats. 

If the former giants of MHVille didn’t survive the strategic economic Moats of Chairman Mao, pardon me, Chairman Buffett, then what hubris does it take to believe that the also-rans in Claytonville can survive “the Moat’s” steady, grinding, and seemingly invisible methods?

We respect George Allen’s service to his nation.  Lord only knows what he may have encountered during Desert Storm or in the deadly jungles of Vietnam.

That said, it’s pathetically laughable when someone like George F. (F?) Allen calls himself the industry’s “historian.” Here’s how he said it in a recent post, “This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource, & online communication media for North American land lese communities!

 

CommunityInvestorJan152019GeogeFAllenMastheadBlogMHProNews

The next time the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis asks for a hit-job, please send someone less self-contradictory, and more competent.  History?  Allen’s view of history puts him in the center of it all. Fascinating choice of who to answer, Kevin. 

 

Listening, musing, and reading pay. It was listening to a former client/supporter of Allen say, ‘With George, it’s AAA. All About Allen.” Priceless insight, spot on, and moving on.

 

 

Jesus and the 10

Jesus never preached socialism. Nor did Jesus preach monopolistic methods.

Properly understood, the 10 Commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai protect private property and human wealth honestly earned.

It’s simple, really. Constantly reference, strive to support, and follow those Ten Commandments. Let those 10 and the lessons of the Good Book be your decision-making guide. When those 10 Commandments are understood and followed, society will thrive. When ignored, mocked, or trampled underfoot, the weak or most innocent become victims.  The Ten, with motivated merchants, make for the sufficient needs of crusaders.  The rest are details and commentary.

 

UnlessThereisAGodAllMoralityIsJustOpinionBeliefsNoKingsNoMonopoliesNoOligarchsAmercanWayMHProNews

The top images are composites from the Prager U video, further below. Over a million views on that thought-provoking video.

 

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ph.D. was a sinner, like this writer, and the rest of us mere mortals. King had strengths and weaknesses.  Ditto. But that thoughtful strategist led a peaceful revolution in his day. King was a Crusader. That eloquent preacher had merchants who supported his crusader efforts.

Crusaders like Jesus, King, or Gandhi are always the ones who change the world.

 

MahatmaGandhiWIkiMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

This is historic. This is part of authentic history. 

 

Together, with arms locked, King and others marched against the oppressors of his time. King was a visible figure, but never forget that there were numbers of less visible ones who made sure that King secured the victory they sought.

Affordable quality housing – which can be served in the form of modern manufactured homes – is a civil, constitutional, and a legal right. But it will take enough Crusaders to beat those who’ve manipulated the American system in a way that moat builders seek to enrich themselves, as they arguably defrauded their neighbors as they smiled.

 

Don’t stop being a merchant.

 

But if you don’t want to be a statistic among other merchants in MHVille who’ve fallen before you, if you don’t want to be another “value acquisition” of Berkshire or a Buffett buddy, then ponder this reality.  You must use some time, talent, and treasure to support new structures to replace the purported corruption of Arlington VA based MHI and their masters in Omaha and Knoxville.

Buffett’s smart, in a Machiavellian way. Chairman Buffett and his are patiently grinding the industry into powder that he can easily swallow at a cheap price.

You, we, and other people of good will can use cunning, truth, and existing laws to beat Buffett at his own game. Who says? Centuries of Bible stories tell me it’s so.

There are various ways people around the globe express the Ten Commandments. Properly understood, at their core, they are the same. It’s noteworthy that Christian, Jews, Muslims and other believers have similar beliefs to these 10 Commands.

 

 

Read the related reports, further below, for added insights.  Reach out by phone, message, or email to tip, talk or join the merchants who are ready to be or support the spirited crusaders that can beat the corrosive effects of manipulating oligarchs and their Moat builders. Communism and the Nazis were defeated. America had its trust-busting era, that broke up the monopolists. Another one lies ahead. “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.

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

 

Puzzling Case of Millie Francis, Where are Religious Liberty, Fair Housing, Resident, and Manufactured Home Organizational Defenders?

 

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

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

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

January 2nd, 2019 No comments

 

ProfitablyDefeatingLongKnives2019NewYearsResolutionMHVilleManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

“…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.”

KevinClaytonVideoInterviewHowDidWarrenLearnTheseMoatBuildingstrategiesMHIBehavioralExpertsMasthead

 

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.

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticConcernManufacturedHome

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

HowDoesMoatStrategyWorkOutInOpenGreatQuestionSmallBusinessesBusyTradeAssociationsMHI_Masthead

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.

CollusionAntitrustLawWikiDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

 

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

 

KevinClaytonInterviewMHIPacDonationsEItherMajorPartyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMasthead

 

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.

 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryMashteadLATonyKovachMHproNEws-756x768

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.

 

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

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.

RICO-RacketeringInfluencedCorruptOrganizationsActRICOWikiDailyBUsinessNewsMastheadManufacuredHOusingINdustryProNews

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

 

 

It’s Your Profession – Investment of Time, Talent, Treasure – So What’s Next?

December 13th, 2018 No comments

 

ItsYourProfessionInvestmentTimeTalentTreasureSoWhat’sNext600x315

Political correctness – the PC movement – is arguably a form of manipulation and control. 40+ years ago, long before the PC culture took hold, people were aware of the notion that we should be polite and respectful of others. The baby boomer generation were the ones that made greater racial, religious, gender, and other forms of equality an ever-greater reality in America.

 

A recent study reflected that pay gaps have largely been proven to be a matter of choices. Men, per that study, earn more because they put in more overtime. That’s a choice. Within the norms of morality and good laws, choices should be honored.  

MailChimp says roughly 97% of our audience is domestic U.S. and Canadian. There are investors and factory-built housing professionals from across the country – and in other nations around the world – that read MHProNews. Why? Because we seek the truth, lay out facts, provide evidence, and let people make better informed decisions as a result. We don’t mind taking what some might deem to be politically incorrect positions. 

It has been almost a year since a gentleman from outside our industry – a high level executive for a multi-billion dollar organization – asked me face-to-face, why isn’t manufactured housing doing much better than it is? He had spent hours at the Louisville Show, was dazzled by the homes, and was stunned by the value.  

That was a senior executive. Someone with seasoning, a keen mind, not a greenhorn. 

Which is precisely the reason he asked that powerful three letter word question: why? Why isn’t manufactured housing performing better?

Our linked reports further below explore those issues, based on facts, evidence, and following the money.

When I joined the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) some years ago at the urging of industry peers, I expected to find people that wanted to see the manufactured home industry grow.

Indeed, most MHI members most certainly do want growth. 

As the son of a world-class philosopher, as a business professional with decades of experience in high-volume MH retail with high customer satisfaction in manufactured housing, and as a pro-industry and pro-free enterprise publisher, the years at MHI ticked by with little changing. I asked questions. I made suggestions. I was elected by peers to the Suppliers Division board. We did reports on MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

So we would politely advocate for what experience and logic told me was common sense.  

We interviewed almost anyone we wanted to talk to, including:

  • Jim Clayton – Clayton Homes and Clayton Bank,
  • Joe Stegmayer – Cavco and former Clayton division president, 
  • Tim Williams/21st Mortgage Corp,
  • Don Glisson Jr, Triad Financial Services,
  • ELS’ the late Howard Walker facilitated extensive authorized interview quotes from Sam Zell,
  • Sam Landy – UMH Properties
  • Nathan Smith – SSK Communities,
  • Frank Rolfe – who with his partner David Reynolds got tons of media by being politically incorrect and accessible,
  • Mark Weiss and Danny Ghorbani at MHARR,
  • MHI Presidents Thayer Long and Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, 

and the list goes on to dozens of pros from every sector of the industry, including John Bostick, who is a respected independent’s independent.  

Those I’ve not mentioned in the brief list above should not feel slighted – because you know who you are, and so do long-time readers. Those interviews are still being read or viewed.

I’ve also not mentioned by name the dozens and dozens of homeowners with whom we did genuine interviews.  Nor does the list mention the many experts outside of our industry that we have on-the-record statements from, useful for clarity on the truth about manufactured housing.  

We did a report yesterday on the Daily Business News that includes this video by Sharyl Attiksson, award winning journalist. She walks viewers and her live audience through the “fake news” phenomenon. You can later access the video by the star journalist by clicking on the box below, which links to the report.

 

“Check Your Facts,” “Follow the Money” – Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, Fake News, MHVille Takeaways

 

There’s numerous salient points Attiksson makes, which is precisely why we curated and presented her talk to our industry-leading audience.

People who love us, or hate us, and those in between read here daily by the thousands. Why? Because we follow the money, follow the evidence, ask the questions, all while comparing claims to performance and deeds.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Third party data per Webalizer, on Dec 1, 2018. In a small industry, the market penetration of professional readers is striking. We thank sources, readers, and sponsors alike.

 

People have the absolute right to support MHI, and I’d freely admit there were numerous pleasant and insightful conversations there. But what about actual performance? How do they – and their primary backers – live up to their claims? 

This is where MHI award-winner Marty Lavin’s wisdom comes in, when he said the following.

 

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustrysMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNe

 

Danny Ghorbani left MHI back in the mid-1980s. He was asked by independent producers to help form a new association. That trade group today is known as MHARR – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. Recall that in the 2018 Washington Post report, MHARR was revealed as the industry’s true hero re: Pam Danner (ICYMI or need a refresher, see hot-linked box below for details). MHARR has no top level turnover in years, by contrast, why has there been so much turnover at MHI?

 

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

 

As a report linked below reflects, when Danny ran the Louisville Show, it was a much bigger event than it is today. 

Attiksson makes the point in her TEDx talk that when you hear the same taking points over and over from mainstream media, you should ask, why? With so many media outlets, how is it that so many use the same phrases, the same words, the exact same talking points? 

As you explore trade media in manufactured housing, there are some variations. Some are arguably mere MHI mouth pieces. Some exist primarily to benefit the blogger. We respect their rights under the First Amendment to do so. 

But who besides MHARR and MHProNews routinely ask the tough questions about #NettlesomeThings 

We’ve done our share of ‘happy talk.’ But the facts – year after year – at MHI meetings is summed up in what a member CEO said, it is always more of the same.  

If MHI or Clayton Homes truly had the answers for what ails our industry, at what point will they actually show it?  

MHI claims they’ve exposed tens of millions of Americans to manufactured homes in 2018. If so – if they did such a fine job with their multiple-million dollar budgets – why are only 100,000 (+/-) Americans going to buy a HUD Code manufactured home this year???

 

ManufacturedHousingInstitutelogoMHILogoMHIVideoStillsMillionsofViewsMastheadBlogMHProNews-400x768

Even if MHI’s claims are true – properly analyzed – are an embarrassment to them and anyone involved. If they really had an audience of 84 million, and if their work was so good, why are so few manufactured homes being sold? Their promo video is arguably a magician’s slight-of-hand. Look here! Big Numbers! Oops, poor results…Why Aren’t Others in MH media spotlighting this obvious problem???

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryMastheadLATonyKovachMHProNews-756x768 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoOctober2018HUDCodeHomeShipmentsDeclineMastheadLATonyKovachMHProNews600

Both MHProNews third-party site stats plus feedback from professional readers, many of whom are MHI members, tell us that the industry’s professionals and investors want meaty reality checks, not more MHI pie-in-the-sky-in-the-great-bye-and-bye.

 

Why after praising MHProNews in writing and on video – numerous times – did they rescind our membership? Did we ask too many questions? Did we make too many suggestions that could result in real growth that years of experience proved would work when done correctly?

 

 

Or MHI’s then education-division leader (MHEI), Ann Parman’s praise for our presentation to MHI members at their Congress and Expo, urging proper media engagement to correct-the-record as issues arose. 

 AnnParmanVPManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoLATonyKovachMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMastheadblogMHProNews800

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryMastheadMHProNews-500x277

MHI can’t claim ignorance, because their former Executive Committee Chairman, Tim Williams was asked and answered about the logic of doing media engagement to debunk every single case of misinformation. MHI has a PR person that works full time. As an MHI member said recently to MHProNews, what is that PR person actually doing?

 

Is growth for the many in the manufactured housing industry the agenda at MHI? Or – as their own evidence suggests – is their real agenda the consolidation of the industry into ever fewer select hands?  Click the box below for more details later, but move on for now.

 

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

 

We at MHProNews respect the rights of factory-producers to build whatever kind of homes they want to build that meet appropriate standards. Clayton experimented with the iHouse and iHouse 2. It was their right to prove themselves unable to successfully market it, despite lots of publicity.

 

ClaytonHomesiHouseChevyVoltGreenBridgeFarmsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Ever wonder whatever happened to the Clayton iHouse? Or Clayton Homes iHouse 2? Not much, very few were sold, and so it was quietly dropped, per sources at Clayton.

 

  • Clayton and MHI both made a big deal about their image and ‘story telling’ videos. A bust. The views and the new home shipments data prove it. 
  • Clayton made a big deal about their relationship with then uber-popular Duck Dynasty. Remember that? Why no surge in retail-sold new home shipments?
  • Clayton made a big deal about a year ago regarding their TV ads on college football games. Huh, why are shipments flat? #NettlsomeThings.

 

MHI’s own data says about 1/3 of new manufactured homes are shipped to communities. The REITs freely admit most of those manufactured homes (MH) shipped to their communities (MHCs) are rented, as opposed to being immediately sold at retail. Subtract out MH rentals in MHCs, isn’t the industry essentially flat since 2010?  

These are all warning signs that industry investors and pros discuss with me off-the-record.  

Why do independents that once spoke freely on the record, now fear speaking out publicly?  Heck, why did historically outspoken Frank Rolfe stop calling MHI out and their failed, hypocritical leadership? Those were his words, not mine. 

These are #NettesomeThings, aren’t they?  

Nettles sting if handled improperly. But properly understood, nettles have medicinal qualities. 

Our purpose on MHProNews isn’t to embarrass Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, Nathan Smith, MHI, MHVillage, or anyone else for that matter.   

Our purpose is to reflect reality. Those stinging nettles are meant as a cure – which is positive – by spotlighting the problems. Until a problem is properly understood, you can’t fix it. You don’t ask a doctor for happy talk, you ask an MD for the truth, and then the treatment that’s needed to achieve a cure.

The so-called ‘new class of homes’ is arguably going to be the next Clayton and MHI backed fiasco. It’s the absolute right for everyone in the program to be in it. 

But it is our absolute right as a pro-industry publication that wants to see the industry grow to ask the tough, #NettlesomeThings questions. That’s for medicinal purposes. Don’t blame the messenger, look at those whose behavior and track record requires that the message be made.

 

Housing Choice, Where Modular, Manufactured, Tiny, Conventional Housing Crisis, MHI and MHARR Intersect

LeveragingMomentumCreationNewClassofManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoMashteadMHProNews600 (1)

 

If we at MHProNews were wrong about any of these matters, why do the Clayton’s, 21st and MHI duck our questions, that for years they once gladly answered? Why don’t they just prove us wrong? They would if they could, right?  

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Rick Robinson, a MHI’s SVP and general counsel, ducked questions at the Deadwood conference in front of dozens of witnesses, just as Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison did at Louisville in 2018.

We periodically ask MHI and the Berkshire brands to show us any fact or logical errors. To quote some comments from MHI and other state association members, “Crickets.” No reply? Why? 

It is MHI’s own members that are troubled by this so-called ‘new class of homes‘ plan, see the related report accessed by clicking the box below, once you’ve finished reading this column.

 

“What Are We, Chopped Liver?” MHI Member December 2018 Reactions

 

The new class of homes logically will undermine over time all other HUD Code homes. Some, per our sources, were promised, prodded, and persuaded into doing them – which again is their right to decide to produce them or not. 

But as multiple MHI-only members have told us, the new class of homes is illogical. Why not build them modular, MHI producers said, if you do all of these changes? 

Why misdirect those Duty to Serve dollars away from HUD Code homes, which is what the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) called for? That’s some of what MHI members are telling me.  

 

 

The Costly Consequences 

Are you a HUD Code manufactured home lender? Mark my words, the value of your collateral will over time arguably be undermined by this misguided program.  That could happen if it succeeds, or even if it is tried for years and fails, as Clayton’s iHouse did.  

Are you a retailer or a community operator? Mark my words, the value of your residents’ homes will decline if this program is pushed. Why? Because the natural question – as MHI members are telling us – will be, why won’t the GSEs give us the same terms and conditions on all other HUD Code homes? The answer to that question undermines all other HUD Code homes.  

If the value of those existing manufactured housing residents homes declines, mark my words, the value of Manufactured Home Communities (MHC) will be impacted. Who says? Among others, legal and communities pros in our industry — who’ve raised these concerns directly to MHProNews. 

Keep in mind that sources in the GSEs have told me personally that this program was conceived backwards. One admitted it could backfire and harm the HUD Code. If so, that source said then they might change it. What?  

Ask yourself — why did they want this done between MHI, the GSEs, and Berkshire brands behind closed doors? Why wouldn’t they release the meeting minutes?  

For all of those who have been given proper notice as to the risks involved, consider the liability. I doubt the E/O policies will cover the losses from such a clearly flawed program.  

Who will do the lawsuits? Contingency lawyers, who are already exploring it, based upon the conversations and messages already sent and heard by me personally.  

Who will they sue on behalf of, you ask? Those millions of HUD Code Manufactured Home Owners, for one group.   

MH Community operations that are MHI members, if you don’t speak publicly out to object to this MHI plan, can you spell liability? 

Publicly-traded companies that don’t speak out publicly? Can you spell shareholder liability?  

Build those HUD Code homes however you want, within the norms of the performance standards, but my best advice is to publicly and promptely kill this term ‘new class of homes,’ right now. Then, stop the separation in HUD product that meets the Fannie Mae ‘MHAdvantage’ standards. Don’t let Freddie Mac do it either. 

Remind Fannie and Freddie that the HUD Code has nationally preemptive standards that should already be accepted. 

 

Who Will Survive This Looming Slow-Motion Tragedy? 

Pardon me for mentioning the fact that only one operation has pockets deep enough to survive the possible – arguably likely – wave of legal actions.  

Berkshire Hathaway, right? Recall that Kevin Clayton said in the video below, that “Warren” would be okay if he lost money for 5 years, as long as he grew his moat. Why not take Kevin at his word on that point?

 

 

For those that don’t know or don’t recall, there were big class action lawsuits years ago on plumbing and siding. Do we think at this current production level, that many in the industry’s producers – or other firms – will survive the logical trend of this emerging threat?  

Every business they put out of business, only helps the big boys, per their own “moat” theory, correct? 

 

The state executives who are caught in-the-middle or feel pressured on this, I don’t envy you. But you won’t be needed if the industry eventually vanishes in a logically coming wave of litigation. That’s why some of you are off-the-record sources for us already.

 

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

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.

 

For those who think that they can pressure or dissuade MHProNews from speaking out about #NettlesomeThings — you’ve obviously misjudged me and mine. 

The time is now – now – to stop this slow-motion catastrophe.

It is also time – now – to forge the new post-production association and/or alliance structures that can keep those who remain in MHI in check.  Otherwise won’t the folks In Arlington, VA only keep making the same purported multiple years of errors that caused NMHCO or MHIdea to launch?

 

“Lots of Sizzle,” Clayton Sales Performance, Other MHI & Clayton Homes News Tips

 

It’s arguably a slow-motion head shot. If I’m wrong, then let Kevin, Tim, Eric, Dick, Lesli et al take a stage in Louisville with me in 2019 and debate it publicly on a video taped session, so all of manufactured housing and the world can see it. 

Ladies and gents, are you up for it? 

Why is manufactured housing underperforming? Could it be that it’s been undermined from within? 

 FrankRolfeObsticalToGrowthManufacturedHousingIndustryItself-postedMastheadBlogMHProNews

 

 

MartyLavinHUDCodeDeadlyDiscriminationCode-IndustryVoicesMHProNews-e1472170900504

There is a cost to ignoring bad news, and Marty Lavin’s put his finger on it. But as Rolfe and others have directly or obliquely mentioned, it is powers within the industry that have failed to defend the industry.

 TheManufacturedHousingInsittuteLogoManufacturedHomeIndustryOtherImageCampaignMartyLavinMHILogoMHProNews

That’s my two cents –  as someone invested in and who cares about this industry – based upon years of research, industry input, third-party experts, logic, and experience.  

AllTruthPassesThrough3StagesRidiculedViolentlyOpposedAcceptsSelfEvidentArthurSchopenhauerQuoteGalleryMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

If there is a flaw in the facts and reasoning, anyone who wants to speak up on behalf of the Berkshire brands in MHVille, or MHI are hereby invited to so do. Want the details behind the logic? Then see the related reports, in the linked boxes, further below. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

AlanAmyRoyerMobileHOmesOpelousaLALATonyKovachMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryProNewsBy 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:

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

Back to Basics – What is Classical Liberalism, and What Can It Mean for Manufactured Housing Growth?

Understanding the News as Business, and Manufactured Housing

 

Clayton’s Miss, Kevin and Tim’s Manufactured Housing Kill Shot, More

 

 

Louisville and Tunica Manufactured Housing Shows, Controversial Profitable, Problematic Issues Loom

 

Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, and their annual shareholders meeting, are writ large on the calendar for investors.  The same can be said for professionals who are in or researching – or in – the manufactured home industry.

BestWarrenBuffettKevinClaytonClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayAnnualMeetingCompetitiontheMoatVideoCollection

Clayton Homes – led by company founder Jim Clayton’s son, Kevin Clayton – become the largest producer of manufactured homes the year that Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett bought the company in 2003. It became the largest builder or HUD Code manufactured homes later that same year – 2003 – when Buffett’s Berkshire purchased Oakwood Homes, and rolled it into the Clayton ‘family of brands.’

Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates
compete in the annual newspaper toss
to a Clayton Homes front door at shareholders meeting.

That was one of an ongoing string of acquisitions since then, which in more recent years have included purchases of site-builders, as well as other factory producers.

Kevin Clayton talks about barracks for the military, tiny homes
annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.


 

Why did Buffett do all this?  Why has he endured the ‘drama’ that has gone along with Clayton Homes and manufactured housing?

Pay close attention to what you see, hear and read, and you’ll get it.  Short answer?  Listen to Buffett explain his own principles. Mr. Buffett wants a business that is easy to understand. He wants a business with “a moat.”  During an affordable housing crisis, what business is easier to understand than manufactured homes?

Short Warren Buffett On Clayton Homes
Allegations of Discrimination, CNBC

Two quick quotes, and then on to the rest of the videos.

I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing…All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it,” – Warren Buffett, per Wikiquotes.

Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management, and limited exposure to hard times.” Warren Buffett, in “About Investing.

Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes CEO
on military barracks, tiny houses more…Fox Business.

 

Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes Related Videos

For those in or new to manufactured housing, these videos offer a peek inside the world of Berkshire, and their dominance of manufactured home:

  • construction,
  • retail,
  • lending,
  • suppliers,
  • insurance and other financial services arena.
  • You’ll also get a peak into their move towards conventional housing, and they were already doing modular home construction.

Berkshire Hathaway’s
Clayton Homes Moving into New Conventional Housing Markets
– The Street

 

Warren Buffett’s “The Moat” Strategy – How to Dominate Competitors, in Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s Own Words

For those who are researching concerns over monopolies or alleged monopolistic practices – and how that had played out in manufactured housing – the videos below are must viewing.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman,
Competitive Advantages and “The Moat” per Buffett, Video Interview Clips
– MHLivingNews.com

 

For those looking for a deeper dive in reading and research on related topics, the links below provide arguably the most comprehensive research by an informed, pro-industry expert and witness to the evolution of the industry from its early days as trailer houses, to the mobile home era, and to industry since June 15, 1976, when it formally became HUD Code regulated manufactured housing.

 

The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight. That’s been a subtext for closing in on a decade on MHProNews.com as well as on our public focused sister site, ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, both of which also looks at modular, prefab, conventional, and pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

For first timers, to industry veterans, this is the number one site of its kind. Who says?  Besides third party traffic data, there’s the widespread praise for these twin platforms that has flowed for years from many pros, including from the founder of Clayton Homes, Jim Clayton, as well as from independents and others.  The video praised captured below is just a sampling of spoken and written praise.

 

 

While we are pro-industry, we are also pro-consumer, and are strong believers in free enterprise.

Kevin Clayton Interview, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway,
Clayton Homes CEO, Manufactured Homes, Affordable Housing News – MHProNews

Unlike much of the trade media in our industry, we do not shy away from controversial topics. So, for example, the question of the impact of alleged monopolistic practices by Buffett, Berkshire and Clayton Homes, or other charges against the company are among topics we’ve closely examined for years.

We hope you learn, and enjoy.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © (News, analysis and commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

 

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

Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

 

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

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

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

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.