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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.

 

HousingAlertManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoOnCapitolHillMHIAdvancesManufacturedHousingFinanceReformMHProNewsFactCheck

 

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

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

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

On Capitol HillMHI Advances Manufactured Housing Finance Reform.”

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

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

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

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

 

RichardDickJennisonLesliGoochManufacturedHousingInstittueMHI-postedMHProNews-

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

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

 

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

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

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

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

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

 

 

What Then MHI Chairman Tim Williams Did

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

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

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

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

FraudLegalDefinitionManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

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

 

IllegalLegaRICOWireMailFraudManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

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

 

 

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

That noted, let’s flash back again.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuoteMastheadMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

What Does This Mean For Investors and Manufactured Housing Professionals?

What Does This Evidence Mean for Affordable Housing Advocates?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SubmitNewsTipsManufacturedHomeProNewsMHProNewsLogoMastheadMHProNews

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

How Warren Buffett Sheds Light On This Issue

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

Paraphrasing the Oracle of Omaha:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Summary

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

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

Perhaps they have no good response to the evidence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Want of a Nail – Manufactured Housing

April 12th, 2019 No comments

 

ForWantofaNailManufacturedHousingMastheadMHProNews

For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

 

In older English, the word “want” could mean “for lack of.” Viewing the above proverbial wisdom through that lens is understood as follows, according to Wikipedia. The Masthead will further unpack this for those professionals and aficionados who are keen on our segment of the factory-built housing industry after the Wiki quotes.

The proverb has come down in many variations over the centuries. It describes a situation in which a failure to anticipate or correct some initially small dysfunction leads by successively more critical stages to an egregious outcome. The rhyme’s implied small difference in initial conditions is the lack of a spare horseshoe nail, relative to a condition of its availability.[1] At a more literal level, it expresses the importance of military logistics in warfare.

Such chains of causality are perceived only in hindsight. No one ever lamented, upon seeing his unshod horse, that the kingdom would eventually fall because of it.[1]

Related sayings are “A stitch, in time, saves nine” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“. A somewhat similar idea is referred to in the metaphor known as the camel’s nose.” said Wikipedia.

 

 

For Lack of a Nail, Manufactured Home Independents Were Lost

Manufactured housing has lost many a message. That is proven by the troubling instances like the bullet’s below will note

 

  • The Bryan City Council, which is just one of a growing number of cities, towns, or counties that have taken steps to limit or ban manufactured homes.
  • HBO’s viral This Week Last Night with John Oliver video on “Mobile Homes.”
  • Declining shipments of manufactured homes during an affordable housing crisis. Unbelievable, given that the Urban Institute and others have cited the improved quality of manufactured homes, but facts are what they are.

Each of those bullet’s reflect this vexing point. The powers that be either can’t or won’t stop/and or address these trends.  That much ought to be obvious, and while debatable, those who would opt to defend the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis’ perspective on the controversy would easily lose.  The 3 bullets above are just recent examples of why.  Others examples are found in the related reports, further below the bylines, offers, and notices.

So that means, alternative approaches – not including the current methods being used – must be developed.

 

Parallel Paths

The independents and investors in our industry must not place every bet on one thing. There is an array of possible alternative strategies that have proven useful and must be adapted to or applied to this industry’s circumstances.

One point is simple. Make officials of the federal government do their jobs.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has primary jurisdiction under current federal law over manufactured housing. Under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, there is enhanced federal preemption for manufactured homes. HUD is the enforcement agency for that aspect of the law.

Some are talking about suing the City of Bryan, TX. The Masthead favors that option, on several different grounds, that could represent the interests (and thus separate causes of action) for individual groups.

But the Masthead also favor’s pressing the Feds into doing their jobs. One need not look beyond the border battle to realize that manufactured housing isn’t alone when it comes to the notion of enforcing existing laws.  The border issues has festered for decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations. The same can be said about the proper implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

 

“Time to Enforce the Law on Federal Preemption”

 

It was 2017 when the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform wrote the report linked via the text image box above. It is time to enforce the law on preemption. The linked report below reflects MHARR’s most recent step, in calling on HUD to do a formal study of the issue noted.

 

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

 

The first step with HUD – or anyone else – ought to be the direct ask to HUD.  But other steps can be included.

  • Elected congressional representatives and Senators can be asked to intervene.
  • But also there is the Writ of Mandamus.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) knows about this option, because their general counsel, Rick Robinson, wrote a book the included that as the title and a subplot. Rephrased, MHI knows they could fight this in several levels, but for whatever reason(s) one cares to float, they have obviously not chosen to do so.

We have a source on the ground in Bryan, TX that told MHProNews that “To answer your question without commentary, no one employed by MHI was present.”

Meanwhile, manufactured home industry consolidation continues. It is the larger MHI members who are most often the beneficiaries of that consolidation. Coincidence?  Is that a hidden benefit or motivation for those big boys who dominate the association to allow such headwinds – for now – so that they can further consolidate the industry? Later, once they’ve consolidated all that they think they can, will the powers that be magically dust off issues like enhanced preemption, and put them to work for their own enhanced profits?

Don’t forget the investigators question. Cui Bono? Who benefits? Who has the motivation to do – or not to do – x?

We think satirically of MHI as Buffett’s and the Big Boys Buffet.  MHI is short for the Machiavellian Housing Institute. Day by day, they build the case against themselves, don’t they?

Meanwhile, the Buffett Moat and that of his de facto allies purportedly grows as an outcome of alleged market manipulation and association malfeasance. Or as one executive with long ties to MHI told MHProNews this past week, it is “association malpractice.” That source alleged to MHProNews that MHI had some 4 million dollars in reserves.  Why aren’t they using some of those reserves to fight issues like the John Oliver viral video, or zoning issues, like Bryan, TX?

As one more example of purported “association malpractice.”  Why is it that MHI creates supposedly useful research and hides it behind a login?  Why does MHAction seem able to get more bad headlines than MHI can stir up good headlines?  Why doesn’t MHI and do what MHAction and other who have created useful research have done? Namely, take that information, and beat the drums to make it know widely throughout the land?

Are they incompetent in Arlington? Or rather are cagily in pursuit of consolidation? Doesn’t either one leave us where the industry is right now? Let those queries hang and sink in, as we turn back to the main point.

 

The Writ – and Order

A Writ of Mandamus. Ask HUD politely, but if they don’t respond, then Make the Feds do their jobs via a writ of mandamus. Arguably, less costly than many others suits might be. That must be one of the parallels paths.

WritOfMandamusJudicialOrderRemedyDoSpecificActObligedToDoByLawMastheadMHProNews

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.  Let’s not lose the nail that causes more manufactured home independents and prospective home owners to lose their part of the American Dream.

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:

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

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

“Billion Dollar Empire Made From Mobile Homes,” What Washington Post’s Peter Whoriskey Didn’t Report

Money, Minorities, Manufactured Homes – Foiling the American Dream of Affordable Housing

 

Good News With Harmful Twist, Anti-Community Owners MHAction Activist Grabs Headlines

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

Manufactured Home Owners – Satisfaction Survey Redux

 

 

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

 

“No Other Options” – Frank Rolfe’s Pad, MH “Parks” Tug-of-War, Good, Bad or Meh for Manufactured Home Communities, MH Industry?

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

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

 

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

Independent Businesses, Affordable Manufactured Housing, Open Markets, & Robust MH Sales Growth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

ManufacturedHomeIndustry1HeadlineNewsMHProNews

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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.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Members Defending MHI, Great Debate About Manufactured Home Industry Progress, Problems, and Profits

March 4th, 2019 No comments

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMembesDefendingMHIGreatDebateAboutManufacturedHomeINdustryProfessProblemsProfits600x315

Both of these messages are from the same person. There will be an upcoming report with on-the-record comments from an MHI board member.

 

The company of the professional quoted below has been a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member for a number of years, and is not a member of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

The messages were part of a longer thread, and the MHI member was addressing moi – L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, MHProNews’ publisher.

You seem pretty aggressive against MHI?  There must be history there. To me, we need groups like them to move the industry forward.  There have been some huge ups and downs but we seem to be on the rise.  I have never been in the politics of the industry.  Im just glad people out there like MHI care and are willing to spend time trying to make the industry better.”

Here’s another pull-quote, from a significantly longer, back-and-forth discussion.

Tony, No worries with offending me.  My company is connected with MHI but they have never put a dollar in my pocket.  Like everything else, I use the resources the industry has and work harder than most people daily which has been my recipe for success.” 

 

 

Shocked?  We Agree With Most of What That MHI Member Said

Editorially and logically, we agree with much of the quotes above.

  • There is history between MHProNews, and the powers that be. We were an MHI member for about 7 years.  We know the association from the inside.  I was elected by peers to be a board member on the MHI Suppliers Division. That’s history.
  • There is a need for effective post-production association leadership. The question isn’t is there a need, of course there is.  The question is, has MHI provided that role successfully?  With new home shipments declining nationally and in numerous states, during an affordable housing crisis, isn’t the obvious answer – no?
  • That MHI member said the Arlington, VA based trade group “never put a dollar in my pocket.” Yet his firm has paid money, sponsored items, and invested significant time. Closely viewed, everything that member said is an indictment of MHI, not an effective defense.  Hello?  Anyone else see a problem with that admission?

MHI award winner Marty Lavin said last year that MHI does what the big boys want, not what the others want – unless it happens to line up with the big boys desires.

 

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustrysMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNe

 

Kevin Clayton said in the video on the report linked here that it would be okay with “Warren” if they lost money for “five years” so long as they grew their moat. They’ve not lost money, but they are making less money than the ought to be during an affordable housing crisis. So, let me repeat the obvious, there is no way that any investor, advocate, public official, or industry professional can understand manufactured housing since 2003 without understanding Buffett’s moat concept, and how that has played out in MHVille.

 

Odds Are This Has Impacted You For Years

  • Are you a non-Berkshire Hathaway lender? This troubling trend of apparent MHI failures impacts you.
  • Are you a non-Berkshire Hathaway producer? This ostensible trend of MHI fumbles impacts you.
  • Are you a non-Clayton Homes retailer? Then this troubling trend of purported MHI failures impacts you.
  • Have you sold a manufactured home retail center or manufactured home land-lease community in recent years? This trend has arguably cost you money.  By the way, purported market manipulation – documented here – could be cause for a class-action lawsuit.  Those are often done by plaintiffs’ attorneys who work on contingency. If this is you, touch base with us. We’ve already spoken with such attorneys, they – attorneys – see merit.
  • Note, there are attorneys who have told MHProNews that MHI could likewise be liable, given certain facts. More on that in another report.

 

We’ve navigated the various slings and arrows that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, their periodic surrogates like George F. (F?) Allen, Darren Krolewski, and their allies have run interference for MHI, and company when the pattern is ever more apparent.

It was about 5 years ago that this writer wrote an article The High Cost of Low Volume Sales. Within weeks, U.S. Bank exited manufactured home lending.  They were not alone.

 

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.

 

Low volumes of new manufactured home sales is costly. The causes of low volumes of sales are many.

 

Arrested! Triple Homicide, Arson of “Mobile Home,” Crime and Affordable Manufactured Housing Resistance

 

The report linked above explains just part of the issue that faces manufactured housing that is arguably not been addressed by MHI, or their puppet masters in the Omaha and Knoxville metros. The article below is another problematic trend that MHI et al are failing the industry on.

 

Rent Control & MH – Politicians “Are Carpet-Bombing Our State With Regulations That Will Deliberately Destabilize The Housing Market And Leave It Obliterated”

 

That’s enough for today, other than this.

We’re calling on industry independents to meet at Tunica to start the process of organizing a new post-production trade group.  It’s our aim to bring it to birth, not to operate it. MHARR is focused on production advocacy and include lending (DTS) issues too, NAMHCO is focused on communities. Who is speaking for the rest of the industry’s independents?

 

TimeOrganizePostProductionRetailSuppliersVendorsLendersOthersPostProductionFirmsMustDoWhatMHARRsBeenDoingforProducersNAMHCOforCommunitiesMHProNews

Contact Tony@MHMSM.com for meeting times at Tunica 2019 in March. Put the phrase, New MH Association Inquiry in the subject line.

 

The trend line is what it is.  This is your klaxon. Grab your favorite energy drink, and let’s get to it, shall we?  The future of independents in manufactured housing is on the line. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## ## (News, commentary, 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.

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

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Manufactured Housing’s Top 10, March 2019

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

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

 

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

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

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Housing – Fleetwood, Champion, Clayton – Genius of the Christmas Story

December 22nd, 2018 No comments

AffordableHousingFleetwoodChampionClaytonGeniusChristmasStoryMastheadManufacturedHomeMHProNews

Depending on who’s estimate we accept, there’s some 550,000 to 660,000 homeless in the richest nation on earth, the U.S.A. As rents rise, so does homelessness, says Zillow’s research, which supplied the higher homeless count. With some $22 trillion dollars spent on “Great Society” programs as of a 2014 Heritage Foundation report, one must ask – how much waste, fraud, corruption, and ineffectiveness is there at the federal level alone?

 

The U.S. homeownership rate doesn’t place us in the top 40 nations on earth, how is that possible?

And it’s almost Christmas.

The genius of the Christmas story is so vast that it can’t be fully grasped in any one article, or book. It can be viewed in a variety of accurate ways. Suffice for now to note that Mary and Joseph were home-owners, not per se ‘homeless.’ Rather, they were traveling when the couple finally found shelter in a stable.

What sparked their journey, so late in Mary’s pregnancy? Because the Roman Emperor Caesar had mandated a census count for tax and other purposes. They had to travel to Bethlehem, because it was mandated by imperial decree – their law.

The carpenter and his family experienced what it was like to be homeless. For what Christians call the “Holy Family,” that stable they sheltered in for the Christ child’s birth may have been in a cave.  For thousands in towns like Los Angeles or San Francisco, it may be tents, a cardboard box, dumpster, or a sleeping bag. The ‘luckier’ homeless in the U.S. are living in vehicles, not designed for residential purposes.

Why is it so in the U.S., two thousand years after the birth of Jesus?

There are many causes, of course. Here on MHProNews we track, research, follow-the-money, and report our findings daily on certain aspects of news and view that routinely relate to the broader issue of affordable homes and public policies.

The Holy Family weren’t Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green, Socialists, Communists, or any other political or special interest group – which isn’t a slur on any of the member of those groups, just a statement of fact.  But with so many who claim to be Christians, it’s no wonder each of those political groups’ leadership periodically gloms onto the moving Christmas tale, spinning or weaponizing what occurred for their own purposes.

Rather, the Jewish Joseph and Mary were faithful, non-partisan, working-class people.

For thousands of years, there’s been dictators like Caesar, or shrewd (unethical) business people who’ve rigged their scales to give less than what a buyer bargained for.

Before there was Clayton Homes in contemporary manufactured housing, there was what we should clearly state is the OLD Fleetwood Homes and PREVIOUS Champion Homes that were affordable manufactured home builders. The old Fleetwood and Champion of the 1990s were in a race to buy up chunks of the industry in their day.  The two firms often paid hefty premiums for retail locations, hoping thereby to increase their market shares, also thereby narrowing the distribution networks of competitors products.

As Warren Buffett observed in an annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that in 1998 Fleetwood, Champion, and Oakwood – then the Big Three of manufactured housing – has some 44% of the market. According to data from the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser Magazine, the top three that year – Champion, Fleetwood, and Oakwood – produced 172,723 of the 372,843 total HUD Code manufactured homes shipped that year, or 46.3 percent of the total.

By 2017, it was Berkshire owned Clayton Homes that had some 50 percent market share, although they claim in their annual report that it was ‘only’ 47.7%. Unlike the old Champion and prior Fleetwood, Buffett’s brand Clayton Homes didn’t overpay for retail outlets, factories, or anything else.  Rather, Berkshire’s subsidiaries bought locations, loans, and businesses at a discount – a ‘value’ – as investors understandably call it.

There are numerous questions that should arise from this outline.  For example, two decades ago – when it was Champion and Fleetwood that dominated the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – how different was it from how the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing dominate MHI today?

Community owners didn’t feel well represented in the old MHI.  So, they forged the National Communities Council (NCC) side of MHI. There are MHI/NCC members – some from the large companies – that tell MHProNews that they still don’t feel well represented. Is it a surprise that a new national MH Communities association is coming to birth?

Among resident groups, there are squabbles and contests too. GSMOL, for example, wags a finger at MHAction, saying the later are taking credit for things that the GSMOL accomplished. On the professional side of MHVille, the independent producers’ Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) similarly asserts that MHI often takes credit for things that MHARR or others accomplished. Interesting, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, there are thousands of professionals – and millions of residents – all trying to earn an honest living. Their struggle is often more about battling systems that are often arguably “rigged” by the “big boys” against the smaller businesses and the masses of workers and retirees whom they seek to serve.

Then, millions more trapped in rentals that one protest leader said was “too damn high.”

But negative media like the problematic Netflix series the “Trailer Park Boys” fuels stereotypes that cause many to never consider what the GAO, NAR, Fannie Mae, Ford Foundation, HUD, and other third-party researchers called the most affordable, permanent, and safe – yes safe – new homes in America.

Inaccurate stereotypes, the propagation of misleading information, stigmas, and corrupted, rigged systems all are contributing factors to the tragedy of over a half-million homeless and relatively low rates of home ownership in the U.S.A. today.

Scales, information, and systems are usually rigged in order to cheat the many to benefit a few. It was so thousands of years ago, and it is similar so today.

But angels reportedly sang at the birth of the child Jesus whose birth into a sinful and corrupted world we celebrate on Christmas.  Wise men came from afar bearing gifts to curiously see first-hand what that star over Bethlehem was all about.

We are wise when we ponder the deeper meanings of the Christmas story too.

As we bring or open our gifts for each other, let’s remember that a greedy and power hungry few are working to manipulate scales, information, and the masses, for their own benefit. That’s arguably why there’s still so much poverty, and why millions in America are trapped in Mr. Potter’s rentals, and don’t own a home.

 

Affordable Homes, Warren Buffett as Mr. Potter in Christmas Classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

 

May the inspiration of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus enlighten our minds, hearts, and hands to do whatever is just and good. Because the honest actions of the few – then and now – can uplift the many, inspire the wise, and bring out the good in others.  The honest truth always what sparks change for-the-better in our world.

Merry Christmas to all. ## (“We Provide, You Decide.” © ## – (News, Masthead commentary, and analysis.)

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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

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Where I Come From

 

Understanding the News as Business, and Manufactured Housing

 

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

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

 

 

 

Truth, Trump, Tragedy, Triumph, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

October 9th, 2018 No comments

 

TruthTrumpTragedyTriumphAffordableHousingManufacuredHomesMastheadBlogMHProNewsLogo

 

Let’s stipulate that both President Donald J. Trump and his anti-Trump opponents at times error in various ways. No one is perfect.

 

Let’s note later why the bullets below matters for the cause of the economy, affordable housing in general, and manufactured homes in particular.

But we’ll do this systematically, by first laying out a series of bullets, to set the stage.

There are:

  • Muslims,
  • Jews,
  • Christians,
  • LGBTQs,
  • Blacks,
  • Hispanics,
  • Women,
  • Men,
  • Rich,
  • Poor,
  • Working Class,
  • Media,
  • Other groups and professions,

that appreciate, and respect the 45th President – Donald J. Trump’s – polices and accomplishments. Unlike many politicos, the 45th President of the United States (POTUS) is methodically doing what he said he would do.

Depending on what media sources you read, watch or prefer to listen to, you will either agree or perhaps strongly disagree with those bullets. But those points are nevertheless accurate and demonstrably true. More on that further below.

The president isn’t a choir boy, and never claimed to be. That’s not a defense, it’s a statement of reality. God bless his candor on that point.

Yet this non-choir boy president has tackled vexing domestic and foreign policy issues that faced the U.S. as recently as two years ago, which are already seeing significant improvement.

Jobs in:

  • manufacturing,
  • mining,
  • energy,
  • steel, and more are returning to America.
  • Recall that President Barack H. Obama said many of those are jobs that arenever coming back.” But under 45, they’re coming back.
  • Better trade deals are being struck by 45. Yet former President Obama said better trade deals would require a “magic wand.”
  • As a reminder, Secretary Hillary Clinton would have continued the policies of her predecessor in most cases, she said so.
  • Several of the policies of former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama led to massive deficits that roughly tripled the federal debt in 16 years.
  • So, this is not a simple GOP vs. Democratic policies issue.

Candidate Trump wasn’t the first to tap the agenda he did.  Others like Pat Buchanan, former Senator Rick Santorum, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee had similar planks and policies. But “The Donald” won.

 LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

 

Rephrased, the core beliefs of the Trump coalition were already found among:

  • blue dog Democrats,
  • The Tea Party,
  • Evangelicals,
  • Constitutionalists,
  • Free enterprise proponents, and others.

People ought to be honest enough to give the president the credit he is due.  Love or hate his style, jokes, or tweets, his policies are working.

By contrast, prior to the Trump era, the wealth of the oligarchic class grew rapidly during the prior 3 administrations. Democrat, Republican, it didn’t matter. That’s not a slam on capitalism or the 2 party system. It’s a slam on crony capitalism and a rigged political system.

 

The Problem of Monopoly and Oligopolies

The rigged system” is a common point between Bernie Sanders backers and the followers of Donald J. Trump.

Danny Glover is a fine actor. My citing the quote below, or any other quote from other persons or sources, doesn’t imply I think everything the quote source said or did is perfect. We use a wheat and chaff approach with everyone.

 

DannyGloverQuoteItsNotOnlyAMonopolyOfWealthItsAmonopolyofInformationasWellDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

 

That said, Mr. Glover was close to the mark with that statement above.  It is part of the powerful video found at the link below.

 

“Shadows of Liberty” Movie Introduction, Affordable Housing, and You

America has spent huge sums on education. “Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2014–15 amounted to $668 billion, or $13,119 per public school student enrolled in the fall (in constant 2016–17 dollars),” per NCES.ED.gov.

MathReadingTop12CountriesBBCOECDDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

How can it be that so much is spent, and we can’t even make the top nation’s of the world in educational outcomes? Anyone who thinks that big government is the solution has not looked at the facts.

ScienceRankingsBBCUSAnotOntop20ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

There is a lot of reforming still needed, education is part of what must change in the U.S. The low to poor outcomes, in spite of huge sums spent, prove it.

Then why does the U.S. trail so many other nations globally in education? See the data above, per the BBC.

America has spent huge sums on poverty programs, which includes ‘affordable housing’ programs. Then why after spending north of $22 trillion dollars – per the Heritage Foundation in 2014 – does the U.S. trail so much of the world in home ownership rates?

Top50CountriesinWorldHomeOwnershipRatesWikipediaPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews1878

Manufactured homes could be a big part of the solution for housing affordability. We know what is necessary. Enforce the two good laws that are already on the books.

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

Or why does poverty programs enrich a few, while the poverty remains?  Let’s sum up the powerful video below with these words, poverty is business and politics for certain people.  ICYMI, or for later viewing, check out the multiple award winning video found in the linked post below.

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

 

Why is much of the mainstream media so dead set against President Trump? Think about what Mr. Glover above, and others in quotes below, said on this issue of news as a business.

 

ThomasSowellQuoteIfPeopleInMediaCannotDecideWhetherTheyAreInNewsReportingbusinessorManufacturingPropagandaMoreImportantForPub

 

A well informed manufactured home industry executive told me recently, ‘Tony, a lot of what you guys [MHProNews] write about I already knew.’ No doubt. There are numbers of industry pros who knew all of the above, long before we published the data. But what about the thousands who don’t know?  How do you educate and inform them, without articles like this that lay out the facts and evidence?

 

DeepaKumarQuoteGiantMediaCorpLikeTimWarnerandNewsCoprDisneySoForthTheyGetToDecidWhatIsNews

Warren Buffett can get on TV almost any time he wants to. Berkshire Hathaway owns at this time some 31 newspapers. Why don’t they educate the public about manufactured homes? What are they waiting for, and why?

 

But there are thousands in our industry that didn’t know, until they read this, or until they read articles we did previously over the years on the Daily Business News, on MHLivingNews, or here on the Masthead.

 

HumanitiesValueBuisnessCriticismDissentWhenGoingAlongGetAlongWhereWhistleblowersDiscouragedBadThingsHappenBusinssesImplodeMar

 

There’s power in greater numbers understanding the truth.

 

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Facts, evidence, morality, and common-sense ought to rule, not blind passion or emotionally manipulated people of any persuasion.

 

 

Threats, Bullying and Intimidation Tactics

Yet, there are rent-a-rioter protesting and/or leading protests.

Who says?

ABC News.

 

CNN.  They call themselves antifascist – or AntiFa. But in fact, they are using violent tactics much like the brownshirts in 1930s Germany.  They take on their opponents “by any means necessary.”  They talk about opposing “white nationalists,” but very few white nationalists ever show up to their own events. So, clearly, AntiFa has a different agenda.

 

 

Note that in the video above, one planner said that they’ve been doing such organizing for years.  It is only more noticeable now. He admits the masks are to make it harder to identify and arrest lawbreakers.

Do we want a society where bullying, violence, and intimidation tactics rules?  “Organized descent,” is what a woman in this video says.  Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) is prominent in this.

 

Odds are good you’ve seen Representative Maxine Waters (CA-D) tell a group to “push back on them” any time you see a Trump administration member in public.  What’s that?  Is that love, that they often claim, or is it hate?

 

The Manufactured Housing Connections

We spotlighted on MHLivingNews just one of several possible looks on why more manufactured homes aren’t already being sold.

Manufactured Homes Could Help Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis, So, Why Aren’t More Manufactured Homes Being Sold?

 

MHI recently came out in apparent support of a bill by Senator Warren that arguably would be harmful to the interests of thousands of manufactured housing professionals, and based upon decades of history, would hurt the interests of millions of affordable housing seekers.

 

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

 

Don’t think that protestors are irrelevant to manufactured housing professionals. MHAction disrputed the MHI meeting when HUD Secretary Carson spoke.

MHAction’s own video reflects them targeting industry professionals like Frank Rolfe or the Blackstone Group.  In the MHAction video below, our commentary is on the left, but it is their video on the right.

 

 

If it happens to others, isn’t it reasonable to think that it can happen to you?

If there isn’t a line in the sand now, then when?

 

Why Isn’t Manufactured Housing Doing Better?

For years, MHProNews and MHLivingNews has spotlighted issues in depth, and laced with facts that others with bigger budgets ignore. Why?

 

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

 

Ignorance is Costly, Accurate Understanding Followed by Sound Action Pays

We spend time spotlighting issues regarding Berkshire Hathaway, which has drawn coverage from left and right-of-center mainstream media.

 

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

 

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

 

But almost no one in MHVille media – outside of MHProNews, and/or MHARR on specific topics – has called Berkshire Hathaway out by name, and then provided the facts and evidence as to why they were being called out.

 

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

 

Clayton Homes Consumer Complaints Saga Continues, Mold and More

 

MHARR and MHProNews have led the charge for spotlighting the various ways that has sold out the interests of the independents in the industry.

Two state association broke away from MHI precisely because MHI failed to represent their interests.

 

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

 

We could go on and on with examples of how MHI has protected big money billionaires, or people like Nathan Smith, who is highly connected in the Democratic party.

 

Nathan Smith, From Mobile Home Resident to SSK Communities Owner and President Barack Obama Connection

 

Democrats and the GOP – Republicans – both needed reforms. President Trump is fundamentally changing some parts of Republican politics on issues like the border, trade, and tariffs.

As a political independent, it must be said that President Trump is making the GOP into a pro-worker, pro-business – notably small business – party.  That’s why MHARR praised President Trump. That’s why the NFIB sings his policies praises too.

 

MHI postures being for less regulation, but they have time and again failed the independents of the industry.  Frank Rolfe may have gone silent, but he was right when he said that the problems the industry faces are internal.  Rolfe named MHI as part of the problem.

 

Marty Lavin was a long-time MHI member.  He won one of their highest awards.  He said that they work for the interests of the big boys, not the independents.

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustrysMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNe

It’s sad that so few will speak out publicly, but it is because they are:

  • afraid, as people that work for Clayton and intendents have told us.
  • Still don’t understand, because they can’t get passed a good time(s) they’ve had at an MHI meeting, or with Clayton or 21st, etc. But how many felt that before they were forced out of business by 21st and or Clayton after 2009?
  • If the ‘big boys’ did it to the industry before, can’t they do it again? Did you know some believe that is what MHI/Clayton/21st/VMF have been doing with the GSEs?

 

GSEs’ “Duty To Serve Underserved Markets” Plans

 

There is no lack of evidence to what’s happening to our nation, and to our industry.  MHI has purportedly sold our industry’s independents out many times. We share some MHARR links just to mix it up, but we’ve covered these topics several times.

 

MHARR to DOE: Only Three Choices for MH Energy Rule – Abandon, Complete Start-Over, Or Face Legal Action

 

Next Steps for Independents, and Free Enterprise Supporters

Job One is to support pro-Trump candidates. They must expand their hold of Congress.  We’ve shown just how that can happen in 2018, in spite of what the pollsters say. Recall, those same pollsters said Trump couldn’t win in 2016.  Vote and get others lined up to do the same.

What some call “RINO” Republicans – more aptly, squishy on the Trump-agenda – politicos like Jeff Flake are stepping down.  Pro-Trump candidates are stepping up in their place.

Who is MHI supporting with their PAC? Flake’s Democratic opponent, and in Indiana, the anti-Trump Joe Donnelly (D).  There are more examples, but let’s just let those two sink in.

Facts are facts.  The Trump track record is very different than some elements of the media portray. POTUS Trump is not a typical Republican from the 10 or 20 years ago.  That’s not saying the GOP was bad then, it is only to say that President Trump has taken elements of Republican thinking, brought in some blue-collar elements from the Democratic thinking, and blended it together.

MHI postures being for everyone, but they have time and again failing independents.  Former MHI chairman, and MHI PAC Chairman Nathan Smith said as much on a video.


The outcome is consolidation. Smith laughs about it, but that’s the game.  The more a few control businesses, including manufactured housing, the worse it is for consumers.

Manufactured housing is poised for historic growth.  But the foot purportedly has been kept on the metaphorical brakes. The time to expose the rigged system, in all its elements is now.  The need to continue to expose it won’t end until the vast majority of Americans realize just how failed and corrupted the system has become.

American workers, American consumers, and independent American businesses first. Its common sense.  There is an opportunity to take the evidence that the Trump Administration is producing and use it to show how it can turn years of tragedy into triumph.

The good results speak for themselves.  More is needed, specifically in our industry, which is why the Omaha, Knoxville, Arlington triangle must be arguably be exposed and broken up.  Antitrust laws could be useful in MHVille and beyond.  The Trump administration has already signaled that antitrust – anti-monopolistic actions – is coming, perhaps soon after the midterms.

I for one can’t wait. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhotoBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

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

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

NBC Video – Federal Authorities Investigating Clayton Homes, Maxine Waters Denounces Lending “Discrimination” Against Minorities

President Donald J. Trump Visit to Manufactured Home Community, Video, Hurricane Florence Update

 

Clayton Homes Consumer Complaints Saga Continues, Mold and More

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

June 19th, 2018 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

The rest are details and commentary.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

The rest are details and commentary.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Related Reports:

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

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

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

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

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

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

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