Posts Tagged ‘open letter’

Jennifer Hall, Doris Hydrick and Dennis Hill – Tunica Show Open Letter

March 24th, 2018 No comments


Jennifer Hall, Doris Hydrick and Dennis Hill @ SCMHI,
There’s only two full-scale professional trade shows in the manufactured home profession today. Louisville and your South Central Manufactured Housing Institute (SCMHI) event in Tunica.

At least two of you personally know the sources for our report on Keith Holdbrooks and Clayton Homes decision to scale back in 2017, and to not participate in 2018.

By holding the story linked above until after the event, I’m sure you understand how that protected the show for 2018, and maximized the event’s odds for success.

All three of you are deeply aware of what we’ll politely call the ‘industry’s politics.’  Too few are willing to speak out publicly about what many are discussing privately.

Namely, the various ways that Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway owned companies are exercising their power in – and over? – the manufactured housing industry.

I have two way communications with those in MHI, MHARR and their members, including with 21st (among others), as well as with those who aren’t a member of either national trade group.

As you know, in 2018, the bulk of the homes on display in Tunica were from producing members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), with fewer exhibitors from among Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) members.



As someone approaches retirement, several things can happen.

Especially if someone perceives that their livelihood is dependent on – or at a minimum, influenced by – a giant operation like Berkshire Hathaway owned brands such as:

  • Clayton Homes,
  • Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF),
  • 21st Mortgage Corp (21st),
  • Shaw, and the list goes on,

careful public positions are often taken.

Among the things that can happen for anyone – but perhaps particularly for those approaching retirement – is that fear and self-preservation motivations may set in.  We understand those realities.

There are states, certain executives have told me, where 50 to 70 percent of the floor dues paid to a state association come from Clayton Homes, or result from sales of other HUD Code manufactured homes sold by a Clayton retailer.



Industry Trajectory

Since Kevin Clayton did that video interview, their market share went from 25 to some 50 percent of the industry’s new home production, per their own data and statements.  It does no one any good to ignore the obvious. As a show attendee insightfully said to me this week, “the trajectory of the industry” has been toward consolidation.

It’s not revealing our sources to say that at least 2 of you know the sources for our Holdbrooks/Clayton report.

It’s obvious that Clayton et al can exert “pressure,” be they in the Tunica Show, or not.

We’ve been told by industry members that some felt compelled to be in MHI, and some feel compelled to support certain events.  Other forms of pressure are applied to smaller operations.


Berkshire Hathaway, MHI and the Resistance

It’s high time for more MH professionals to do whatever they can to combat Berkshire Hathaway’s (BH) and their MHI mouthpiece threat to the independent operations in our industry at all levels.

You 3 don’t have to speak out publicly.

But you can take several private steps to insure the independence of the Tunica show going forward.

Otherwise, as various industry voices told MHProNews, BH is likely to do to the Tunica Show what they are said to have done to the North Carolina event.  Namely, “kill it.”

Let me tell you some of what this year’s Tunica event reinforced for me.  We know from website statistics what readership is like.  But we learned from the numbers of attendees who stepped up and commented, or thanked us, etc. that your crowd includes our audience in significant numbers.

And our audience includes the giants, but also those who overwhelmingly want to stay independent.


Thinking Out Loud

Thinking out loud. Don’t you think that giving aspects of the show to cronies of MHI is short sighted? You surely know how this works.  What a crony learns, they report back. When you put a crony on a platform, you may be sending a message to your attendees that is problematic.

You can send the industry, MHI and Warren Buffett’s brands a powerful signal.

You can show your support for those non-BH independents – retailers, communities, producers, and various product/service suppliers – without turning away the Berkshire brands.

But if I were you, I’d let those Berkshire brand companies politely understand that they don’t dictate to the SCMHI show.


What’s Coming?

We have reasons to believe that for a variety of market and legal reasons, in the next few years, Berkshire’s grip on manufactured housing could be broken (think about this point in terms of allegations such as class action, antitrust, tortious interference etc.).

Don’t make your final legacy that of a door mat. The French after they were conquered by the Nazis during WW II created a resistance. That resistance movement became critical for them to get back their freedom, just a few years later.

In hindsight, Buffett and Berkshire didn’t save” manufactured housing in 2003; they arguably set about to conquer the industry.

Directly and indirectly, through commission and omission, they and their Arlington-based association tool witnessed the destruction of thousands of independent businesses, including several producers of HUD Code manufactured homes. Many of those now defunct producers used to be built in the region that supplies your show.



Jen, Doris and Dennis – please be courageous enough to resist BH and MHI any way that you can.

Be loyal enough to those independent industry colleagues you’ve met and known to resist the bullies whose various alleged practices reduced a once-great industry to its currently modest status.

I’ve said before, even as a 25-plus year manufactured housing veteran, it took time to begin to fully appreciate what was happening in the industry.

Looking back, it’s easy to point to ways they targeted us for elimination, years before we spotlighted first MHI, and the BH.

Dennis, you and others like you surely must realize that you’ve been targeted too. Sure, you can retire as planned, or you can go out with a flurry in a grand fashion.

No announcement needs to be made.

No challenge or gauntlet has to be tossed down.

But you owe it to thousands to join the #BHResistance, the #antitrust crowd.

If the SCMHI does so, I predict the 2019 show will be the best event ever.

Think about the trajectory.

When independent retailers die – or are killed off – it is no surprise when the factories that supplied those ‘dealers’ are killed off too. That’s the trend that the MHI chart above also demonstrates. As independent retailers grow fewer in number, so too there are fewer independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.


Think about the allegations like those noted herein or linked, and the mounting evidence.

Think about charts like those above that reflects how those independents you’ve known for years were wronged by forces they may fully understood at the time.

Resistance is wisdom.

Resistance will bring its own rewards.

We chose not to be slaves of monopolistic forces.

We work and pray daily for the future of our great industry. May manufactured housing experience a rebirth that yields new glory days.

We encourage others to be a part of the kind of resistance that made America a free people. ## (Industry events, commentary, opinion, and analysis.)

PS: Readers should not presume that any of the three addressed, nor the provider of the photo at the top, are a source for information to MHProNews.


PSS: Manufactured housing isn’t the only industry that ‘consolidation’ is taking place in.  It may or may not work the same in other indusries, as it has in ours.  But across the left-right media and political spectrums, there are a growing number of voices calling to break up the monopolistic tech giants, and are sounding the alarm about giant players like Buffett’s Berkshire.  Ignore the warning signs at your own peril.

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

Manufactured Housing – “Giants vs. Independents” – Tunica Talk – “You’ve Got to See This”

Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, Photo Report, Day One

4 F’s and True Believers

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

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Open Letter to Dr. Ben Carson – How You Could Lead HUD to Historic Achievements by Ending a Form of Discrimination

December 17th, 2016 No comments

12.17.2016 A.D.

To: Dr. Ben Carson – named by President-elect Donald J. Trump as his desired Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

From: L. A. “Tony” Kovach – Managing Member, Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC – Publisher of and

Subject: A Specific Way to Apply Your Goals and Principles that Could Transform HUD and Save Taxpayers Billions, by Enforcing the Law, Using Common Sense and Ending a Form of Taxpayer Funded Discrimination.


Dear Dr. Carson,
Let me begin by congratulating you and President-elect Donald J. Trump. By way of introduction, like you, my truly better half and I publicly supported Mr. Trump’s candidacy consistently against the many deceptive and even vicious tactics used by his opponents.

We believe, as you do, that “patient endurance” (cf: Heb. 10:36) will obtain everything and that “…the truth sets us free” (cf: Jn. 8:32).

You know what discrimination is and how it works. Most use the word discrimination in racial terms, which those enlightened by a proper understanding of the Word know is wrong.

For the purposes of your upcoming role at HUD, let’s focus on the following aspect of the definition of discrimination:

…”treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.”

Discrimination, as you know, is often caused by ignorance.

Discrimination is rooted in a lack of objective understanding. It is caused by improper information and a paucity of intellectual curiosity. Your career reflects the opposite of such qualities, as you pioneered new achievements in neurosurgery through the combination of education, effort, goal orientation, desire, and faith.

Millions today are trapped in poverty.  As you stated months ago, the federal government often misuses resources that if left in the hands of “We, the People” could be used far more effectively. But it will take time and effort to move giant bureaucracies – such as HUD – and millions back to the proper limits of law.


See a report on a related topic by Soheyla Kovach, at this link here or on the image above. Image shown under fair use guidelines.

You know that just as some treatments must be done in stages to avoid a shock to the body, similarly, some steps will be needed at HUD to avoid a negative shock to the American body politic.

There are some hundred plus millions from all backgrounds in the U.S. who have never been properly taught the advantages of limited government. Millions have never been told the brilliance of free enterprise. They don’t understand the blessings of solidarity, subsidiarity, and self-reliance.

Millions will therefore need to be taught to fish – and must learn why metaphorical fishing, as your life epitomizes, is a beautiful thing – a way to tap those talents and skills that you and President-elect Trump have spoken or written about which are often now dormant.


Donald Trump, left, and Dr. Ben Carson, right in Detroit. Photo credit – CNN – provided here under fair use guidelines.

HUD’s and Federal Waste is Unsustainable – Yet a Solution Saving Billions is Hiding in Plain Sight

Billions of dollars annually are squandered by HUD for housing programs that long-term are unsustainable.

Yet millions from all backgrounds have been hooked – so to speak, on those programs – which tends to trap and thus limit their human potential.

One of the departments at HUD is the manufactured housing program. It is led by a person who is a partisan Democrat, and she behaves in ways that the outgoing Obama Administration has regrettably often acted. Namely – Pam Danner, JD – and her staff have routinely failed to enforce the law as it is written and intended. Some believe such HUD staffers who are failing at their duties are part of the swamp that must be drained for this program to perform for Americans as it supposed to by law.

That law is the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000).


                         Download the MHIA 2000 at this link or from the image above.

The proper enforcement of the MHIA 2000 holds the key to solving America’s growing affordable housing crisis. It does so using the law and the free market.

Manufactured homes – as a prior HUD Code Manufactured Housing program administrator explains in an interview in the video below – must by law perform in a dynamically similar fashion to conventional construction. As U.S. Census bureau studies demonstrate, HUD Code manufactured homes are about half the cost of similar-sized conventional construction.



The Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, linked as a download from the graphic below, proves that manufactured homes are the most cost-effective form of housing.




So why are manufactured homes so disrespected and discriminated against?

Dr. Harold Hunt has correctly stated, manufactured homes Are Not Your Grandfather’s Trailer House.




Dr. Lisa Tyler’s doctoral dissertation has pointed to the discrimination and rejection in zoning based upon ignorance; the lack of a proper understanding and treatment of manufactured housing.



Engineer Dr. Tim Reinhold has demonstrated what common-sense should tell a thinker.  That a manufactured home – which must withstand the stresses of movement – is stronger than standard building techniques, so long as the manufactured home is properly installed.



To see an interview that includes Dr. Reinhold, click here or the image above.


There is much more that could and needs to be brought to your attention, sir, about modern manufactured homes that would dispel the myths, misconceptions, and outdated notions.


There is genuine pain felt by those who feel discriminated against, due to widespread ignorance about their housing choice. Simply by supporting the MHIA 2000 law that HUD regulates – and thus promoting a better understanding of the quality that modern manufactured homes represent – some of those discriminatory attitudes would fade. We should celebrate those who live within their means. See Joe Dyton’s narrative and the Op-Ed by poet Lois Requist, linked here or from the image above.


In cities and local jurisdictions across America, manufactured housing is being discriminated against.



For a sampling of recent examples of how local officials are discriminating against federally preemptive HUD Code manufactured homes, click here or the image above.


Yet those very local officials who are violating the MHIA of 2000 – that HUD’s Pam Danner and her staff have routinely failed to rigorously defend – are excluding the solution to the affordable housing crisis that Bloomberg, HousingWire. Realtor and Fox News have all pointed to needs to be promoted.

That appealing, common-sense option is regulated by the agency you will soon lead.



Manufactured homes can be highly cost-effective, entry level (‘shade and shelter’) that are safe and energy saving; or they may be ‘residential style’ homes that likewise must meet all of the safety and energy standards. The home above is an Energy Star rated residential style home that costs about half of what a similar size, conventionally built housing unit would. When HUD pays for housing, why not have those dollars go farther? But long-term more important, by HUD supporting and allowing the MHIA 2000 law to work as intended, over-time the free market will naturally reduce the demand for subsidized housing on more expensive conventional building.


I’m hopeful that a man of your intellect and solution-oriented desire for Americans to prosper will see from this introductory letter, related links and visuals that HUD has disgracefully tilted the playing field away from a free market solution to affordable quality living.

Instead, the government – HUD – is subsidizing other forms of housing that manufactured homes provide a far more cost-effective alternative. That defies logic.  That could only happen in broken, Washington, D.C.

Many think that tiny houses – which are often built on a chassis, and are thus mobile – are hip and cool. Yet those tiny houses are routinely built to no code at all. By contrast, manufactured homes are built to the only federal – and thus preemptive – housing code of its kind. Aren’t the ironies amazing?

Our industry has frankly failed to dispel the myths or outdated notions that separate manufactured homes from the mobile homes and trailer houses of yesteryear.

But HUD has failed to enforce the law that makes the path to homeownership available to millions more who are otherwise often stuck in rentals.  Millions are in HUD subsidized rentals. That can change – improving lives and saving taxpayer money – with the proper leadership.

The Senses at Work

Let me conclude with an invitation. Please invest two days before or after you are sworn in, and let me personally show you how these homes are built.

Then let’s go to the locations these marvels are properly sited in and introduce you to the people who know and love the homes they own, live in or otherwise serve and sell.


The collage represents a variety of HUD Code manufactured home styles and sizes by various producers from locations across the United States.

Seeing is believing. Touching, hearing and feeling will be eye-opening.

Please let me invite you to spend a few hours at the upcoming Louisville or Tunica Manufactured Housing Trade Shows. While these trade events are closed to the public, the industry would be thrilled to have you as an honored guest. You could see in a matter of a few hours the difference between outdated perceptions vs. the modern realities.

Truth and prudent action can end the wasteful discrimination.

If you witness and research the modern realities vs. the myths, you will likely discover that the solution to affordable housing is sadly tucked away at HUD, and has been badly mismanaged prior to your arrival.

The Trump family is no stranger to upscale factory-built housing. Those modular home building methods also offer an important solution in many cases.


But for single family new construction, nothing on the market in the U.S. today is as cost-effective as HUD Code manufactured homes.

So please let me personally arrange for you and any associates of yours that you desire to attend a tour at a few locations. Talk to experts. Question the owners. That will yield the epiphany that could make your time at HUD just as historic as some of your achievements in pediatric neurosurgery.

Manufactured homes are a truly American housing product and process that could ease federal budgets. The homes your department regulates offers millions a common sense, free market path to home ownership.

From the:

  • working class or retired people of very modest means,
  • to the middle class,
  • to frugal millionaires,

they are all among the 22 million (+/-) who benefit today from manufactured home living.

If you allow HUD to follow the law – and thus unleash the power of the MHIA 2000 –  that will create so many good jobs in the process, and it would do so ‘the good old fashion American way.’ No crony capitalism is needed.

Please allow me to serve by personally and meaningfully introducing and Welcoming you to the World of HUD Code Manufactured Homes.

You have the patience, persistence, and wisdom to see how this possible dream for millions can come true in a way that will save the federal government billions of tax dollars a year.

Come, let us reason together.” (cf: Is. 1:18). Amen?

Respectfully yours,

L. A. “Tony” Kovach



Team Kovach, (l-r) Soheyla (pronounced “So Hey La”), Tamas (pronounced “Tah Mash”) and L. A. Tony Kovach (pronounced “Co-Vatch” like a “Watch with a V”).