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

May 13th, 2019 No comments

 RopeADopePreservingAccessManufacturedHousingActMomDadYouMastheadLATonyKovachMHProNews

 

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

 

Per Google and Bing:

 

rope-a-dope

/ˈrōpəˌdōp/

nounINFORMAL•US

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

 

RopeADopeWikiGoogleMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNewsLATonyKovach

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

SPJSocietyProfessionalJournalistsCodeofConductMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

 

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

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

 

HowardWalkerJDViceChairEquityLifestylePropELS-ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoViceChair-postedMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryResearcMHProNews

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

There were no easy fixes in sight.

That community owner was tired.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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Elements of How Its Done

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

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

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

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

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

 

Congressional Efforts

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

If there was a scheme:

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

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

 

 

How Rigging Preserving Access Was Accomplished

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

GaryAdamekFayetteCountryHomesQuotesZoningPlacementDoddFrankPreservingAccessCFPB

 

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

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

 

JasonBoehlertPhotoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHISVPGovtAffairsQuotePreservingAccess

It was the truth hiding in plain sight. 

 

The Truth Hiding…

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

JayHamiltonZoningPlacementAffordableHousingCrisisManufacturedHomesGaManufacturedHousingAssocPhotoMHProNews

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mom and Dad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

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

 

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

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

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

On Capitol HillMHI Advances Manufactured Housing Finance Reform.”

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

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

 

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

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

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

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

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

 

 

What Then MHI Chairman Tim Williams Did

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

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

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

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

FraudLegalDefinitionManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

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

 

IllegalLegaRICOWireMailFraudManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

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

 

 

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

That noted, let’s flash back again.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuoteMastheadMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

What Does This Mean For Investors and Manufactured Housing Professionals?

What Does This Evidence Mean for Affordable Housing Advocates?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SubmitNewsTipsManufacturedHomeProNewsMHProNewsLogoMastheadMHProNews

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

How Warren Buffett Sheds Light On This Issue

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

Paraphrasing the Oracle of Omaha:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Summary

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

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

Perhaps they have no good response to the evidence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

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

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

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Related References:

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREAKING Bad – plus Critical Updates, Upgrades

May 4th, 2017 No comments

Before diving into Breaking Bad,” let’s start with the scheduling and programing updates.

The new version 3.0 of MHProNews.com is scheduled to go live – be unveiled – this weekend.  So, the new May issue of featured articles on our home page will be published circa mid-next week.

UnveilingNewWebsiteMHProNewsVer3.0MastheadBlogMHProNewsBy noon Eastern time Monday (+/-),  you should see the new, unveiled home page of MHProNews.

To do a massive switchover on a site as large as this one – thousands upon thousands of pages, of some of the industry’s best news, tips and views content – means the MHProNews site will – for a time – go down.

UnderConstructionNewMHProNewsWebsite

When the site comes back up, you’ll see a new home page – but don’t be surprised if there are numerous adjustments that have to be made.

While testing has been ongoing, I’d rather set an expectation for plenty of Cyber Dust – adjustments, corrections, glitches – which will be addressed as rapidly as possible.

If you see something please don’t hesitate to email – use iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – and at least 3 of us will see those messages.  Please use a subject line like –> Cyber Dust on MHProNews.com.  Then, spell out specifically what you see, on what page.  Use a screen capture and arrows, if you have Jing or a tool like Jing by TechSmith.com.

If anything changes before the site goes dark, we’ll post an update on the Daily Business News and/or this blog.

Last thought on that before we dive into breaking bad.

It’s possible that the blogs may ‘come back up’ before the home page does.  When that happens, you can always go to the Daily Business News via this address:

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/

or this Masthead blog at:

http://MHProNews.com/blogs/tonykovach/

Kindly say a prayer that this goes as rapidly and smoothly as possible.  The new site will look different in many ways.

Once you get used to it, we think you’re gonna love it.

Breaking Bad

No, this Breaking Bad isn’t a cable show about a chemistry teacher that decides to cook meth to make more money. This ‘breaking bad’ is about getting to the heart of the problematic issues that keeps manufactured housing from doing several hundred thousand new home shipments a year.

BreakingBadVulture-postedMastheadBlogMHProNews

Breaking Bad cable show meme, credit – Vulture.

To rephrase, it’s about making the vast majority of businesses in this industry more money – via problem solving.

Let’s tease the latest allegations and look at the latest coming in from MHI insiders since yesterday.

Besides the various ways that pros say “Thank you!” among the amazing messages that have come in during the roughly last 24 hours, are new tips and insights on how the financing, lobbying and ‘games’ are allegedly being played at MHI.

Even today, MHI’s latest Housing Alert proved what the post below said is their pattern.

MHIHousingAlertManufacturedHousingFInanceReformBillsPassesPreservingAccessManufacturedHousingMastheadBlogMHProNews

Failure can be a great teacher, and there’s no shame in it, so long as lessons are learned. Have they been? “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Thanks, MHI senior staff, for making our point – again! – today! Kindly click the image below to see how Gooch, Jennison and company have proven, and how sources tell us it costs thousands of professionals a ton of money…

JennyHodgesMHINCCTimeBombDeployedMastheadBlogMHProNews

You’ll get another report, perhaps as soon as next week.

This week (next 7 days), baring the unforeseen, we’ll do two, perhaps 3 new features on MHLivingNews, all designed to advance the industry’s overall cause.

One will seriously touch on MHI, but — all three will be important for the advancement of the MH industry.

Don’t Misunderstand 

While we have demonstrated – (and may get to the point that we’ll do even more details, on even bigger issues, than we already have) – that MHI senior people, surrogates, etc. are stepping up their efforts to duck, dodge, detract, distract, denigrate, and dissuade us through often behind-the-scenes hassles they strive to generate for us and/or our readers/sponsors, here are some reality checks.

ReformSupplantManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoTimeToChangeMHIpostedMastheadblogMHProNews647aOur goal is to spotlight and thus encourage the reform or supplanting of MHI. The powers-that-be at MHI get to pick which, by their behavior.

We sincerely believe that what we are exposing and working toward ending/changing would be better for all.

But once more, the powers-that-be must want to play nice, fair and square.

That said, while we prefer to make friends, as Abraham Lincoln encouraged, let’s remember honest Abe waged war to win when the hand-of-friendship was rejected.  As we’ve said before, it makes no sense to feed a hand that is biting yours.

No one has an audience like ours in MHVille. Oh, there are some sites with more total traffic – but not more professional traffic seeking precisely what we deliver.

“RELEVANT!”

Why does MHProNews dominate?  As one multi-location company owner told us, “Tony, what your team does is RELEVANT.”

Honest efforts at sharing reality has created credibility that others may – or may not – have.

That’s not saying we’re the only credible source, there are others. But for the most part, they don’t have our combination of audience, sources, and insights – and willingness to spotlight controversial issues via reality checks, rather than promote someone’s smoke-driven spin or agenda.

As I shared with some key supporters this morning – and hereby outline with you – the industry, investors, public officials, media, researchers and other professional enthusiasts – this is an industry of approximately 150,000 FTEs – full time equivalents.

Many of those FTEs are doing activities other than managing, owning or investing in business. Perhaps 10% to max 15% are the target audience of this kind of trade media (sorry, MHI spin-meisters – we may have blogs, but we are more than what Gooch likes to call a “blog!”  Proper terminology matters!).

Or as MHI’s Dick Jennison thoughtful said to a meeting room of industry pros, “MHProNews – Great Publication!”  Thanks again, Dick.

Guest Counter – and The Votes of You, the Professionals

When MHI/NCC’s Jenny Hodge spoke about transparency – as cited in the article and image shown – not many in our industry have a guest counter. How many are on the MHProNews site right now?  Go to the bottom of the home page, look below the left hand column, and you’ll know.

2017-05-04_1403

Nathan Smith, MHI’s prior chair and leader at SSK Communities colorfully dubbed manufactured housing as a boutique industry. If the total audience potential is say 20,000 owners, executives, managers, and aficionados – then at 8:47 AM ET, we had 34.5% of the total potential readers on our site at that time. Astonishing!

MHI takes their shots behind the scenes, we at MHProNews invite them to respond publicly on our site – and have also invited MHI to debate publicly ISSUES that MATTER to the INDUSTRY and to MILLIONS of Consumers.

2017-05-04_1124MHProNewsTrafficCounter

Media, investors, public officials are also on our site. While the general public can also surf in, our statistics suggest that the readers are mostly professionals, because third party reports tell us that while the average news site gets 3.3 page views per visit, our average page views per visitor hovers around 8.5 page views each. Relevant. Trusted. Independent. The “Industry News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.” © MHProNews.com.

Trust is Earned

Because our audience matters, because we’ve documented – not just made claims – our audience trusts us.  Because our audience is the runaway largest of its kind, perhaps some at MHI feel that they must play their games, they may pretend to ignore us, but it’s anything but behind the scenes.

From emails that are forwarded or other reports made verbally, we know there are conversations afoot.

Billions a Year, Trillions in Opportunities

For those who want to keep it simple, we allege that MHI is choking off industry growth – to slow walk growth – for precisely the reasons that Jenny Hodge alluded to; it allows larger players to acquire -“consolidate” – smaller ones at reduced prices. Once they’ve swallowed their goal, watch how magically the industry will rebound then.

The 400 Word Executive Summary and a host of other reading is published to provide serious readers with plenty of food for thought.

NewManufacturedHousingAsPercentageOfNewExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews500x

The proper approaches are worth millions to a location, and tens of billions (plus) to our industry. Let’s suggest that MHI has hired intelligent people to staff their Arlington office. Some there are no doubt good people. Others, sources tell us, are tasked with carrying out ‘the agenda’ – and its not the one publicized. But think! With the affordable housing crisis raging, are we to believe that Manufactured Housing can’t hit 25% or more of mainstream new construction sales?

But some of the best reports are yet to come.

Let us get through our cyber-dust.  We truly hope that MHI leaders will strive to mend what’s wrong, so that the majority of their members – and the vast majority of the industry – will benefit.

HowManyLegsDoesADogHaveIfYouCallATailALegFourCallingTailLegDoesntMakeItALegAbrahamLincolnQuoteHDPostedMHProNews-

But if that doesn’t happen, there are a variety of ways we can be a part of the solution.  We work for that daily.

Please check back after the cyber dust clears.  Do let us know your thoughts on issues that matter.  And while we make it plain that we don’t speak for sponsors, we thank them for making this platform possible.

IdestroymyenemywhenImakehimmyfriendabrhamlincolnMastheadblogCreditInspirationBoostMHProNews

Honest Abe wanted peace, and was willing to extend the hand of friendship – a model we like. But one must also note that Lincoln fought to win a bitter war against those who made themselves enemies. A lesson for our times?

Together, Everyone Achieves More = TEAM.

Together, we advance.

Together, we’re Breaking the Bad – in favor of the Good.

For those who would be roadblocks, we’ll keep shining the light of truth. We’re confident it has, is and will ultimately make the difference. Because just as Lincoln played to win, but offered the hand of friendship – we strive to do the same too. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when by third parties, are shown under fair use guidelines.)

TonyKovach-MHProNews-com-

Tony at an educational session, “Standing Room Only.”

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
Managing Member
LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – dba

MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Office 863-213-4090 |

Connect on LinkedIn:

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

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Different Way to Explain the MH Regulatory Lending Challenges

May 11th, 2016 No comments

There are no easy or perfect ways to explain a complex issue to someone else. If there were, a K Street Lobbyist would be using such a method for 100% results, and it would be worth billions in DC (sad, but true).

So those trying to get that 15 minute meeting with a Congressman, Senator or their staffers to discuss HR 650/S 682 (Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act) have their written ‘leave behind’ hand outs with talking points ready to go.

RichardCordrayCFPBDirector-NeverMuchHighCostLendingManufacturedHousingMarket-MHProNews-com-

Still from video, see video at this link.

What web marketers know is that video is hot and getting hotter. Websites with video get more engagement and more conversations, so say the experts. And while videos under 2 to 3 minutes are preferred by numbers of Millenials and others, some studies demonstrate that videos up to 20 minutes or more in length that interest the viewer will be finished some 65% of the time. A recent example of that is politically focused video that has had millions of views on a 13 to 14 minute topic, and was highly rated by viewers.

Video doesn’t have to:
> clear the mind or its throat,
> get a glass of water, coffee or an energy drink.
> 99.98% of the time, video is ready to go with a click of a high-speed internet connected button.

We’ve been told by our sample group that every time this video is viewed, a new point and ‘aha!’ moment pops up, even for those informed on this issue. “This is one of the most important videos you’re team has done so far,” said one veteran.

The video shows how out of touch “Lord Cordray is,” opined another MH veteran.

An industry attorney went on to say that “Maybe the DC Circuit will find the whole place unconstitutional, which is possible.”

Want to unshackle MH lending? Take the time to view and share this video link with your:

  • association and/or members,
  • others in your company or location, and have them pass it onto your Senators and Congressman. You can contact your federal elected officials at this link here.
  • News media and social media.

If we want to change what ails us in DC, and get relief on the MLO rule and lending, its beyond question that it will take mobilized action. Using this video as a tool to educate others in that cause ought to be a tool in the chest for taking steps in the right direction. ##

LATonyKovach-NYHousing--PhotoCredits-MarkSimon-Posted-MastheadBlog-MHProNews-com-300x257

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, speaking at the 2015 New York Housing Association meeting. Tony is one of the most popular presenters in manufactured housing today.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Connect on LinkedIn.

Free Twice Weekly emailed news, tips updates (Newsletters look like this) sign up free in seconds at MHProNews.com/Subscribe 

Office 863-213-4090.

MHC-MD.com and LATonyKovach.com.

 

DC Complexity plus Rising Sales, Rising Pressures on MH

February 5th, 2016 No comments

Reminder: like so many of you, we love the manufactured housing industry, and believe strongly in its future. Good news exists like the wine that cheers us ahead; troubling news is there for us to identify, navigate and overcome so our home owners and we as professionals can grow even more.

rising-home-sales-shutterstock-masthead-blog-mhpronews-Let’s note the rising new home MH shipment report, linked here, and look at a positive step forward.

DC Complexity

MHI issued a statement, which reads in part as follows:

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) to increase the flexibility for low income families to use a Section 8 voucher to purchase a manufactured home.  The amendment was approved by voice vote…”

jeb-hensarling-2-postedMasthedBlog-MHProNews-

Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

This amendment, which was supported by Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) and Ranking Member Waters (D-CA), allows vouchers to be used not just for the cost of leasing the land (which is currently permitted) but also for other monthly costs of purchasing a manufactured home loan, including mortgage payments, property tax, and insurance. The change would allow families that receive a tenant-based Section 8 voucher to help pay for an alternative to renting an apartment – allowing them to actually purchase a home.  The amendment does not provide any direct funds or require anyone to use a voucher to live in a manufactured home. However, with this change the approximately 2.1 million Section 8 voucher holders in America will now have the option to use their Section 8 voucher to buy a manufactured home.  

The broader bill that now includes this provision, H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 472-0. It will now be sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Among the comments from readers on this was this:

More than ten years ago at an MHI convention (name withheld) suggested to Barney Frank that this was the one thing gov’t could do which would help everyone.  It went nowhere as he wasn’t listening.

Under the right circumstances this measure could be the most exciting thing since the HUD Code.

But, things are never as good or as bad as one thinks.  This does however, have the potential to really help. Why piss away apt rent money? Let people use that money to buy their MH.

Now let’s see the details and hope for the best.”

The reason the Masthead will refer to this as DC Complexity is this easily overlooked part of the MHI release:

maxine_waters_democrat_from_calif__bet__credit-575x387

Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member, Financial Services Committee.

This amendment, which was supported by Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) and Ranking Member Waters (D-CA), allows vouchers to be used…”

Recall that it was Maxine Waters that recently lead a public charge to have Clayton Homes investigated by the Department of Justice?

We shouldn’t look sideways at this potential for this gift to MH. Congressional Representative Waters is on the attack on MH on one topic, and yet supporting MH on this issue. That reveals how complex DC can be.

In this political environment, it doesn’t pay to burn a bridge in the nation’s capitol, does it?

Unreported in the release where acknowledgments of others who have publicly called on HUD for like reforms, including MHARR, MHI and another as seen from this link here.

Seattle Times –The Beat(ing) of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Clayton Homes and MH lending goes on…

The news alert read like this…

Washington state moves to protect mobile-home buyers

Center for Public Integrity

The ongoing investigation of the industry, “The Mobile-Home Trap,” has focused on Clayton Homes, a company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire …

In the wake of the above and related, we received this comment that was initially sent on the record by a well know industry leader, and then a follow up message requested it not be on the record.

Tony,

In my opinion the Section 8 MHI posting and the DOJ investigation of Clayton Homes financial entities appears to be a concert conducted to appeal to the 98%ers and to get local NIMBY’s to remake the LLC communities into a new type of affordable housing.

The goal is to offset troubling local affordable housing issues nationwide.  Since Socialism and Rent Control appear to be a Democrat and Progressives theme and a claim to equality in housing. Only one “Gotcha” is needed to validate and prove Clayton Homes finance arm’s troubles.

The trend and recent actions clearly shows a path to change for the future of HUD (Code manufactured) housing.” (Editor’s note – the words “Code manufactured” – was implied, but not in the original, and was inserted above for clarity of meaning).

Follow ups made it clear that this writer wasn’t throwing someone under the bus, nor necessarily favoring what is happening on this issue. Rather, that professional suggests that the HUD Code MH and MHC industries are being forced into changes, whether it wants them or not.

About Lesli Gooch’s Op-Ed

MartyLavin-JD-Attorney-ExpertWitnessManufacturedHousing-IndustryVoices-MHProNews

Marty Lavin, JD looking happy and trim in the dining area of his winter residence in Miami Beach, the 70′ custom Italian ship, the Spy Sea.

Marty Lavin, JD, is a successful, award-winning attorney who’s business interests included MH lending, communities and retail sales. His opinion is worth noting, because he worked with one of the GSEs during the 2000s. When he read Dr. Gooch’s OpEd, he shared the following comment on the record to us:

I think Dr. Gooch is very well intended, but the industry position doesn’t necessarily align with the ends of the GSEs. Perhaps a better understanding of their position might lead to a better outcome…if that is possible. It’s much more than just helping consumers buy homes. The GSEs need these folks to be able to stay in them. Therein lies the rub.”

Once more, a close reading of his observations aren’t a slam on Lesli Gooch, or MHI. Marty Lavin has years of experience working with a particular GSE. He understands where they are coming from. Lavin is applying good reasoning: in the absence of meeting the GSE’s concerns, he believes they won’t voluntarily budge.

MHI-itis?

This leads to a broader issue, one we’ve raised in a slightly different way before.

What is keeping MHI from achieving its goals?

Yes, among other factors, there’s opposition in DC from so-called consumer groups. But those same groups claim to champion manufactured housing as a good solution for affordable quality living.

Manufactured housing and its lending ought to be seen as non-partisan issues. Yet all to often, it’s precisely in political and ‘crony capitalist’ terms how MH and it’s lending are being portrayed. That’s tragic, because the status quo is harming millions of owners of low cost MH, and untold thousands of buyers annually who in pre-Dodd-Frank had financing, and thanks to the CFPB’s 2014 implementation of those rules, today do not.

We know that DC works differently than many states do. But the principles are similar. State governments and the federal government mirror each other in the sense there is an executive, legislative and judicial branch and then there are executive branch agencies that enforce rules and regulations. There is lobbying at the state level akin to what happens in Washington, DC.

We know a number of MH state associations that are getting the job done for their members, while working in concert whenever possible with consumer groups. Let’s suggest that’s a model that MHI needs to better implement.

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Ishbel Dickens, NMHOA, photo credit Madison Park Times.

Why? Until we either get consumer groups on the same page as the industry – for the sake of consumers and for

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Doug Ryan, CFED’s point man on manufactured housing.

professionals alike – there exists an often adversarial relationship with non-profits such as Ishbel Dickens of NMHOA and Doug Ryan at CFED, to name but two examples.

Those groups are linked with what is going on in the ongoing media war launched against Clayton Homes et al, as the Center for Public Integrity’s own release indicates, “The ongoing investigation of the industry, “The Mobile-Home Trap,” has focused on Clayton Homes, a company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire…”

Our Daily Business News take on this thorny issue is below.

Seattle Times announces State Investigation of Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes, as expected – Analysis –

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Image credit – collage of Industry Association logos by MHProNews, each logo is the property of their respective organization, and is used here under Fair Use guidelines.

DC Talk and DC Complexity

Once more, your Masthead scribe will be in DC to listen to what is going on there, first hand. The rules of the association are clear. I can’t report on what goes on in the meeting, but what is said in the hallways outside the meeting rooms and beyond the event are fair game.

We’ll see what that hallway and beyond – DC talk – will reveal.

We still want to see S 682 passed, because it is good for consumers and good for the industry. There are those who say Preserving Access is “dead, dead, dead” – that we might at best save the MLO comp rule portion of it.

Another well placed source says the entire bill is still at play, and that’s exactly why the Seattle Times et al are continuing their assault on MHI’s backed bill.

Is passage of the bill doable? Yes. Will it get done the way things are moving now? What do you think?  We Provide, You Decide. ©

Quoting from the MHI website…

MHI Mission Statement – MHI is the national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry. MHI serves its membership by providing industry research, promotion, education and government relations programs, and by building and facilitating consensus within the industry.”

Let’s ask: is this mission statement being fully lived up to?

If the mission statement were a reality, would we be further along or perhaps have even already passed the highly modest CFPB/Dodd-Frank reform legislation sought in HR 650-S 682?

What the high numbers of comments, forwards and thousands of reads on our recent Masthead on a related topic suggests is that change must come to MHI, the only question is how and when.

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Graphic credit, OpenSourceway and FlickrCreativeCommons

We want the bill passed, for reasons noted numerous times over the years. It might get passed with no changes at MHI, just rocking along with business as usual there. But my sincere concern is that without change, we are whistling in the wind.

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1I’m looking forward to visits on Capitol Hill.

We’ll catch up with another Masthead after the MHI meetings, perhaps next Wednesday.jan-hollingsworth-for-mhlivingnews-com-55

Until then, stay current with Matthew Silver’s Daily Business News, and you’ve simply got to read Jan Hollingsworth’s latest:

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-frugal-manufactured-mansions-take-their-place-in-the-california-sun/

Your insights and thoughts? They’re valued.

Let’s end as we began. Good news cheers us on, issues are there for us to learn from and navigate. Onward! ##

l.a.'tony'kovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-mhpronews-com-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

 

CFPB Imposed Appraisal Rule for Manufactured Housing Looms, July 18, 2015!

July 8th, 2015 No comments

Ten days from today, the CFPB imposed appraisal rule for manufactured housing goes into effect. There are those who suggest that this is a consumer protection. That reminds me a bit of the Ronald Reagan punch line, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

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Original CFPB logo parody credit – Plus1Properties. Cartoon credit – MHProNews.

First, for those who aren’t among the thousands who have already accessed one of the three reports we have on manufactured homes and appraisals, let’s share those links below.

21st Mortgage

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/july-2015/137-financing/9809-new-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-appraisal-rule-effective-july-18-2015

Triad Financial

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/july-2015/137-financing/9813-triad-financial-services-position-regarding-7-18-15-implementation-of-new-appraisal-rules

This third link is about appraisals, but not per-se about the new appraisal rule. Nevertheless, it is an important topic for all doing MH land/home deals!

Cascade Financial

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/july-2015/137-financing/9815-about-appraisals-on-fha-and-va-land-home-manufactured-housing-loans

Lemonade_photo courtesy of_jaimeanne

“When Life hands you Lemons, make Lemonade” photo courtesy of jaimeanne

Making the Bitter, Sweeter

There are those who are working to make, as they put it, lemonade out of lemons on this appraisal rule. That is as it should be. Our team and myself truly do hope it works out for all involved.

That said, let’s briefly explain why this rule was logically unnecessary.

The Market At Work

No lender wants to finance a home for more than it’s reasonably worth. For decades, there has been ways of getting a third party appraisal or estimated value on a manufactured home that was selling either chattel or as part of a land/home package. The new rule is focused on home-only transactions, those not in the CFPB’s QM (see the top two links above).

So because a smart lender wants to make a good loan, there was already consumer protection in place.

Because MH lenders are lending their own dollars – vs. government-backed loan dollars – by MH lenders protecting their interests, they are also protecting those of the consumer buying the home. That’s the natural beauty of the free enterprise system at work. A lender won’t knowingly finance a home for more than its worth, thus the consumer isn’t paying more than a home is worth.

Because government is far from free – every regulation has a cost and impact – the CFPB’s new rule is simply adding a new layer of expenses on businesses. Sooner or later, those government-imposed added costs have to be paid by John Q. Public, or those businesses won’t stay in business.

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Each logo above is the property of their respective organization.

On read-hot MHLivingNews.com, we documented cases of companies that were making MH loans that no longer are doing so because of CFPB’s imposed regulatory burdens and risks. CFED’s Katherine Lucas McKay can cry on their blog all they want to on this topic. But the reality, as we documented in this report, is that there is an apparent conflict-of-interest involving CFED and the CFPB.

Please note that nowhere in her column on the CFED blog has McKay refuted any point made about their alleged conflict-of-interest or our other various reports on the negative impact of CFPB regulations on MH owners or potential customers. Ms. McKay simply recycled the same talking points that Doug Ryan used before her. By the way, Mr. Ryan, what happened to that video debate on the impact of CFPB regulations on manufactured homes you were going to do with me?

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Part of the comments posted by CFED and MH Pros to date.  To see all, click the link here or the image above. Note, we credit CFED for leaving the comments posted up, and have been doing screen captures on them periodically.

One last point for now about Ms. McKay’s column.  Stop and think about her title:

I’m Home Fights Back Against Regulations that hurt Owners of Manufactured Homes

We can only hope for that today!

What they published in their headline was a faux pas from their own viewpoint. They aren’t pushing back on regulations. Rather, what they want to do is fend off the proposed reforms to amend CFPB regulations. So not even their headline is logically correct. Should you decide to read Ms. McKay’s column (see link below the comments graphic or click on the comments graphic), do make sure you read the MH Comments posted there.

It’s manufactured housing professionals, businesses and associations that are protecting MH home owners by fighting back against regulations that harm consumers and businesses alike. There is a bi-partisan push for HR 650 – which passed overwhelmingly – and the companion Senate bill, S 682, which has a Democratic sponsor. What CFED and others are doing is fighting to keep the regulations that are proven to harm MH buyers and residents alike.

More National Media Coming Soon…?

We have sources telling us that a national news outlet will be covering this MH finance issue on TV in a few weeks. More on that and other pending MH news in the media, soon.

Thanks to those who see a government solution to almost every imagined problem, consumers now have a new rule that impacts manufactured home retailers and communities just days away. What will the impact of the appraisal rule be? Time will tell, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see why there needs to be a re-balance in how business is done in DC. If you missed the two prior Masthead  posts, kindly check them out.

In closing, we empathize with those who want to do right by consumers and the public. I don’t doubt there are many who act with good intentions.  We are pleased that CFED and others see the intrinsic value and growing need for manufactured homes.  On those levels, we have and continue to applaud them.  We’ve given CFED positive digital-ink before, and would gladly do so again, should they change course by correcting their clear errors on this financing topic.

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Our thanks to Ross Kinzler and the WHA for providing this chart. This shows the steep decline since CFPB regulations hit.  The facts above dovetails with information published in the report linked here that shows this is impacting lenders natinoally, not just in WI.

But the time is now to see how those good intentions have actually played out in the real world. We must look at how those CFPB regulations have actually impacted the marketplace! CFED et al can just look at the chart above, courtesy of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance, to see how in their state, the number of lenders making loans on MH dropped like a rock once the CFPB regulations went into effect.

Less lending? How does that help MH consumers and businesses? CFPB/Richard Cordray, are you listening? Seattle Times/Center for Public Integrity, are you seeing the facts linked above that you somehow managed to overlook in your reports?

Our sources tell us that a new anti-HR 650/S 682 push looms. Expect it to be visible anew in the media. The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act is just one battle in a longer struggle against over-regulation. Its a battle that the opposition is fighting hard to win. What are you and your associates doing to make sure that we protect more MH consumers by getting that bill passed in the Senate and signed into law? ##

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L. A. “Tony’ Kovach shown here in an educational session in Louisville, KY.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

President Barack Obama, Dodd-Frank reform and Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing – HR 650/S 682

June 20th, 2015 No comments

A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Huh. It works. It makes sense.‘” – Barack Obama.

There is momentum behind the common-sense changes sought by the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650/S 682).   MHProNews has sources that suggest that the bill could clear the Senate when it hits that chamber’s floor for a vote in late summer or this fall.

If that Senate passage happens, then the question will become, what will the president do should the bill hit his desk?

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The White House is correct that millions want to own homes, and can afford them. Will they therefor support the common sense reforms sought by HR 650/S 682?  Image credit: FlikrCreativeCommons.

Still, homeownership is out of reach for too many Americans — families who can afford to buy a home, but find themselves shut out because the lending market is too tight.” – White House website. (January 7, 2015).

One big reason the MH ‘lending market is too tight’ is regulatory. MHProNews and MHLivingNews have documented step-by-step though various reports cited below that demonstrates how the reforms sought by the manufactured housing industry are good for consumers. HR 650/S 682 is also needed by current MH home owners; notably those who have homes that would sell for less than $20,000.

 

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Thousands of shoppers came – even in the cold rain – to the Eastern Ohio Manufactured Home Show. The demand for our homes is strong and growing. Will the CFPB relent in their choaking off the aspirations of tens of thousands of would-be MH buyers a year, from lenders willing to risk their own capital on loans where the ability to repay has been proven?

Doug Ryan/CFED and The Seattle Times are both…silent!

On our sister site, the Eric Powell story documented that consumers are being pushed into 36% interest rates when they could get a manufactured home loan for about 1/3 or less of that rate. What kept that lower rate from happening for the Powell’s was the need to reform Dodd-Frank. Because the CFPB – an agency implicated in a conflict of interest with CFED – has failed to respond to the lived realities of their current, clearly-flawed regulatory policies.

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The hand-written note obtained by MHProNews was part of a longer reply by the CFPB’s Richard Cordray to a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators.  Those senators asked for common sense changes to regulations on MH lending. What Director Cordray’s note completely ignores is the fact that MH lenders portfolio their loans; they don’t go to the secondary market. MH lending had ‘less than zero’ impact on the 2008 financial crisis. Thus, Cordray’s argument is logically flawed, as an association leader told MHProNews off the record.

Applying President Obama’s quote above to HR 650/S 682, this reform would make good sense for the Powell’s and thousands like them every year who are forced to choose between more renting, or paying an outrageous rate on a non-MH lender’s loan. More, competitive financing would return to the market – originated by firm’s such UMH and others referenced below – and they are only a regulatory or statutory change away.  “Huh. It works. It makes sense.” – Barack Obama.

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Triad Financial Services Chairman, Don Glisson, Jr.

Veteran MH lender Don Glisson Jr.’s on-the-record statement shows how a reasonable modification of the MLO rule, would make it as easy for an MH sales person as it is for a real estate agent to advise a prospective home buyer.  Those MH sales professionals aren’t getting paid by the lender. Where is the risk in letting MH sales people do what real estate agents do?

The current state of the CFPB’s regulations umjustly muzzles the free speech rights of professionals, and thus harms the consumers they serve. The proposed law (HR 650/S 682) helps fix that issue.  “Huh. It works. It makes sense.” – Barack Obama.

Let’s note too that MH lenders portfolio their loans. They ‘hold their own paper.’ The loans they make are thus very different than those that caused the financial melt down of housing and the mortgage market in 2008 that gave rise to Dodd-Frank.

We privately and publicly called out The Seattle Times and Doug Ryan/CFED on such topics. How can they defend the apparent errors in their positions and their own conflicts of interest we spotlighted?

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Rents are rising in many markets, due in part to the impact of potential buyers being denied access to credit. CFPB policy on MH lending is thus costing the federal government money in their affordable housing subsidy programs. Applying President Obama’s words to MH lending would benefit government budgets, as well as home buyers and business people too.

A Google search we did last night on the Seattle Times and CFED revealed…silence.  See the screen captures below.  Our facts, or those reported by Professor Cunningham (see link below), have to my knowledge gone unanswered. Why?  Could it be that both the Seattle Times/Center for Public Integrity and Doug Ryan/CFED are in a conflict of interest?  Isn’t it apparent they have no good response to the fact-based reports and common sense we’ve brought to the public discussion of HR 650/S 682?

As the Pledge of Allegiance reminds us, we are a Republic.  A nation under laws that are supposed to protect “We, the People.”

The current structure of the CFPB demonstrates that it’s unresponsive to the very body – Congress – that breathed it into regulatory life.  As the president once said, he is not the emperor.  Nor should the CFPB – or any other regulatory body – be so independent of those representing the American people – Congress – that it is essentially unaccountable for its actions. I’d suggest that the current state of the CFPB regulations of MH financing is un-American, and perhaps un-Constitutional too.

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Affordability is relative! All demographic and income groups are discovering modern manufactured housing. This two level manufactured home in a Chicago suburb rivaled conventional construction of about the same size being sold less than a mile away.  The home in the photo, comparable to that nearby site-built housing, sold for about half -the-price.

The CFPB must be reigned in.  With respect to its current policies regarding MH financing, it is demonstrably harming millions of Americans who own those MHs under $20,000.  The CFPB is hampering the access to credit and home ownership which the applied logic of the White House’s  previously cited statement wishes to correct; again quoting – “Still, homeownership is out of reach for too many Americans — families who can afford to buy a home, but find themselves shut out because the lending market is too tight.”

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The GAO 2014 report  dramatically demonstrates  that even with a somewhat higher  interest rate than conventional housing (which is indirectly subsidized by the federal government), MH is so affordable that it is the lowest cost form of new permenant housing in the U.S. today.

We support passage of HR 650/S 682 because it is good for consumers, good for home owners, good for job creation and good for business.  That meets all of the criteria President Obama has frequently outlined as being good for America.

We hope President Obama and all Senators who care about the millions currently being harmed by existing regulations will join the strong majority in the House or Representatives and support Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing – the most affordable form of quality, greener, appealing homes available to Americans today. ##

References, Sources and Footnotes

  1. Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Financing – the Place where Good Intentions and Unintended Consequences Collide, linked here. The article demonstrates that MH lenders are about 2/3 lower in interest rate than the kind of financing Eric Powell was forced into, due to policies supported CFED and enforced by the CFPB. The nuances of MH lending are reviewed in terms that make sense, and which undercut the false arguments advanced by Doug Ryan et al. MH lending experts are quoted in this article, as is Doug Ryan.
  2. Don Glisson Jr., Chairman and CEO of Triad Financial Services, on his company’s experiences and reasons for supporting reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act to correct problems created for manufactured housing lending by current CFPB policies., linked here
  3. Sam Landy, JD, UMH Properties CEO, and other lenders who have been pushed out of the market by current CFPB policies. It is noteworthy that the facts Landy and others present undercut Doug Ryan led CFED arguments and vividly proves that CFPB polices are costing untold thousands annually access to home ownership. See article and video, linked here. It must be noted that ManufacturedHomeLivingNews has contacted every major and some regional MH lenders. All favor changes to current CFPB regulations, so this is not a Berkshire-Hathaway/Warren Buffett issue.
  4. A bi-partisan group of Congressional representatives overwhelmingly approved HR 650,  two of them are cited at length in their own words as to why. She’s Black, He’s White. They are in Different Parties…
  5. Alan Amy, a veteran MH retailer, estimates that current regulations are depressing MH sales by about 30% a year. If so, the practical impact is that 20,000 more homes could be sold a year at the current pace and 20,000 new “good-pay jobs” could be created in the construction of manufactured housing. Amy’s comment came as part of a broader video interview, linked here.
  6. The Integrity of Clayton Homes and the Politics of “Investigative Journalism,” published by Professor  Lawrence A. Cunningham, JD. Cunningham’s arguments have yet to refuted by The Seattle Timeset al. Article linked here.
  7. One must also question why Daniel Wagner and Mike Baker, writing in the Seattle Times articles done in tandem with the Center for Public Integrity, used outdated and inaccurate terminology when referencing modern manufactured homes, improperly calling them ‘mobile homes.’  Was it a tactic on their part? For a better understanding of the terminology and why-it-matters, see the article linked below.
  8. Evolutionary! From Trailer House to Mobile Home to Today’s Manufactured Home
  9. Screen captures of Google Searches, shown below, demonstrate that neither CFED nor the Seattle Times have yet to refute the points noted in our MHLivingNews or MHProNews reports on these topics.

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L. A. “Tony’ Kovach is one of the most prominent experts on the MH scene. Kovach has interviewed more MH customers and experts than any other  journalist today. Kovach began his MH career in 1981. Shown here in an educational session in Louisville, KY.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Favorite Issues for the Manufactured Housing Industry’s two National Associations

June 17th, 2015 No comments

As thousands of MHPros know, the manufactured housing (MH) industry is represented in DC by two different associations. There is MHI – the Manufactured Housing Institute and MHARR – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. Each of these is currently pursing rather different courses of action.

MHI

MHI’s primary focus has been Dodd-Frank reform. Getting the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650/S 682) passed is the big ask on Capitol Hill. There are other goals and items on the wish list, but HR 650/S 682 is at the top of the list, for understandable reasons.

CongresswomanTerriSewell-CongressmanAndyBarr-PreservingAccessToManfuacturedHousingActHr650-S682-SunshineHomes

It goes without saying that MHProNews and our sister platform has been supportive of that effort. Our latest on that subject, with numerous cross-links for depth of understanding, is here:

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/she-black-hes-white-theyre-in-different-parties-why-congressional-representatives-terri-sewell-and-andy-barr-support-preserving-access-to-manufactured-housing/

MHARR

By contrast on the finance front, MHARR is pursuing GSE reform and implementation of the Duty to Serve. The non-profits happen to favor something similar. We periodically raise that topic too, because technically it is already the law, passed as part of HERA 2008. With Mel Watt at FHFA, there is certainly a possibility that it could be advanced on the regulatory front.

Where MHI and MHARR (politely) disagree is on the Department of Energy (DOE) standards that are inching towards finalization. MHARR’s latest on this could be summed up in Matthew Silver’s recent brief, linked below.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/mharr-says-the-doe-is-seeking-support-for-new-manufactured-home-energy-standards/

In the case of DOE standards, MHI and the non-profits are closer to being on the same page. We published a more in-depth report on this topic, wrapping it around a report that came from the NAHB which MHARR pointed to with great vigor. That report is linked below.

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Image credit: NAHB News.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/nahb-and-mharr-agree-even-1000-price-increase-reduces-potential-home-buyers/

From time to time, it is important to step back and simply look around. Who is pursuing what and why? What do you see and think?

We Provide, You Decide. © ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156 (1)By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.