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‘Over Target’ Reactions, WHA Exec (ret) Ross Kinzler, Won’t Defend MHI Policies & Points to Prior MHI Failure

March 4th, 2018 No comments

HeavyFlakRossKinzlerOverTargetReactunWHAExecRossKinzlerWontDefendMHIPoliciesPointsToPriorMHIFailure

I have no comment on MHI’s legislative agenda.”
Ross Kinzler.

 

The [MHI] Urban Design Project didn’t have any lasting market effects.”
Ross Kinzler

 

Priceless, direct quotes.

 

Why Priceless?

They are significant observations – and de facto admissions – by someone ‘defending’ MHI, and their ‘new class’ of manufactured homes.

The rest that follows are details, context, and commentary.

Briefly consider the point Ross Kinzler made about a prior MHI project that he used as an analogy to the MHI-backed ‘new class of homes’ concept.

 

Kinzler raises the interesting comparison between MHI’s previous ‘Urban Design Project,’ which didn’t perform as planned, and the MHI proposed “new class of manufactured homes.”

It is Ross who said the Urban Design Project had no lasting market effect, a nice way of saying MHI didn’t move the needle.

Aren’t those polite phrases for failed?

Keep in mind that Kinzler has reportedly done some consulting for MHI.  Yet, Ross won’t defend MHI’s legislative agenda.

That speaks volumes.

The rest are useful details and commentary, but if a reader stopped right here, the take way is that MHI’s prior ‘similar’ project failed, and MHI’s legislative agenda won’t be defended even by those who have been or are paid by MHI, or whom MHI staff has called ‘affiliates.’

Kinzler, has reportedly done consulting for MHI, and yet he still won’t defend their legislative agenda?

Why not?

Aren’t those two directly quoted sentences by Kinzler at the top warnings for every independent community, retailer, producer, service provider, and lender?

 

CityScapes at the Mills of Carthage; Boston and other cities, are you Listening?

(MHLivingNews has spotlighted one of the HUD Code
manufactured home projects dubbed
the Urban Design Project that Ross Kinzler’s
comments referenced.)

 

To Be Fair and Accurate, There are Many Possibilities

There are several possible reasons why Kinzler, or others in the MHI camp, don’t want to defend MHI’s legislative agenda.  We are not casting any dispersions on Ross, Amy or any others.

People can make good faith errors, and good faith mistakes in reasoning.

That, by the way, is one of the reasons why public debate can be healthy!  If there is an honest fact or analysis error, let that be logically aired out in public.

Which begs the question, why then does MHI and their surrogates often duck such debate? When key questions are asked about MHI, Berkshire Hathaway, et al, why do they all go quiet?

But as the CSUN – California State University – says in a report on logical fallacies, one of the reasons to know and spot errors in reasoning, is that once an error is spotted, that error can be removed from the discussion.

Doing that saves time in the long run.  Such honest, intellectual analysis dates back over 2,000 years.

Why keep repeating some variation on a logical error?  We’re doing MHI members and non-members alike a favor by spotlighting what look to be logical, legal or other errors.

 

What Sparked the Flak

ICYMI, the email in the article linked below is part of what sparked all of this flak this past week.

Keith Anderson, CEO Champion Homes, MHI ‘New Class’ Monopoly Concerns Memo, ‘Harms Owners, Independents’

 

Nathan Smith on the MHI Agenda and Track Record

I credit former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith for admitting during the video below that MHI needed to admit the associations prior mistakes, and make an effort to learn to avoid them.  Smith’s admission was an important step. But have MHI’s leaders in fact learned from prior errors? Is there any consequence for MHI leaders from failures?  In the private sector, a mistake costs jobs or money or both.  What happens when MHI errors?  Where are the consequences?

 

 

One possible reason why Kinzler won’t comment is MHI’s legislative agenda and history is simple.  The MHI track record and agenda are not an easy to logically defend or explain.

MHI’s Rick Robinson, an attorney trained in debate and objective analysis, won’t defend MHI’s position either, nor will he or anyone else at MHI do so.

Why not?

Ross_Kinzler_credit_Community_Connections_posted_on_MHProNewsSo Kinzler’s in plenty of company when it comes to not defending MHI’s agenda or track record.

Another reason, as this writer replied to Kinzler is that the logic, history, ethics, and theories behind the MHI agenda are dubious at best.  It’s a relevant point.  In fact, Kinzler was the one that pointed out the steep decline in manufactured housing production, and noted the harmful ripple effects throughout the industry.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com d

There are tons of negative impacts for low volumes of new MH sales. One is that there are fewer used homes on the market. Image credit: Ross Kinzler – Wisconsin Housing Alliance.

 

Perhaps that explains in part why after years and millions of dollars in efforts, MHI key agenda items have not passed. Positions like the arguably contradictory position on the DOE Rule led to a flip flop that MHI leaders don’t want to admit.  Their flip flop on Clinton/Trump, their flip-flop on Pam Danner/HUD, etc. all can reasonably be seen as falling into that category.

 

But once more, in fairness, there are other possibilities. What we know is that Kinzler won’t defend MHI’s agenda, and neither will MHI publicly defend their agenda; why not?

Those who seek the truth on any subject want solid answers to reasonable questions. Curious minds want to know…

ThoushallNotCommitLogicalFalllaciesYourLogicalFallacyPlatoAristotleSocrates575x1673

The “Straw Man” argument is one of the common fallacies that are used – intentionally or inadvertently – that can misrepresent the facts. The chart above shows some of the more common logical errors, but another not shown, that is used when George Allen enters a discussion is the red herring.’ Allen also likes ad hominem attacks. By intent or by mistake, the fallacies in reason lead people to wrong conclusions.

 

Kinzler Defended Bliss, A Deeper Look

Kinzler indicated he was defended his colleague Amy Bliss. But Amy was not attacked.  Ross ‘defended’ Bliss by what’s known as “straw man” arguments. He said things neither MHProNews, nor this writer have said.

Perhaps Kinzler misread?

Then, Ross ducked the same questions and opportunities to discuss by phone to clarify possible misunderstandings that was offered to Bliss, why?

Keep in mind, I personally like and respect Amy and Ross — so this isn’t personal, from our side of the fence, this is a purely professional disagreement.

Think of it as a clinical doctor’s analysis — what do the tests and the facts reveal?

RedHerringDefinitionFalseArgumentDistractionMisleading

Wittingly nor not, George Allen often falls into red herring and ad hominem tactics. When those are used intentionally, they are designed to distract or belittle, without actually answering the questions under debate or discussion.  For someone trained in debate, their use signals the weakness of the argument of those who use such methods

 

George Allen, a Bit Different?

Neither Kinzler nor Bliss accepted the offer to discuss items by phone, to clarify understanding. While written words are useful, they can be misunderstood. The combination of written and spoken words can thus become one way to avoid misunderstandings.

Allen’s situation is perhaps different.

He made an interesting revelation, saying he has quit MHI.  He’s not alone.

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

Then, Allen says he hasno dog in the hunt,’  but begins blasting away furiously with attacks on the person (= ad hominem fallacy) or red herring tactics.  Those have been an Allen-isms traits for some years.

But what’s revealing is the fury of the defenders of MHI, without actually addressing the specific points made or concerns raised.

Why weren’t specific questions, being directly answered?

 

Don’t Bother Me With Evidence or Third Party Report’s…?

There’s an old saying, ‘don’t bother me with facts, my mind is made up.’

  • Rick Robinson
  • Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison,
  • Lesli Gooch,
  • Amy Bliss,
  • Ross Kinzler,
  • George Allen and others have ducked out on dealing with specific concerns raised by voices inside the industry and those outside of the industry.

For Allen, that’s perhaps particularly problematic, because he claims the mantle of defending independent communities.  Is he failing them, by not digging into the realities? Why is he now denying concerns on similar issues he himself has previously raised?  Has Allen flip-flopped? Doesn’t he see the contradictions in his reasoning?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

 

Personal Example Makes a Professional Point Useful to Manufactured Housing

My friends, family, and relationships include people of many faiths and backgrounds. Among them are various kinds of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and non-believers. My parents raised us, thank God, with lived examples of how you treated all people with respect, and dignity.

People of good will can have disagreements.

So the response? It ought to be to examine issues, and if someone is mistaken – to show them their error.

But that isn’t done by name calling.  Even when we strongly disagree with Mr. Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway or MHI, we aren’t name calling or mud-slinging. Rather, we provide evidence, quotes and voice concerns in a professional manner.  Let them reply, if they can.  If they can’t perhaps that answers why they began ducking out on engagement, discussion or debate over a year ago.

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

Bliss can speak about conspiracy theories, but when many have provided evidence, how can you call it a conspiracy theory any more?

Wisconsin Housing Alliance – an MHI ‘Affiliate’ – Amy Bliss’ Messages Raise New Anti-Trust Issue

Honest discussion is not accomplished by twisting the other person’s words, or by using false evidence, or misleading arguments.  In fact, manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye Jr. has raised several important points, which will be useful in upcoming articles.

“F-Bombs” Fly – Cursing Manufactured Housing and Tornadoes – Engaging Public, Experts, Officials, and Media

Soheyla had an article this week were we showed some of the vile name calling people post or send on the tornado and manufactured housing topic. It is linked above. The typical response made by this writer begins doesn’t start by cursing them back in return.

Let’s close with a very personal analogy, and I asked permission before sharing this.

My younger brother Tom Kovach holds very different views on a wide range of issues, and leads a life quite different than my own.

NormanTranscriptTomKovachWard2CityCouncilDemocraticCandidateMstheadBlogMHProNews

While I consider myself a centrist and independent, my brother Tom is pretty far left in many items of Democratic politics. But Tom can be reasoned with, and he and I don’t typically take offense when we disagree in a policy, moral, religious, or other issue. The point is that people can disagree, respectfully.

That said, we are brothers. We love and respect each other. Yes, at times we’ve exchanged thoughts in ways that hurt the other’s feelings, but we get over it, forgive as is needed, and move on.

I don’t have to agree with him, nor he with me, to have a rich intellectual discussion on a topic we disagree about. We don’t call each other some vile name.

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-daily-business-news-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-21st President and CEO, and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams said in our exclusive interview with him a number of very important ideas. One of my favorites is Tim’s fraternity example. It’s terrific.

A fraternity is at the root a brotherhood.

Brothers – kinfolk, family – ought to be able to disagree with respect.

 

MHProNews has focused on facts, concerns, documents, behaviors, trends – which is a kind of history – and evidence. Where does the logic of a position or case take someone?

I strive to hold no personal animus toward anyone in the industry, including those who have demonstrably wronged others or us, or have generally been unjust.  Telling someone to ‘go to hell,’ or worse solves nothing.

If MHProNews is wrong on an interpretation, then that should be thoughtfully refuted, right? George or anyone, where is the need for rude name calling, or manipulative debaters tricks?

If my bride and I were the only two on the planet who believed these concerns, there might be a better cause for others to say ‘conspiracy theory,’ as Bliss said.   If we were the only ones to say, there is a risk from monopolistic behaviors, then mischaracterization by Ross, Bliss, or as Allen did  – 9BTW, I’m well aware of Allen’s nice side, and we respect and value his service to our country0 – could make more sense.

I like Amy and Ross on a personal level. But liking someone doesn’t mean you have to agree.

If MHI, Tim Williams – who can be very charming and likable too – Warren Buffett  – ditto – or anyone else wants to debate the issues, let’s do so publicly, where the industry can tune in, and we should do so with mutual respect.

No cheap shots or debaters dodges, like those in the chart above, are needed.

My sincere belief is that the evidence shows that MHI is being used as a tool by the largest companies in manufactured housing. They are being used to advance an agenda that benefits those larger corporate players, and often hurts millions of home owners and millions of potential home buyers too.

I explained in a recent post how my view about MHI evolved.

 

What Tim Williams, Dick Jennison, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, et al, Taught Me About the Manufactured Housing Institute

If we at MHProNews know about or suspected a problem, and failed to report it, you could say, shame on me.

If we report concerns, and readers opt to ignore or think differently, that’s a reader’s absolute right as a free person.

But to ignore the growing body of evidence from sources inside the industry and outside the industry, is to do so at one’s own peril.

Now You Will Hear — the Rest of the Story

To paraphrase Jim Ayotte, all of us can only act upon the insights we have available at the time. We then do our best, based upon those insights.

BeatSwordsIntoPlowsharesIs2-4-MastheadblogMHProNewsWe believe the states have done far better on the whole than MHI has. Others in the industry say so too.

We believe that MHI has demonstrably made blunders for years.  Rather than admit them now, as then MHI Chairman Nathan Smith did a few years ago, they and their surrogates are demonstrably using tricks and tactics to duck, dodge, distract, detract, diminish, or defame.

That’s wrong, in my view.

If they were right, they have attorneys who are trained in debate, who could make us look foolish in public, with straight up debate.  No tactics. I have no such advantage, no such formal training in debate.  I think the last formal debate I was in, was high school or maybe even junior high.

So why doesn’t MHI bring out their Ph.D. and attorneys and debate?  Or why doesn’t Clayton Homes, et al, do the same?

Let them try to honestly refute the concerns of voices across the political divide about monopolistic tactics.  Again, see the link above from the recent report by The Nation that cites monopolistic tactics and names Clayton Homes.

Let them explain ethically why they kept others who do publishing as members, and not MHProNews (and our related operations)? No one ever accused me of disrupting an MHI meeting, nor of breaking an MHI rule, did they? All I ever did was ask questions, and offer different views if that seemed wise.  Aren’t they violating what their 990 filings claim? Don’t they want feedback from their members?  Or do they only want yes men and women, who fall in line, as the industry continues to get consolidated by a few?

Why would MHI single us out, ‘marked [us] for elimination’ as sources at or with MHI have said?

These folks are arguably hiding not one thing, but many things.

Those who ignore the evidence do so at their own peril.  On these issues, my conscience is clear.

Beating Swords Into Plowshares

And He [God] shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4, Bible Hub)

TheyShallBeatTheirSwordsIntoPlowsharesUNBuildingWikipediaMastheadBlogMHProNews

The above quote is inspired and well intented. But it misses the key words that proceed the same verse: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Dig through the various reports, and ask, if they could refute any of it, why don’t they do so? ##  (News, analysis, and commentary. Note 1: this post will be updated with downloads of statements emailed by Amy Bliss, Ross Kinzler and George Allen, among others. Note 2: where issues have not yet been litigated or determined by legal authorities, the word ‘allege’ should be construed as needed in the above as part of our analysis and statement.)

 

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

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is an award winning manufactured housing industry veteran, and is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com and professional service provider to the factory-built housing industry.

Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

What Tim Williams, Dick Jennison, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, et al, Taught Me About the Manufactured Housing Institute

February 11th, 2018 No comments

 TimWilliams21stMortgageMHIChairmanRichardDickJennisonPresidentCEORickRobinsonSVPGenCounselLesliGoochForCongressMHISVPMastheadDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. Warren Buffett doesn’t need to convince me or gain my agreement with him on that point.  On that and the value of history, Mr. Buffett and this Masthead writer would agree.

Buffett and we agree too on the value of research, reading, asking, listening, probing, and understanding.

For the record, people can disagree professionally, without disparagement.

We’ve said not one word against Clayton Homes’ products, nor against the vast majority of their people, nor against most of those in MHI’s membership, etc. In fact, professionals from those operations and 21st are among our sources. That should be obvious from the kinds of insights, quotes, etc. that we’ve produced over the last year or so.

We agree with the Urban Institute’s stated principle that evidence and the facts should guide research.

There must be good reasons why leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st, and MHI won’t engage us in a public, video-recorded discussion or debate forum. One of the reasons why they won’t do so was suggested in yesterday’s blockbuster Daily Business News report on the Urban Institute, linked below.

 

Was the Urban Institute Misled, Duped, or Part of a Manufactured Housing Industry Scam?

But another point to consider in why they won’t publicly discuss our concerns and allegations is this. Logically, if they were correct and we were honestly mistaken, they could prove it, right? Or logically, even if they know they were wrong, they could attempt to spin the truth, etc. But how do they argue against so many of their own facts, documents, track record, and their on-the-record statements, and quotes?  Isn’t that a compelling reason for them to duck, dodge, distract, and delay, instead of engaging?

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-704x768 (1)

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

 

What They Said, Did, and Didn’t Do That Taught Me About the Realities of the Manufactured Housing Institute

Give MHI credit.  Their mixers are pleasurable.  You’re at some nice resort.  The networking has value.  All of that ‘social glue’ is arguably part of their way to keep people distracted from the sad reality that as a lobbying organization, MHI has failed to advance an agenda that helps the majority of the professionals in the industry.

We’re far from alone in believing that to be true.  State associations have now quit MHI for exactly that reason.

Maybe you have to be an ex-smoker to learn how to passionately oppose cigarettes. FYI, that’s an analogy, I’m not a smoker. Or with the same proceeding disclaimer, maybe one must be or know a former drug addict to realize just how horrible addictions can be.  As an ex-multiyear, MHI member, I’ve learned the hard, painful, and expensive lessons.

Media Should Re-Visit Dodd-Frank Reporting in Light of Congressional Testimony

 

One need not look too far back on MHProNews and MHLivingNews to realize that we supported MHI on several, but not all, issues.

Renters’ Nation: The Dark Side of Dodd-Frank and Its Impact on Affordable Housing

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

While still an MHI elected board member, MHProNews created this graphic. It summarized key admissions by Cordray. Why did MHI never use it?

How Did We Come to Be Members of MHI?

Years ago, MHI members convinced me that if our organization – MHProNews/MHLivingNews/consulting, et al – wanted to be a force for positive change in the manufactured home industry, we simply had to become members of MHI.  Those voices – however well-meaning they may have been – where they in hindsight mistaken?  Or perhaps unwittingly, did those voices lead us into an unsought, unexpected, and undesired – dark grace?

A current MHI member company president told me at Louisville that what MHI has been doing for years ‘has made no sense.’ He reminded me that ‘Tony, you [MHProNews] are challenging people’s paradigms.’ He said what we know: some don’t get it. But others, like him, do get it.

Others are in between.

If that company president had a choice, I’m not sure he would be an MHI member. Why do I say that? Because he thanked me for all that we are doing to spotlight what is actually going on in our industry. As in the case of many companies, he too reports to others…

That MHI member is not alone, others have personally told me similarly.  Clearly, there are MHI cheer leaders too.

RichardDickJennisonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCEOIndustryMHLivingNewsDailyBuisnessNewsMastheadBlogMHProNews

MHProNews and our sister operations spent thousands upon thousands of dollars supporting MHI efforts on Preserving Access. It was a waste – save this. It forced us to look deeper into what was really going on at MHI. The photo is a still from a video, and on that video, Jennison promised – promised dozens in that room that Preserving Access would be passed. It failed. In hindsight, given POTUS Barack Obama’s promise to veto the bill, what where they thinking?  Or was it there as a show of effort, while the industry consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer big ccompanies?

 

With that backdrop, the truth is I had several industry voices telling me – literally from the day they met Dick Jennison – that they didn’t trust the man.  I freely admit to arguing against their view, Jennison seemed like a fine gent to me. But they in time were proven right. I was mistaken.  You may have heard the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  It was Jennison himself over time – by word, deed, and omission – that proved their points.

A different, high profile, MHI member president told me recently that he wished Jennison had never been hired.

But as noted, for some time – I liked Dick, mostly up to the point that:

Ø  women then working in the MHI office made a point of contacting and asking me to help them with a ‘hostile workplace’ issue, and they pointed specifically at Dick.

Ø  and up to the point when on camera, he began to argue for slow growth.

I was stunned at both of those bullets.

I think Tim Williams/21st would not deny in a court of law that I was stunned by Jennison’s on-camera statement, because I took it up with him personally not long after that occurred.  What association president worth their salt – working in an industry where most were then struggling for sales – would argue for slow growth?  Perhaps the most logical way to understand it, was covered in yesterday’s Daily Business News special report.

 

Nathan Smith

I liked Nathan Smith too, he’s an easy to like guy. To this day, Nathan is likeable! But how did it square with his electric personna of his that he didn’t lift a finger to even inquire about the allegations of those women in the MHI office, complaining about Dick Jennison?

In the #metoo era, in hindsight, doesn’t that looks bad?

Sexual Harassment-Not Just Hollywood, Media, Politicos-Manufactured Housing Workplace Claims, High Profile MH Cases Too?

 

Tim Williams, President & CEO of 21st Mortgage, Prior MHI Chairman

Tim Williams and I had several fine conversations over the course of many years. I quite liked the gent. I recall Jim Clayton telling me how smart Williams is.  I to this day, I would honestly agree. Tim Williams/21st is a very smart man. Judging from the kind words he gave MHProNews to publish, he liked us too.

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOPresident-currentMHIChairman-onValueMHProNews-MHLivingNews-

 

But how did it square with Buffett’s claimed support for integrity, that Williams defended Jennison and Gooch, who had sent out a message to MHI members that was pure spin, deceptive half-truths, and not the full truth?  Why did he defend Jennison, when he arguably should have been removed his MHI president?

Or why would you reward Jennison with a raise and bonuses – a national association CEO – who year after year, failed to accomplish what the assocation said was their goal? Once more, perhaps the best way to understand that decision or those bonus/raise is covered in yesterday’s MHProNews special report.

 

Rick Robinson, SVP and General Counsel for MHI

Rick Robinson is a nice guy too. Rick is witty, clever, and a fine writer. But he was also apparently happy to look the other way when questionable things were happening at MHI.  Perhaps you can chalk it up to doing his job as an attorney for his client?

TonyIWillNotBeTakingQuestionsFromThePressRickRobinsonMHISVPGeneralCounselMastheadMHProNews

The topic was HUD, and Rick Robinson would not take questions from MHProNews, at the very time that the HUD issue was raging in MH industry circles. As a state executive told MHProNews, if they liked their position, why not get as much publicity as they possibly could?

 

These are just a sampling. These and other examples that could be cited took this writer from someone who was pro-MHI, to now, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ vantage point about that same organization.

 

Tim Williams in San Antonio

I didn’t need extra sources to tell me that Tim Williams stated in a room with a few dozen MHI members in it, the following. That neither Williams/21st, nor Vanderbilt (VMF), turned over data that the GSEs wanted to make DTS happen in a more robust fashion. Having sources is arguably often better than relying on yourself. But I heard Tim say as much with my own ears, and I was watching the then MHI chair saying it when he was only a few yards away from where I sat in the same meeting room.

It was a stunning set of statements.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

 

HUD and MHI

There came a point in time when I no longer needed sources to tell me that MHI was shadow boxing.  MHI was posturing that they wanted to modify HUD’s over-regulation. As noted above, having other sources – which we do – is often better.

That said, I personally asked numerous top-level MHI people face-to-face in San Antonio a variation on the following question. Where they going to support the removal of Pam Danner from her role at HUD?

Not one person in leadership would answer that face-to-face question!

LesliGoochforCongressManufacturedHousingInstituteMHISVPGovtAffairsRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMastheadDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Think about it. Lesli Gooch has been exactly as successful on getting the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act passed into law as she was at getting elected to Congress…. think about it, because it isn’t a put down. Those are the sad facts.

 

Lesli Gooch, MHI SVP

Lesli Gooch’s otherwise fine letter last summer about Regulatory Reform – re: those executive Presidential orders – missed what is arguably the key point. Gooch never mentioned removing Pam Danner at all.  That statement of her’s is now public record.

How is that possible?  These are intelligent people. I’ve never called them unintelligent.

So, they surely knew that logically, the head of HUD’s MH department had a lot of power, for good or ill. Not removing Danner could make everything else they claimed to be trying, useless.

That’s how shadow boxing works, isn’t it?  All show, no go?

When the most award-winning independent retailer in MHI history told us on-the-record that he supported Danner’s re-assignment – and Doug Gorman considers Danner a personal friend – how could MHI turn a blind eye to that, and so many others who raised concerns with MHI about Danner?

Cowards?

It was after returning from San Antonio that MHI sent me an unsigned letter, with no names on it, saying I’d been removed for membership because it came to our attention that I was trade media. ‘We have no such category for membership.’  What? Don’t they claim to represent ‘all aspects of factory-built housing?’  Doesn’t MHI have (and had) members who publish, not just us?  Hypocrisy?

It was pure farce.  A cowardly fiction.

LATonyKovachMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHCMD-com

Because my last MHI meeting badge – which we’ve kept as evidence – clearly reflected that we are both media and provide other industry services.

 

What These Talented People Taught Me

Talent can be used, or misused.

Rephrasing the above.  It was their own behavior, time after time, plus ongoing feedback from MHI members — including voices within the Clayton-21st circles – that began to compel me to rethink MHI.

Add to that MHI staff action, inaction, and years of failure that forced me one-step-at-a-time to realize what they in fact are doing to this great industry.

They don’t actually fight regulations, do they?  How could they claim otherwise, when in the DOE rule they are on the record as having advocated for them?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Shifts on DOE Regulatory Rule, Report, Analysis

They don’t fight the CFPB, when their own Government Relations Vice President said that it Would Not get past then President Barack Obama’s veto – if it ever made it that far.  It never made it that far.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

It was prominent MHI member Frank Rolfe who told me that his congressman told him that it was a waste of time to try and pass the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.  Ouch.

 

 

We editorially disagree with Ishbel Dickens on rent control, and a number of other industry and communities’ issues.

MHCs and Rent Control – Cure or Cause for Affordable Housing Crisis?

Candidates, citizens talk rent control, manufactured home community issues at ice cream social

But Dickens told me she offered MHI a compromise – to modify the MLO Rule that harmed everyone – if MHI/21st/VMF would drop their desire for the higher points and fees stance. Others in MHI later confirmed what Dickens said. Her email, is below.

IshbelDickensPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssocNMHOALogoDailyBuisnessNewsMHproNews

No open minded, thinking professional can ignore so many things, without putting a head in the sand.

Remember, these are just a few examples, there is far, far more.

In my own defense, I was never MHI’s yes man. Tim Williams said as much. I thought them wrong on the DOE Rule, and we editorialized on that point. I thought them wrong on the MHI stance on the fire sprinkler issue, etc.  We supported what we could, and asked politely about what seemed to make no sense.

MHI’s 990 claims they want member input, but apparently they don’t mean it?

 

Some Members Have No Choice…

I get it that many MHI members have no choice.  They tell me that they are compelled by fear, and other forces to be MHI members.

As a long-time MHI guy warned me, “Tony, these guys have long knives.”

I heard that, we understand.  But nothing changes until it is challenged.  Besides, frankly, the more public the challenge, the safer you are likely to be, IMHO. Look at Andy Gallagher. He may have committed, in the eyes of some at MHI, a faux pas. But because it was public, Gallagher is still safe in his job.

Andy Gallagher, “Ousting” Pam Danner, MHI, Clayton’s RVP, WVHI – “Transparency”

But Gallagher and Ayotte made just the point that we did, only differently. Pam Danner must go.  They were waiting for some magic green light to say what MHARR, Bob Crawford, Doug Gorman, MHProNews, and numerous others had said for some time.

After months of MHARR, MHProNews, some states and businesses pushing for the change, now Danner – thankfully! – is gone from the job over the HUD Code manufactured housing program administrator’s role that she had held.

But Danner is not gone because of MHI!  Rather, Danner was removed in spite of months of foot dragging by MHI.

Shake Up at HUD Manufactured Housing Program May Stop Industry Overregulation, per MH State Association

Isn’t that what the record reflects?

Are they going to seriously point to their silly resolution in Congress, rather than the obvious ask of directly calling for the removal of Danner – plus add those same concerns, as examples of why Danner needed to go?

Why has MHI so routinely been the last one to take the correct stance?  Even their former chairman admitted that the assocation had made numerous past mistakes.  MHI failure to get it right is why one of the states – see link above or below – dropped out of MHI, and they explained their reason for withdrawing.

It’s a sad, but necessary indictment of the truth about their record. Years of failure for the majority of MHI members, but those years of failure pays off for those big companies looking to consolidate the industry’s smaller companies at bargain basement prices.

That’s why the letter from AZ is so important. One of their points was along those very lines.  They pointed to success by the RV industry battling regulations that MHI failed to accomplish.

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

Great point, isn’t it?

 

The End of the MHI Charade?

The

Ø  MHI charade,

Ø  or con job,

Ø  or whatever allegation or terminology one might want to use to describe it,

is not over.

 

But the MHI mask is falling off for many.

No doubt, some big companies benefit from MHI.  That’s why the organization still exists.  The big boys are happy with it.

Pragmatically, we know some who feel that they must stay, because they have no choice. But doesn’t that arguably make MHI more of a protection racket, than a normal trade association?

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

 

But every single small-to-mid-sized member is arguably feeding the hand that bites their own.

MHI is firmly in the Buffett-Clayton outlined moat that uses non-profits and foundations as part of their moat-building process.  Invest the time to hear Kevin Clayton say so in the video linked here, in his own words.

GoodBusinessStrongCastleMoatAroundItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

 

The MHI Berkshire Hathaway Challenge

In fairness, MHI only does what their masters allow them to do.

Let them publicly debate in Tunica, on a video recorded discussion they and we can video too.

DebateMastheadblodTonyKovachMHProNews

MHProNews.com/Pixabay.

Let them have a panel of their experts – whomever they want! We’ll bring a panel of industry pros, and our experts too.

Let their panel try to prove our panel wrong, on any of the claims or concerns voice here or elsewhere on this pro-industry trade media site.

WithoutDebateWithoutCritismNoAdminNoCoutnryCansucceedNoRepublicCanSurviveJohnFKennedyManufacturedHousingIndustryMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

 

Do you think they have the guts to do that? If they were in the correct, why wouldn’t they?

 

The MHI Mask

Their act of trying to mitigate regulations, when they routinely fail in that – that’s getting harder and harder for them to say with a straight face.  Their clever MHI mask is falling off, slowly but steadily. Their track record is sad, isn’t it?

We editorially applaud MHAZ and their colleagues in Nevada who had the wisdom and the guts to quit MHI.  Let me assure you, that wasn’t an easy choice for them to make.  I don’t have to ask that, its understood for anyone who understands the tragedy that has been taking place in this industry.

MHCommunitiesOfAZNealTHaneyPresidentWhyTheyQuitManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

As the Trump Administration slowly gains more control at HUD and elsewhere, expect MHI to lose credibility as a result.  That doesn’t mean they won’t have short term connections that still periodically pay off in D.C., for what Buffett called their Moat.

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

Circling back to the opening headline.

Tim Williams. MHI President and CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison. Rick Robinson, MHI Senior VP and General Counsel, SVP Lesli Gooch, and others – one-step-at-a-time – helped me to see what’s really going on.

There’s far more.

But let me draw towards wrapping up this analysis and commentary, with the following.

Like Frank Rolfe, it didn’t on its face make sense to me why MHI would so often not defend the industry from media missteps, nor celebrate good news when it came from someone besides themselves.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

For years, as an MHI member, we promoted the good news of manufactured housing, in the most robust way in the industry’s history, on MHLivingNews.

Why didn’t MHI support those efforts?

We were members for years, why didn’t they routinely draw attention to the good news about manufactured housing we were promoting?

Even now, when we are clearly in different camps, why wouldn’t they call attention to important pro-industry news, like the two examples posted above?

Paraphrasing Rolfe’s parallel point, it made no sense…

FrankRolfeNegativeArticlesOnIndustryNoCommentbyManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIRVHorizonsMobleHomeUniversityPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

*** …unless one realizes that MHI for many years has worked with Clayton, 21st etc. to keep industry sales low. *** Why? Arguably, by keeping sales low, that allowed Warren Buffet Moat to consolidate more of the manufactured housing – into the Berkshire/Clayton/21st et al “Moat.”

It’s shrewd.

It’s long term.

It’s exactly in keeping with Mr. Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s own words.

We were never alone in being betrayed by MHI. That’s other stories, for another time. Because numerous others have been betrayed too.  I’ve listened to the stories of some, and they are often heartbreaking.

I can picture the faces of some who had that stunned ‘deer in the headlights’ look, as they described their professional plights and tragedies to me.

At the time that some told me, some of that I didn’t understand in its full significance. Now, in 20-20 hindsight, I do.

Later, as the truth slowly dawned upon us here at MHProNews, after all those voices and examples and more added up, it became clear that harming independent professionals by the thousands didn’t matter to these people.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Gives Written Responses – “Part of a Rigged, Corrupt System”

That in turn hurt millions of Americans, who may – if MHI had defended the industry every time the media or some researcher gets it wrong – have been living in a manufactured home happily for years.

Defining a Problem without Offering a Solution is Just Whining. So, What’s Next?

In no particular order of importance, the following should occur.

Given all that we now know, it is my sincere hope that for the sake of the industry, MHI be disbanded, as a hopelessly tarnished brand.  That won’t happen overnight. They were given many chances to change course and reform.  They declined that every time. So, given all of the above facts, evidence, concerns, failures, and allegations — how could that mess in Arlington, VA seriously be reformed?

It is my belief that MHI’s being disbanded may happen to them,

Ø  through legal actions, started by aggrieved members, and perhaps non-members too,

Ø  as part of anti-trust efforts, that they will likely be caught up in,

Ø  unless MHI disbands themselves, voluntarily, before-hand.

As we noted in yesterday’s report, people are innocent until proven guilty.  But an attorney we asked told us they see anti-trust action as a real possibility.  As we’ve done throughout, we must call all of these matters allegations, because that is what the suits tell us we should say.

But you as readers have the ability to discern fact from fiction, with common sense, and by looking at the facts.  Skimming these facts will never lead you to the correct conclusion. That’s Buffett’s biggest edge, he reads!  He invests the time!  Only for those who make a serious study, a half a day, a day, could do it.  Start with the videos and links, above and below.

Superficiality-is-the-curse-of-the-modernWorldMatthewKellyQuoteFancyInspirationBlogMHProNews720

Seek first understanding. Don’t skim. Don’t jump to conclusions.

I don’t believe MHI can survive the string of alleged abuses long-term. So, the industry needs to prepare another option for the post production sector. Thankfully, for producers, there is already the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

But all others need their own voice too, as MHARR has long advocated.

Others, like the AZ community owners’ association, are hunting for their own representation in D.C.

These are de facto votes of no-confidence in MHI.  Whatever modest role we may have played in exposing the MHI charade, we’re happy to have done, within the norms of remaining pro-manufactured housing industry.

Because we don’t believe the industry can achieve its great potential, until Berkshire Hathaway’s brands and their allies are at least put into check, and MHI is supplanted.

NewManufacturedHousing1trillion9PercentNew1percentExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

If any of the above is wrong, please. MHI, Clayton, 21st – show me where, and I’ll modify this post.

If any of this is wrong, then let Clayton-21st-MHI gather a panel, and let us gather a panel  We’ll debate it publicly in a third-party moderated forum, and video the entire discussion, so that the entire industry can see it. There is not a day go by that we don’t pray for them, pray for the honest liberation of this great manufactured home industry, and pray for you too.

ProblemSolutionTiredOfFightingGiantsInARiggedSystemMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews600x2345

iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com Put “News Tips” in the Subject Line.

What more needs to be said today?

AllTruthPassesThrough3StagesRidiculedViolentlyOpposedAcceptsSelfEvidentArthurSchopenhauerQuoteGalleryMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, fact checks, commentary.)

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

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is an award winning manufactured housing industry veteran, and is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com and professional service provider to the factory-built housing industry.

Connect on LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard “Dick” Jennison, President, CEO Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to Tony Kovach, MHProNews.com

February 28th, 2017 No comments

In the wake of the death of my wife Soheyla’s father yesterday, key people at MHI allegedly arranged to have a sign of their sensitivity delivered via a message to me.

RichardDickJennisonPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIAboutLATonyKovachMHProNews

See MHI’s Richard “Dick” Jennison’s thoughtful message via video, below.

We’ll plan to share that message thread with our readers in the next few days, so you and thousands of others can see for yourself how the fine folks at MHI spend their time, and spend the organization’s money.

Very Public Message from MHI’s current President, Richard “Dick” Jennison to Tony Kovach and MHProNews

Even before the email mentioned above today, Richard “Dick” Jennison, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), shared the following public comments, to Tony Kovach and MHProNews.com.  My thanks for his personal share.

My thanks to all who called and messaged my wife with their condolences.

More on the new March 2017 issue, which will go live this weekend. It will be packed with serious, and perhaps, a light-hearted item?
We Provide, You Decide.” © ##

(Image credits are as shown.)

latonykovach-caricature-postedmastheadblog-mhpronews

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach caricature.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

The Latest Unforced MHI Error

September 11th, 2016 No comments

Let’s begin by stating the obvious. We have and do support the good things that MHI does. But to paraphrase what Teddy Roosevelt said, it would be wrong – disloyal – not to oppose and expose the latest unforced MHI staff error. It’s being done for the sake of the many.

teddyrooseveltpinterestquote-credit-postedinspirationblogmhpronews-com-1

Image credit, Pinterest.

It would be wrong to allow MHI members – including those who mistakenly support those staffers who periodically make such blunders – to allow the MH Industry at large, as well as MHI members, to suffer the potentially harmful outcomes of yet another periodic error that flows from certain paid MHI staffers.

This one could be legally costly.

 

Crisp Writing…

…with notable and risky errors…

 

The MHI StatePoint advertorials are an example of how the road to hell can be paved by good intentions.  We won’t recount at this time all of the tactical and strategic errors involved in this “campaign” in terms of MHI’s credibility regarding their messaging.

mhi-manufacturedhousinginstitute-advertorialmakehomeownershipaffordablepulaskicountymirror-postedmastheadblog-mhpronews

The intention, one might presume, is to help boost the industry’s image – and thus sales. That kind of intention is arguably good. But is this the way that should be done? See the critical and problematic quote below. Image credit, MHI’s StatePoint advertorial, published in the Pulaski County Mirror.

What we will do is point out a specific, serious error.  It’s serious because of the legal/liability ramifications.

We checked this concern out with several MH Industry attorneys.  They who won’t go public, at least not at this time. But that really isn’t necessary. Because common sense is why this was brought to our attention.

RichardDickJennison-MHI-CEO-PostedMHProNews-com

MHI President and CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison, who’s name is at the center of the latest controversial communications issue involving MHI.

Common sense should have told top MHI staff that what was being sent out under Richard “Dick” Jennison’s name was an unforced error that could lead in time to litigation against the association.

The Problematic Statement in its context, & Why It’s an Issue

 This issue boils down to one sentence, but it is going to be shown below in its context.

It’s important to remember that the affordability of manufactured homes is not a product of lesser quality, but rather the efficient way building materials are produced, a savings that is passed on directly to the homebuyer,” says Jennison. “Furthermore, they appreciate in value, just like site-built homes.”

No qualifiers!  Just “...they appreciate in value…”

Unbelievable…

prolematicquotebymhipresidentdickjennisonmanufacturedhousinginstitute-postedmastheadblog-mhpronews

Screen capture of StatePoint’s Pulaski County Mirror published advertorial by MHI, focusing on Richard “Dick” Jennison’s problematic quoted statement.

For those in the MHC sector or other MH industry pros who know Ishbel Dickens, Carla Burr or others like them – can you imagine what they could publicly do to embarrass MHI with that line from the association’s CEO?

Leadership may or may not let this slide. But we as pro-industry trade publishers will not stay silent when MHI’s staffers may be leading the industry into what could be the next, highly avoidable, Seattle Times/CPI style issue.

The Legal View

scales-credit-imgbuddy-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-com

Image credit, ImgBuddy.

One of the attorneys asked about this – an MH industry pro – began his reply by asking tongue-in-cheek, with a wry chuckle, “What do you want the opinion to be?” The lawyer pressed on to what most know, you can find an attorney to agree and then attack-or-defend almost anything.

After the humor, the attorney got serious.

This is precisely one of the types of statements that we strive to avoid [at their organization]. Without the proper qualifiers, you are opening yourself up to liability.”

 

Yes, there are possible legal defenses to this scenario.

But so long as one or more aggrieved buyer(s) would swear under oath that they “relied on this appreciation statement from MHI’s president and CEO, Richard Jennison” as part of their purchasing decision, the liability door swings open. The buyer who relies on that misleading statement – thinking that they would without any ifs, ands or buts make money when they sold the home –  could after X years if they lost money for whatever reason, claim the grounds for a legal action.

warning-sign-new_zealand_credit-wikicommons-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

Warning sign, NZ, WikiCommons.

By addressing this rapidly, it could be nipped in the bud.  So why not clean up the messaging error ASAP and avoid that risk? Thus, this column.

MHI’s StatePoint Advertorial Series Lacks the Proper Foundation

MH Pros know that a good foundation system is vital for a home.  The same is true in messaging.  Without the right foundation, these words from Matthew 7:26b-27 spring to mind:

is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (NIV)

The MH Industry saw what happened in the 1990s when poorly underwritten-and-documented loans resulted in a bunch of sales, and they were followed by a bunch of repossessions.  More than 15 years later, the industry still suffers from the image, regulatory and economic fallout that activity caused manufactured housing.

The concern in this case is similar, but different.

Let’s consider the following scenario.

Imagine that MHI’s efforts – using phrases like the one shown – resulted over time in a lot of sales.

Within a few years, enough people would have sold their home to test the outcome of Jennison’s quoted statement. Odds are that significant numbers of those sellers would, for a variety of reasons, lose money. And then they will likely find media and/or attorneys to help them howl.

downward-arrow-money-bar-graph-wpcki-thumb-credit-worldpropertychannel-posted-mhpronews-com

Down arrow, losing money. Image credit, wpcki.

Do any of us think that the MH Industry needs such a spike followed by a big dump?

Warning Duty Done

MHI logo

Image credit, MHI logo, used here under fair use guidelines.

We have spotlighted the latest issue out of MHI’s Arlington offices. There are others.

MHI should correct this unforced error, stop the campaign and regroup on this entire advertorial approach.

Not that advertorials are per-se bad.  Done properly, they can have value. But MHI’s approach has numerous flaws.

If they don’t stop it, odds are good that in time, someone will look back and say, who started this MHI advertorial campaign?  Why was it allowed to happen?

amhasgetthefactsmanufacturedhousing-creditamhaposteddailybusinessnews-mhpronews-575x328

AMHA‘s new video campaign is just one of several states who are doing education/image building. Companies are doing image and marketing campaigns. MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com have been engaged on this front for years. Will the many be allowed to suffer for the mistakes of the few?

Undermines Legitimate Efforts

This sort of problematic messaging by MHI only undermines the legitimate efforts others in MH — including some state associations, companies, MHLivingNews and MHProNews have undertaken — to do education and image-building the proper way.  Namely, education based upon the truth and reality.

We as MH industry pros don’t need to exaggerate or spin the truth in order to sell more homes.

We have a great product, and it stands on its own merits.  We have great services too. Our lenders don’t need apologize, but MH chattel lending does need to be properly explained and expressed. The majority of communities don’t need to apologize; they also offer a vital and positive service – as a planned Daily Business News post will soon spotlight.

We have held — and may continue to hold — certain cards that we’d rather not have to play on the MHI/staffers issue.

Close observers will note the following. Many of these staff-related issues revolve around MHI communications combined with questionable judgement. There is a pattern. Is it intentional? Is it just sloppy?

Does it matter what the motivations or causes are, when they occur periodically, are problematic and avoidable?

AP SAINTS EAGLES FOOTBALL S FBN USA PA

In football or team sports, there is accountability. How about with the staff at MHI?
                                                                                                                                                                            When a quarterback tosses a number of interceptions, gets few if any touchdowns, in the pros, they get benched, traded or terminated. Shouldn’t a national MH association seeking to score points for the industry and its members have a similar standard?
                                                                                                                                                                           A few want to blame the messenger for making candid observations, but the sportscaster or play-by-play announcer who doesn’t make candid observations would be failing his duties as a professional. The same holds true for an MH industry trade journalist; it’s our duty to call it as we see it too.   “We Provide, You Decide.” ©                                                                                                                                                             
Photo and credit; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, left, talks with quarterback Sam Bradford during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez – USA Today)

What are the possible resolutions?

Why not have certain people own this and prior mistakes, apologize for the sake of the industry and then step aside?

Or barring that, why shouldn’t they be asked by their superiors to leave? ##

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

 

 

Correcting the Record – MHI, Jennison and Gooch

July 7th, 2016 No comments

There are those who believe that certain MHProNews articles and my editorials or analysis on the “MHI Housing Alert” sent out by MHI’s Lesli Gooch under Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison’s authority are driven by a desire to do a frontal attack on the association or large companies. 

There are those who think that MHI is just shadow dancing in its claims to advance DTS, or to get more lending into the industry, as well as those who doubt that MHI seriously wants to see HR 650/S 682 enacted into law.

Let’s tackle those and other, recently raised and related perceptions.

We’ll start by saying that skimming this article will result in more misunderstandings, rather than clarity. Whatever you skim, might be the key points you need to understand what, in fact, has been and more recently is taking place.

You care enough about this issue to be reading this, so kindly care enough – to Please – Do Not Skim This Article.

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world.
― Matthew Kelly

MHI-MHARR-MHEC-DC-MHProNews-collage-copyright2016WeProvideYouDecide

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.

1) We know from a variety of sources that MHI as an organization – as well as finance-focused operations from across the MH spectrum, which are often members of MHI – are making good faith efforts to get the GSEs to better understand MH and to do chattel (personal property, home only) loans on manufactured homes. For example…

There are

  • detailed disclosures by MH lenders on chattel loan performance, and there are:
  • Trips to communities,
  • Trips to retail centers,
  • Trips to factories,

and other efforts that are all geared toward gaining the buy-in of the GSEs for Duty to Serve (DTS for manufactured housing), and/or to obtain the support of FHFA with the GSEs on DTS, etc.. These facts and insights come from lenders, finance pros, people “in the room,” and others.

  1. Those facts in no way militates the efforts of MHARR or others toward accomplishing the goal of making DTS for MH personal property lending a reality.

2a) So to say that MHI has no serious interest in getting DTS into reality would fly in the face of evidence to the contrary.

2b) That said, is MHI doing the best possible job on that issue?  That’s a different question, and a fair one. For example, why has no one from MHI contacted Titus Dare to see what they might learn from him on DTS?  What causes opportunities by MHI staff to learn from others to be missed?

2c) Mindful of #3 below, why doesn’t MHI ask for transparency in releasing the minutes to its private meetings with the FHFA? That transparency, the Masthead  believes, would be good for all in the industry. Further, FHFA ought to release minutes from other private meetings — for example, those with consumer groups.

2d) The more industry leaders and pros know the full picture, the more likely we are going to come with a happy outcome on DTS. Transparency pays.

2e) That the Masthead  isn’t anti-MHI or anti-large operation ought to be self-evident to someone who actually cares about the facts and are fully informed.  Just this month, support for MHI is suggested by the Jayar Daily Congressional testimony article on the home page this month. More to the point, MHProNews has years of history sharing positive insights on and about MHI, and the same can be said about other associations.  

2f) Properly understood, MHProNews’ calling attention to issues has, as its implied aim, for MH Pros to be goal and solution oriented.  A critical analysis is done to help MHI and all other associations, too, not to harm, and thus to help the industry advance, too.  A close reading – not skimming! – will make that evident.

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Image credit, Shutterstock, FreeVector.

3) There are reasons why MHARR and MHI often don’t get along – and we won’t go into detail on that today – we just mention that each organization has their suspicions of the other. That reality is entirely apart from any editorializing we or others may or may not do – that MHI-MHARR tension existed decades before MHProNews published its first edition in October 2009. Our writing about it – or not – makes the tension no more or less real.

  1. We will note for today that it’s in the industry’s best interest when MHI and MHARR are on the same
    don-glisson-jr-triad-financial-service-manufactured-housing-loans-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-

    Triad Financial Services Chairman, Don Glisson, Jr.  For Another Cup of Coffee with…Don Glisson Jr, click here or the photo above.

    page; we agree on this point with Don Glisson, Jr. Because for over 17 years, the only time the industry gets what it wants in D.C. is when the two associations – plus state associations – are working in concert. We’ve made that point numerous times in the past.

  1. In a perfect world, both national associations and their respective interests would be at the same table. At various times, MHI and MHARR have in fact been at the same table. Yes, it’s idealistic, but it has been done before, so there are good reasons to think it’s achievable now.  Industry pros like Don Glisson, Jr. have at various times tried to bridge that gap.
  1. Further, while it’s idealistic to think that small, medium and large organizations – and consumers, as well as businesses – can and should all come together to work for the common good, that, too, is attainable. The MH Industry will never hit it’s potential until we are seen as being very pro consumer, which the vast majority of MH Pros already are!
BobCrawford-left-FrankRolfe-rightInsideMHMHProNewsVideo-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-

Bob Crawford – left. Frank Rolfe, right. Still from MHProNews video on this page.

Fair and Balanced…

  1. This month, we have two articles that present differing viewpoints. One is an interview with Frank Rolfe, that defends MHI. Interestingly, Rolfe doesn’t defend Jennison or Gooch, at least not by name. Let me underscore again:Literally no one has given us a cogent defense for the “Housing Alert” or other items linked above. No one.  By contrast, we’ve had numbers of people who think MHProNews has done the industry a favor by bringing these issues to light. There are also those who have chided, or politely suggested, that our coverage on this topic helps no one. We’ve also had those who have asked us to clarify — are we attacking MHI’s very existence?  Are we attacking big businesses? We strive to keep all of these perspectives in mind, and they are in fact one of several good reasons for this in-depth column.  We want to be responsive to our readers and industry leaders, just as we want MHI to be responsive, too.

7a) Readers should consider the fact that the CSPAN video was first brought to our attention by a highly placed pro at a large industry operation. As in many of the issues we tackle, they arise from input or grow from insights from readers and industry professionals who are in the know.  We don’t just start sounding off on a topic, we seek to understand it first.

7b) For those who mistakenly think we are attacking a large firm by attacking MHI, that too is clearly contradicted by the full context of how this issue has been brought to the industry and public’s attention. The video we produced, linked here, includes an article that very clearly calls on the media to correct the record of their previously errant reporting about MH industry lending and related issues. A close view of the video will reveal that Richard Cordray offers a surprisingly helpful defense for the industry’s lending, which The Seattle Times/Buzz Feed and others grossly misrepresented.

7c) Before we published our critiques of Jennison and Gooch and their now infamous “housing alert,” they had ample opportunity to correct the record themselves. They failed to do so.  We routinely ask for input, prior to publishing; if a source fails to respond, isn’t that on them?  Did they think their controversial alert and apparent errors would be overlooked, forgotten, ignored, what?

  1. We also published an article by Bob Crawford, calling for a new independent post-production association. It includes a video where he talks about that topic. He rates MHI’s effectiveness in their work on behalf of independent retail and community operators, of which he is one.
  1. Those two viewpoints – Crawford or Rolfe’s – don’t exhaust such a topic. We’ll gladly publish others on such issues. Once more, We Provide, You Decide. © Let me observe anew that the best way for MHI – or any association – to avoid such issues about division within a membership is to make sure they are, in fact, listening to and serving the broadest possible interests of the industry.

9a) At the core are issues of credibility and accountability.  Part of the challenge for manufactured housing is that too many outside of our industry don’t believe what the industry says.  That’s an educational issue, but it also means that MHI’s communications should always be unquestionably accurate.  When that fails, then doesn’t that cast a question mark on other things MHI says, or the industry attempts to do, in D.C. and beyond? 

MHProNewsAnalysisMasthead-JennisonGoochMHI

The infamous April MHI Housing Alert isn’t the only such issue, but the housing alert is one that is easy to review and thus easy to see analyze what took place. Its pretty black and white.

10) That, too, is a reason why editorially we believe that both MHARR and MHI serve important and useful purposes. Ideally, they will work together as much as possible. Stating the obvious often brings clarity. Talk of a third or fourth national association would be at zero if there was a wide perception that all needs and perspectives in MH are being addressed.

JDHarpercreditLinkedIn-postedMastheadMHProNews-

JD Harper, photo credit, Linkedin.

10a) Some will recall that Arkansas’s JD Harper floated a balloon a few years ago for a bridging voice between MHI and MHARR that could advance the MH cause in D.C.

10b) All such efforts ought to send a message. And that message is? Clearly, not everyone believes their needs or interests are being heard! If they were, there would not be MHI members who verbally and in writing communicate their concerns to MHProNews about how national issues are being (mis)handled.

10c) We don’t take on that role lightly. We ask questions, gain insights, do research before we publish on a sensitive topic. So a careful read, starting from the headline on the MHProNews home page says that it’s Staffers who are questioned, and that’s a clear distinction between staff and the organization as a whole.

  1. Look at Frank Rolfe’s comments, part of which is almost humorous (ironic…). He says that people should join MHI to find out what they are doing. The irony is, until Dick Jennison pulled the plug – first on the Journal, months later with MHProNews – there was a level of MHI addressing the industry in its own voice on the pages of MHProNews.

11a) It was Jennison who ended that communication to the industry, at his request, long before we raised issues about his leadership at MHI.  So for those who allege that Jennison is only reacting to what we’ve published, sorry, but that’s hogwash.  For whatever reason, Jennison cut publishing ties to the Journal first, and later with us.  It’s all on him.

  1. There are some long-term MHI members – some of whom no longer attend meetings – that say, ‘We don’t always know why MHI does 
    MHI's New CEO, Dick Jennison

    This was one of the photos taken by MHProNews, a behind-the-camera, behind-the-scenes effort some years ago to get MHI and MHARR to work more closely together. Richard Dick Jennison, left, M. Mark Weiss, right.

    what it does.’ Isn’t that an obvious internal communications issue? Who besides MHI caused that? It wasn’t the Masthead, so isn’t that clearly an internal issue for MHI to address? Even their so-called Week in Review isn’t actually weekly. WiR is published roughly 20+ times a year, in the last few years that Jennison has taken over the helm at MHI.  Does anyone sense a pattern there in Arlington, where Jennison’s MHI office is?

12a) Among the callers yesterday was an industry voice that said, we (MHProNews) should be encouraging more attendance at MHI meetings. Fair topic, which at times past, we’ve done just that; so once more, a complete and balanced-by-the-facts viewpoint is needed. We often talk about MHI meetings, before during and after an event, as regular readers well know. That said, the other perspective might be: Why don’t more pros want to come to MHI meetings?  Apathy happens for a reason.  Isn’t apathy a kind of vote of disinterest or lack of confidence that the effort is worth the time and cost?

  1. We publish MHARR news unedited, and we did the same for MHI for years. Let me state for the record: I can send a request to MHARR for comments or follow up or to address a concern.  I’ll get a prompt answer from MHARR. As our email records and text messages would show, we can address MHI staff on questions, and they routinely won’t answer. Why not? Jennison? Some other reason?  

13a) That’s the opposite of how it was between MHI and MHProNews in years gone by. We used to get prompt responses from Jennison early in his tenure, and also from Thayer Long before Dick came on board.  It wasn’t MHProNews that changed efforts at good communications to none, so why did someone at MHI change that past dynamic between us, as the leading MH publisher, and staff at the Arlington-based association?  Who was the whiz kid who decided it was smart to ignore the industry’s trade media?

14) We still do articles in the Daily Business News that report on both associations. Then there are editorials, some by myself or others, on issues relating to MHI or MHARR. Again, We Provide, You Decide. ©

MHI-staffon-DTS-CFPB-lobbying

Are opportunities to get more lending into MH being missed or slowed by mishandling by key MHI staffers?  These are issues regardless if MHProNews chose to report on them or not. Some are thanking us for covering these matters; others think they should be kept out of the public view.  But when off-the-radar efforts fail, the next step is to go public with industry members. This analysis and those linked provide more insights on finance-related topics.

Bottom Lines?

  1. Calling out realities at MHI ought to be seen as MHProNews doing MHI and its leadership a real, sincere favor. Otherwise, issues will fester until there is a rupture.
    mhi-logo-in-the-spotlight-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

    MHI logo is their trademark, and is used here for editorial purposes only. MHProNews Spotlight, credit, MHProNews.

    15a) Some members get great attention, while other members feel ignored. That’s a fact we hear from members often.

  2. Calling on MHI’s top staff to speak to members in a candid, forthright manner is Ethics 101. I make no apology for holding them accountable — that’s a valid role of objective trade media. Before this issue burst on the scenes, MHI Chair Tim Williams defended that value of MHProNews precisely for our independent perspective. 

16a) If we, as an industry, are to showcase our amazing value – if MH, as an industry, is to be seen as the caring professionals most of us strive to be – then collectively, the MH Industry has to be willing to look at allegations like the Jennison/Gooch issue for what they are — more on that, linked here.

  1. That we are pro-MH or pro-association ought not to be doubted. That we are only for small businesses would be a wrong interpretation of reality, as noted above and by the fact that we serve a wide spectrum of MH-related firms and firms in MHI, MHARR, state associations or those in no association, too.  
  1. As further proof of our years of balance on MHProNews, we’ve done interviews with mom-and-pop,
  • consultants,
  • large, medium and small operations,
  • and those in between. We’ve published hundreds and thousands of statements and accounts we don’t necessarily agree with, but it was what the speaker said.  Some industry pros completely get that we are doing what other trade publications in other industries do; some just don’t see that yet. 
CollageofVideosInterview-MHProNews-LATonyKovach

Mostly stills from videos in our industry-leading Inside MH Video series, published on MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews, depending on the topic.  This is a cross section of operations from single location operations to the largest in MH. We strive to be balanced in our coverage and in our analysis.  We invite and publish other viewpoints.  What could be more fair than that?  Only those who skim or don’t read would accuse us of being unfair or unbalanced, or of attacking any size organization or association.  Accountability issues ought to be seen as pro-industry, not anti-industry.

Just page through the years of our A Cup of Coffee with…interview series as proof.

  1. As an example that MHProNews isn’t anti-big business (or business or organizations of any size), we’ve defended ELS when they were wrongfully attacked – and ELS, to my recollection, has never been a client of our firm at any time or level. We’ve defended Clayton and MH lending more than any other publisher anywhere in the past 18 months, and that took place prior to their being an advertiser – and it wasn’t the cause of their becoming an advertiser.  Publishing and marketing have an intersection, but they are two different things in trade publishing. We respect that line, and trust that our sponsors understand that point very well.
  1. The record reflects our independence and the record reflects we defend and promote the MH Industry far more than we criticize it.
    im-williams-CEO-and-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-com-

    Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage CEO and current MHI Chairman. Click his name to see the interview with Tim.

    Again, Tim Williams point above is spot on.

  1. We’ve criticized CFPB or HUD far more than we have George Allen, MHI, MHARR or anyone else.
  1. My 80 percent friend is not our 20 percent enemy. We may bridge the gap by calling people to account when necessary, but isn’t that an important and valid role of good trade media?
  1. So yes, this writer has editorialized why Gooch and Jennison should go, while not harboring any illusions that we can force that issue. Leadership will do what it wants, for whatever reasons they may have.  Nor will MHProNews plan to make this an eternal mission to write about them every day or week. That would get boring pretty quickly.

24) A tiny minority of what we publish has been about those two MH senior staff members, and a tiny minority of our MHI coverage has been a critical analysis. So the fact that it has raised so many eyebrows points to the fact that the issue is real and needs to be addressed, doesn’t it?!

My80%FriendIsNotMy20%EnemyRonaldReagan-postedMHProNews-com

Optics and Perceptions 

  1. Writers are often reminded that numbers of people skim rather than actually read.  As a writer or publisher, we are not responsible for that reality. If someone or a number of others misread what is published, that’s solely on those doing the misreading.
  1. A careful reading of what we’ve published recently – or over the years, as well, plus behind-the-scenes efforts – ought to prove that we try to bridge gaps, not create them.
  1. But when a gap exists, it does no good to ignore or gloss over it. That’s not negative, that’s reality. We do the industry a favor when we spotlight an important issue that is going unaddressed, or when behind-the-scenes efforts have failed to produce a good outcome.
    gaps-method=credit-postedon-MHProNews

    We will look at the GAPS Method in the near future, as one of the tools to analyze the road blocks to MH advancement.

  1. By analogy, lancing a boil brings out puss and blood. It’s ugly. But once done properly, healing comes in its wake, and the lanced skin grows stronger, not weaker, as a result. Let’s ponder how that analogy applies to MH, or MHI.LancingTheBoil-drawceptioncredit-postedMHProNews-
  1. As a matter of record, we’ve made it clear that calling into question the judgment of Gooch and Jennison on this (or other?!) issues doesn’t represent an assault on MHI.  That’s a bad misread. Please see the linked article, and note the quotes from me. Beginning with the headline, the statements focus on performance by staff members, and how that impacts MHI and thus our industry, too. MHI is not being attacked.  MHI’s effectiveness has been questioned, at the staff and bottom-line-results levels.  Those are two entirely different things!
  1. As a matter of record, we’ve alleged there has been no good rationale to defend the infamous April Housing Alert from Jennison and Gooch, which sparked this recent controversy. It’s not the only reason, but given they had an opportunity to correct the record after we produced the video, and days before we published our first critique on this topic – isn’t it a plenty good reason to see them go? As an executive told MHProNews about the Gooch/Jennison Housing Alert off-the-record, there are no good reasons to deceive or mislead any member, much less in writing in the fashion that Gooch and Jennison advanced.AmericanBankingNews-KEY-MHI-StaffExcoriatedFailingMissionMembers-postedMastheadMHProNews-
  1. I’ve assured colleagues, clients and others who’ve contacted us that the Masthead  doesn’t plan to make a career out of writing or publishing on this one issue, as important as it is. Hindsight is 20/20 for us all. Time will tell if the leadership at MHI was correct in standing by Gooch and Jennison. But I’ll stress again, no one, NO ONE, has yet to offer a good explanation that justifies what that pair did. Isn’t that troubling?  
  1. Don’t shoot the messenger or the analyst – the focus ought to be on what Jennison and Gooch did and/or failed to do.  If someone wants to offer a defense of that memo, please bring it on – we routinely publish perspectives different than our own when they are well reasoned. Isn’t that fair enough?

33) In fact, we demonstrated in MHLivingNews.com, that the comments from Senators Donnelly, Corker and Richard Cordray could have been used by Gooch and Jennison to advance the cause of the pending legislation (HR 650/S 682). Why not let Gooch and Jennison explain why they missed that fact? Aren’t they the paid staffers? And why are they still missing that opportunity?  Ego?  Agenda?  Poor judgment?  What?

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

Richard Cordray quotes and those from the report and video on this page, linked here. Why didn’t MHI’s Gooch and Jennison do a similar graphic, and use it to advance the MHI bill in Congress?  Or even easier, why didn’t MHI use this information already published, and simply ask us as an MHI member to share it?

  1. I’d further say that MHI – which means staff at MHI – missed an opportunity to draw positive attention to the industry on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of HUD Code Manufactured Housing. Perhaps it’s still not too late? 

35) People make mistakes. I certainly do; all of us do. Do the mistakes made by Jennison and Gooch warrant replacing them? Do missed opportunities by MHI staffers to promote more financing or ease the CFPB rules which harm MH warrant a call for new faces in Arlington? One of our slogans for years has been:

We Provide, You Decide. ©

E Pluribis Unum – From the Many, One

  1. On our recent first-of-the-month Masthead, we published the graphic below/left. We believe in unity, but we see little or no value to a fictional or paper-only unity.
UnityStrengthDivisionWeakness-SwahliProverb-ilovebeingblack-twitter=credit-postedMHProNews

There have for centuries been those who worked for unity, and towards division, in all nations and places.  See that Masthead, linked here.

37) I won’t dive into GAPS Analysis today, but will once more mention that as a pro-industry digital publisher, we can do critiques that are professional, rather than personal attacks in nature. See the last Masthead to better understand the topic.

  1. We hope enough readers of good will can step back and look at ALL the facts objectively, to see clearly anew we that we at MHProNews and on MHLivingNews are what we have always been. We are Pro-the-MH Industry. We are Pro-Associations at all levels; they’re all necessary! And when properly led, they have, and will do much good.

Conclusions

At the end of the day, we publish with the goal of solving or promoting solutions to real issues – to report Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use©

mhpronews-logo-dropshadow-manufactured-home-pro-news-logo (1)

We bring plenty of attention to the good news in MH!

A wise man once said that if you have only positive, or only negative poles – in electricity – then you have no power. It takes reality – both positive and negative poles – to produce useful energy.

So when we spotlight a challenge, we hope, work and pray that through thoughtful consideration and action, that will lead to solving real problems.  Burying heads in the sands solves nothing.

head-in-sand-wikicommons-dilbert=credit-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-

Some don’t want to hear what they might take to be bad news. Image Credits – Dilbert, WikiCommons

Our MH industry has a great story, we strive to tell those stories routinely on MHLivingNews and on MHProNews as well. We plan to stick with that effort until we close more gaps, and until the day comes when we pass on the baton to those who will follow in our wake.

In the meantime, the summary of the above is this.

We can critique MHI’s staff without desiring in any way its destruction.

We can critique MHI without attacking any member company of any size.

We want to see the industry advance, which means that MHI and others must grapple with reality, not sweep it under the rug.  

Our spotlighting issues is doing MHI and the industry a favor, so long as that favor is acted upon in a solution oriented vs. a sweep-it-under-the-rug-fashion. 

We believe the evidence shows that MHI and MHI members are making real efforts to do what they say they are trying to do on DTS.

That said, the questions include, could MHI be more effective at advancing more MH lending?  Are key MHI staff doing all that is possible to advance the association’s agenda? Are opportunities being missed?

Reports from MHI members to MHProNews and the word from others tell us that opportunities are being missed, and that more could have been done.  One example is word from those “in the room” is that the MLO rule change could have already been effected, with a different approach. 

MHI has an opportunity to turn the lemons of these issues into lemonade. The ball is in their court, right where it always has been. We’re bringing reports and analysis, it is up to others to act upon them, or not. We Provide, You Decide. ©  ##

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon--250x167

Photo taken during New York Housing Association meeting; L. A. “Tony” Kovach questioning regulators.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Managing Member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.
Publisher of Industry leading 
MHLivingNews.com,MHProNews.com
and 
Inside MH video series.
MHI member, elected MHI Suppliers Division board member.
Consultant and service provider to the MH industry.

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

Publisher – MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com

It’s #1! Get our industry leading, free, Twice Weekly emailed news, tips updates (our emailed Newsletters look like this) – sign up free in seconds at MHProNews.com/Subscribe. 

Lender Says MH Loan Option Hidden by MHI President, Manufactured Home Sales Lost

June 25th, 2016 No comments

Politics is really about the story you tell and getting the people on your side.”

— Julie Pace – Chief White House Correspondent for the Associated Press

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Lesli Gooch, PhD, MHI.

At an MHI meeting in 2015, Lesli Gooch and a room full of industry professionals were introduced to a proposal about how good storytelling could enhance MH lending regulatory relief efforts.

By spotlighting current manufactured homeowners and MH shoppers who have been impacted by the CFPB’s implementation of Dodd-Frank rules, a clearer understanding of the harm caused to real people could be told in a compelling way.  

It’s the “poster child” approach many other industries and businesses use successfully.

Why not have a series of MH “poster child” stories, told through video, pictures, graphics and the written word?

Then allow those real-life experiences of MH shoppers, MH homeowners and MH industry professionals convey the issues in a fashion that helps others connect to an otherwise technical and dry regulatory story.

Gooch’s reaction?

Gooch immediately dismissed and shot the “poster child” concept down at that meeting.

As the initial advocate and others outside that meeting room later discussed, the storytelling approach could be useful in countering a negative media narrative promoted by others opposing the Manufactured Housing Institute’s sponsored legislation — HR 650/S 682 (Preserving Access...).

Decades of lobbying experiences by other industries proved that the poster child method could also help elected or appointed officials, policy advocates and their staffs to connect with those in the stories.

So why would Gooch, with her PhD in hand, nix a widely proven method of political engagement?

More Manufactured Home Lending Opportunities Missed, Lost or Buried by MHI? 

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MHI President and CEO, RIchard “Dick” Jennison.

In 2013, the day prior to the opening of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, a national lender was a featured speaker at a semi-private industry educational/promotional event attended by Richard J. “Dick” Jennison, the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) president.

Jennison issued a statement that praised the event and its content.

But that national lender/speaker has told MHProNews that neither MHI’s Dick Jennison, nor the National Community

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Jenny Hodge, MHI VP and National Communities Council (NCC)

Council’s (NCC) Jenny Hodge made any effort to advance an untapped option for more MH lending — that a creative and appealing loan program useful in both land lease and in land/home sales already existed, but was grossly overlooked.

Then, as now, MHI officially said that promoting new lending in manufactured housing was a top priority for MHI.

In an opinion column published by AmericanBanker, Gooch wrote:

For the record, the Manufactured Housing Institute has been leading the campaign to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing market for years.”

She went on to say that “MHI wants to expand access to financing for manufactured housing and increase the number of lenders that offer such financing. It is time that we all work collaboratively toward constructive and actionable solutions.”

Those solutions, Gooch’s column noted, should include the FHFA encouraging the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to do chattel lending.

Gooch is partially correct, in as much as MHProNews confirmed sources closely connected with various non-Berkshire-Hathaway lenders that they were included in Duty to Serve (DTS)-related meetings.

But numerous industry lenders – and lenders not in MHI that sought to advance programs for manufactured housing – have given insights that conflict with the rosy picture Gooch painted in American Banker.

The known facts suggest that for whatever reasons or motives, MHI has missed numerous opportunities to expand manufactured housing home-only and land/home lending.  The impact on the factory built housing industry in terms of lost sales could be in the billions of dollars annually.

The Titus Dare

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Titus Dare, Eagle One Financial.

Dare’s first article A Deeper Look at why the GSEs say no to Securitizing Chattel Loans, includes this comment:

It is MHI’s lack of understanding of the function the GSEs have in providing paper to their core secondary lenders, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America (BOA) and U.S. Bank.

If Gooch and MHI were sincere in their desire to work collaboratively to increase lending, then why have Dare’s insights been ignored?

According to a comment we received on Friday (6/24/16) from Dare:

After my articles in MHProNews were published, I heard from industry and MHI members. But not a word or any follow up from anyone at the Manufactured Housing Institute.”

Other Missed Lending Opportunities? More non-MHI lenders ignored?

This writer has made numerous efforts during the presidency of MHI CEO Jennison to address the need for more lending in manufactured housing.

Meetings open to industry members were held in Tunica and Louisville.

Underused or unused programs were examined that, given the proper attention and effort, could have then – and still today – significantly increase MH sales.

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How much does the locked door on more lending options cost manufactured housing industry members every year? Photo credit, FlickrCreativeCommons.

Dozens of industry pros who came to each of those sessions and events, and thousands more who read about them wondered: What happened?

Good questions. Some of those took place prior to Lesli Gooch coming on board, but they were known to Jennison, MHI’s president. Why did he fail to engage on those opportunities?

Looking Back at U.S. Bank

This writer signaled in the summer of 2014 The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales. Within months of that column, U.S. Bank pulled out of the manufactured housing lending market.

Our high-level contacts at U.S. Bank reported, both off-the-record and in official statements, that low volume and regulatory risks caused them to walk away from a home-only lending program that was profitable, but whose volume was too low to continue to fight the long-term regulatory battles.

So it isn’t just MHARR that suggests that MHI has failed to correct the problems with MH industry home lending. Nor is it just sources inside or close to MHARR that accuse MHI of de facto choking off lending with the goal of causing independent businesses to sell off to MHI member companies, or close shop.

In the light of such facts, do concerns raised by MHARR CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD,

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-75x75-

M Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR.

asking for the minutes of the closed-door MHI meeting with FHFA about getting the GSE’s to do chattel lending on manufactured homes take on a more urgent look?

View from the Masthead

Management from one of the GSEs met privately with me, at their request, in Las Vegas at the MHI Congress and Expo event. As the Masthead  previously reported, we were told, off the record, that there was not much respect at that giant organization for MHI.

MHProNews was also told that the GSEs would not do chattel lending on manufactured housing, unless the FHFA ordered it.

It was that report that caused Titus Dare to reach out and share his insights on how MHI has fumbled this opportunity in recent years.

Dare’s reporting seems balanced, in as much as he reminds the industry that, prior to the current MHI regime, there was progress made with the GSEs, and that some $150 million in lending in land lease manufactured home communities was successfully done.

Dare is currently involved in a non-MH project, so he has no obvious axe to grind, other than his desire to see manufactured housing prosper well beyond its current low levels.

Deliberately Misleading the MH Industry?

MHProNews has shined a spotlight on the fact that Lesli Gooch, with Dick Jennison’s okay, issued a statement to industry members that was technically accurate, but completely missing the fact that Senator Joe Donnelly’s pro-MH statements were strongly resisted by the CFPB’s Richard Cordray (see the MHI Housing alert, CSPAN video and analysis linked here.)

MHProNews provided MHI repeated opportunities to answer questions on these topics; in each case, they declined or opted not to reply.

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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, (D-IN).

When MHProNews formally requested that MHI permit a video and questions for Sen. Donnelly’s upcoming talk to MHI members in Indianapolis, MHI responded with a strongly worded no.

Gooch claimed in her op-ed to American Banker that now is the time “that we all work collaboratively toward constructive and actionable solutions.

Yet it is Gooch – as noted above – who publicly declined using any supportive video and other poster child -type storytelling efforts by MHLivingNews or MHProNews on behalf of MHI’s bill.

Do they really want it to pass?

It is Gooch and company that have failed to follow up with Titus Dare, to see what they might learn from him on getting the Duty to Serve (DTS) successfully implemented by the GSEs.

Do they really want DTS to become reality? If not, why not?

When Gooch, writing on the association’s behalf, says that MHI “has been leading the campaign to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing market for years — doesn’t the evidence suggest otherwise?

 

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If you look carefully, the money bag has the top choked off. Choking off manufactured housing lending options harms prospectiveMH  buyers, MH home owners and tens of thousands of manufactured home industry professionals. Indeed, the case can be made that lost MH lending options means lost new home and resales – thus  harming everyone in the industry’s mix. So why allow this pattern of lost lending opportunities to continue at MHI? Photo credit, WikiCommons.

How does one explain the repeated failures by MHI staff to embrace options and opportunities or new lenders into the MHI space that could lead the industry into more competitive lending and more new manufactured home sales?

Respected and High-Profile Members Who Won’t be at the MHI meeting in Indy

There are numerous voices that are telling MHProNews, off the record, that they won’t be in Indianapolis for MHI’s Summer Meeting. Others are saying they will go, but still expect more of the same.

One pro stated they were shocked that MHI was indirectly admitting they were once more being blind-sided on the “anti-MHI rider” that a message from Jennison urgently called on industry professionals to oppose.

As some are quietly asking: Is it all a show?

If the staff was serious about getting more lending and passage of their bill, how to explain the numerous obvious, yet missed, opportunities outlined in this article? Theories and allegations on these issues abound.

In our rapidly approaching July issue, we will feature on the record comments from well-known and respected operations that say:

  • they support MHI, but suggest that nothing much is getting done

  • that MHI may benefit a select few, but has failed the industry at large and are calling for a new association to be formed

  • We may have more details on a source that says he has spoken with industry professionals prepared to put over a million dollars into funding a new post-production association and promotional effort.

The Masthead  has been sounding the klaxon that if MHI is to avoid more embarrassment or further internal divisions, changes — including some level of house cleaning — must take place.

There have been rumors that one or more MHI staff members — seeing the coverage and the growing revelations — are polishing resumes and looking for new opportunities outside of manufactured housing.

Pulling the Threads Together…

The AP’s Julie Pace is correct. “Politics is really about the story you tell and getting the people on your side.”

MHI’s communications to industry, and to those they claim to want to influence, could be termed lackluster, dry and — given that Preserving Access is stalled — ineffective.

They failed to get the GSE’s or FHFA to say yes to chattel lending.

There are many bright spots in MHVille, but how many are directly attributable to MHI?

As a dues-paying, elected MHI board member, this writer has as recently as this week written Congress on behalf of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Not many in the industry could claim to have created more educational storytelling than MHLivingNews.com has, all accomplished with the support and involvement of a range of MH companies and our team members.

We believe in the industry. We believe, too, that the facts show that something dramatic has to happen at MHI, because it clearly is ineffective as it is currently operating.

Gooch wrote about “numerous articles about MHI’s strong support for the inclusion of chattel lending in the rule.” A recent MHI message told their members that MHI “urged” HUD to make changes in their regulatory regimen.

If writing and urging were the only things needed to get implementation or regulations to change, or bills to pass, they would have succeeded long ago.

But the opposite is clearly evidenced by Gooch’s own letters to American Banker, when she says they’ve been working on these issues for years. Isn’t that like saying, they’ve failed to move the ball for years? How long does one keep a coach or player that doesn’t score points for the home team?

Yes, D.C. is in gridlock, as MHI defenders say. But if they can’t get something done, why does the MHI staff continue to grow? What are they all doing now to successfully address issues, rather than “urge” and “strongly support” a change?

It is MHI members who are quietly telling the Masthead that MHI had the opportunity to get the MLO rule changed. Those same voices tell us that achieving that success could have led to others on points and fee thresholds, the twin goals of Preserving Access.

If MHI’s leadership wants to move the ball down the field and score points that sell more homes, a serious series of changes must take place at MHI.

As strong supporters of MH industry professionals and homeowners, only success should be accepted.

We have too good a story to tell! Why isn’t MHI effectively telling it? How many lost sales will we accept before change is demanded, or a new association is formed? ##

Footnotes

1) The following two MHARR Washington Updates each include references to the handling by MHI of the Duty-to-Serve rule, and MHARR’s allegations that this is being done to favor the largest lenders; i.e. the Berkshire-Hathaway owned lenders.

http://www.mhpronews.com/images/stories/uploads/MHARR_APRIL_21_2016_WASHINGTON_UPDATE.pdf

http://www.mhpronews.com/latest-news-from-mharr/11445-mharr-washington-update-report-and-analysis

2) For updates on queries and comments regarding this message from industry members, please see below. (6.26 and 6.27.2017)

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Photo taken during New York Housing Association meeting, Tony questioning regulators.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Managing Member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.
Publisher of MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com and Inside MH storytelling video series.
MHI member, elected MHI Suppliers Division board member.
Consultant and service provider to the MH industry.

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

It’s #1! Get our industry leading, free, Twice Weekly emailed news, tips updates (our emailed Newsletters look like this) – sign up free in seconds at MHProNews.com/Subscribe. 

(Editor’s notes: we’ve had numerous messages and calls about this column, and previously about others that cited Titus Dare’s writing and work. Among the messages were those who have worked with Dare on these home-only GSE loans in the manufactured home community market, or did committee work with him, etc.  

Among those messages that came in on 6.25.2016, two questioned the total amount of those GSE originated loans.  We’ve therefor asked Titus Dare to double check his records, and we will update that if/as needed for accuracy.  MHProNews has been and will always seek to be for getting the facts correctly.  Dare has texted back saying he’s happy to double check on those figures next week and will advise as needed, so that too suggests a desire for accuracy.

A comment from a high level MHI member used words to the effect that MHI can’t keep a lender out of the manufactured housing market, regardless if such a lender was encouraged or discouraged by MHI. While that’s technically true, it misses two broader realities.

First, The low volume of MH loans – combined with other factors such as the CFPB’s onerous regulatory regime – is what drove US Bank out.  Low volume is a piece of the puzzle for new MH sales growth, which is why that factor was noted in the original column, above.

Opening up new lending, especially on a national scale, requires significant time, talent and financial resources. So anything a prospective lender can do to bring those up-front costs down before going to market will make it easier for a new lender to say – yes, we want to make loans on manufactured housing.  

That also means the reverse is true.  If a prospective lender finds they aren’t getting interest or support from a national association (in this case, MHI) that repeatedly states that new lending is high priority for them, isn’t that a reason to question the wisdom of entering into making loans in MHVille?

So logically – yes, failure for MHI to encourage lenders can be costly to the industry at large.

The second point is that Gooch’s article in American Banker, was it entirely accurate when it says that MHI wants to encourage new lenders, or not?  Doesn’t the evidence indicate otherwise?  Didn’t key MHI staff members – at a minimum – fail to encourage lenders and options that were presented to them in a meeting?  And that meeting had dozens in attendance, including me.

The objective reader can see that Gooch, with Jennison’s okay, sent out a MHI Housing Alert message to members that distorted what acctually took place in the hearing with Senator Joe Donnelly and CFPB’s Richard Cordray. Typos or honest mistakes can happen to anyone, and most people understand those for what they are. But once someone has deliberately decieved, it can be hard to regain trust.

Organizations are obviously made up of people, and an association has staff that does its work.  This pro-Industry trade publication has questioned the allegations, facts and concerns raised about members of the MHI staff.  These concerns are routinely brought to us by third parties. So MHProNews spotlighting staff at an organization isn’t the same as condemning the organization, of which this writer is a member.

So what needs no update is that whatever the precise amount of the loans involved, or how many lenders MHI staff members may have failed to encourage to lend in the MH market, the principles noted above all still apply.  Why did MHI not contact Dare?  Why did Dick Jennison or Jenny Hodge not encourage other lending in the MH space when, they met personally with a lender interested in doing work in the manufactured housing market?  Was Lesli Gooch incorrect in saying that MHI encourages more lenders?

MH has a good story to tell, and we are busy telling it.  

MH should be doing far better than it is, and part of the puzzle requires that collectively we must identify the roadblocks inside and outside of our industry that keep manufactured housing from advancing to its true potential, which Dick Jennison suggested in Louisville in 2015 should be 500,000 new homes per year. Are you for 600% growth for your business, anyone?)