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

May 13th, 2019 No comments

 RopeADopePreservingAccessManufacturedHousingActMomDadYouMastheadLATonyKovachMHProNews

 

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

 

Per Google and Bing:

 

rope-a-dope

/ˈrōpəˌdōp/

nounINFORMAL•US

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

 

RopeADopeWikiGoogleMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNewsLATonyKovach

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

SPJSocietyProfessionalJournalistsCodeofConductMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

 

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

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

 

HowardWalkerJDViceChairEquityLifestylePropELS-ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoViceChair-postedMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryResearcMHProNews

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

There were no easy fixes in sight.

That community owner was tired.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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Elements of How Its Done

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

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

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

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

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

 

Congressional Efforts

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

If there was a scheme:

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

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

 

 

How Rigging Preserving Access Was Accomplished

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

GaryAdamekFayetteCountryHomesQuotesZoningPlacementDoddFrankPreservingAccessCFPB

 

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

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

 

JasonBoehlertPhotoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHISVPGovtAffairsQuotePreservingAccess

It was the truth hiding in plain sight. 

 

The Truth Hiding…

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

JayHamiltonZoningPlacementAffordableHousingCrisisManufacturedHomesGaManufacturedHousingAssocPhotoMHProNews

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mom and Dad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

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

 

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

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

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

On Capitol HillMHI Advances Manufactured Housing Finance Reform.”

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

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

 

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

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

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

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

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

 

 

What Then MHI Chairman Tim Williams Did

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

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

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

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

FraudLegalDefinitionManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

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

 

IllegalLegaRICOWireMailFraudManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

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

 

 

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

That noted, let’s flash back again.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuoteMastheadMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

What Does This Mean For Investors and Manufactured Housing Professionals?

What Does This Evidence Mean for Affordable Housing Advocates?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SubmitNewsTipsManufacturedHomeProNewsMHProNewsLogoMastheadMHProNews

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

How Warren Buffett Sheds Light On This Issue

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

Paraphrasing the Oracle of Omaha:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Summary

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

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

Perhaps they have no good response to the evidence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Related References:

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

Ross Kinzler Confirms Allegations, MHEC Peer Claims “Association Malpractice;” Member Backstab, MHI Failure Concerns

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues, May Updates

 

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

Independent National Manufactured Housing Post-Production Association Takes Major Step

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

January 2nd, 2019 No comments

 

ProfitablyDefeatingLongKnives2019NewYearsResolutionMHVilleManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

“…Tony, these guys have long knives…” read part of a message from a former, high ranking, MHI member.

Here’s a longer quote from another company president.

“…See you in Louisville.  I just finished a book on [name of book withheld]. One of the sayings from that…comes to mind: “Don’t give up the ship!” Tony, You are so correct about this [Arlington-Knoxville-Omaha Axis].  I always knew you were gonna get attacked.  Don’t give up the ship! (or never quit-something like that)…”

 

Something Different in 2019 on MHProNews and for Manufactured Housing

We’re going to do something different in 2019, but never think for a moment that 2018 and the prior years weren’t necessary.

For those who look back, 4 years ago, we named no names of who were at the root of the industry’s internal problems, we simply pointed out the problems.  Later, we began naming the names, while also citing the evidence. IMHO, these predicate steps were essential as a foundation for what comes next.

Let’s start by setting tonight’s table, then we’ll lay out the logical next step.  By the way, we’ll use a phrase once this post and the content linked from this column cover for simplicity.  We believe that the evidence suggests that the manufactured housing market has been manipulated in a fashion that violates several state and federal laws.  We will say ‘alleged’ to cover this topic, so that any attorney for operations based in Arlington-Knoxville-Omaha, their surrogates and allies, won’t have anything they can use against us in court.

That said, use your common sense, look at the linked and provided evidence and here’s the view from the Masthead.

We became a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member close to a decade ago, based on the advice and encouragement of Ken Rishel and George Allen. If we at MHProNews and our affiliated operations wanted to see the industry advances, Rishel and Allen said that joining MHI was how that could best be accomplished.

Perhaps Ken and George meant well.  Maybe they didn’t, I’m not going to belabor that either way.

TheMastheadEditorialCommentaryLATonyKovachMHProNewsWhat your Masthead writer slowly learned as an MHI member, then as an elected MHI board member for their Suppliers Division is this.  The powers that be at MHI picks winners and losers. Literally. That’s not just winners and losers for ‘contests.’ It is also for who they will support or undermine at MHI, and within the broader industry.

We believe in what we have provided evidence for these things.  So, in fairness to George we’ve often said that with him, one must separate wheat from chaff.  There are things that myself and every human does or has done that is chaff, and is best tossed out.  Some things you, I, or all mortals do are wheat.  Wheat properly prepared, for those whose diets permit it, is worthy of our tables.

The very people and/or organizations that we are exposing are some of the very ones that publicly praised us for some time.

Ken, George, Richard [the] ‘Dick’ Jennison, Jim Clayton, Tim Williams, Kevin Clayton, Darren Krolewski, and we could go down the list of those who publicly, on video, and/or in writing have praised our pro-industry, pro-growth work.

 

HowDoesMoatStrategyWorkOutInOpenGreatQuestionSmallBusinessesBusyTradeAssociationsMHI600x793Masthead

But even while some of those where praising our pro-growth efforts, there is evidence that at the same time, our operation – as a member – was being undermined by MHI, and by some of their members.  I frankly wasn’t seeing it at first.

Nor is ours the only such case, as we noted some time ago that George Allen discovered that after years of membership, MHI’s NCC division went into competition with him on several items that he had previously done, like his annual list of the largest community operators. Allen charges for that, MHI gives it away for free. Note too that MHI did so after negotiating with Allen about buying his assets and lists. They reportedly entered into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), reviewed what Allen had, and ‘failing’ to come to terms, began to compete on some of those same ‘services’ that Allen rendered.

What message does that send to others in the industry, when the trade association you are a member of, suddenly becomes your competitor?

So it wasn’t that I didn’t have clues.  Another MHI board member told me that he didn’t trust the Dick Jennison from the first time he met him. Someone connected with the Louisville Show said the same thing to me, “Tony, I wouldn’t trust Dick Jennison any farther than I could throw him.”

KevinClaytonVideoInterviewHowDidWarrenLearnTheseMoatBuildingstrategiesMHIBehavioralExpertsMasthead

 

I was wrong about Jennison, they were right.

What the Arlington-Omaha-Knoxville (A-OK, but not okay) Axis do is a bunch of BS, and I’m not one to curse very often.  Tim at 21st attempted to deceive thousands of industry independents with that letter of his, posted below.

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticConcernManufacturedHome

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

HowDoesMoatStrategyWorkOutInOpenGreatQuestionSmallBusinessesBusyTradeAssociationsMHI_Masthead

Consider these satirical cartoons to be summaries of what you can in fact find comments on by Kevin Clayton in the video posted on this page. He stated it differently, but it points to these cartoon paraphrases. Those who’ve watched the full video after reading the direct quotes from 21st President Tim Williams, and Warren Buffet’s annual letter in Smoking Gun 3 say that the and report are eye opening.  It is arguably clear evidence of antitrust style action. Who says?  Some attorneys who have reviewed the 21st letter above, the video, and linked article above.

We’ve documented before at the links below the byline and notices that Warren Buffet, and later Kevin Clayton, each contradicted what Tim’s letter claims.  They – 21st – in fact had access to what Kevin said in the video was ‘plenty of money,’ which Kevin said they used to buy other lenders loans plus more industry acquisitions.

So it seems apparent that Berkshire Hathaway simply didn’t want to use those funds to support independents that didn’t buy Clayton products or sell 21st repos.

That’s a manipulation of the market. IMHO, since there were multiple parties involved, that’s collusion.

CollusionAntitrustLawWikiDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

 

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

 

KevinClaytonInterviewMHIPacDonationsEItherMajorPartyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMasthead

 

We know for a fact that federal investigators are on these matters, because I’ve personally spoken with some of them.

So, we don’t need this mainstream news video below.  But for our growing number of new readers – that add to our already industry leading audience size – it’s a placeholder and reminder that Clayton’s Knoxville metro’s home town media has said some of the same things we’ve reported.  But mainstream media normally does a story like the video posted, and then they move on. Trade media – like ourselves – can spend more time to focus on such concerns.  Industry comments – like the on near the top – and third-party data tell us that our audience eats it up.

 

 

But the purpose for doing any report isn’t click-bait.  The goal or purpose is to get to the root of what holds manufactured housing back from achieving its true potential. This writer began in this industry in the early 1980s, and I’ve been a true believer ever since. That potential for manufactured homes is arguably in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year for several years. That’s why Warren Buffet and several tech giants are keenly into factory-built housing, and/or are exploring it.

Professionals want to know.  Professionals, investors, and those outside our industry who are researching manufactured homes or factory-built housing have asked me for years a variation of the following question.

 

 

With the value so high on a HUD Code manufactured home, why isn’t the industry doing much better?

 

 

It’s an obvious and logical question.

 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryMashteadLATonyKovachMHproNEws-756x768

Both a plank in the Democratic Party’s ‘new deal’ plan and a draft by the Trump Administration for antitrust action – each on paper at this point – are in theory aimed at the problem of growing monopoly in America. #OpenMarkets. We plan in 2019 to press both Democrats and Republican leaders on this issue, especially as it relates to manufactured housing. Watch for it.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

The answer, once one sees and ponders the evidence, becomes clear. Market manipulation. Or to borrow a phrase from the political left (Senator Bernie Sanders VT-I, who caucuses with Democrats) or the GOP’s President Donald J. Trump, it’s a “rigged system.”   The rest are details and commentary.

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

While several allegations of monopolistic practices have been made against Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway, this website is the only one to date that is known to have produced evidence of how that was actually accomplished, and provided with that evidence, this kind of logic, and related data.

 

 

While we as an LLC are responsible for our own work product, nothing we’ve done in the past 3 years has been solo.  We’ve had thoughtful and tangible support from numerous industry professionals. The number of news tips from within Clayton, or from withing 21st, or MHI, et al are growing.

 

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

 

The Long Knives…

So, while MHI, their surrogates and allies have tried to:

  • Chase off our advertisers,
  • Try to cast doubts or dispersions about my personal life, character, or work,
  • Try intimidation tactics, from more than one attorney/law firm,
  • Try using part-time surrogates – like George Allen, Suzanne Felber or others – to attack or undermine us,
  • What they didn’t do is try to refute a single allegation we’ve laid out.
  • George claims to be this big supporter of independent communities. Pardon me if I’m not buying his BS. If he cared about them as much as he cares about himself, he’d be working with us to expose this manipulators, rather than acting as their surrogate against us. Whatever MHI and the ‘powers that be’ are doing for Allen, I hope he enjoys it, because it arguably won’t last. Some of George’s followers are now also among those who send us tips.
  • If we were wrong about any of this, why don’t Kevin, Tim, Dick, Lesli, Rick Robinson, Joe Stegmayer, Nathan Smith, or any of the others in the mix take me up on the offer of discussing this live in Louisville or Tunica in 2019? Why not do a third-party moderated discussion on stage, in front of hundreds of industry professionals? Why not do so with their ability to call witnesses or experts, and our ability to do the same?  Why not video record the whole thing? Then, why not provide that video and its content to HUD, DOJ, SEC, FTC, the U.S. Postal Service and other federal or state agencies?  We’d of course post the video, so that MHPro readers from coast to coast and from Texas into Canada could watch it for themselves.

If they had the guts and the wisdom, they’d take me up on that often extended offer in a New York minute. But IMHO, these are white-collar con-artists, being called out publicly – with evidence being provided – for their confidence job.

DeceptiveTradepracticesDailyBusinessNewsMHPronewsMastheadTonyKovachcommentary

 

When Clayton team members start telling us some of what will come out in planned reports on MHProNews in the days ahead, you’ll see that a number of our readers are ‘getting it.’ Of course, others are still pondering the matter, while some naturally back MHI. That’s life.

When consumers find us on MHLivingNews and call to tell us their Clayton-21st-VMF ‘tale of woe,’ we listen.  It won’t be long before a report on MHLivingNews will be published, and that will further set the stage for the general public on Clayton’s business practices that we began laying out for the industry’s professionals. Of course, we’ll use all of the proper disclaimers.  Clayton won’t like it, but the law arguably is on our side.  If they try a legal maneuver to stop us, we’ll take it to mainstream media contacts we have already been cultivating.

 

Transparent vs. Opaque

We’ve been highly transparent, because it is the right thing to do.  A federal investigator told me that the A-OK Axis (he referred to “the Oracle of Omaha,” meaning Warren Buffett) is “trying to show you that if you investigate them, that they can investigate you.”

That Fed said it was a clear intimidation tactic.

I’ve looked in the eyes of independent community owners, retailers, producers, and others who lost their businesses, and/or others who Clayton tried to put out of business. That’s their “moat strategy” in action. To me, it smacks of RICO, and the reason it does is a former prosecutor who is an attorney advise us that it looks to him like RICO.

RICO-RacketeringInfluencedCorruptOrganizationsActRICOWikiDailyBUsinessNewsMastheadManufacuredHOusingINdustryProNews

If that former prosecuting attorney, and our suspicions, are correct, these are not only immoral practices by the A-OK Axis, they could be criminal practices.

I’ve spoken with attorneys in and out of MHI, and in and out of our industry. We have a working plan.  While we’ve been very transparent about many things, we will play a few cards later, and hold them closer to the vest.

ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhoto

There are several things needed for the industry to advance and for independent operations of all sizes to embrace for their own sake, if they care about the future value of their business.

1)    A new post-production association.  MHI is hopelessly corrupted, inept, lies, and has repeatedly failed our industry’s consumers and professional members.  See the graphic below as but one reason why no one should logically take them seriously.  Keep in mind that MHI’s own prior president, Chris Steinbert, used his exit message in the Journal to politely slap them for a string of misses and failures. So George, in saying what you have – you’re either ignoring reality – and/or you are showing your true colors.

2)    As part of the above Post Production association and/or a body that works with the above, there needs to be an ADL of manufactured housing. As part of that concept:

– Every time a city, county, state, or other group tries to block the placement of a HUD Code manufactured home from being properly installed on a home site, they would get contacted by an attorney representing that ‘ADL of MHVille.’

– Every time media, a researcher, or any other public figure misuses terminology or makes a claim in a manner that is inaccurate, they need to be called out first privately, and if needed, publicly by the ADL of MHVille.

– the NAACP and the ADL for years were successful with a similar approach, and that’s not a commentary for or against their organizations at present.  The point is our industry needs that in order to break through to our full potential.

– We’ve had some MHI semi-supporters say words to the effect, ‘Tony, MHI has tried a few similar things in recent months.’ Of course they have, but what more have you heard about it? That’s part of the MHI-MO. We published about a year or so ago that MHI didn’t meet with the new acting director of the CFPB.  What was the next thing they did?  Meet with the CFPB. MHARR or MHProNews calls them out on a topic, and in time, they put up a fig leaf as cover.  It’s part of the MHI con of their own members. We pushed them on image issues, what did they do?  Put up a series of videos.  A fig leaf that was so modest, that Frank Rolfe has videos that totally dwarf the number of views that MHI’s ‘promotional’ videos do. Something similar is true for Clayton Homes.

3)    We’d encourage more members for the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Yes, they advertise with us, but so have others, including MHI. That disclosure aside, even while I was an MHI member, there were numerous times I publicly took MHARR’s position on a given issue, because they were demonstrably correct.  For example, Kevin Clayton and others were in the MHI meeting room when I took MHARR’s position on the fire sprinkler issue. Dozens where in that room. Kevin just looked, as he has on numerous occasions at shows or whatever when our public position differed from his. I took MHARR’s side on the fire sprinkler topic, because they were correct.  By contrast, MHI’s proposed position was dumb on its face, unless you see that limiting the industry is part of the Buffett-Clayton moat. Something similar could be said about MHARR and MHI on the DOE proposals.  MHARR is consistently right, while MHI is often inept, deceptive, wrong, corrupt, or whatever you want to call them.

– As a footnote to the above, we at MHProNews have no animus towards the vast majority of MHI members, they are often very fine people.  There are some on MHI’s staff that would possibly be worth keeping, but some on the MHI staff are hopelessly corrupted. As with all things, Wheat and Chaff.  In my view, just as I was misled about MHI, many if not most of the current MHI members have been led down an errant path too.  We all catch on to something at a different pace, as I admitted about myself further above.

4)    Local market level marketing, and coaching in sales.  Call it a shameless plug, but we know things that Clayton Homes apparently doesn’t know, or can’t replicate successfully.  Clayton has purchased locations that we worked with on a consulting basis, that’s interesting, isn’t it?  On our consulting/business development side, we have a proven system that works on marketing and selling manufactured homes to those who are thinking about a site built housing. It is based on candor and surprising people with the truth.  It works, whenever it has been properly used.  When it is improperly used, it doesn’t work.  But duh, that’s true of anything else in life.

  • All sales are local.  All marketing in our industry ought to have a local focus.  Manufactured housing is not the RV or automotive industry.  When enough good local efforts are in motion, that will have an interstate reach.  That is how our industry will recover its greatness.  That is how manufactured homes could become a million unit a year industry, honestly and sustainably.
  • Don’t think for a second that Clayton has their own plans to accomplish, once they’ve captured enough of the market and they don’t think they can squeeze any more competitors out via their “Moat.”
  • But Clayton also has an inherent conflict of interest at MHI.  They are into site building. At present, Clayton wins no matter what happens on issues such as the enforcement of the HUD Code’s enhanced preemption, made law by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

–      We do believe in being competitive, but we don’t believe in driving others out of business.  We’ll leave those underhanded tactics to George, MHI, the rest of the A-OK Axis and their surrogates.

A federal investigator told me we needed to notify local law enforcement about the issues we’ve been dealing with.

 

Words of Caution…

Some in MHVille say in their own words, Tony – don’t talk about the ways they have come after you, that plays into their fear tactics.’ Those voices may or may not be well meaning, but I respectfully disagree.  When we spotlight the A-OK Axis and their dirty tricks, they have often paused or backed off, at least on some of their tactics.

That’s not to say that the time won’t come when they will try to take us to court.  People can sue over almost anything in the U.S. We can’t stop them from that, but they know that as soon as they do, we’ll counter and seek discovery.  We get steady dribbles of information from news tips.  With discovery in litigation, there will be reems of material generated.  Even if they try to destroy some material, other material will out. There will also be witnesses that will be speaking via discovery about matters that they won’t speak about otherwise.

So, if they want that legal fray, so be it.  I’ve told their purported attorney – Graydon Law, that asked us to ‘cease and desist’ has been told just how we’ll deal with them and their ‘clients.’ Transparent.

 

 

Putting a Tail On Us?

That said, and we still haven’t determined who this next person is, but law enforcement will figure it all out.  This person may or may not be connected to the A-OK axis.  The man in the car in the photo below (we’ve cropped off the face of the man and his license plate) was following my wife while she was biking.  A neighbor of ours spotted this “dude.” That neighbor is ex-military and has another resume point I won’t mention today.  But he has good vision, and will be a terrific witness if we need that someday.

 

PurportedStalkerFollowingSoheylaKovachLakelandFloridaMHProNews

We are covering this face, for that person’s privacy at this point in time. But we have that vehicles license plate and his face, thanks to the veteran – a neighbor – who contacted us about his concerns about this matter, see the narrative. Authorities will hopefully do their thing well. As this develops, what we learn, we will share as appropriate.

 

That veteran, still a younger man who is fit and has good vision, etc. told that “dude” following my better half that ‘Dude, if you know what was good you’ for him, ‘you’ll never show your face in this neighborhood or follow that woman [Soheyla Kovach] again.’

It wasn’t until the next day that that neighbor caught up with my wife, Soheyla, and we all three got together for a few minutes face-to-face.  That neighbor shared the photos he took of that ‘dude‘ and said he is happy to testify.

The two quotes from industry voices I opened with above – and others like it above – are right. The A-OK Axis have long knives. Some say they will stop and nothing, but why?

Because housing is more than a trillion dollar a year industry, and Amazon’s Alexa fund has said they see a $330 billion dollar a year market for affordable housing.

That kind of money is tempting to Buffet, Kevin, Tim, or anyone else.

But the irony is that in their greed, they’ve put what they’ve done at risk.  In their greed, they’ve forced perhaps thousands of independents out of business and/or caused them to sell out for less.  There has already been one lawsuit against Clayton on that kind of topic.  We’ll talk about that lawsuit another time.

 

Meeting at Louisville, Tunica…

We plan to meet with some select industry pros at Louisville, and against at Tunica.  We want that meeting to be transparent. We’ll post the details before they come out.

The thrust of the working plan is this. If the A-OK Axis won’t do a public discussion and/or debate, well then yours truly is happy to put on a live presentation with or without MHI, Clayton, 21st or whomever. Your Masthead writer is happy do a power point, lay out the evidence, the money trail, invite the media, and take questions live and answer them.

When we schedule and do that planned presentation, we’ll even invite MHI-Clayton-Berkshire brand surrogates or team members to come.  Why? Because nothing will be more powerful or transparent than to have them ask questions, and let me answer them live.  We can video record that entire presentation. We’ll post that for the industry at large.

Let’s be clear.  We are going to cover a full scope of topics that impact manufactured housing.  But Frank Rolfe, who has backed off public criticism of MHI and their puppet masters, was arguably right when he said that the greater threat is from within our industry.

Let’s also be clear on this.  I won’t stop, our family won’t stop until the last stich of this tragic rigging of manufactured housing has been fully explored, and resolved.  If I ever stop, you can bet that foul play was at work.  We’ve taken steps in that event too.

The greatest thing the industry’s members have to fear is NOT standing up to the A-OK axis.  The data in those graphics, illustrations and videos above clearly reflect the trend lines.

If they aren’t stopped, sooner or later, it will be you at some time down the road.  Why not stop them, now?

MHVille is Buffett’s buffet, and the Monopolistic Housing Institute is his buffet smorgasbord. We have, are, and will publicly call them out, supply the evidence, while others are supporting us in calling them out.

We are going to reclaim what’s right about manufactured housing, while rejecting all that is wrong.

That’s how we’re starting 2019.  That’s our new years resolution.  We are going to do our part to make manufactured housing great again, greater than ever before.

How about you?  Want to join us in Louisville or Tunica?  You can use the link above or below to contact me, and we’ll begin the planning and execution of the next steps. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

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

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

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

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

 

Related References:

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

Manufactured Housing Institute Housing Alert, Affordable Housing Crisis, MHI’s #NettlesomeThings Response

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

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

Forbes Focus on Manufactured Home Communities, Spotlights Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), MHC Investing

2019 – ‘Don’t Tease?’ RV Horizons, MHI v CSPAN, HUD’s Brian Montgomery, Clayton – New Year’s Spotlights

 

Eye Opening – Manufactured Homes in National, Global Context

 

 

‘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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.