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3D Printed Home in Austin, TX Aims to Revolutionize Affordable Housing

March 29th, 2018 Comments off

3DPrintedHousingAustinTXAimstoRevolutionizeAffordableHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

3D printing isn’t new.

 

Tools and parts are among the items that were 3D printed years ago.

3D printing of homes isn’t new either, as the Daily Business News has been reporting on the emerging tech for several years.

An Austin, TX based company believes they’ve found the magic that can make housing overseas and in the U.S. more affordable.  While some media have reported very low pricing on this process, several notes of caution need to be applied.  First, the claims are often made based upon only the shell of the home.

Often, foundation and finish costs, plumbing, electric, cabinetry, and other necessary items are not included.

Unlike others in media, MHProNews reached out to this firm to specifically ask about those add-on questions, and how much those additional costs might be.  After over a week, no follow up, which may suggest that indeed the pricing publicized elsewhere is hype that can’t be achieved in practice in the U.S.

Still, it’s a trend that factory-built housing professionals of all kinds must keep their eyes on. The Daily Business News will continue to monitor such developments. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Note: this story came in via email as a news tip.  Often several times a week, stories are forged as a result of tips from readers and industry pros, investors and observers. To submit an item for consideration, please click the image below. You can remain anonymous.

 

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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.

Related:

Survey Top 2017 PreFab, Modular, Tiny and 3D Printed Housing News Stories

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

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

Secretary Ben Carson’s, Julian Castro’s Manufactured Housing, “Trailer,” “Mobile Home” Revelations, 2020 Battles Ahead

June 8th, 2019 Comments off

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonJulianCastroManufacturedHousingTrailerHouseMobileHomeRevelations2020BattlesAheadMHProNews

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., has demonstrably done much since taking his oath of office to advance a proper understanding of manufactured homes.

 

In fairness, his predecessor Julian Castro, made a video that praised manufactured housing too.

 

 

While the next video interview with then Secretary Castro unfavorably used “trailer” terminology, the former mayor of San Antonio and current 2020 Democratic presidential nomination hopeful, nevertheless stressed the need for manufactured homes as an affordable housing option. Castro also stressed the need for resident protections, years before Last Week Tonight with Joy Oliver’s viral video misnamed “Mobile Homes” did.

 

 

Thus, videos and interviews by Dr. Carson as a HUD Secretary highlighting manufactured homes are not totally unique. There have been years of bipartisan efforts involving manufactured homes in this decade and previous ones too.

 

 

That is as it should be as affordable housing has been and remains a crisis.

 

 

It is also arguably part of HUD’s mandate that such pro-manufactured home statements and efforts fulfill.

Manufactured housing is the private sector solution to this problem, as Secretary Carson has underscored in various ways since taking on his new role. The evidence suggests he has been doing more to promote manufactured homes and other private sector innovative housing options than any HUD Secretary in the 21st century.

 

 

One can say he has built upon the foundation laid by his predecessor.  Indeed, the two echo the case made by a bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers who cited the facts that point to manufactured homes being an important part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis.  The recent event on the National Mall, reflected in 2 of the videos above, was positive and could be potentially useful for the industry to clarify outdated misconceptions.

 

 

But all of that begs several questions for the inquiring mind. For example:

How is it that during an ongoing affordable housing crisis, given all the useful facts and evidence, that the market share of manufactured homes has declined in the overall percentage of new housing starts?

 

AveragePriceExisitngNewMobileHomeManufacturdHomeByYearSince1960GraphicNARManufacturedHomeDataResearchMHProNews

Insightful data, per NAR. From the July 2018 update of the Realtor University report available from this link here as a download, along with other third party studies on manufactured homes.

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

In 1998, manufactured homes (MH) outsold RVs by some 3 to 2. In 2017, RVs outsold MHs by some 5 to 1. RVs recovered far more quickly from 2008. The facts raise questions. One, is the effectiveness of MHI as the post-production or ‘umbrella’ association in the country. The other question is more sobering. Has Buffett-Berkshire “Moat” strategies kept manufactured home production at historically low levels to allow a few big boy brands to consolidate others at a discounted ‘value’ by MHI insiders? Note that even an exiting MHI president took thinly veiled parting shots at his own association, see that, linked here

 

How is it that the use of the pejorative and inaccurate term “trailer” has grown in recent years, instead of diminished?

 

ManufacturedHomeDescriptionForemostInsuranceGroupResearchDailyBusinessNewsMHLivingNews

NFPAManufacturedHomeIsNotaMotorHomeOrTrailerAlthoughItisOftenCalledMobileHomeItIsNotThatEitherNFPADailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This is not a perfect definition by the NFPA, but it is clarifying and accurate.

 

What most think of as “mobile homes” has not been built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976. It was on that date, now some 43 years ago, that the mobile home era ended and the federally regulated HUD Code “manufactured home” era dawned.  These are construction, safety, and energy standard differences, not just marketing nomenclature.

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TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

 

Mobile homes served a useful and important purpose prior to the HUD Code. Millions of pre-HUD code mobile homes are still serving as some of the nation’s most affordable homes, often with updates added since they were first built.

 

UltimateManufacturedHomeHousingInfographicNotMobileHomeTrailerHouseFactoryBuiltHomeIndustryDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews-600

Recent post-Oklahoma, Alabama tornado fact-check, videos, and related reports, linked here.

 

Indeed, the HUD Code manufactured home industry has over two decades or positive, third-party research to back up the claim that it is the most proven form of permanent affordable housing used in the United States today.

 

 

Which again begs questions. With so much useful data and evidence, why has manufactured housing been the solution for the affordable housing crisis that is hiding in plain sight?

 

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Earlier this year, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s (MHARR) Mark Weiss, JD, used an interesting phrase to capture what he and his colleagues believe is an “Illusion of Motion” at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). It was a new way to illustrate prior claims that MHI has been failing the industry’s post-production efforts.

The “Illusion of Motion” built upon a research study from MHARR President and CEO Weiss in November of 2017. That MHARR study demonstrated a need for a new body to represent communities, retailers, lenders, and others who are “post-production” operations. Producers, in this context, are those who build HUD Code manufactured homes, which MHARR itself is, as they state that they represents the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

Post-production topics are those issues that arise after a home leaves the factory.

Those post-production issues would include, but are not be limited to, zoning, placement, and financing issues.

Is MHARR alone in such concerns? Hardly.

Some manufactured home community associations broke from MHI, saying something similar. Neal Haney, who in 2018 co-founded the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), said before their trade group was formalized why they broke from MHI in the first place.

 

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

Publicly traded UMH President and CEO and MHI member said the following.

 

SamLandyQuotePeopleNeedQualityHomeReasonablePriceWeMHIndustryProvideThatOnlyEconomicDistortionsCausedByGovtMadeOurIndustry

 

Another MHI community sector member was more specific, pointing to financing related issues.

 

KennyLipschutzHomeFirstCertifiedCommunitiesMHINCCmemberPuzzlesWhyMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

Numerous third party media reports underscored Rolfe’s claim. See several of those mainstream media video reports, linked here.

 

But to Landy’s and Lipshutz’s points, wasn’t it Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which includes MHI dominating forces such as Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, that supported presidential candidates that in turn backed the legislation that was the source of complaints like those cited above? 

Or why hasn’t Berkshire Hathaway used their dozens of BH Media Group and other media resources to clear up the mysteries about manufactured homes?

 

WarrenBuffettBillClintonHillaryClintonBarackObamaKevinClaytonNathanSmithPhotosDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews600

 

Or ponder what MHI member Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds of controversial RV Horizons – said this as part of a longer statement issued on June 1, 2019.

 

FrankRolfeDaveReynoldsRVHorizonsMobileHomeUQuoteSlammingManufacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

 

Mysterious Disconnects and Apparent Ineffectiveness, Why?

This pro-industry trade publication, our sister operations such as consulting, and our the general public focused Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) were MHI members for some 7 years. MHProNews and MHLivingNews were praised by several MHI elected and staff leaders, as what follows demonstrates.

 

TimWilliamsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsGoodCommunicationsResourcesILogonLatestNewsBigAssetExplainWhyIndustryVoices-768x339

Part of several messages for publication by Tim Williams that praised the pro-industry work of MHProNews, and our sister site. We at times take a light-hearted, or even satirical approach, to illustrate the issues. See an example of that in the video, below.

 

 

HowardWalkerJDELSViceChairmanPhotoManufacturedHouisngInstituteMHIExecuitiveCommitteeBoardMemberDailyBUisnessNewsMHProNews

The words of the late Howard Walker, ELS Vice Chairman, shared for publication with MHProNews.

Disclosures

By way of disclosure, ours is a for-profit organization, that has been supported at various times by MHARR, MHI, and companies which are members of each trade group.  Our editorial stance is demonstrably based upon a simple premise. That the manufactured housing industry is much needed, misunderstood, and should be performing far better during an affordable housing crisis.

We’ve supported and led the way on educational initiatives, such as fact, evidence, and third-party commentary focused MHLivingNews. As pro-consumer, pro-free enterprise trade media, and as industry experts/consultants/service providers, we have long believed that manufactured homes are a nonpartisan or bipartisan solution for the need for affordable housing.

The homes our industry produces routinely serve the nation with no-taxpayer subsidies.

At various times, we’ve questioned the efforts of a variety of trade groups, based upon the evidence known at that time. So those MHI surrogates that allege differently are demonstrably mistaken. It’s our follow-the-evidence, facts, common sense, patterns, and the money-trail that has made and kept us the runaway most-read trade media in our industry’s history.  The top people and management in MHI companies, MHARR member firms, or among non-association aligned companies of all sizes have told us that they are regular readers.

 

BarryColeMHInsuranceRVMHHallofFameCongratsManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

That’s not said to brag, but rather to clarify that we’re not crackpots on the sidelines spouting nonsensical conspiracy theories. We cite sources accurately, provide evidence, follow-the-money trail, and give those we question in our fact-checks the opportunity to respond. As recently as a few days ago, MHI’s and Berkshire’s manufactured home corporate leaders were given an opportunity to explain concerns like those noted herein.

Their response?  No comment.

Given that MHI leaders themselves have praised us publicly, that begs more questions.

Why on various occasions have their general counsel, or outside attorneys for MHI, threatened us in writing over evidence-based reports?  Note that after several years of that, they’ve never taken legal action; perhaps wisely so. Because how would they justify a suit against an operation that they’ve praised? Or how do they attack a trade media source whose goal is to see the industry grow to its potential?  Wouldn’t a suit open them up to a counter-suit, that could lead via discovery to them being forced to disclose information that they’ve withheld when requested in recent years?

The evidence suggests that the powers that be in MHVille praised us up until our fact-checks and analysis apparently made them too uncomfortable.  But instead of disproving or explaining away the concerns raised here, they stopped responding, and used other tactics instead.  Besides legal and other threats, they apparently lined up surrogates.  One of them is the one that follows.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

To see more disconnects between Allen and his flip-flops, then and now, click here and here.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

The word heard is that MHI-connected leaders made a bargain with Allen to get him to praise them and attempt to diminish our trade media. Allen has called for a boycott of this publication, in writing.  Among the problems with that approach has been that Allen himself has blasted MHI, Clayton Homes, and others for the same kinds of concerns that we or MHARR, among others, have raised. To our knowledge, Allen has never explained his flip-flops on his blog or other musings.  By contrast, Allen’s record of criticism of those he now embraces is evidenced by the pull quotes as shown.  Rephrased, Allen makes a poor surrogate, as he’s made similar allegations himself, prior to his recent flip-flop.

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

Like MHARR – indeed, citing MHARR, Allen called for a new post-production association. Oddly, Allen more recently has attacked MHARR, whose position has been consistent, while Allen’s has arguably vacillated based upon MHI’s support, or not. But Allen is but one of many who have made allegations of monopolistic practices in manufactured housing. 

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED (renamed Prosperity Now), and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 

AustinFrerickOpenMarketsAntiTrustAntiMonopolyClaytonHomesWarrenBuffettPredatoryLenderMinoritiesMoreDailyBusinessNewsManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

Austin Frerick with the Open Markets nonprofit is among a range of writers that span the left-right media divide which have criticized Buffett’s tactics as monopolistic.

HowClaytonHomesMakesMoneyAustinFrerickTwitterOpenMarketsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

Let’s note here that success in an industry – honestly earned – is not what we’re called out. Antitrust laws are not designed to punish success, as a former DOJ antitrust professional recently said. However, various kinds of bad behavior may be violations of antitrust or other laws. That’s what our concerns are aimed at. Evidence and allegations of violations of the law.

 

Does Monopolistic Machinations Explain Why MHI Is Ineffective? Or Why Manufactured Housing Has Retreated Since Berkshire Bought Clayton Homes?

Which begs perhaps the most salient points at this time in the wake of what is properly understood as a positive week by Secretary Carson’s Innovative Housing Showcase.

For all of the positive and apt points that Dr. Carson has raised, why has he never mentioned “enhanced preemption?”

–      Is it possible that HUD staff – that certainly must be aware of that provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) – has not told him about the enhanced preemption of manufactured housing passed by Congress in a bipartisan way, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton?

–      Is it possible that MHARR’s letter addressed to Secretary Carson on enhanced preemption was not provided to him?

–      Is it possible that MHI has not raised and pressed this issue of enhanced preemption, in their several meetings with HUD staff?

Noting that MHARR and MHProNews are among those who’ve promoted enhanced preemption in digital print for years, more on those questions later.

But for now, let’s point to our recent report on that in the linked text-image box below, and then press on to what is shaping up as a serious issue in the approaching 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

 

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Other 2020 Democratic Candidates, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

There is an affordable housing crisis in this country,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren in the video below. “That’s why we are here. A safe, stable, affordable home is the foundation for almost everything else in our lives.”

That statement by Senator Warren is every bit as accurate as the ones by HUD Secretary Carson who has said similarly, in his own words.

Note that at the time that Senator Warren made this comment in the MHAction video below, MHProNews was not yet aware of the financial connections between Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), and numerous other interests that are directly engaged in the manufactured housing industry. Buffett bucks fund the Tides nonprofit, which in turn funds MHAction. Restated, it isn’t just progressive billionaire icon George Soros who is supporting some of these groups.  Warren Buffett has been too. Buffett and Berkshire have arguably been funding both sides of the fight over key issues in manufactured housing.

 

 

That noted, Senator Warren – sometimes in concert with congressional representatives – has fired off several letters to firms that routinely have ties to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Copies of those letters can be found as a download in the report linked below.

 

Manufactured Home Communities’ Dodd-Frank Moment Looms, Senator Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Several Manufactured Housing Institute Community Members

 

Warren and other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have raised the issue of Clayton Homes, and their fellow Berkshire Hathaway owned manufactured housing industry lenders, in a letter to the CFPB. See that in the report linked from the text-image graphic below.

 

Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending

 

Anti-monopolistic actions are taking a more important role on the national stage, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have reportedly launched antitrust probes. Clayton has been accused of racism by Democratic leaders too.

 

President Donald J. Trump, a variety of Democratic and Republican leaders, have raised several concerns over consolidation, tipping the scales of free speech online, antitrust, and monopolistic behavior in the last 2 years.

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

 

While there is known to be such probes regarding the FAANG stocks, and so-called Big Tech, our sources tell us that Berkshire Hathaway’s activities has also been brought to DoJ’s antitrust division’s attention.

The Seattle Times similarly reported in 2018 that several federal investigations are underway in Washington involving Clayton and their related lenders.  Knoxville, TN metro based Clayton and their related lending units were spotlighted by their hometown media, in the May 22, 2018 video report below.  So there is smoke, does it suggest a fire?

 


 

Several Mainstream Media Reports cited Concerns Over Monopolistic Practices, and Often Name Buffett, Berkshire, and Clayton Homes

·        The New York Times had an interesting article on the historic trends, and named several industries being monopolized.

·        The Atlantic, without specifying how the monopolization was being accomplished, noted that the independent retailers in manufactured housing were being rapidly eliminated/consolidated, that report is linked here.

·        GuruFocus said “Warren Buffett Can’t Escape Unethical Strategic Moats,” their specific points are linked here.

·        The Nation called it “The Dirty Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Billions…” and specifies Clayton Homes among those using the strategic moat in ‘dirty’ ways.

·        The Jacksonville Florida Times Union summarized the connection between the John Oliver viral hit video dubbed “Mobile Homes,” MHI, Clayton Homes, and their related lenders. That op-ed was first fact-checked by an editor, before it was published not only in the one newspaper it was submitted, but at least in 5 Florida newspapers.

While these and other mainstream media sources that span the left-right spectrum have pointed to ethical and other concerns with respect to Warren Buffett’s ‘strategic Moat,’ it is Manufactured Home Living News and this platform have to date documented specific examples. Attorneys which have reviewed the report linked below say is compelling evidence of antitrust violations by MHI’s most prominent member, Clayton Homes and their affiliated lender, 21st Mortgage.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, one of two such documents from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

Finally, there have been long-standing concerns raised for years by this trade publisher – MHProNews – and by MHARR regarding the need to fully implement the Duty to Serve by the GSEs.

 

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

 

Since 2003, during an affordable housing crisis, the total number of manufactured homes being produced per year has declined.  So too has the percentage of new manufactured housing units.  The factors noted and linked from this report are among the contributing challenges that have arguably caused this to be so.

Publicly traded MHI member, Skyline Champion (SKY), is but one of several sources that point to the industry’s underperformance.  Do factors like those outlined and linked from this report help shed light as to why the industry is underperforming?  As but one of several internal and external barometers, RVs have soared in the last 2o years, while manufactured housing is but a shadow of what it was 2 decades ago in total sales.  Yet RVs are a luxury item, and housing is a necessity, the later point being made by voices across the political divide, such as Senator Warren and Secretary Carson, have pointed out.

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Graphic by Skyline Champion, commentary by MHProNews.

 

But what federal officials may not have completely honed in upon is that during that contraction, Clayton has grown their market share, as the next two pie charts reflect.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2011DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

Note the acceleration of Clayton’s consolidation, after the letter below by 21st was issued? That’s what some legal minds have called ‘smoking gun’ evidence of antitrust behavior.  Other evidence linked here reflects that the claims by Tim Williams were a mix of the truth and untrue. Rephrased, this was plausible cover for alleged antitrust law behavior.

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticPloyConcernManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. To see the full report, click here.

 

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesMarketShareManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews-e1528746976415

 

 

Coincidence? Or is it because Buffett’s bucks have – via third-party documented ‘dark money’ channels, has funded both the opposition to the industry by MHAction and other activist groups, as well as purportedly dominating MHI.

 

 

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

 

This raises several issues that bear federal agencies, media and other investigations, and congressional oversight.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

Because there is a pattern and evidence that reflects the very real possibility that market manipulations and ‘predatory behavior’ by a small number of MHI member companies has cost the industry billions of dollars a year in potential sales.

 

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

 

Is that an accident, mere coincidence?  Or is it indicative of something more sinister that often causes millennials and others to question capitalism, when it is specific and problematic corporate behavior that should be scrutinized, not the entire free enterprise system.

As tent cities grow in various parts of our nation, of course there will be an outcry by people against such troubling developments.

 

Tent Cities, Homelessness, Crime, Disease, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

While Secretary Carson and his predecessor have both praised manufactured homes, the inexplicable failure to use “enhanced preemption” or the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” legal principles to address these issues reflect some breakdown between the need and solutions that are already law.

It is mind boggling that MHI has no mention of enhanced preemption on their website, as of the date of the report linked below.  By contrast, MHARR, MHLivingNews, MHProNews and others have numerous articles and years of reports that point to that the need to enforce the law on federal preemption.

 

Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

Summing Up

Affordable housing, related lending, and a failure to properly promote manufactured housing are cited by people in and out of MHI as real problems.  This publication has stressed that not all MHI members should be viewed as black hats.  But that ‘black hat’ behavior has occurred from several prominent MHI member-firms is difficult if not impossible to intelligently dispute.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

Nathan Smith, Joe Stegmayer, Tim Williams, have all had various allegations lodged against them, as has Clayton Homes. Follow the links to learn more, which explains the satirical logo’s point.

 

Small Businesses, Consumers Are Being Harmed

These purported ploys in turn have cost small businesses collectively billions of dollars in the value of their enterprises. In response to declining shipments during an affordable housing crisis, which clearly harm smaller, more marginal businesses more than larger ones.  Bigger players with black hat behavior fuels bad news. The black hats may be using white hat companies in the same association to dress up their overall image.

MHI routinely has a reference to their antitrust statement – linked here – at the start of their individual business meeting sessions.  But that doesn’t change the reality that the industry is being consolidated into ever fewer hands.

To see if this is mere happenstance or something sinister if not illegal, federal, state, other interests, and advocates must do more to investigate beyond what has been done in articles like this and the linked reports herein and further below.

Secretary Carson has been doing a lot for manufactured housing publicly. But a counternarrative is also at play, which videos like John Oliver’s dwarf the good news that Secretary Carson is attempting to foster.  To date, the MHI ‘Homes on the Hill’ videos posted on this page have had about 2,000 total views between the 5 videos.  That’s helpful.  But John Oliver’s viral attack on manufactured housing has had over 6 million views.  That’s the factual reality.

Both major parties are making affordable housing and antitrust issues.

–      Will one party or both grab the bull by the horns, and investigate Berkshire Hathaway publicly?

–      Will one or both political parties call Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, and Tim Williams in to testify under oath about the evidence and allegations linked here?

–      Will federal and other investigators formally and publicly examine claims since the item linked above of further market manipulations, such as the ones reported at this link here?

–      Will the Feds and others allow Berkshire’s money and reputation to back them off? Or will they listen to voices that include MHI members who have said for years there is something wrong at the Arlington, VA based ‘umbrella’ trade group?

 

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

The comment above was said with respect to another recent topic, but relates to this issue too.

Ponder the following 4 items from current-former MHI members.  On the issue of DTS, ponder the photo of MHI’s sponsors, and then MHARR’s comment about DTS.

 

TheHUDCodeforManufacturedHomesisADiscriminationCodeMartyLavinJDMHIAwardWinnerMHRetailFinanceExpertCommunitiesOwnerPhotoQuoteMHProNews

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

Ask yourself. Do these Marty Lavin dictums apply in this case?

 

 

2018-10-03_1018ManufacturedHousingInstituteHILogoCavcoFleetwoodPalmHarborFannieMaeFreddieMacLogoDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

Marty Lavin advises, “Follow the Money” and “Pay More Attention to What People Do Than What They Say.” The GSEs are praising manufactured home quality, but then backed Clayton in supporting a ‘new class’ of manufactured homes, with key MHI member input, that is aimed at funneling that lending, per informed sources.

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

ManufacturedHousingInstitutePhotoOpportunitiesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Trump Administration officials shown above could well find themselves the target of MHAction, or other similar activist group’s claims, that they are acting on behalf of the MHI’s largest companies. Indeed, MHI has implied as much in their ‘photo op’ messages to their own members. Are we to think that MHAction doesn’t already have these photos? MHAction and their affiliated groups have arguably already laid the foundation for that in their prior protests of Secretary Carson, and large MHI members, as the video with Senator Warren above illustrates. To be clear, MHProNews is not accusing these officials of any wrongdoing, but rather, we are hereby pointing out the on issues such as DTS, Enhanced Preemption, or Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, failure to fully and properly address those as federal law already requires could leave well meaning photo ops to be twisted into something that those officials never imagined. To learn more, click here.

 

Let’s dot the i on the above by saying anew that in pointing the finger at the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, that is not to be misconstrued as saying that all of those in said organizations are all tainted.  Among our sources are those in Clayton Homes, 21st, and MHI, to name but a few.  There are good people working in these organizations who are as troubled by what is occurring to the industry as we and others are.

 

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Millions of Americans are trapped in rentals, largely unaware of the good news that Secretary Carson has said during his tenure at HUD, or what scores of others in manufactured housing have been saying for years. Will MHI take these helpful videos that Secretary Carson made possible, and robustly promote them?  Or will they be a mere fig leaf? The latest head-fake to members, another illusion of motion, while the industry continues to consolidate?  Meanwhile,  millions search for affordable housing, when the solution is hiding in plain sight?

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Notice. One can agree or not with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission, while still questioning how it came to be that Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. To see all of William’s informative slides, click the graphic above. http://www.MHProNews.com/industry-news/industry-in-focus/is-tim-williams-21st-mortgage-ceo-mhi-chair-at-odds-with-berkshire-hathaway-chairman-warren-buffett What is undisputable is that for years, MHI pursued a bill that their own SVP of Government Relations said had essentially no chance of passage. Where was the logic? Or was it a ‘rope-a-dope‘ ploy?

 

But there is a rationale case to be made that forces within the industry have intentionally limited the industry, with the purported aim of consolidating businesses at a discount in a fashion that might slip by antitrust regulatory scrutiny.

 

Enforce Existing Law

But as or more important is that the solution requires no new legislation.  The solution is already federal law.  It need but be enforced. But there is evidence that the powers that be in the industry don’t want to solve the problem now.  They want to consolidate more of the industry. Meanwhile, the suffering of millions of people and thousands of independent business professionals continues.

 

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Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. MHProNews and our sister site continue to chop away at the core issues that are close to the heart of what is arguably keeping manufactured housing from achieving its potential.

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Sometimes the truth is hiding in plain sight. Follow the facts, evidence, and the money.

 

Thus a public federal investigation, led by Congress, but with parallel efforts in the federal agencies, needs to be handled as publicly as possible. Why? Because the harm being done to the manufactured home industry is harming the public, plus independents who are arguably a victim too.

Renters, manufactured home owners, and voters need to understand that this is consolidating Machiavellian ploy is harming their interests.  The industry’s honest professionals should not be punished, it is the alleged bad actors who need to be held to account.

If we as a nation do so, then Secretary Carson’s solution for America may come to pass. The fabled doctor’s prescription, if put to work, could prove useful to millions and would save taxpayers billions too.  It would also create countless new jobs, and spark new investment opportunities.

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https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis If MHI were serious about growing the industry, why have they not spotlighted articles like the one linked above?

 

The reports linked herein plus those below the byline and notices include articles that document how a natural economic boom could take place, raising the net worth of individuals who could leave the world of renting and become owners of affordable housing’s most obvious and proven solution. Modern manufactured homes are a proven solution. There is much work to be done to make that prescription and potential a reality.

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Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies, and opportunities.

To learn more, see the reports linked above and below. More on this simple yet-profound topic tomorrow and in the days ahead. No politics, just 311 words that boil down to two words. Enhanced preemption. “We Provide, You Decide” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

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Lawsuit By Manufactured Home Community Owner Claims City “Intent” on Putting it Out of Business

May 28th, 2019 Comments off

 

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As longtime readers of the Daily Business News on MHProNews May recall, the story that follows may well sound reminiscent of others in cities and towns across the U.S.

 

In Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states, municipalities and local jurisdictions in recent years have often been accused of targeting manufactured home communities for elimination, sometimes hoping for possible redevelopment for another purpose.

Some of those city efforts to close a manufactured home community appear to be successful, while others meet with resistance.

Earlier this month, a long running dispute between the City of Bastrop, near the capitol city of Austin, TX  and a manufactured home community over alleged code violations has culminated in a lawsuit filed that accuses the municipality of seeking to push it out of business.

It appears that, despite plaintiff’s best efforts to avoid litigation, the city is intent on putting plaintiff out of business by making it financially unviable for plaintiff to operate and by prohibiting new permits without valid legal grounds to do so,” the lawsuit reads, says the Austin Statesman.

 

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The legal action is the latest development in the city’s ongoing disagreement with the Bastrop Estates over concerns over drainage infrastructure, exposed sewer, water pipes, and fire safety issues.  

Since 2017, the disagreements have caused the city to not issue permits to new tenants wanting to move manufactured homes into Bastrop Estates.

Attorneys representing the community’s owners said in their lawsuit’s pleadings that the city’s action has caused five home sites to remain vacant, which decreased the business’ revenue by $25,000 per year.

The Statesman’s account also says that the suit emphasized the affordable housing options the community brings to the area. It is a necessary one for people with a lower income.

In light of the city’s actions, it appears the city prefers to limit the availability of such affordable housing,” the suit submitted by attorney Karl Seelbach of the Doyle and Seelbach law firm stated.  It was filed May 3 in U.S. District Court, and names both the city and City Manager Lynda Humble as defendants.

City Attorney Alan Bojorquez said the city was served with the suit and said at that time that city officials have not yet had the opportunity to confer with legal counsel and thus could not answer questions posed by the media.

But in an emailed statement to the Advertiser, Bojorquez said that the city has no intention of closing the community.

The city has repeatedly declared its support for affordable housing and recognizes this mobile home park as a source of affordable housing,” Bojorquez wrote in the emailed statement. “However, property owners who offer such housing options cannot do so in a way that exploits their residents and tenants, many of which are families with children, by failing to provide minimally safe and sanitary living conditions.”

 

BastropEstatesManufacturedHomeCommunityGoogleRating

 

The city official claim that the community has been cited with various code violations since the late 1980s but has never fully rectified those shortcomings. The 5.1-acre property, previously known as the Piney Crossing Mobile Home Park, has gone through several owners, and the property’s history of code violations date back decades.

The community includes 38 home sites. It was purchased in May 2016 by Clinton and Cammy Burns.

The suit claims that the city began withholding permits for potential new residents in October 2017 “without any prior violations or warnings” presented to the owners during a time when the park “had no malfunctions, unsanitary conditions or imminent or safety risks to its residents.”

 

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Testimonials from the property’s website are provided under fair use guidelines, and along with the Google rating further above, provide some added context and texture to the cross claims.

 

The suit also claims that the city ignored the property’s grandfathered status which exempted Bastrop Estates from the codes the city was trying to enforce, and that the city confirmed to the Burnses that the property was a “nonconforming use,” or exempted from current ordinances, before they purchased it.

The city’s illegal attempts to enforce inapplicable ordinances against plaintiff have a disparate and adverse impact on lower-income individuals who live in mobile home parks, many of whom are also minorities,” the suit states. “The city does not have any rational basis for its actions and it appears the city opposes this development because it does not fit the city’s vision.”

I feel that there is a perception that my clients are not serious about addressing the city’s concerns and allegations,” McLean stated. “I can assure you that they are, and I can assure you that as long as I’m involved that I will encourage them to do what they can to address the situation.”

City Attorney Bojorquez said the city had repeatedly communicated concerns over the various code violations, “but those concerns just keep continuing.” He also opined that the city would rather the Bastrop Estate owners invest money on improvements than on litigation.

Things like water contamination and fire danger are important not just to the residents of that park, but everyone in Bastrop,” Bojorquez said last May. “We’ve been trying to engage the property owners so they will put forth a plan to upgrade and fix the property.”

This is but one of numerous such cases, as recent and prior reports on MHProNews reflects. We plan to monitor this legal action.  

That’s another Tuesday edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

April 11th, 2019 Comments off

 

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WTAW, Bryan’s website, and locals on the ground tell the Daily Business News on MHProNews that “The Bryan city council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to eliminate future manufactured home placement on individual lots.

Joining Greg Owens, who made the motion, and Buppy Simank, who seconded the motion, were Reuben Marin, Brent Hairston, and Andrew Nelson.

Voting no were Prentiss Madison and Mike Southerland.”

But the battle isn’t over, say locals.  As KAGS TV said, a petition count could cause the city counsel vote to be invalidated.

 

The second local news video provides a different, and in some ways, a stronger take.

 

 

But beyond the petition count, there are several other possible legal issues that are pending.  Among them are constitutional ones.

A manufactured home retailer in Texas sent the following to MHProNews, about the subject of “unconstitutional takings.”

This will be one of several possible courses of action, per sources, to MHProNews. Let’s dive in.

 

TMHA Legal Review Unconstitutional Takings

DJ_Pendleton_Executive_Director_Texas_Manufactured_Housing_Association_TMHA_credit_MHProNewsThe basics are this, if a local government passes some ordinance or rule that either directly or indirectly deprives or divests a property owner from his or her property without compensation, then it is a government taking under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution,” said the D.J. Pendleton for the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA), in an article linked here.

But that is rapidly followed by a not so fast. “Not only is it not legal advice, it isn’t good advice. Why? Because such thinking is based on a gross oversimplification, and while clearly hyperbolic, one can see that even a lesser fashioned reaction is one that won’t generate legitimate consideration from any city official or politician. Worse yet, such a response could solicit a reaction from potential adversaries that you don’t know what you are talking about.”

Why?  Says Pendleton, “…this area of the law has been in play at the Supreme Court level for over 100 years. What’s the punchline? The punchline is that despite all the time and all the cases and opinions rendered in this area, to this day no set formula or bright line standard exists as to what constitutes an improper taking, save a physical invasion or a denial of all economic or productive use of the land. And based on the history of the court, it doesn’t appear likely that a clear standard will ever exist.”

What Pendleton does is what attorneys are trained to do, learn to argue from both sides of a question. He says, “…know that this area of law requires argument and there is no clear path to victory. Now we [meaning manufactured home professionals] know this reality. And I would guess competent council for a local government knows it as well.”

Let’s rephrase Pendleton’s point. It isn’t that an unconstitutional taking is necessarily a bad argument. It is that a city attorney or outside counsel knows that this is a fight they too might win. Given no clear path for victory by a property owner or manufactured home professional, a city may be willing to gamble on that your attorney won’t want to risk the cost of the lawsuit.

Challenges under the takings provisions of the Fifth Amendment and the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are extremely fact sensitive. So not only do you have to go through an actual incident, it must also be shown to the court that it is “ripe.” All “ripe” means is that a final determination has been made after exhausting all local appeals and other processes or that waiting for such a determination would be futile.”

For decades courts looked for bright line tests when deciding if some action was a compensable taking by a government actor. The Supreme Court has provided such a test in only two situations. The first is when there is a permanent physical occupation. The second is when there is a denial of all economically viable use,” said Pendleton.

Many of the cases I’m going to mention actually involved manufactured home communities. However, if the case and opinion refer to the community as a “mobile home park” I use that term below. This is not in an effort to be derogatory. Far from it. But I use it to provide consistency with the court opinions being referenced and in some cases to provide the appropriate time stamp in history when a specific case was heard. So please, don’t get offended by the term rather than using community.”

Let’s note that this review the Daily Business News on MHProNews is cutting out some of the analogies that Pendelton provided, and is cutting to the meatier parts of his commentary and legal analysis. Let’s note too that in referring to cases in the Ninth Circuit, while interesting, that is also perhaps the most liberal circuit court in the country.  As a non-attorney, we simply note that it is not unusual for those cases to get overturned if they hit the Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit actually took up two cases involving mobile home parks. In one case the court analyzed the owners’ claim as one of a taking by physical occupation when a city ordinance required the owner to offer tenant leases of unlimited duration. The court compared the case to the Supreme Court cable stringing case because the ordinance transferred the right to occupy in perpetuity to the tenants and the tenants could transfer the right without the landlord’s approval. The court said that the landowner loses forever the aspect of ownership that is the right to control wholly who will occupy his property and on what terms, while giving the tenants’ rights they can later sell when they leave the property.

In the other mobile home park case heard by the Ninth Circuit, the court held that rent control ordinances were not a physical taking.”

But… “The court reasoned this case was different from the Ninth Circuit ruling because the landowner could choose to no longer rent the land and change the use, therefore nothing permanent had been taken. The court said this was not a physical taking, but did say that while not a physical taking it could have been analyzed as a regulatory taking. However, since the alternate issue of a regulatory taking was not brought up prior the court did not provide an opinion as to a regulatory taking and only ruled that it was not a physical taking.”

Pendelton then says that “…many state constitutions have provisions against improper takings that can result in stricter interpretations by state courts. The Supreme Court of Washington invalidated a state law requiring a right of first refusal be granted to tenants of a manufactured home community because the court concluded the law was a compensatory taking based on the state’s constitution. Texas also has taking provisions in our state bill of rights in Article 1, Section 17.”

The TMHA state executive director sums it up like this: “Takeaway – When government action deprives an owner the power to exclude others from his/her own property, a taking may have occurred.”

A clearer path, per Pendleton is if there was a denial of all economically beneficial use.” The Supreme Court in 1992 held that denial of all economic use outweighed and therefore trumped the government’s goal to substantially advance a legitimate state interest.”

He then explained that “…The government denial must be for all economic use. Not merely some denial of economic use and not even for denial of the best economic use. To illustrate this rather steep threshold, the Third Circuit in 1987 held that a per se compensable taking had not occurred when a city rezoned a portion of a landowner’s property from industrial to agricultural because of community opposition to an industrial development project. The landowner alleged that the rezoning dropped the value in his property from $495,600 to only $52,000 (an 89.5 percent decrease in value), but the court held no taking had occurred under this theory because the land still had some value and was viable for “residual economically feasible use.” Essentially the property owner must prove loss of all reasonable use.”

The colorful Pendleton tried to liven up the dryness of the law by laying out the following.

Lower courts have held when governments downzone or revoke permits blocking continued development of previously approved projects that a taking has occurred when the effect is a reversal of prior approved reasonable economic use of the property. Texas actually has a specific state law related to prior approved projects and the grandfathering of that approval despite subsequent local changes so long as certain conditions are met.

For some manufactured home community owners the denial of prior approved projects may be the only viable option to meet the high burden under a denial of all economic use theory. In fact, in 1989 a Michigan appellate court held that a taking had occurred when a city rezoned to block the expansion of a mobile home park by changing zoning and imposing large two and a half acre minimum lot-size requirements that precluded development. The rezoning of the land for agriculture purposes was proven by the landowner that no viable agricultural uses were capable of surviving on the rezoned property.

Courts will look to the existing use of property to determine reasonable use and if government interference with the owner’s expectations has occurred.”

That point is logically pertinent in the Bryan, TX scenario, but keep in mind that this article was written in 2016, 3 years before the current case.

Also, worth noting is the Supreme Court has held that both personal property as well as real property are covered by the Takings Clause,” per the TMHA article.

The legal review then lays out a third path that he says is a more difficult legal test.

The Supreme Court established in 1978 and confirmed again in 2005 that a three part test in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York is to be used to decide if a regulatory (not a per se) taking has occurred:

The character of the government action in question;

The economic impact of the regulation on the landowner; and

The extent to which the regulation has interfered with distinct investment-back expectations...”

 

Pendleton’s Summing Up

To summarize, in order to challenge a government action it should be based on specific facts that as specifically applied have had a real, not theoretical, adverse impact. All efforts locally to resolve the conflict must be exhausted. Then if a property owner can prove the action fit within one of the two per se takings claims, either a physical occupation or denial of all reasonable use, the property owner can prevail. However, if there is only an impairment of use having some negative, but less than total, loss of value the owner must run through the three part test looking at the character of the action, severity of economic impact, and the investment expectations. Case history proves that prevailing on this three-part test for the property owner is far from easy.

I will also point out that a takings cause of action is not the only argument a property owner might have when faced with government interference with their property. Substantive due process; procedure due process; equal protection; 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 claims; first amendment like political speech, commercial speech, free speech (the one adult entertainment owners are particularly fond of using against regulations), free exercise of religion; the commerce clause; and state constitutions with their own due process and takings causes of action may be used to confront government action.”

Pendleton concludes by saying that it is doable, but not an easy win.

 

Other Options…

A number of other options exist, some of which are available as a download from the previous report, linked below.

The bottom line? MHProNews continues to hear from interested parties in Texas and beyond. Stay tuned, look below the byline, notices, and offers for more.

That’s this tonight’s edition of News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing.” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

 

 

 

 

Arrested! Attorney General Files Charges on Manufactured and Modular Home Retailer, Police Arrest Suspect

February 20th, 2019 Comments off

 

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In a press release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, is the following from the New York State Attorney General’s (NY AG) office.

 

The release contains the details of the suspect arrested and charged with swindling over a $1 million dollars from would-be buyers of factory-built homes.  The NY AG’s release will be followed by additional, related news, an ABC affiliate’s video, plus some commentary and links to related issues.

 

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Attorney General James And NYS Police Announce Arrest Of Upstate Resident For Scheme To Defraud Over 40 Homebuyers

Sherrie A. Burton, Owner of Valued Homes, Charged With Stealing Over $1 Million from Buyers of Modular and Manufactured Homes throughout Upstate New York  

UPSTATE NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James and State Police Acting Superintendent Keith Corlett announced today the arrest of Sherrie A. Burton for defrauding homebuyers throughout Upstate New York of over $1 million. The defendant was arraigned today on a 9-count felony complaint including charges of Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. A joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau and the New York State Police revealed that Burton allegedly used her businesses, Valued Manufactured Housing, Inc. (“VMH”) and Valued Homes (“VH”) to fraudulently solicit deposits, down payments, and even full cash payments from unsuspecting customers of modular and manufactured homes. She then allegedly used the money for personal expenses and to further her ongoing scheme.   

“We will never tolerate any fraudulent behavior that takes advantage of hardworking New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Instead of fulfilling the dream of homeownership, Ms. Burton allegedly defrauded homebuyers and used their savings for her personal expenses and gains. My office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who engages in activities that harm our residents.” 

“I applaud the work performed on this case by the New York State Attorney General’s office and our State Police Investigators,” said Acting New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett. “This individual perpetuated a devious scheme to defraud hardworking New Yorkers out of thousands of dollars for her own gain. Because of the strong collaboration among law enforcement, we were able to expose this fraud. The State Police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to end these types of fraudulent practices and hold accountable those who prey on innocent people.” 

According to the felony complaint and statements by the prosecution in court, between at least March 2015 and July 2018, the defendant operated VMH and VH in South Glens Falls, Saratoga County, which offered to sell homebuyers newly built manufactured and modular homes. Manufactured homes are factory-built houses engineered and constructed to the specifications of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s federal building code, while modular homes are factory-built homes that are built to state building standards. Both manufactured and modular homes are transported on a carrier and permanently set on a foundation.   

Prosecutors allege that Burton falsely represented to customers that they needed to put a substantial deposit in order for the manufacturer to begin construction of their new home, while in reality the manufacturers did not require such a deposit.  Burton then allegedly diverted the deposits for her own use, instead of using them towards the purchase of the victims’ homes.  In other multiple instances, Burton allegedly used the deposits to pay her own personal expenses, including purchases at Zynga Games, Amazon.com and the Home Shopping Network, expenditures at Turning Stone Resort and Casino, payments for hotels, groceries, gas and alcohol, credit card payments, and cash withdrawals. In other instances, Burton allegedly used deposits from new victims to further her ongoing scheme by paying manufacturers for homes she had promised to prior customers months before. 

Also according to prosecutors, Burton obtained financing to purchase floor plan or display models, yet sold them as new models to many customers, leaving the victims without legal title to the home and the lenders believing the homes were still on display at her showroom.   

In one instance, a victim received a home from Burton but could not obtain title allowing her to insure or borrow against the home for over a year. In another instance, a victim provided a deposit of $8,000 to Burton, who never remitted the money to the manufacturer, and the victim therefore had to obtain a mortgage for the full price of the home — essentially paying the deposit twice. Many customers who paid Burton never received a home, and never got a refund of their money. 

Burton was charged in the Attorney General’s felony complaint, filed today in Saratoga County,  with three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, five counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony. 

The Attorney General’s investigation is ongoing. According to the prosecution, the investigation has thus far uncovered over 40 victims of Burton’s scheme in and around Upstate New York, who were allegedly defrauded out of over $1 million.   

Burton, 64, was arraigned today in Town of Moreau Justice Court before the Honorable Jeffrey B. McCabe. Bail was set in the amount of $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond. 

If convicted of all counts, Burton faces up to 10 to 20 years in state prison. The charges against the defendant are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.    

The criminal investigation commenced after multiple victims filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Bureau. To protect yourself from becoming a victim of a home or property sale scam, Attorney General James offered the following tips: 

  • Before contracting for a large purchase, DO YOUR HOMEWORK:
  • Ask for references and call them.
  • Research online for complaints:
  • Check the better Business Bureau website and review the basis for their rating, including the complaint summaries, which are usually available online.  If you see anything that gives you pause, take your business elsewhere.
  • Be wary of providing a large deposit upfront.  Remember, if the business fails, you will likely not get your deposit back.
  • If you give a deposit that is supposed to be used for a specific purpose, demand proof that it has been applied to that purpose.
  • Review any contract carefully before signing it and keep a copy for your records. You will be bound by the contract terms — any oral representations made are unenforceable.
  • If you believe you have been scammed as part of a home or property sale, submit a complaint to the New York State Attorney General’s Office: https://ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint

 

Attorney General James thanks the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Financial Crimes Unit for their valuable assistance on this investigation.  

Consumer complaints were handled by Assistant Attorneys General Amy Schallop and Emily Auletta of the Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine and Bureau Chief Jane Azia. 

The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese and Special Counsel Benjamin S. Clark of the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, with the assistance of Legal Support Analysts Kira M. Russom, Rebecca Jacobson, and Supervising Analyst Paul Strocko. The Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Deputy Bureau Chief Joseph D’Arrigo. The Criminal Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado. 

The OAG investigation was conducted by Investigator Samuel Scotellaro, III, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Mark Spencer and Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief John Reidy.  

— end of NY AG’s Press Release —

 

 

Local Media

With but one factual error, that the news source themselves then clarified/corrected, the Daily Gazette made some useful additional points to the above.

Also, prosecutors allege, Burton would obtain financing to buy floor plan or display homes and sell them as new. This left victims without legal title to the home and left lenders believing the homes were still on display at her business.” Those display models, if they were purchased new, are new in the eyes of the law.  But the practice described is known in the industry as ‘Sold out of Trust’ or sometimes as SoT for short.

The following is also from the Daily Gazette, and lays out some insightful background.

The Better Business Bureau revoked its accreditation of Valued Manufactured Housing on Nov. 15, 2018, for not making a good-faith effort to resolve the disputes. 

The BBB website shows 10 of these complaints, some with responses. 

On Jan. 17, 2017, “Bruce and Sherrie” gave a lengthy explanation for the situation that led to a complaint and a promise to resolve the matter. 

On Aug. 30, 2018, in the same response to multiple complaints, the unidentified writer states that she is distraught at her own incompetence; that the family business is shut down after 26 years; that her son Jeremy and her husband were integral to the business and had both died; and that she’d made arrangements with a builder so that customers would get their homes and not lose their money.

An obituary published in his native Utica indicates Bruce Burton died Feb. 12, 2017, and that he was predeceased by his son Jeremy.”

 

There are several takeaways from this incident.  In no particular order of importance:

  • The New York State AG’s tips to home seekers are relevant, but it clearly should apply to all housing being sold or leased, not just factory-built homes. For example, scams on Craigslist or elsewhere involving conventional housing are legion.
  • The NY AG has previously brought to heel manufactured home community operators who were doing ‘contract for title’ or ‘rent to own’ a.k.a. ‘lease to own’ purchases, which are arguably errantly are still promoted and taught by George F. (F?) Allen, Spencer Roane, and their SECO colleagues. An MHI affiliated member attorney has told MHProNews that given the current state of federal law, he believes that the days of so-called Lonnie Deals are over, and that all such ‘rent or lease to own’ plans are illegal, because they are ‘disguised credit transactions.’ So industry professionals should approach with skepticism those who advocate such methods.
  • Once a given state begins to target an industry, it is not uncommon for other states to follow suit. Manufactured housing post-production associations are in some cases apparently failing to advise their members of the risks involving some practices. Indeed, the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF), and others have to some degree promoted Allen, Roane, and SECO, when they are advocating and engaging in practices that are risky to industry professionals, and purportedly are harmful to any number of consumers, like those reported here.

While it may not seem related at first blush, the second half of the article linked below very much relates to some of the issues bulleted above.  You can access the following, or other articles below the byline and disclosures, by clicking on the linked text/image box.

 

Do Looming Shareholders Suits Against Cavco Industries Foreshadow Problems for More Manufactured Home Industry Publicly Traded Firms?

 

Hungry! But Don’t Go The Wrong Way

The vast majority of the manufactured home industry’s independents and other professionals are looking to earn money honestly.  They are often hungry for knowledge. They want authentic education.  But in many cases, they clearly do not know which way to turn.  When an association or trade group gives tacit or active support to those who teach problematic behaviors, is the association opening themselves up to possible liability?  We have legal sources that say, yes.

Furthermore, a good trade group ought to condemn any bad behavior, while offering examples of the opposite.

In practical terms, this incident and the others like it are another wake up call to the industry’s ethical independents to organize on educational, lobbying, and communications. There is an affordable housing crisis.  There are many options for selling more homes in an authentic, sustainable and legitimate ways that could lead to record sales.

That can be done by individual businesses, or by some teaming up and working in concert. To learn more, click here and scroll through the options.

 

The Legal Process Grinds Slowly

There are reasons to believe that several large industry firms are under various federal investigations.  So when an individual retailer gets arrested and charged, one should not forget that this is a reminder that larger operations could face similar legal woes in the days ahead.  See more in the related reports, below the byline and disclosures.

 

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While the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) holds their winter fund-raiser – err, the MHI Winter Meeting – in Austin, TX, welcome to the ongoing drama that is buffeting MHVille in 2019. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Do Looming Shareholders Suits Against Cavco Industries Foreshadow Problems for More Manufactured Home Industry Publicly Traded Firms?

February 20th, 2019 Comments off

 

DoLoomingShareholdersSuitsAgainstCavcoIndustriesForeshadowWoesForMoreManufacturedHOmeIndustryPublicFirms

The headline question, according to a manufactured home industry attorney familiar with the issues, says what attorneys often do. “It depends.”

 

Under the headline, “RM LAW Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against Cavco Industries, Inc.” one reads the following.

RM LAW, P.C. is a national shareholder litigation firm.  RM LAW, P.C. is devoted to protecting the interests of individual and institutional investors in shareholder actions in state and federal courts nationwide,” said part of a February 6, 2019 press release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.

There is a growing number of such shareholders law firms circling Cavco Industries (NASDAQ:CVCO).

But does the risk to industry operations stop there?

To tee up this nuanced topic, let’s first note as a disclosure that we are not attorneys. The Daily Business News on MHProNews aren’t giving legal advice to current or potential members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

But we do get input from attorneys and legal sources, before we tackle tricky topics, such as this one, that can spell perhaps unanticipated risk to Cavco Industries (CVCO) and others.

We editorially believe there is value to warning the industry’s professionals about possibly looming threats. It is worth noting that it’s connections to Arlington, VA based MHI that arguably spells the risk.  Why MHI?  That will become clear, below. So, with those disclaimers noted, let’s dive in.

Next, let’s look at what Angela Gonzales of the Phoenix Business Journal said in a recent report on legal fees and increasing insurance by Cavco to cover the growing risks of litigation.  Gonzales’ narrative are found between the —- lines below

—–

SEC investigation spurs Phoenix homebuilder to pay $15.3M for directors, officers insurance

Ongoing investigation cost company more than $1M in legal expenses during recent quarter

·         Homebuilder experiences softening in home order rates beyond typical seasonal slowdown usually expected during winter months.

 

In the midst of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, Phoenix-based Cavco Industries Inc. has paid $15.3 million for extra directors and officers liability insurance coverage.

·         While company officials of the manufactured homes producer won’t say exactly how much that policy will cover, they did say the extra coverage will be needed in light of the ongoing independent investigation, which cost the company $1.3 million in legal and other expenses during the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 29, 2018.

·         Since receiving an SEC subpoena in November, company officials said they have cooperated with the SEC’s investigation into the trading of stock of another public company. At the time, Joseph Stegmayer stepped down as chairman, president and CEO after an internal investigation found he violated company policy related to securities trading activity.

·         Daniel Urness, who served as Cavco’s executive vice president and chief financial officer since 2015, stepped up to serve as president and acting CEO.

·         In a Feb. 5 earnings call with analysts, Urness said the company received an additional document subpoena request from the SEC related to the original securities trading activities.

·         “We are fully cooperating with the SEC and work to resolve this matter,” Urness told analysts.

·         After reviewing directors and officers liability coverage, Urness said it was determined that additional coverage was prudent.

·         “We recognize it’s costly,” he told analysts. “Clearly, this is because it does cover certain risks associated with the SEC issue.”

·         For the three months ended Dec. 29, Cavco reported $13.4 million in net income on $233.7 million in net revenue, down from $21.4 million in net income on $$221.4 million in net revenue during the same period in 2017, according to filings with the SEC.

·         However, net income was up to $48.7 million on $721.6 million for the nine months ended Dec. 29, from $39.4 million on $628.7 million in net revenue during the first nine months of 2017.

—–

Now, circle back to a prior report on Cavco, and see part of their latest public disclosure.  Here’s what the Motley Fool said was the official transcript from their most recent results call, starting with Cavco’s Mark Fusler’s comments.

“Mark Fusler — Director of Financial Reporting

Thank you. And before we begin, please be advised that comments made during this conference call by management will contain forward-looking statements under the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements of expectations or assumptions about Cavco’s financial and operational performance, revenues, earnings per share, cash flow or use, cost savings and operational efficiencies. 

Some factors that may affect the company’s results include, but are not limited to the risk of litigation or regulatory action arising from the subpoenas we received from the SEC, the risk of potential litigation or regulatory action arising from the SEC related internal investigation and its findings, potential reputational damage that Cavco may suffer as a result of matters under investigation, adverse industry condition, our involvement in vertically integrated lines of business, including manufactured housing, consumer finance, commercial finance and insurance, market forces and housing demand fluctuations, our business and operations being concentrated in certain geographical region, the loss of any of our executive officers, federal government shutdown, and extensive regulation affecting manufactured housing…”

Those disclosures by Cavco are meant in part to comply with transparency requirements, but also to reduce their risk of potential litigation.

 

The Risk of Litigation, and MHI Member Companies

Facts are what they are.  It only requires some surfing of this site to recognize this next fact.

Well in advance of the numerous pending Cavco suits, MHProNews was alone among industry publishers signaling risks associated with MHI connected firms.

With Cavco’s aim of reducing the risk of litigation in mind, let’s go to some specific pull quotes from their statements, above. You’ll begin to see why the facts about MHVille that outsiders are routinely unaware of could spell even more risk for that Phoenix, AZ based firm or others, as we work through Cavco’s (CVCO) own list.

  • potential litigation or regulatory action arising from the SEC related internal investigation and its findings,” – a contact at the SEC would not continue or deny to MHProNews that they were researching possible market collusion or antitrust related issues with respect to Cavco and Stegmayer.
  • potential reputational damage that Cavco may suffer as a result of matters under investigation…” – Where is there a disclaimer about risks that may come as a result of association with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)? Or that Joe Stegmayer is still the Chairman of MHI, and is reportedly saying things that would normally be the kind of statements made by a president, not the lesser role he is officially holding? More on that later purported risk is further below.
  • adverse industry condition,” – Given that Joe Stegmayer is MHI’s Chair, and MHI claims to ‘represent all segments of factory-built housing,’ how much risk is tied to those details? Is MHI truly doing their jobs well? If not, why not? There are legal sources that note that while not commonplace, perhaps, there is nevertheless examples of trade groups getting sucked into antitrust and other legal imbroglios.
  • our involvement in vertically integrated lines of business…” – if vertical integration is a risk, why isn’t it also risk to be working with potentially vulnerable independents? Which are more vulnerable, independents or vertically owned businesses units? Where is that disclaimer?
  • market forces and housing demand fluctuations…” – while technically accurate, this begs the question that the Urban Institute and others asked but arguably failed to properly answer. Why are so few manufactured homes being sold during an affordable housing crisis? Given that Cavco’s Stegmayer remains MHI’s Chairman, does that increase their exposure? How can he and his firm – or others in MHI – escape the notion that the industry is underperforming, and that they are in some measure to blame? See the comments from the MHI rival Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), linked further below.
  • the loss of any of our executive officers, federal government shutdown, and extensive regulation affecting manufactured housing…” – this last one is precisely an eyebrow raising case of chasing a gnat that had near zero risk in the first place, yet was inexplicably raised by MHI EVP Lesli Gooch. Why would Stegmayer presumably okay a statement by Gooch, that had been on no ones radar before, and with good reasons not to make something out of nothing? To better understand that, please see the linked report via the text/image box below.

 

Wall Street, Lesli Gooch – Manufactured Housing Institute EVP – Penetrating Scotsman Guide Interview Analysis

 

Could Other MHI Member Companies Could be Facing Risks?

Cavco, in a recently updated IR document, corrected an estimated figure that MHI has not yet corrected. Relevant data and facts are part of how investors make decisions. Perhaps sparked by periodic MHProNews reports on that topic of inaccuracies voiced by MHI, Cavco apparently reacted. If Cavco corrected an inaccurate data-point, why not MHI? When investors or prospective investors are told that the data comes from MHI – which is credibly accused of botching or misleading facts, figures, and more – does that create liabilities?

 

Absent sufficient disclosures, it might, say legal minds.

 

A Secret Society…?

MHI members who sit on a division board have voiced concerns with MHProNews that it is run like a “secret society,” with a select few ‘in the Know,’ and all others kept at arms length.

The pushback by Jeff Bezos vs. the National Enquirer opens a door that MHIndustry pros should ponder.  If Bezos says that their purported threat amounted to illegal extortion – how much more does that fear-based threat that stories like the one below inspires in MHVille?  These are wrinkles that industry outsiders are unlikely to grasp without sufficient research.

 

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

 

Note that these and other concerns are connected with MHI insiders.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

Outsiders looking in may not fully grasp the bold and nuanced issues that impact the industry, and thus publicly traded firms too. Few if any MHI members are arguably giving the proper disclosures to their current or potential shareholders.

 

So, there are several reasons to be concerned that MHI staff – presumably under the board of directors tacit or active approval – has behaved in ways contrary to the interests of the majority of the industry.

If so, and member firms that are publicly traded aren’t disclosing those concerns, isn’t that far greater risk than running out of HUD labels caused by a partial federal shutdown that is now  nowhere on the horizon?

There is arguably no way that the shareholders plaintiffs attorneys circling Cavco could fully grasp the full story without expert insights. The fact that some of those lawfirms circling Cavco have been in touch with our publisher, and/or have signed up for our emailed news updates, reflects the growing reality that the truth about MHVille is coming out in stages. That’s both risk and opportunity in disguise, for those willing to connect the dots

MHProNews plans a related report and will monitor this developing case at the Akron Mobile Home Park in Akron, NY. While the Manufactured Housing Institute holds their winter fund-raiser -err, winter meeting – in Austin, TX, welcome to the ongoing drama that is buffeting MHVille in 2019. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Manufactured Home Community Residents on ‘Rent Strike,’ Republican Lawmaker Calls Foul

February 19th, 2019 Comments off

 

WBIRNews4InvestigatesManufacturedHomeCommuhnityResidentsonRentStrikeRpublicanLawmakerCallsFoulDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

In New York State, numerous incidents connected to manufactured home communities and manufactured homes has been making news. But not in a positive way.

 

Recently, there were several dozen cases of rent-to-own or ‘contract-for-title’ transactions by community operators that caught the ire of the N.Y. State Attorney General’s office. ICYMI: see that in the article linked here or further below. But in this incident report, it’s not a Democratic run AG’s office, but a Republican state legislator who has taken up the cause of residents “fighting back” against a Florida based investment group.

The local news video by WIVB-TV posted provides a reasonably balanced report about what the community owner says, as well as what the residents’ complaints are. The community is named the Akron Mobile Home Park, in Akron, NY. That land-lease community purchased by Sunrise Capital Investors in 2017 is compared and contrasted with a nearby manufactured home community where the management and owner are local.  That local owner is also interviewed for the Channel 4 video below.

 

 

There is no mention of MHAction or NMHOA in the WIVB-TV video. But it sounds as if a group like theirs could have been background advisors. Or perhaps their literature or website(s) inspired residents and/or influenced local media reporting.

That said, while the video is reasonably balanced and reflects the tensions and pressures on all sides, there is what appears to be a factual error in the WIVB-TV narrative. In their written report – linked here – Channel 4 cited Warren Buffett as an owner of manufactured home communities. But Clayton Homes sold their land-lease communities not long after Chairman Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway purchased the Knoxville, TN metro company. Per reports, Buffett did not want to be viewed as ‘raising the rents on grandma.’

The Channel 4 video also improperly uses word trailer,” but also uses the term “manufactured homes.” So, while they did better than many in reporting with correct terminology, perhaps local media may be under the common misimpression that a ‘mobile home’ is a ‘trailer house,’ which savvy industry professionals know is not the case.

 

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Trailers could be pulled with a car or pickup truck, but by the mobile home era, those dwellings required more specialized and heavy duty equipment to move the unit.  As one group noted, they are “immobile homes” in the HUD Code manufactured home era. 

 

As the manufactured home industry’s professionals considers why there is a lack of serious growth in manufactured housing, reports like this one must be considered as a factor. This story in Akron, NY reflects several dynamics, one of which is arguably the need for a solid post-production trade group that represents the interests of independents. While the reporting appears balanced, a properly run post-production trade group could be heading off some problematic practices. Or as in the case of the report above, bring in one or more operations that don’t use allegedly aggressive practices that threaten – as a resident of Akron Mobile Home Park says – those resisting stiff rent hikes with ‘economic eviction’ and ‘fear tactics.’

But an element missing from this report is this. It must not be imagined by the public that privately owned or publicly traded communities are the only ones who have issues, as the story from the hot-linked text-image box below reminds us.

 

Thorns and Roses In Manufactured Home Community Controversy

 

Furthermore, arguably the bulk of manufactured home community owners and operators don’t make this kind of problematic kind of news.

 

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MHProNews plans a related report and will monitor this developing case at the Akron Mobile Home Park in Akron, NY. While the Manufactured Housing Institute holds their winter fund-raiser -err, winter meeting – in Austin, TX, welcome to the ongoing drama that is buffeting MHVille in 2019. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

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

 

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

Manufactured Housing – MHVille, It’s Not a Matter Open to Interpretation

November 20th, 2018 Comments off

 

ManufacturedHousingNotMatterOpenToInterpretationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsHere in the U.S., the legal system forbids falsehood, though the law knows that it occurs.  After 18 months of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, millions of observers have learned that lying to the FBI is a federal crime. Some have plead guilty, but not to a 2016 campaign violation. Rather, they plead guilty to making a false statement.

 

Talking heads on TV nod soberly and call it a “perjury trap.”

On an entirely different level, Martha Stewart knows that trap all too well.

So why has lying and deception become so common?

CNNMarthaStewartPerjuryLyingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Manufactured Homes and Misinformation

How does misinformation impact manufactured housing, each and every day?

If tens of millions knew the unvarnished truth about our industry’s affordable housing products and services, and there was reasonable:

  • financing,
  • placement,
  • capital,
  • zoning,
  • and information/attitude parity with conventional housing,

would there have been a million new HUD Code manufactured homes sold in 2018, vs. the estimated 100,000 (+/-) actually expected by year’s end?

 

What is Wrong is That We Don’t Ask What is Right.”

– Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton.

 

Millions who know Chesterton’s work know that he’s better known as G.K., not by Gilbert Keith. Is that a lie? A deception?

When Cavco’s Joseph Stegmayer goes by “Joe,” does anyone seriously think of that as a lie? No, no more so than MHI’s Dick Jennison is lying for being a Dick, when his given name is Richard.

There are customs dating back for centuries that make it clear that we all have a reasonable degree of flexibility in the use of our own names. This writer for a time had people call her Sophia, thinking it would be easier for Americans to say, when my driver’s license said that Soheyla was my given Farsi name.

Samuel Clemens committed no crime when his writings were under the pen name Mark Twain. Teddy Roosevelt was Theodore. Barry Obama was actually named Barack, and so on.

So, a degree of understanding and common sense are necessary for mature adults as to what is or isn’t a deliberate falsehood.

 

MarkTwainSamuelClemensWikiQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

Privacy

It’s true that some people put their sexual lives online via social media, videos, photos, etc. in a deliberate fashion. But there’s still a general acceptance among people that one’s sex life is personal, and those details are generally not put forth for all to see.  We recently reminded readers that when we ask for news tips, we don’t seek information on people’s private lives, unless it has a clear connection to legal violation, or some wrongdoing in an official capacity.

 

WarrenBuffettBillGatesBusinessInsiderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are some funny, odd, and other items that are beyond suggestive that have been provided to MHProNews, some of which are just not what we are about. This one is on the lighter side, not a slam or slur.

 

There are other details that people keep private.

Medical histories, financial access codes, and identification numbers are but a few examples.

Companies have some items that are kept confidential, rightly, on items like so-called ‘trade secrets.’ Those secrets are often legitimate, although some can be based upon a false premise, if those secrets were in fact stolen from another person or entity.

Theft of intellectual property is what much of the hang up is between the U.S. and China in bilateral trade talks. Some want those U.S.-China trade disputes quickly resolved. But the theft of ‘intellectual property,’ of corporate or even governmental secrets, cost hundreds of billions of dollars a year for American businesses. Furthermore, millions of records of former or current federal officials were reportedly hacked by the Chinese, as the following media and others reported.

 

HacksFederalComptuersbyChineseHackersDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

Other nation-states directly or through third-parties have hacked the information of citizens, companies, and governmental offices.

Yet in the U.S.A. today, it’s Russia that’s demonized more than China, North Korea, or other countries like Iran. Why?

Does anyone recall that Iran’s nuclear program was supposedly delayed by a piece of malware planted by the U.S. and/or Israel? That’s only a point-of-fact made to say that some cyberwarfare tactics are used by all; it is not to say that the U.S. does some of what China or Iran does.

There’s the language of diplomacy, which is often polite. We hear President Donald J. Trump call Communist China’s President Xi his friend. Really? But it’s a bit like Presidents George W. Bush or Barack H. Obama avoiding the use of the term, “radical Islamic terrorist.” Agree or disagree, but those usages are commonplace in public speaking by leaders. They are often not done as a lie. Rather, it’s a means of politely avoiding a difficult reality. Those who’ve used or avoided certain terminology may sincerely think it is to avoid harmfully stirring up public sentiment.

Mature people have to read between the lines. Tim Williams’ given name is TIMOTHY. Is that a lie, for him to go by Tim? Absolutely not. When James Clayton goes by Jim, does that harm another person? No.

MHProNews does not go after silly or private details that mean nothing to a reasonable person. Rather, we focus on issues that impact the industry, and thus should cause concern, alarm, or may legally be actionable.

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 Tech Giants

The infographic chart below reflects what information is being collected on you by which tech giants.

Yes, on you.

WhatTechCompaniuesSocialMediaKnowAboutYouFAANGDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Click here to see this full sized.

 

It may be legal. But we as a society have gotten into certain habits. A pop-up box appears on a small or larger screen. It asks us to accept the “terms of use,” which are dozens of pages of legalese long. When was the last time you read those? If you want the ap or service, you click “yes,” and go on.

But that “yes” to tech is arguably to some degree a conditioned response. A shrewd attorney, a sympathetic arbitrator, judge, or jury might invalidate that consent, because that “yes” wasn’t fully informed.

The tech giants wield enormous financial and information power over millions in America and billions more around the world. Those companies – the FAANG brands, that we reported in our market report last night as sliding – are products and services that are so commonplace in our society, that tens of millions don’t question them.  ICYMI, you can circle back later and get more details.

 

Investor Fright Bites FAANG, Drags Equities, Plus MH Market Updates

 

A relatively small amount of money from Russia reportedly was spent in the 2016 campaign as disinformation on Facebook. It included both pro- and anti-Secretary Hillary Clinton and/or Donald J. Trump information. Might it have misled a few voters? Not enough to swing the election, or even come close. Who said? Then President, Barack Obama.

Yet because of some segments of mainstream media, as well as some of those tech giants, there are large swaths of the public that believe that actual votes were changed – voting machines or ballots – and that mistakenly think that Donald J. Trump ‘stole’ an election.

1430 AM reports that a new survey by the Economist/YouGov stated that over 40 percent of Americans believe that Russians changed actual votes. That’s not true.  Even former President Barack Obama said at the time that it wasn’t even possible to do that kind of election hack.

Since that statement by the former 44th president, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and others have said that no votes in the 2016 election were changed by Russian interference.

 

AstAGRodRosenstienNoVotesChangedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Almost no one speaks about concerns over how former President Obama and then Secretary Clinton allegedly attempted to influence a Russian election, against Vladimir Putin. It’s all part of a tit-for-tat that the U.S. and Russia have done for years. Or how millions of Israelis and Brits fumed when former President Obama made statements that they felt attempted to influence the election of Prime Minster Bibi Netanyahu, or the Brexit vote.

What’s the common point? All of the above are real issues and concerns, and they relate to widely held misinformation. Each of the above notions could be confirmed with a few simple fact checks.

But what’s sinister and impacts our manufactured home industry – and tens of millions of Americans – is how misinformation or misleading postures are used day-by-day within our industry, and inside of our nation. Or how conditioned responses can cause people to give away information that most would deem private.

Manipulation and misinformation have been made commonplace.

Let’s go back to that list of 7 billionaires who supported Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterms.  It includes Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett. The list below doesn’t include George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer or other billionaires who don’t happen to be in Forbes top ten billionaires, but who nevertheless supported Democratic or socialistic candidates in U.S. elections.

 

ForbesTOP10BillionairesPartyPoliticalSupportTendenciesManufacturedHomeLivingNews

The Democrats are not the same party that they used to be. Neither are the Republicans. Democrats have tilted socialist, and many say so openly.

 

That list of the top ten billionaires includes not just people with enormous wealth, but also those who wield influence over information, media, education, and/or other facets of American life.

It’s for that reason, numbers in our industry – and millions beyond it – are realizing that only the breakup of those oligopolies and monopolies can protect our American Republic.

Note that we didn’t say ‘democracy.’ Yes, there are democratic – direct votes, by the people – elements to our nation. But by law, the U.S. is a Republic. When we pledge allegiance to the flag, it includes the words, “and to the Republic for which it [i.e.: the flag] stands…”

Our publisher is a history buff, in fact, he was an multiple award-winning history major, and had a perfect 4.0 in business that he took as his minor. He saw a quote from a 1938 U.S. Army manual that once made the distinction between the false notion that the U.S. was a pure democracy, when in fact our nation is and always has been since our Constitution was established, a Republic.

That distinction is now missing in many forms of public information.

These are facts, facts, facts. There is no conspiracy implied in reciting facts.

But facts are assiduously avoided by some of the most powerful politicians, as well as among some of the deepest pockets of our nation, and others.

There is media influence in Communist China, where the state openly controls information. The communists always have.  Until the Chinese leadership are forced by circumstances to do otherwise, they will likely will continue to control the flow of information. It makes controlling some 1.4 billion people easier.

There is media influence in America. That control is imperfect, compared to what exists in China, because there is still freedom here. There are conservative, centrist, and leftist media outlets in America. That’s one reason why MHProNews periodically trots out the left-right media infographic, shown below.  It helps readers spot the possible agenda of the source.

 

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources. http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/no-fire-just-smoke-and-democratic-clinton-supporter-says-enough/

 

 

A Cult of Personalities 

The New York Post said that the Obama’s are becoming a billion-dollar brand. Not unlike the Clintons, they have established a foundation. Also akin to the Clintons, the Obama’s command a large speaking fee.

The New York Post says that the Obamas have some $50 million they will earn from an agreement with Netflix. There’s another $65 million in the estimated value of book deals. Here’s how they stated it, ”In addition to a $65 million book advance and an estimated $50 million deal with Netflix, both of which she [Michelle] shares with husband Barack Obama…”

Michelle is on a high profile book tour. A common factor, says EIB Network talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, in book deals with major names are requirements to do publicity events. TV, radio, live or canned events are arranged with the ‘author.’ Those ‘author’s’ often have ‘ghost’ or other writers and editors in the mix. No one thinks ill of having an editor or ghost writer.

But where the concern should be is these questions.  Why would someone pay such enormous sums simply to have people speak? What message are they sending? Why are they being paid so much? Who gains from their speaking and fame?

 

Glitches…

You can fault MHProNews for typos or a glitch. You may or may not like every topic that we tackle. Or how we frame an issue. Our sole defense is the truth that we put out more content by far than any other MH industry trade media, plus we are doing professional services and client work too, day by day. On slower days, our publisher and editor goes back and re-edits some long columns like this one, just in case.

But on the facts and evidence, we want it all to be accurate and fair.

On each subject, we strive to bring facts, evidence, reason, and ethics into the discussion. Those issues are ones that matter to every one of our industry’s homeowners or to thousands of independent businesses. It’s also important to the millions of Americans who ought to be our industry’s customers, but have been misled into thinking ill of our housing option.

We source across the left-right media divide – and from public officials, or industry sources – for very specific reasons. First, there is the ancient “wheat and chaff” principle. Wheat must be separated from chaff in nature, before wheat is consumed. Ideally, in sourcing a story, the chaff is threshed out, and the wheat is retained.

By citing sources, if a factual error creeps in, then the cause is known. It’s what a good journalist or researcher should always do.

Manufactured homes are a fraction of the price of conventional housing. But the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) misstated that savings a few years back, in advertorials that they paid to have published. Why did MHI pay for that deliberately misleading information in the first place?

After MHProNews repeatedly spotlighted that issue, MHI eventually pivoted away from that, and now they have an infographic that includes a much better visualization of the savings between a conventionally built single-family house and a modern manufactured home. In doing so, MHI correctly pointed to the U.S. Census Bureau data to achieve that comparison. Good, the source was correctly cited.

But where was their acknowledgment or apology to the industry for their advertorials that misstated the savings? Those inaccurate advertorials are still online.

 

 

MHI brags that millions could have seen those stories they paid to place in various news sources. Misleading statistics were used, that readers can still stumble upon.  See the MHI infographic, below. Is that misuse of information emblematic of a larger problem at MHI?

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoMHIInfographicSnapshotFactCheckDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

Why does MHI posture one thing, when they have at various time done quite another? Why all the razzle dazzle, instead of actual performance that can be measured in new home sales? Are MHI’s top 3 staff leaders inept?  Or is there a method and purpose behind that MHI staff leadership madness?

On MHI’s website today, Joe Stegmayer is still listed as their chairman (see graphic, further below). A few years ago, Triad Financial Services President and CEO – Don Glisson, Jr. – stepped aside from being MHI Chairman over a relatively nothing issue that involved blogger George Allen. The issue, per several informed sources, was whether or not Allen would be allowed to speak at an upcoming MHI event. Sources at MHI told the Daily Business News on MHProNews that some staff were strongly opposed to Allen speaking at the event.

But Allen claimed he had been promised a speaking slot.

So, then MHI Chairman Glisson, per those sources, offered a compromise. Give Allen an early morning speaking spot, to keep the claimed promise to the now former community owner and blogger, and thus also limit his exposure to the minimum number of MHI attendees.

That arguably elegant compromise on Allen speaking reportedly brought on a revolt by some, including higher level MHI staff. Why?

Mr. Glisson stepped aside in frustration, essentially saying, ‘I don’t need this aggravation.’

Glisson made no public outcry. He just quietly stepped aside. For those present when that step-down occurred, one minute, Glisson was present, and suddenly, after his decision was shared to select people, he was gone.

Nathan Smith then became MHI Chairman. Later, when TV ads of Smith for SSK Communities reportedly were in violation of federal regulations, did Smith step down? No. When a legal class action was begun by a number of SSK Communities residents, did Smith step down from his role as MHI Chairman? No.

When Tim Williams later became MHI Chairman, and certain troubling reports about Berkshire Hathaway brands in manufactured home lending practices from the Seattle Times became public, did Williams step down? No. When those same Seattle Times reports pointed a finger at Clayton Homes, did Clayton’s Tom Hodges step aside and remove himself from the MHI board? No.

So why would mere allegations about possible SEC violations cause Joe Stegmayer, a former Clayton Homes division president, to step aside as MHI Chairman today? Others cozy with Berkshire Hathaway stayed on. Why should Stegmayer be any different?

 

2018-11-20_1350MHILogoManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoDailyBusienssNewsMHproNewsJoeStegmayer

 

The above is telling. Triad’s Glisson has a well earned reputation for being honorable. His firm’s sound business model in manufactured home chattel lending thrived while others in manufactured home lending collapsed in the early 2000s. Track records matter.

MHProNews isn’t saying more or less than what the facts or track records reflect.

How many times has MHI had to pivot from an embarrassing posture? Several, in just recent years, as carefully readers of the Daily Business News know. Where was the transparency that the late Howard Walker said should exist at MHI, that the ELS Vice-Chairman said existed at their publicly traded company?

 

HowardWalkerPhotoELSViceChairmanManufacturedHomeCOmmunitiesManufacturedHousingInstituteExecCommitteeMemberQuoteTransparencyMHProNews

Thoughtful words, worth pondering. 

 

Why won’t Cavco reveal which stock is in question involving Stegmayer and the bombshell SEC probe? Won’t that information come out, sooner or later?

If Cavco can’t say so publicly, due to some SEC reason, and the SEC won’t reveal it either, why doesn’t Cavco not bluntly say so? Why do they use more nuanced, but evasive, language?

Why did Third Avenue Value Fund (TAVFX) sell off all of Cavco’s (CVCO) stocks recently?  Why don’t others in MHVille trade media raise or report on such problematic issues?  ICYMI, or want to later share those details with others, see the report linked below.

 

Hedge Fund’s Cavco Move, and More from Inside MHVille

 

Are there not sufficient reasons for Stegmayer to step aside from his leadership role at MHI?

What is MHI doing to and for our industry’s image or on regulatory issues anyway? How much of what they do are just a fig-leaf – posturing?  Isn’t the bottom line that manufactured home shipments are still at record low levels, a decade after the 2008 meltdown?

 

Figure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

There are a growing number of industry voices that believe that BH/CMH and MHI have by various action/inaction has kept manufactured home sales at historically low levels. Evidence? See Related Reports and videos, linked below, which quotes and cites BH, MHI, CMH, 21st Mortgage Corp, and other sources.

 

Facts matter. As a comparison, why are RVs roaring, while HUD Code manufactured homes are snoring?

 

RVsshipmentsTrailedMH1998WinnebagoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

 

“It’s a Disgrace

President Donald J. Trump has said and done some things that are less than pure. He said prior to his election that he used the rigged system himself, which is why he could fight it – because he knew it first hand.

In short, he was self-revealing.  He’s not claimed to be what he’s not.

Millions mistakenly believe something totally untrue about Russia and the Trump Campaign, if that recent poll noted above is accurate. Again, millions were wrongly led to believe that votes were changed. That was accomplished by merely repeating a false impression for days, weeks, and months on end. Recall that in 2017, Project Veritas had an undercover video with a CNN producer that revealed that the Russia Collusion story was a “nothing burger.” But that same CNN producer said that Russian collusion was good for ratings. Welcome to fake news?

That lie or deception about a phony Russian collusion doesn’t mean that everything CNN does is a lie. But it does mean that what CNN or others in media do must be scrutinized.

Fox News isn’t perfect either. They have people or hosts on that can use claims that likewise are incorrect or even deceive, but at least they often show both sides of a given question.

The answer isn’t to throw up one’s hands and not watch news, or not vote, or not be engaged. That’s a fine outcome for those who arguably pull the strings of millions by media and tech manipulation. Those who are not engaged in solving the problem are de facto a vote for those who are engaging in deceptive and manipulative practices.

The ubiquitous Drudge Report ran a headline quoting from President Trump recently that said that he likes to ‘tell the truth as often’ as he can. Wow.

There are things that world leaders know from intelligence and other sources that they don’t tell their populations. It’s been that way for centuries before the printing press. It is also so since the modern internet, broadcast or cable eras.

The point?

The broad brush of what is real is knowable, but it requires a little common sense, some understanding, a bit of history, etc.

HumanitiesValueBuisnessCriticismDissentWhenGoingAlongGetAlongWhereWhistleblowersDiscouragedBadThingsHappenBusinssesImplodeMarthaCNussbaumPhotoQuote

Design by MHProNews.

 

What a Fed Said to MHProNews

Federal investigators have been on the Berkshire Hathaway trail for years, per the Seattle Times, and reports from federal sources to MHProNews. Warren Buffett himself admitted to being questioned about why he sold out his stocks in Fannie Mae prior to the meltdown.

 

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Berkshire Hathaway Backstory

 

So, when a federal investigator said to our publisher recently would be no surprise to those who have closely followed this periodic series on MHProNews.

In essence, without defending Buffett, that investigators said that what Buffett – whom one of those investigators referred to as “the Oracle of Omaha” – is doing in manufactured housing, is occurring in other industries too.

Put differently, that Fed said is that what is occurring at MHI, and our manufactured home industry being consolidated by manipulation of the system by major players is only a subset of a greater problem.  Our publisher agreed with that agent.

But that is also why for several years, MHProNews has spotlighted issues outside of MHVille.  Those elements of the FAANGs, for example, either parallel and/or are interconnected to what has purportedly developed in our industry.  Further, as our reports have noted, FAANG firms not only daily touch MHPros and manufactured home owners, some of those same tech giants are getting involved in factory-based construction too.

 

Where Left, Right, and Center Might Agree?

There are voices in the Democratic Party, in the political center, and on the right that are seeing the threat to the nation from big tech. Some believe that Berkshire Hathaway plays a role in that monopolistic/oligopoly threat too, as the federal investigator referred to above, implied.

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

Just one of numerous examples of articles in the mainstream media, about Berkshire Hathaway’s manufactured housing units. FYI, there will be a report, perhaps next week, on Prosperity Now, which was previously known as CFED. Doug Ryan is pro-manufactured homes, but takes issue with several things in manufactured housing – a mixed bag for the industry.

 

There are areas that the 45th President, Donald J. Trump – who has called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” and “a disgrace” – can work with Democrats and Republicans on that could benefit the vast majority of the nation. Breaking up monopolies is – on paper – one of those areas. It may be the most important one.

 

 

HowClaytonHomesMakesMoneyAustinFrerickTwitterOpenMarketsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

Open Markets Austin Frerick argued that monopolies are the most important issue facing America today.  See two of several tweets by Frerick, above and below.

 

AustinFrerickOpenMarketsAntiTrustAntiMonopolyClaytonHomesWarrenBuffettPredatoryLenderMinoritiesMoreDailyBusinessNewsManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

AT&T’s breakup in the 1980s under antitrust action by the federal government was arguably good for the country. The breakup of Berkshire and those FAANG companies could similarly be good for our industry and the nation too. Phone service didn’t end, it got better after the AT&T breakup. Breaking up the monopoly/oligopoly of FAANG and Berkshire could – similar to AT&T’s breakup – lead to a renaissance in American small business, and for our industry too.

 

ScottGallowayNYSternUniversityL2AntiTrustAntiMonopolyDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews555

 

Note that federal sources tell MHProNews that their investigations include public officials for possible malfeasance.

Pam Danner, JD, are you reading this today?  Just asking…

…and the industry should ask why Danner was given de-facto support and purported cover by MHI.

 

pam-danner-hud-code-manufactured-housing-program-administrator-mhi-2014-summer-meeting-indianapolis-in-alexander-hotel-(c)2014-mhpronews-com-

Pam Danner, JD, HUD Code Manufactured Housing Program Administrator, credit, MHProNews.

 

MHI’s Response to MHProNews and their Naysayers

As part of MHI’s response to our reports and analysis, we have several sources that said that they were pressured not to advertise with MHProNews. Huh? At the time, we’d been a member for years, and had been praised numerous times for our “News, Tips, and Views That Pros Can Use” © coverage by MHI leaders.

George Allen, who at various times was persona non grata at MHI, and other ‘friends’ of MHI have allegedly attempted a smear campaign against our publisher. That has taken place over a period of years, along with others connected to MHI, per sources. Our L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressed that matter directly to Kevin Clayton, Tom Hodges, the top 3 MHI staffers, federal investigator/officials in Washington, D.C., and others. That email is shown below.

 

KevinClaytonTomHodgesDickJennisonLesliGoochRickRobinsonMHIClaytonHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

Suffice it to say for now that neither the Berkshire Hathaway brands, not MHI, did as requested. We documented that they received this and other messages, and provided the same to officials as noted above. The above began after a report linked here was published, but that may or may not be a coincidence. 

The above has also been provided to federal investigators, who as previously noted, had already been looking into the matters at MHI, and how they relate to Knoxville and Omaha.  That’s been going on for several years.

There will be a special Masthead possibly tomorrow evening. Tune in and check it out, won’t you?

 

 

The World Didn’t End…

When Legacy Housing, an MHI member, advertised their events last fall on MHProNews, did that doom them? Hardly.

Instead, they had two successful fall events.  That is to be expected when you market via the runaway most read-publication in the entire industry. In their public filings for an IPO with the SEC, Legacy Housing said they had their biggest backlog in their firm’s history.

 

Legacy Housing IPO, Lending Tree, & New HUD Ruling Updates

Arguably, those who get spotlighted on MHProNews not only benefit from the exposure, but they are safer from the FAANGs, Berkshire’s and MHI’s of the world.  Again, for some evidence of that, see the upcoming Masthead.

  • Sound information,
  • the rule of law,
  • access to capital,
  • placement,
  • lending, and
  • a level playing field will liberate manufactured housing.

There is, to be accurate, both subjective and objective truth. For example, you may like mustard and ketchup; our publisher dislikes both of those. Those are subjective truths, and in those matters of taste, your truth and ours can collide, but that’s harmless.

Then there are objective realities.

Has MHI failed the majority of its own members?

Several voices at various times have called them out for exactly those kinds of problems. A partial list is insightful.

  • Frank Rolfe,
  • Marty Lavin,
  • Bob Crawford,
  • NMHCO leaders,
  • Titus Dare, and
  • even the MHI exiting president, Chris Stinebert,

among others.

Perhaps because MHProNews has pulled those and other disparate voices into one place, MHI and several Berkshire brands have purportedly targeted our publication for elimination. If they could have disproven our claims, why didn’t they?  So instead of disproving our concerns and allegations, they go after sponsors, or resort to phony smear tactics?

For those who grasp the reality of the concerns, ponder this. Smoking Gun 3, or more recently, the detailed report linked below, reflects a series of facts. Money and evidence trails are apparently difficult for them to deny.  Each fact-based, logic-laced report arguably points to this Occam’s Razor style conclusion.

MHI and their Berkshire brands try to pick winners and losers in our industry.

Why did MHI publish a community count data that agreed with MHVillage, instead of Frank Rolfe’s or George Allen’s manufactured home community totals or estimates? Favoritism? Winner and losers?

 

Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds, George Allen, Manufactured Home Community Controversy Continues

Why are MHAction – paid via various money channels by Warren Buffett, George Soros and other deep pockets on the left – targeting

  • ELS,
  • Rolfe & Company,
  • and Blackstone?
  • Why don’t they target Tom Lackey and his defenders/trainers?

The truth is there, to be found, when one follows the money and the evidence trail.

But it takes time to ferret out the facts. Then it takes time to frame that truth in ways that make sense to a growing numbers of industry professionals and investors.

We’ve come into the holiday season. Thanksgiving is almost here. We’ll see if or how much readership might take a short break. But normally, if so, it’s usually a modest one (about 10 percent). Our competition in MHVille trade publishing would only dream of having that potentially modest fall off as being their total readership.

That’s true despite the reported dirty tricks by those who don’t want reports like this available.  But our readers see the value.

 

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies and opportunities.

 

When your opponents uses the tactics of:

  • Duck
  • Dodge
  • Dismiss
  • Detract
  • Distract and
  • Defame

SpinMisdirectionRedHerringDuckDodgDismissDistractDetractDefame6DsManufacturedHOusiungInstitute

you can guess that as a publisher, you are over their targets, catching flak.

And you, faithful reader? Knowledge is potential power. Use it, share it, and base your decisions upon reality, not illusions, lies, or costly faked impressions.

If they drove thousands of others out of business or who sold out for less, then, why would you think they won’t do it to you, too?

Affordable Housing, the Visible, Yet Mysterious Struggle for an Obvious Solution, Case Examples

Thus

  • MHARR – which sticks to facts, facts, facts and rarely has to pivot, exists for independent manufactured home producers; and
  • the new NMHCO trade group for communities, have or are forming.

 

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Slam New National Manufactured Home Communities Group in Written Statement

 

Will independent retailer and other MHVille professionals rise up, as NMHCO is striving to do?

The time to prepare for 2019 and 2020 are now. Reports like this are wake up calls.  Don’t just read, use the information, double check the facts, and then plan accordingly. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Robotics, 3D Printed Housing, Imminent Challengers for Manufactured Homes, Modular Housing – 3D Build Systems CEO Don Musilli

May 29th, 2018 Comments off

CEODonMusilli3DBuildSystemsRobotics3DPrintedHousingImminentChallengersManufacturedHomesModularHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A revolutionary idea in home building is taking place insouthwest Florida, per Sun Coast News. and other regional media.

 

Once the foundation is poured the robot will print that structure in 18 to 24 hours,” said CEO Don Musilli, to ABC 7.

Instead of a year to build a house conventionally, Musilli and 3D Build Systems COO Deborah Hegedus believe they can cut the total build time down to a single month.

All the technology we’re working with is all bottom up. This is not technology that your grandfather used, or your father used,” Musilli told Sun Coast.

The 2 videos on this Daily Business News report bring out some similar, distinctive, and complementary facts.

3D Build Systems says they can build housing from 700 to about 2000 square feet in size.

This is similar, but on a larger scale, to the 3D printing that MHProNews previously reported is being deployed by an Austin, TX 3D builder.

 

3D Printed Home in Austin, TX Aims to Revolutionize Affordable Housing

What is often missing from reports on emerging technologies in construction are accurate estimates of pricing. Sun Coast reported an estimated price of $150,000. But what does that include? The article, and others, were silent on that point.

So MHProNews reached out to Musilli. In a series of emails, here’s what he said.

We are developing 3 typical home designs with pricing that will be put on our website within the next 20 to 30 days,” Musilli told the Daily Business News via email.

As his message suggested, there is no firm price now, but it should be noted that such pricing is often missing from others doing 3D housing printing.  To his credit, Musilli, is the first to directly address such specific questions.

We have been developing these prices and want to be fairly sure that what we present is accurate. For approximation we believe we can complete one of our homes in 1200 to 1400 sq. ft. range for around $150K,” per Musilli message.

That reply was to the MHProNews’ querry requesting a turn key, move-in ready price.

Again, we will have more data shortly,” he said.

 

Comparisons to Conventional Housing

In the Sarasota market, starter, new conventional housing ranges from $100.50 – $149.22 per square foot, according to Home Builders Pro Matcher.

So, doing the math provided by Musilli, a 1,300 square foot home for $150,000 turn-key would be $115.39 per square foot.

If they hit that target figure, that would make these 3D printed houses very competitive to mainstream site-built housing.  That said, in some ways, it could be superior, if the homes are indeed able to handle 220 mile-per-hour winds, and an 8.0 rated earthquake.

It would be surprising if they could do a turn-key finish of their models in 30 days, but even if it was completed in 60 days, it would be far faster than conventional housing.

That could be a tough competitor, perhaps even a body-blow to modular builders, if the pricing holds and as 3D housing catches on.

It could also put a pinch on some higher end HUD Code manufactured home builders too.  Manufactured housing would still be significantly less in price.

But as robotics ramps up, don’t be surprised if the pricing drops.  Note too that the new tax law, per sources, could spur robotics sales. See the infographic below.

NearFutureAutomatedProductionIncreasingDramaticallyRobotsCheaperVCapitalistDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The Wrap

The bottom line is that this is a big threat to site builders, but it is also a looming challenge to higher cost factory builders.

Nevertheless, the Google search below is accurate, then the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has been mute on this topic.

3DPrintedHousingManufacturedHousingInstituteIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

By contrast, the Modular Building Institute (MBI) has, per the search shown, has to some degree addressed this issue.

ModularBuildingInstituteMBI3DPrintedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHProNews has been tracking and reporting on the emerging 3D printed housing tech for several years.

MHProNewsMHLivingNews3DPrintedHomeHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The bottom line is that industry professionals should be mindful of these developments, and should develop responses to the challenge.

The alternative of inaction from could be problematic for hundreds of business in MHVille in a fairly short period of time. ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Emerging Building, Construction Technologies Poised to Disrupt Housing, Developing, and More

Survey Top 2017 PreFab, Modular, Tiny and 3D Printed Housing News Stories

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

Coldwater, Tall Grass, P&Z Battles, Manufactured Home Community Plan OK’d – Manufactured Housing and the Don Westphal Back Story

May 10th, 2018 Comments off

ColdwaterTallGrassP&ZBattlesManufacturedHomeCommunityPlanOKdManufacturedHousingDonWestphalBackstoryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Coldwater Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the City Council approve rezoning 20.6 acres from the township R-3 to the city’s AA — Agriculture Residential – for a 102 lot manufactured home subdivision,” said the Daily Reporter.

Leading the charge was Don Westphal.

DonWestphalHeadDailyReporterFarrelRoehTallGrassManufacturedHomeCommunityColdwaterMIDailyBusinessNwesMHProNewsThe petitioners from Farrell-Roeh of Littleton, Colorado want to rezone the land from Coldwater Township R-3 Medium Density Residential Zoning to City of Coldwater Double-A One Family Agricultural Residential Zoning,” said WTVBAM.

Planner Dean Walrack said this was the only match between land zoning categories that the township had zoned and put on its master plan for the manufacture[d] homes,” wrote Don Reid for the Daily Reporter.

This planning and zoning skirmish was done, but it was just one of many for Westphal.

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape architecture from Michigan State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Illinois,” Westphal told MHProNews.

DonWestphalDailyReporterFarrelRoehTallGrassManufacturedHomeCommunityColdwaterMIDailyBusinessNwesMHProNews

I was accepted into Graduate School late in the spring of 1963 and was unable to find suitable married housing. We purchased a 36X8′ Brentwood mobile home in Muskegon Michigan, welded a hitch on a farm semi and towed it to the Glover Street Trailer Park in Urbana, Illinois. Our little home was perfect for students, but the 17 site trailer park was less than ideal. Rent then was $25.00 per month, and we ended up not having to pay the site fee, in exchange for keeping the washer and dryer in the laundry building clean and placing the mail in each mail slot daily,” Westphal said.

The well-known and award-winning Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member explained how he got into the industry.

While doing some research for a term paper on mobile homes, I found references to the Mobile Homes Manufacturers Association in Chicago and paid them a visit. I met Dick Beitler and Herb Behrend there and was hired as one of two consultants to their Land Development Division which was offering site planning services to developers as a way to improve the design of mobile home parks,” Westphal said.

The industry was trying to improve its image way back in the 60’s. I ended up writing my master’s thesis on Manufactured Housing and as they say, “the rest is history.” I continued as a consultant to MHMA designing communities for several years and taught sessions on planning at several MHMA Site Development Seminars in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Interestingly, Danny Ghorbani joined the staff at MHMA a year or two after I started consulting with MHMA,” Westphal stated to MHProNews. 

danny-ghorbani1st-president-manufactured-housing-association-regulatory-reform-mharr-credit=journalmfdmodularhousing-posted-dailybusiness-mhpronews-

Danny Ghorbani, photo credit, the Journal.

Ghorbani is an engineer by training, who worked for the precursor to what today is called the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

The award-winning Ghorbani later left MHI, and working with independent producers, founded the association that is known today as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

He retired a few years ago, but is still an advisor to MHARR.  Ghorbani himself was involved in community planning.

 

TallGrassColdwaterMISatViewManufacturedHomeCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Google street and satellite views can become dated, as is the case above. But this reflects how Tall Grass had vacancies before, which have since been occupied by new manufactured homes being brought into the land-lease community. Per the reports, most of those have been for rental housing purposes. The view above tells part of the tale that local media mentioned.

It’s all part of the backstory to the Tall Grass expansion approval, in Coldwater, MI.

 

Coldwater’s Tall Grass – Step Back, Regroup

A previous proposal to develop 9.6 acres was rejected by the planning commission at which point the developers increased the size to move forward. Donald C. Westphal, a partner and designer who lives in a similar development at Grass Lake, said the units “look like regular housing,” wrote Reid.

There are no single wide units but all will be at least 1,568 square foot homes and can be built with two car garages,” said Reid. “There are no basements but “are built solid, modern designs,” per his report in the local paper.

 

 

He [Westphal] explained the homes would be owned by purchasers and placed on leased lots which are a minimum 5,000 square feet. Larry Nelson, from Farrell- Roeh company of Colorado, said as a husband and wife team, they purchased the Tall Grass park for $2.852 million in May 2014 from bankruptcy court. They spent or will spend, by the end of the year, another $480,000 in upgrades and improvements,” per the Daily Reporter.

TallGrassColdwaterMIManufacturedHomeCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Michigan is one of the states where manufactured housing has been heating up in recent years. It is known for a number of more residential style land-lease communities, such as Tall Grass.

The Colorado-based company has 11 similar properties, many in the Midwest, with the Reid adding, “The developers bought two parcels totaling 20.6 acres for $203,324 and will invest another $2.3 million to develop the 102 lots.”

But as hundreds of industry professionals who’ve sat in such meetings know, there is routinely push-back from locals.

This Coldwater case was no exception.

 

MHC Rentals

Melvetta Swick told the commission she was upset because “riff raff” from Tall Grass had thrown trash from around dumpsters, which she claimed ended up in her yard. In response, Nelson promised to increase the size of the dumpsters and monitor that concern. He explained there is a strict policy of who can buy; monitored by a committee as well as background checks completed.

Nelson also said that even when homes are rented, “renters are qualified.”

When Farrell-Roeh took over Tall Grass there were only 177 occupied lots.  The satellite view reflects vacancies.  That occupancy increased to 226, in a year or 95 percent of physical capacity. He explained that the company has averaged 6.4 evictions for the last three years.

As MHProNews has previously reported, many firms are buying new manufactured homes for rental purposes. Farrell-Roeh has done so too at Tall Grass, reportedly purchasing 94 new manufactured homes.  Those are provided on a two year lease.

Counting the homes, there has been a total investment since Farrell-Roeh’s purchase of $6.8 million.

Westphal stated that for security reasons, there will be only one entrance to the entire development. The community will have planted screening from Garfield.

The site plan was approved, subject to the City Council approval of rezoning and adoption of certain local standards, including storm water retention requirements.

A previous proposal to develop 9.6 acres was rejected by the planning commission at which point the developers increased the size to move forward. Westphal, a partner and designer who lives in a similar development at Grass Lake, said the units “look like regular housing,” according to Reid.

There are no single wide units but all will be at least 1,568 square foot homes and can be built with two car garages. There are no basements but “are built solid, modern designs.”

 

More from the Don…

Westphal told MHProNews in an interview linked here that, “For years I have said that the Manufactured Housing Industry has succeeded in spite of itself. Fragmentation of the industry segments has resulted in a serious lack of consumer confidence. Many in the industry have neglected the needs of our customers who could ultimately be our best salespersons. Too many of us blame government or our regulators for the sorry state of the industry. I believe that if the industry spent more of its resources in conveying the value of our product to the public and taking care of our customers, we would have a base of support that would help us to overcome the regulatory and finance issues we face today. Think about it, potentially 20,000,000 sales people for our products and way of life.”

As the quotes above indicate, Westphal is well acquainted with planning and zoning, design and more.

Attractive Garage Additions for Manufactured Homes – Do It Right

There is plenty to unpack from each of these P&Z – planning and zoning – stories from across the country.  But a common thread is that there is resistance, at least initially, that must be overcome.

Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing

There is also a reason to wonder why, if the homes planned for this project look residential, then what is the purpose behind MHI’s so-called “new class of homes” that they’ve been promoting for about 2 years?

Another point this case makes is that rentals are a big part of what’s driving occupancy in dozens and dozens of manufactured home communities nationally. What that implies is that there are more rentals than homes being sold at retail being shipped into properties.

Each of these are warning signs for forward thinkers, but they are also opportunities in disguise.

Until the root or foundational issues are addressed, the problem of NIMBY can be expected to continue.  Westphal’s comments, linked above on what’s necessary to advance the industry, suggest parallel issues to consider.  “We Provide, You Decide.”  ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform Demands Clarification on “New Class” of HUD Code Manufactured Home

 

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

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

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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