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Chairman Hensarling, Fannie Mae’s Latest “Backdoor Schemes,” Illegalities? MH Connections, Implications

May 19th, 2018 No comments

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Late Friday, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said that “high ranking Fannie Mae employees have been intentionally violating their government prohibition on lobbying through a series of secret meetings to remove the failed mortgage giant from federal oversight.”

 

According to Congressman Hensarling’s  statement to the Daily Business News, legal and ethical issues are at play in the latest controversy involving one – or more – of GSEs.

Attentive, long-term Daily Business News readers recall last year the editorial call by MHProNews for transparency, and the release of the minutes from closed door meetings between members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).

Neither MHI, nor the GSEs responded to those concerns by releasing said private meeting minutes.

Will Hensarling’s Friday warning prompt the parties to belatedly release their minutes? If not, what are the parties involved hiding?

 

Bloomberg Exposes Concerns

For nearly a decade, a top U.S. housing regulator has restricted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from trying to influence the raging debate over whether they should live or die,” said Bloomberg.

But despite those limits, a top Fannie Mae executive has done just that…Brian Brooks, Fannie’s general counsel, has a specific goal,” per Bloomberg, adding that “Brooks, who has ties to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, wants this done without the involvement of Congress, which has failed since the 2008 financial crisis to come up with a legislative fix for the mortgage giants.”

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When Fannie Mae went broke, it came begging taxpayers for what has turned out to be $120.836 billion in federal bailouts so far.  As a condition of receiving those funds, Fannie Mae was explicitly prohibited from engaging in “all political activities—including all lobbying,” a prohibition which it is now being reported Fannie has deliberately violated,” Hensarling said.

 

Investigation Launched

If true, this violation is more than an outrage, it is a direct affront on taxpayers and the current structure of the federally-back conservatorship that has allowed Fannie Mae to operate for the last decade.  It is a slap in the face of taxpayers that Fannie Mae thinks it can take their money and blatantly ignore the rules that came with it.  The American people deserve better.  That’s why the Committee will be launching a full investigation into these allegations to identify those responsible and hold them accountable to taxpayers,” per Hensarling’s statement to the Daily Business News.

But we can’t stop there,” the Texas Congressman said. “In order to truly solve the problem of the broken GSE hybrid finance model, Congress must enact sustainable housing finance reform as soon as possible and once and for all get rid of any backdoor attempts to resurrect the old, failed ways of the past.”

Before the crisis, Fannie and Freddie commanded two of the most well-funded lobbying apparatuses in WashingtonBloomberg’s report said on the controversial topic.  “In addition to employing dozens of lobbyists, the companies funneled contributions to nonprofits and think tanks and pressured policy makers to abandon potential regulations or laws the companies thought would constrain them.”

 

Problematic History, Harmed MH and the Nation

Pre-2008 meltdown, Fannie and Freddie generously funded the lobbying of politicos, like then Congressman Barney Frank.   Chuck Schumer is among the names that comes up in the 3 minute 12 second video below, defending the GSEs as being safe and sound.

Congressman Frank and others returned the lobbying dollars from the GSEs with the favor of protection from calls to reform the mortgage giants.  Those lawmakers did so by delaying actions that could have mitigated – or perhaps avoid –  the meltdown that some warned were coming.

The video clip below is a reminder of the now-all-too-often forgotten history.

 

Depending upon how “lobbying” is defined, Fannie Mae could be in violation of lobbying with respect to the  manufactured housing industry.

How so?

Because Fannie is a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), a trade group that does lobbying.

That MHI membership would appear on its face to be a conflict of interest for all involved.

Why?

Because if MHI is doing its job properly, it should have declined Fannie’s membership, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

There could be ethical, and/or legal issues involved in the Fannie/MHI membership matter.

For instance, as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) president and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, has said that ‘every day that the GSEs don’t robustly provide chattel and other lending under their Duty to Serve mandate to manufactured housing is a gift to Berkshire Hathaway’s manufactured housing lenders.’

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There is more involved in this developing controversy. Those related issues will be part of an upcoming Daily Business News report.

Stay tuned. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

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

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President Trump – “Bigger than Watergate,” “We Need Accountability” – National, MH Industry Impacts

May 18th, 2018 No comments

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Imagine if during the 2008 campaign, if someone in the Bush Administration had planted one or more FBI informants in then Senator Barack Obama’s campaign. Then further imagine, that federal investigations were started, based in part on information paid for by opposition to then-candidate, Senator Obama.

 

Then envisage that word of that hypothetical attempt to illegally influence a presidential election had leaked out, or if the story was broken by news media. That would have been a huge scandal, and rightly so.  Part of the bedrock of the American political system are free and fair elections.

To have the power of the federal government weaponized for political opposition purposes would debatably be “worse than Watergate.”  That wouldn’t be a partisan issue, its a question of integrity and the rule of law to protect the rights of all.

There is no evidence that the above hypothetical ever occurred during the Bush years.  But there is mounting evidence that federal taxpayer funded resources were used to influence a presidential election.

That in brief is what President Donald J. Trump’s Thursday tweet means with respect to Obama-Clinton operatives.

That has sparked political pundits, media outlets, and public reaction.

Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN IMBEDDED INFORMANT,‘” the president tweeted in reference to a National Review report published last week, said the Hill, a news source based in the nation’s capital.

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For those who may not recall, the Watergate scandal occurred when President Richard Nixon, a Republican, was tied to the attempted coverup of a crime, in which former FBI and CIA agents broke into the offices of the Democratic Party and George McGovern (that year’s Democratic Presidential candidate).

Watergate was the location for the DNC offices at that time.  The Watergate break-in was an illegal political spying effort, designed as part of an illicit plot to help defeat McGovern.  It was no doubt a dark, ugly chapter in our nation’s history.

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The photo above at the left is an aerial view of the Watergate complex, the buildings which at the time were the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That’s what gave rise to the name of the break-in and cover-up scandal, called, Watergate.

But today, we’re not talking about former federal agents.

Rather, the concern is that active, paid FBI and other federal agency staffers have illicitly been involved in derailing a political campaign – and post-election – of attempting to unseat a duly elected president.

If the leak yesterday – that the above concerns are part of what an upcoming inspector general report will allegedly reveal – that would be a bombshell.

Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the [Trump] campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!

There are now numerous reports that allege that Obama-era led agencies used their surveillance powers to monitor and attempt to disrupt the Trump campaign.

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has been accused of spying on the Trump campaign.

Last year, President Trump accused the former president of wiretapping Trump Tower shortly before the 2016 election.

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped,’ in Trump Tower just before victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” the president tweeted in March 2017.  Then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later clarified the tweet to mean that the Trump campaign had spied upon, not a literal wiretap.

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Attorney, Author, Talk Radio Mark Levin Calls for Accountability

 

MHVille – First Look

The Daily Business News has for over a year made the case held by thousands of manufactured housing professionals, from coast-to-coast. Namely, that the current Trump administration has been far more business-friendly than former President of the United States (POTUS) Barack Obama’s Administration was.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and others have praised President Donald Trump for his pro-growth, pro-business policies.  The NFIB has hundreds of manufactured housing industry members.

POTUS Trump has also been more business-friendly than the Bush or Clinton Administrations were. That’s according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) survey, NFIB surveys, and statements from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

The regulatory freeze that has given the industry relief from several pending regulations did not occur under Barack Obama.

Rather, President Trump is undoing many of the costly and burdensome regulations of prior administrations.  These points aren’t a matter of posturing, they are all a matter of record.

Accurate Trump Administration Predictions

Based upon the Trump Administration’s policy stances, statements made over a year ago from MHARR’s top officials predicted that President Trump would be pro-business, and that others in the industry needed to rally around his efforts.

Proof?  See the focused 2 minute 20 second video, posted above. Note that foresightful MH industry leadership.

By contrast, Democratic presidential candidate, Secretary Hillary Clinton pledged very similar policies on regulations as Barack Obama had initiated with Congress.

Secretary Clinton named Dodd-Frank as an example.  She pledged to keep those onerous regulations as they had been during the POTUS Obama years, suggesting that she may also strengthen them.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is officially hoping that next week the House will vote to pass their version of S. 2155.  That bill includes a roll back of the CFPB’s so-called MLO rule, that effectively gagged unlicensed personnel from speaking to consumers about lenders and loan terms.

It must be noted that this Congressional effort would not be taking place with any hope of enactment under a hypothetical Hillary Clinton presidency.

Who says?

That’s the application of the logic of former MHI government relations vice president, Jason Boehlert.

President Obama opposed a similar MHI backed bill, threatening to veto it. Secretary Clinton said she agreed with Mr. Obama, pledging to do the same or ‘strengthening’ Dodd-Frank.  Now, look again at the video with MHARR posted above, and ask, what were MHI and those who rule that association thinking?

2012 Election Results and Coming Lame Duck Session

 

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The Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of the so-called “Trump campaign-Russian collusion” allegations has now turned one year old.

Even as third-party analysts claim that 90 percent of mainstream media reports have been anti-Trump, public opinion has nevertheless shifted away from Mueller.

In a recent survey, just over half the country now believes that Mueller’s so-called probe into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is – as the 45th president has often called it – “a witch hunt.”

It’s worse than most realize, because there was never a predicate crime being alleged.  

Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz argued over a year ago that there is no federal crime of collusion.

Had collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign existed, said Dershowitz – noting that there is no evidence of any collusion – it would have looked bad.  But the Harvard law professor Dershowitz said that even if the alleged collusion existed, it would not have been illegal.

Then what was the Mueller investigation all about?

Recall that President Obama said days before the election, that the Russians were unable to interfere in the American elections.  There is no evidence that a single vote was changed by Russian attempts to hack.

Recall that MHProNews advised readers last year that even a CNN producer admitted to undercover investigators a year ago that the Russia-Trump stories were “bullsh-t.”

An underreported aspect of the specious ‘Russia’ story is that governments around the world, including the U.S. government, attempt to influence each other’s elections all-too-often.

Recall that Barack Obama attempted to interfere with Israel’s elections, and with the Brexit vote in England. Arguably worse, is that POTUS Obama – following calls from the Clinton State Department – invaded Libya.  For what?  The Libyan nation – as a result of that Obama-Clinton action – has since been destabilized. As but one tragic result, America later lost diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.  That’s been one of many consequences from that outrageous Obama-Clinton military plan to attack Libya’s leadership. The previously pacified Libyan people now are suffering a civil war.

The Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, per sources, is their “payback” for Secretary Clinton’s alleged interference in the Russian elections.

Ironically, every scandalous effort to weaponize federal resources are boomeranging back onto Democrats and their anti-Trump allies.

The U.S. ought to be vigilant and protect the election process, against foreign and domestic manipulation and interference.

U.S. policy ought to respect the rights of foreign nations.   Furthermore, U.S. policy ought to pro-actively protect our own nation’s borders, and then it can call upon others to act similarly.

For years, America has been living in a topsy-turvy world.  So much so, that Barack Obama candidly and accurately said not long ago that there are two ways that the nation looks at the facts.  That’s sad, but true.  Isn’t he, Secretary Clinton, and their allies part of the reason that claim is accurate?

Facts Matter – Mr. Obama’s “Alternative Universe,” Trump Admin, Investors & Politicized Manufactured Housing Data

Plausible allegations of officials – starting during the Obama era – using:

  • federal agents,
  • taxpayer dollars,
  • and illicitly applying federal legal procedures to stop or unseat a campaign – or a duly elected president – are all indeed worse than Watergate.
  • Aren’t these an apt description for an attempted coup?

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Simplified Summaries of Threads

Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile said that the Hillary Clinton campaign rigged the primaries, to prevent Bernie Sanders from becoming the Democratic Party’s candidate.

“Hacks” – Explosive 2016 Campaign Claims by Former DNC Chair, Donna Brazile

It is now clear that the Clinton campaign paid millions for the so-called “Steele Dossier,” which used foreign intelligence assets – British and Russian sources – to try to paint then candidate Trump in an unfavorable light.

That bogus politically-motivated ‘fake dossier’ – along with leaks of one or more FBI memo(s) – were in turn used by then FBI director James Comey to spark the Mueller probe.

If that isn’t outrageous enough, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a staff packed with Clinton campaign donors.

Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on what looks to be a political effort initially designed derail candidate Trump, and later used to spark a stir they apparently hoped would lead to a duly elected president’s impeachment.  All on totally spurious – faked! – grounds.

If this is so, it’s not just outrageous, its criminal.

 

Why This Matters to MHVille, Next Week

Next week, the House will vote on their version of S. 2155, which includes a provision that would remove the MLO rule.  The mortgage loan originator (MLO) rule that is widely seen as harmful to manufactured housing industry retailers, communities, lenders, and others.

GovTrack tells MHProNews the odds of passage for S. 2155 stands at 56 percent.

Under President Obama, such a measure would have been vetoed.

Under a hypothetical Hillary Clinton Presidency – based upon her campaign promises – a bill like S. 2155 that will change Dodd-Frank would have been vetoed.

If S.2155 bill passes – and MHProNews’ publisher has editorially supported a similar such pro-business, pro-consumer change like this for years – it will be a Trump Administration accomplishment.

It would be entirely spurious for MHI to claim any legitimate bragging points.

Why?

MHProNews reported that days before the 2016 election that MHI had not one, but two paid pro-Clinton speakers on their stage in Chicago.

Warren Buffett was pro-Barack Obama and pro-Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Buffett is the Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.  Berkshire is the parent to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage, and has interests in a raft of other suppliers, lending, and services entities that intersect with manufactured housing.  Berkshire’s brands are widely seen as dominating MHI.

Based upon feedback from industry sources, there is a growing realization that MHI has been slow-walking or stonewalling reforms that hurt the industry, rather than championing them.

The Washington Post’s recent report on HUD, Pam Danner and manufactured housing underscored those concerns.

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

As a result of years of MHI failures and allegedly weaponized reports, there is also a growing interest in creating a new post-production association, one that truly represents the independent retailers, communities, lenders and others.

 

Manufactured Housing is Non-Partisan

Manufactured housing – because it is affordable housing – ought to be viewed as a non-partisan issue.  It has long enjoyed the support of Democrats and Republicans alike for that reason.

But during end of the ‘Bush 43’ years, and during the eight years of the Obama presidency, anti-business policies often harmed our industry.

By contrast, President Trump – and cabinet members such as Secretary Ben Carson – have been working to undue those harms, pledging a new era of cooperation.  Would that have taken place under madam Clinton’s leadership?

 

Developing News on More Manufactured Home Lending

There is a developing story on financing that you may not hear from MHI or their echo-chamber surrogates. They will certainly not reveal it unless and until MHProNews hereby and in upcoming reports spotlights it.

When you see that upcoming report, you’ll see why.

Watch for that pending finance focused report from the MH Industry’s leading independent news source.

For almost a decade, MHProNews has brought you the most popular “Industry News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.” ©

With facts, evidence, and sound analysis in hand, then readers can apply the next tag line: “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Which is all part of the reason why a top level executive said – as part of a longer communication – that “…if MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.” (News, analysis and commentary.)

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PS: Our thanks to those who have taken the time to mention that they see that MHProNews reports, analysis and projections have proven to be accurate, time and again.

PSS: Watch for an exclusive report on a non-profit group that is attempting to harm manufactured housing industry businesses.

Related Reports:

Kanye Controversy, Universal Income, Venezuela, President Trump, Manufactured Housing, First Principles, and You

Manufactured Housing Supporting VP Mike Pence in Elkhart, Indiana – Highlights

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

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

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Fatal Clayton Homes Maynardville Accident Fined, RIP Keith Tucker West Jr. of Hoyle’s Tire & Axle

May 16th, 2018 No comments

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Last February, a North Carolina truck drive died at Clayton Homes Maynardville plant.  The state and local media said little, pending the state’s investigation.

 

The initial Daily Business News report, is linked here.

Tragic Clayton Death Sparks Investigation, Background Others Missed

That state investigation is now complete, and here is what the findings are.

A North Carolina mobile home parts seller has been fined $2,000 by the state following the death of one of its drivers in February while making a delivery in Maynardville,” per WBIR 10 News.

The Tennessee State Department of Labor and Workforce Development imposed the fine against Hoyle’s Tire & Axle of Henderson, N.C. Hoyle’s has paid the fine, according to records.

State authorities found that Hoyle’s had “failed to ensure employees are protected from falling material when unsecuring a load,” records state.

Clayton’s plant was not fined in connection with the fatality.

 

RIP Keith Tucker West, Jr.

KeithTuckerWestJrFuneralPhotosFacebookPatrickJacksonManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Smithfield, NC resident Keith Tucker West, Jr. died on Monday, February 12, 2018 from injuries from an accident at the Clayton Maynardville plant. West was born on March 3, 1974 in Vance County, NC. He was the son of Carol Faucette Harris of Henderson and the late Keith Tucker West, Sr.

Hoyle’s truck driver was Keith Tucker West, Jr. 43.  West was “struck and killed by falling axles after stopping to make a delivery Feb. 12 at a Clayton Homes manufacturing plant on Raccoon Valley Road,” according to WBIR. “The axles fell on West and crushed him as he was loosening straps on axle bundles.”

During the unloading process at Clayton’s Maynardville production center, it was the truck driver’s job to unstrap the load. Once the fasteners and straps were removed, records state, it was up to a forklift operator at Clayton Homes to remove the idler axes coming into the plant.

While in the process of unstrapping the load, a bundle of idler axles fell from the top tier of the trailer and struck Mr. West from above,” the Tennessee investigative summary states.

Hoyle’s, the Tennessee State Department of Labor and Workforce Development found, should “develop written procedures for safely unloading/unstrapping cargo and subsequently train all potentially exposed employees on the procedures.”

The West funeral photos are from Facebook, from his grieving friend Patrick Jackson.

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Keith Tucker West, Jr, rest in peace.

MHProNews extends its sincere condolences to all of those touched by this tragic loss. ## (News, obituary, and passages.)

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Ben Shapiro Nails It on Taxes, Regulations, and Affordable Housing – Under 2 Minute Video Must View for MH Industry Pros

May 16th, 2018 No comments

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Ben Shapiro is a renowned conservative political pundit, syndicated columnist, lawyer, and NYT bestselling author. He is Editor-in-Chief of news and opinion site The Daily Wire and host of the popular video podcast, The Ben Shapiro Show,” says his YouTube page.

 

Fox News has called Shapiro “a leading millennial conservative.”

In the under-two minute video clip below, Shapiro joined Fox & Friends to discuss the new “head tax” in Seattle.  In it, he rapidly lays out the case that should have affordable housing advocates – including manufactured home professionals – on the edge of their seats, with note pad in hand.

Shapiro says that high demand, and over-regulations on developing are part of what’s fueling soaring housing costs.

A profile video on the fast-talking attorney is below.  Shapiro’s approximately 100 million page views a month Daily Wire is roughly 30 times more than what Webalizer says industry-leading MHProNews traffic is. He clearly must have something to say that people want to read and hear.

While the evidence-and-logic focused attorney doesn’t mention any specific kind of housing in the first video, common-sense suggests that the modern manufactured homes that HUD Secretary Ben Carson called “amazing” in recent Senate testimony are an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis.  You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realize that almost everything we use comes from a production center.

The logic of factory-based home building is proven, and necessary.

Affordable housing is a non-partisan issue, as Danny Ghorbani – an engineer and the retired founding president of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) – has often said.

With this more business-friendly regulatory environment under the Trump Administration, the time is now to promote a better understanding of the factors that fuel economic growth.

Lower taxes, less and more common-sense regulations, are spurring the economy.

The Treasury took in a record amount of taxes last month, even though there’s been a big tax cut.  The formula that the Daily Business News has noted worked for Democratic President John F. Kennedy and Republican President Ronald Reagan, is also working for pragmatic President Donald J. Trump.

If the industry can cut through the D.C. noise, and get HUD and FHFA to enforce existing laws, the result will be a revival of manufactured housing (see related reports, below).  Thus private enterprise – in the form of routinely unsubsidized manufactured homes, as Secretary Carson said – can be an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis.

On a closing note regarding Shapiro.

BenShapiroJDDailyWireWikipediaManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Note that “progressive” (read, Democratic) Jeff Bezos led Amazon, and equally progressive led Starbucks are among those hollering the loudest about the new Seattle head-tax.  Doesn’t Amazon’s threat to not build there make the point that higher taxes harm an economy?

Issues of taxation and regulation, as MHProNews has said for years, can be summed up like this.  The power to tax or regulate is the power to destroy. Manufactured home industry professionals, investors and advocates need to see the reality of that logic.  It is up to professionals to point to events both past and present that prove that to be so. We must personally take those proven principles, and make that case with your circle of influence, in the marketplace, and at the ballot box. ## (News, profile, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

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

Seattle’s Assault on Amazon, Bigger Businesses Passes Affordable Housing Tax, Plus MH Market Updates

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Spencer Roane w/Southeast Community Owners (SECO), Praises Tom Lackey, Accused of Rent-to-Own Manufactured Home Sales Improprieties

May 15th, 2018 No comments

StoneyPointeMobileHomeParkManufacturedHousingCommunityDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

 We bought a trailer [1] that wasn’t really ours. I mean, it really hurt me.
My nerves have been tore up. I’ve been crying
.”

Tonya Evans, a customer of Tom Lackey’s Stoney Pointe MH Community business.

  

Spencer Roane is an RV MH Hall of Fame Inductee, and is one of a group of manufactured home land-lease community owners who has organized the Southeast Community Owners (SECO) symposium. 

Among the features of the annual SECO gathering? 

Talks by Roane on a controversial use of a lease-to-own (rent-to-own) program that he has previously said can be used to “finance” the sale of manufactured homes.

Roane was asked by the Daily Business News about Tom Lackey, who stands accused of ‘selling’ pre-owned manufactured homes rent-to-own. More on Roane’s reaction and comments to the troubling accusations, later below.

But first, what exactly is creating such a troubling mainstream media stir? 

TonyaEvansLost16000InvestedInHomeSheSaysPurchasedfromTomLackeyStoneyPointeMobileHomeParkManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsMHProNEws

1) Terminology used is in the original, and isn’t the legally correct term. The homes in this sad story appear to be HUD Code manufactured homes, based upon photos, perhaps dating to the 1980s or 1990s.

StoneyPointeMHPMapNearChatanoogaTNManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Charges of “Selling” Homes “Rent to Own,” Without Titles

According to accusations reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Lackey and his business did not own the homes that he “sold” rent-to-own.

18 residents learned their homes would be auctioned off for back taxes.

Tonya Evans and her family had a jolt when “…about five weeks ago, county workers showed up and taped a yellow seizure notice to their house. They did the same with 17 other mobiles homes [1]  at Stoney Pointe and Blue Ridge Estates, located around the block on Schmitt Road. Nobody had paid property taxes for years,” per Times Free Press staff writer Tyler Jett.

Lackey reportedly did not return calls and messages from the Times Free Press.

Nor did Tom Lackey reply to a number of direct and indirect queries from the Daily Business News, that invited him to share his version of the highly-emotionally – and legally charged – allegations.  But oblique comments about Lackey were offered by a colleague, Spencer Roane.

 

Spencer Roane’s Comments on Tom Lackey

SpencerRoanePentagonPropertiesCreditsPostedDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews

A SECO attendee who said they’re aware of the dynamics involved in this matter told MHProNews that ‘Spencer Roane has gone out of his way to protect Tom Lackey.’ 

Tom has been a member of our SECO planning group for several years. I couldn’t ask for a more professional, conscientious, or capable member of our team,” Roane said in a message to the Daily Business News.

Roane was asked about Lackey.  Roane was also asked about their often publicized to industry members ‘rent to own’ or ‘lease purchase option’ process.

I am somewhat familiar w/this situation [i.e; Lackey/Stoney Pointe] but am not comfortable commenting on it, except to say that lease-option contracts are [a] complicated, legally enforceable means of transferring ownership of MHs in some states,” Roane said.  

Roane added, “I’ve bcc’ed Tom on this msg. He will contact you if he wants to discuss it.” 

The SECO website shows Lackey on their planning team.

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Editorially, MHProNews believes that the majority of the industry’s professionals are honorable people. Every industry or profession has so-called ‘bad actors.’ Manufactured housing is no exception. But unlike many other industries, manufactured housing is routinely portrayed in a negative fashion in media reports. When allegations are false, they should be disputed. When allegations are true, ignoring them doesn’t help the industry, its home owners and leaves a problematic impression for potential buyers. An industry that policies itself may more often avoid such problems, and thus could avoid onerous legislation or regulations that can result from the ‘bad actions’ of a few. About the case of Tom Lackey and Stoney Pointe, all that is known at this time is as shown and linked. Lackey would not accept the Daily Business News’ offer to have him and/or his attorney explain their version of the events described in the Times Free Press.  To learn more about our view of the industry, its professional and overall happy home owners, click the related report below.” We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Happy MH Owners? Good Professional Actors? Overlooked, “Honorable People”

Apparently, Lackey did not want to explain his view on what took place with Tonya Evans, her family, and 17 other households that live in his community. Should he and/or his attorney offer a comment, we can update this report.

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George Allen, photo credit, MHProNews.com.

Blogger, COBA7 owner, and RV MH Hall of Famer retired Col. George Allen – who has been played a role in the SECO program – declined comment on the troubling story.   

I’m somewhat familiar with the matter. No comment from here,”  Allen said to the Daily Business News via email.  

As Allen’s COBA7 followers and others know, Allen has promoted Roane’s rent-to-own program and SECO for several years.  

 

What Local Authorities Said

Dealer rules and regulations are very clear,” said Danny Sane, the tax commissioner of Whitfield County. “You’re not supposed to be able to sell a car or a mobile home without the title in your name.”

Sane called the bill of sale ‘worthless,’ per the Times Free Press.

Walker County Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker said, Mr. Lackey must go through the proper proceedings before he can legally rent, or sell the mobile home [1],” Walker said in an email to the Times Free Press. Their report indicated that Lackey never obtained those titles to the manufactured homes they were ‘selling’ when he purchased the community in 2014.

 

Evans Paid Cash 

While most of Lackey’s customers were presumably ‘buying’ rent-to-own, Evans and her husband reportedly paid cash for their home.

Now, they’ve packed up and moved on, saying they had been defeated. 

What impact, if any, this has on Stoney Pointe, Lackey, SECO, COBA7 attendees and their followers is not easy to predict.  But some consequences wouldn’t be surprising.  And what will those various residents who thought they would become owners do?

The Times Free Press has signaled that this is going to be an ongoing investigation by their publication.

TimesFreePressStoneyPointeMobileHomeParkRossvilleGADailyBusinessNewsMHPronEws

Will the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) step in and comment on this troubling case? On rent-to-own a.k.a. ‘lease purchase option’ so-called ‘sales’?

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A source familiar with the matter from Georgia had this off-the-record comment, “…this is common among Community Owner’s because states don’t have appropriate abandoned housing laws, these guys buy a community and can’t move a home because it has ten years back taxes to pay for because customer died 8 years ago and family want moved the home. Doesn’t mean it’s right though. Georgia has a new Abandoned housing law that goes in effect July 1st that will help avoid this in the future.”

In the era of Google and internet-driven news searches, this is likely to be an ongoing image issue for many other community operators, and arguably the industry at large.  

It is part of what MHI award-winner Marty Lavin, JD,  has called tongue-in-cheek the industry’s “other image campaign.”

Lavin was travelling, and was not able to comment on the specific concerns in this case.  But he has previously noted the principles that people should pay more attention to what people do than what they say, and to follow the money.

  • Will the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) weigh in on the troubling issue?
  • Will MHI defend the reputation of those who strive day-by-day to serve their customers properly? 
  • Will Lackey respond to our numerous attempts to get him to comment on his version of these incidents? 
  • The Chattanooga Times Free Press news report is linked here. ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

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

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

[1] The terminology shown is in the original, and isn’t the proper legal name for the kind of home being described. To learn more about terminology and general industry facts, click here. MHProNews encourages mainstream media, and all others too, to use the proper terminology for each type of home. 

Update, on the record comments from GMHA (5.15.2018 at 11:43 AM ET):

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

We [GMHA] recognized the state had an issue and so we utilized the legislative process to rectify the problem. We know this [new] law is sound. We used the Alabama law for precedence and invited the states magistrate judges, tax commissioners, and bankers to the table. We worked together for two years until we had 100% agreement,” said Jay Hamilton, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) to MHProNews.

The Daily Business News pressed the GMHA, in a follow up, about Tom Lackey, Stoney Pointe, and the details of this specific matter.  In their follow up reply, Hamilton said via a text message the following.

The GMHA can’t comment on the specifics of such matters,” the GMHA executive director said.

But in general, when a potentially problematic issue exists with a member, there is a code of conduct and process the GMHA follows.”

The association is always focused on resolving underlying issues, and doing so in a manner that respects consumers and members alike,” Hamilton said to MHProNews.

Related Reports:

Governor Signs new “Mobile Home” Act

NPR’s Syringa Mobile Home Park Story, Revisited by Community Owner

 

Community Co-Owner/Manager View On Richard Jennison and the Manufactured Housing Institute StatePoint Advertorial

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Reprieve in Community Closure Collision, Another Round Ahead?

May 11th, 2018 Comments off

SarahRuffiRuffiLawSCWausauWINorthernManufacturedHomeCommunityNotMobileHomeParkDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Local media originally reported that the tortured odyssey of the Northern Housing Community in Schofield, Wisconsin did not receive a timely appeal.

Those initial accounts turned out to be inaccurate.

Your article was very interesting,” said Sarah L. Ruffi, of the Ruffi Law Offices in Wausau, WI. “I represent Northern Mobile Home Park, LLC in its battle with the City of Schofield, Wisconsin.  I just read your article and wanted to clarify that Northern DID file a timely appeal.”

ABC News 9 amended a prior report, and confirmed what Ruffi said.

Schofield city leaders said an appeal filed by owners of Northern Mobile Home Park * was submitted before its deadline,” said local media.

News 9 previously reported the appeal was not filed in time. Now, we’ve learned city leaders received the appeal on May 1, but it was sent four days earlier. On Tuesday, city leaders said it’s in the hands of the city’s attorney,” stated the ABC affiliate.

Residents of the Northern Housing Community now have some hope.

It’s certainly slightly more hopeful but it places everybody in limbo,” Wayne Warren, a resident said. “You hope for the best and plan for the worst, it’s all you can do.”

While News 9 said they received no reply from management, MHProNews received the comment from the attorney shown above, part of a longer message.

The original Daily Business News report on this case – including an analysis of why this story matters to the industry, as well as those home owners – is linked below. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

* The name on the sign is “Northern Housing Community,” News 9 appears to have a typo in their report.

Related Reports:

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

The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic

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Promoting Home Ownership and Private Property is Premised by Understanding This

May 8th, 2018 Comments off

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Private property rights are a foundational issue for the manufactured housing industry, and all other housing professionals, and consumers.

 

Nevertheless, those private property rights, along with many others, are widely misunderstood.

Primaries will be decided in several states today. How engaged are most Americans in politics?  How well do most Americans understand the U.S. Constitution, or the Bill of Rights?

For decades, the answer has been too few, and it’s getting worse.

Going back to Dec 15, 1991, the New York Times reported that “The bar association’s survey offered multiple choices. Thirty-three percent correctly identified the Bill of Rights as the Constitution’s first 10 amendments; 28 percent said it was a preamble to the Constitution; 22 percent said it is any rights bill passed by Congress; 7 percent chose “a message of rebellion…”

In September 2017, the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center revealed just how dismal the understanding of the rights of “We, the People” are today.

For example, the Annenberg report said in part:

WhatAreRightsGuaranteedbyFirstAmendment

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Contrary to the First Amendment, 39 percent of Americans support allowing Congress to stop the news media from reporting on any issue of national security without government approval. That was essentially unchanged from last year. But the survey, which followed a year of attacks on the news media, found less opposition to prior restraint (49 percent) than in 2016 (55 percent).”

RuleofLawPraegerUManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Why it Matters to MHVille

As noted, failure to understand private property and other rights defended by the Constitution have already encroached upon Americans, and our industry, for years.

The Daily Business News knows that a growing percentage of readers are millennials, and others who have had an incomplete understanding of their rights, and the strengths of the “American Way.”

That ignorance about the basics of the American way premised upon free enterprise, and a limited federal government system are pushing American politics.  While that trend is frankly easier to spot in the Democratic party – many of whom are openly embracing socialism – than the GOP, it would be foolish to believe that the tilt to the left hasn’t influenced both major parties.

It has.

Yet the historic wealth of the nation arose from free enterprise, which is founded upon what the founders called “God-given” rights, that are protected by a government of enumerated – meaning, defined and limited – powers.

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The Constitution limits the government, which is a way of protecting the people from an overreach by public officials.

The lurch towards more government power, higher taxes and higher regulations, are among the causes of the economic stagnation that slowed the U.S. economic growth to a crawl.  The billions flowing into America now, were preceded years ago by the reverse flow of money out, as taxes and regulations became too onerous.

While the economy is moving more rapidly ahead now that even 18 months ago, the U.S. economy has not yet achieved it potential. Gains have been established by more pro-growth, pro-business – which tends to be, good for job creation and thus higher wages –  changes in policy.  But if cutting regulations and taxes are reversed at the polls next November, then millions could effectively and tragically be voting themselves into a more limited future.

 

Limited Government of Enumerated Powers Protects Your Rights

Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what’s the Supreme Court’s record when it comes to protecting our rights? Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, answers these questions and more,” per the Prager University YouTube page the video below is found.

 

Political Limits on Power Protect Economic Interests and Private Property Rights

Even though the U.S. in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) is still the dominant economic power, our economic lead as a nation has been essentially cut in half in the years since World War II.

The video posted pushes 5 factors that are good, two frankly require far more nuanced attention to be accurate (trade and globalization). Free trade, as the Trump Administration says, must be fair trade, or else jobs have and will flow from the U.S. into other countries.

It is MHProNews’ editorial view that “free enterprise” is a better term that “capitalism,” which is a term actually coined by Karl Marx.

The above noted, the video above from Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, explains some key concepts in just a few minutes.

Think about this, hasn’t much of the problems that the industry has faced directly connected with some local, state or federal government over-reach, or failure to properly? Consider having your staff and colleagues take 15 minutes to read this, and watch the 2 videos. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

“Death by Government,” Fascism, Communism, Socialism, ‘Big Brother,’ per Williams, Rummel and Owens

Troubling New Study Reveals a Millennial Trend, Business, Economic, Political Impact 

Affordable Housing, and Today’s Manufactured Homes, Yesteryear’s Mobile Homes

 

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Closure by Collusion? Dark Side of Local Manufactured Home Community Code Enforcement?

May 3rd, 2018 Comments off

NorthernHousingCommunity281GrandAveSchofieldWausauDailyHeraldWisconsinManufacrturedHomeCommunityIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews550x292

A manufactured home community in the Wausau, Wisconsin area may be putting a fresh light on a dark topic.

 

Media and others often fail to put the topic of closures in the broader context of housing.  Hundreds of thousands of housing units a year are demolished in America, and the minority of those are manufactured homes, or pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

But for whatever reasons, manufactured home (MH) community closure stories often make local, regional or sometimes even national news.  Each one is arguably a case of a loss of affordable housing, at the very time when the nation or locales need affordable homes.

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Northern Housing Community is what the signs say, but local media have called it Northern Mobile Home Park, and its listed that way on MHVillage too. The location came under scrutiny for reportedly hundreds of code violations, which an attorney for the community said they were addressing. That didn’t stop the city from deciding to close it, and force residents out.

Thousands of these land-lease properties were built in the days prior to the HUD Code, and their names may still officially include the words “mobile home park.”  Meanwhile, other community operators update their property name as they also update their communities.

MH Community closures outnumber new community openings by a wide margin, as an exclusive upcoming report on the Daily Business News will reveal.

An underlying cause or end result of community closures are routinely for the purposes of redevelopment.  Those redevelopment projects may include, but aren’t necessarily limited to:

  • Multi-family housing,
  • commercial business space,
  • so-called big-box stores,

or what some call a “higher purpose.”  Those redevelopments of property often equals higher tax revenues, a not-to-be-overlooked motivator for municipalities and counties.

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Across the street from this location is the Wausau Downtown airport. Several businesses are adjacent or near this largely commercial location.

Communities first developed some 50 or more years ago, back in the true mobile home park era, mature over time. If a community’s infrastructure and maintenance are not kept up, the cost of repairing them can grow to substantial sums.

For several “mom and pop” community operations, those costs might prove to be prohibitive.

Some investors buy aging communities with the specific intent of closing them for redevelopment purposes. Media reports have documented cases where new move-ins of manufactured homes have been accepted, with the owners knowing their plan to shut the community down in the foreseeable future.

That type of behavior often results in a firestorm in local or regional media, as the impacted residents protest the closure.

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Recent photo from WSAU in Wausau, WI of Northern Housing Community. There are rental and other housing units in this same market that are 60 to over 100 years old, that aren’t in as good a shape as the homes in this community.

Those and other cases of improper maintained, or other negative issues, poses a problem for good MH Community (MHC) operators.  The majority of small to large manufactured home community owners legitimately want to provide quality affordable living for their residents.

Thus MHC closures or other bad news unjustly paints good operations with an unjustified and problematic image by implication.

That issue was noted by the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Ducker Worldwide researchers. Ducker noted, but didn’t directly address that issue per attendees, until a direct question about how those problems was asked at the recent MHI Las Vegas event.

Against that backdrop, the story of the Northern community in Schofield – across the busy road from the Wausau, Wisconsin downtown airport – is illuminating.

 

Wausau Wisconsin Area MH Community Closure

When asked about a local mainstream media story linked here, a community operator with knowledge of the property said the following to MHProNews via email.

It is a dump!  I did not purchase the place in the 80’s. It is an old HID design, very small lots. Narrow street and tight parking.  The home[s] are very old, some probably less than 14′ width. It sound[s] like many home[s] have become owned by the community and are rented.  Stories of poor maintenance of homes and community. The MHC has been thru multiple CA owners.”

A local newspaper – the Wausau Daily Herald – called it “a hellhole” in a headline.

But residents who have fought to keep it alive have called it, home.

I don’t even know where we’re going to go or what we’re going to do,” said Haley Ferguson, whose been there for four years.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has been asked by MHProNews previously about the image, legal, and other problems caused to the industry by community closures. MHI has not directly addressed any of those in the last year.

By contrast, state manufactured home associations often respond promptly, although it may be off the record.  Some industry comments – including state association executives – on the community closure topic are linked under the resources, below.

That said, the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA) did not respond to this case, on-or-off the record.

Public officials, media, and researchers are among those who routinely respond to inquiries from MHProNews.  Many of those replies are rapid ones, same day or within an hour or two.

But when several local officials were asked a specific questions about the Northern Housing Community closure story linked above, there was no reply.

What where some of those questions posed to officials?

*  Was an effort being made to turn the community into a Resident Owned Community (ROC), and thus save it for the residents in that fashion?
*  Was there an unstated plan to redevelop the property?
*  Were the code violations giving local officials cover for the closure being protested by residents?

The owner of this community, per mainstream media reports, fought the code violations efforts for some time.  But when the time to appeal the closure came a few days ago, they failed to appeal. Why?

What changed?

The answers to these issues are not clear at this time.  But the reality that certain voices in the mix – noted above – didn’t sound off may suggest this is a topic they were not enthusiastic about addressing.  What was said to local media, was problematic…

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KreggHoehnMayorCityofSchofieldWIManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The Mayor Speaks

Local media reports about the choice of words by Schofield Mayor Kregg Hoehn spoke volumes.

We have come up with a list of trailer parks [*] that are accepting trailers [*] if they can get theirs there. We will hopefully come up with a list of rentals in the Schofield area as well,”  according to WSAU.

The city is promising no funds for those seeking to move, per WSAU, although a prior report seemed to indicate the some funds might be used.

As the maps and photos reflect, the property is on a highly-trafficked thoroughfare that connects Weston, Schofield, and Wausau, WI.

 

Wider MH Industry Impact

What is clear is that search engines have turned local news into easily accessible reports for anyone searching specific topics.

Those searches can be from housing shoppers, media, public officials, policy advocates, researchers, and others.

 

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So, while this particular MHC incident – or others – may be in a state far from yours, it is an issue for the entire manufactured home industry.  Because it impacts every state, including Hawaii, where fears over having a manufactured home community exists, even when there has never been a mobile home park built there.

 

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

Why It Matters

  • The image and concerns over community closures are part of the home-buying public’s impressions about land-lease communities, as years of experience by MHLivingNews with the public indicates, and Ducker’s research obliquely confirmed.
  • It’s a concern for MHC residents, who often have lived in a community for ten years or more, and they don’t want to move when their told that the place they’ve called home is about to be sold or redeveloped.
  • Closures provide an easy target for organized protesters too.
  • Community resales and closures are on the radar of the Congress, as Representative Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) proposed bill made clear.

Kinzler, Gallagher on Congressman Keith Ellison, the MH Industry, and Manufactured Home Communities

All of those examples and more make it a public policy issue.

Some communities close by collusion between private capital and local officials. Some MH Community operators have also told MHProNews about a different twist; where MHC owners have had civic officials contact them about closing their communities, even if the property is being well run.

These are troublesome, and dark spots on an otherwise proud industry that has nobly served tens of millions of Americans.

Left unaddressed, the closure issue will only continue to fester like an untreated wound, hurting manufactured home businesses, sales, and consumers alike. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.) 

  • The term ‘trailer’ is not appropriate for HUD code manufactured homes, nor for most ‘mobile homes.’  To learn more, click here.

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.

Related Reports and Industry Commentary:

Promoting Manufactured Home Ownership – With “Only 1 in 100 Eaten by a Lion”

“Mobile Homeless” (sic) – Denver Meadows Mobile Home Park Aurora, CO closure case – Another Look

On Aurora “Mobile Home Park” Closure, related Negative Media Coverage

 

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“Mobile Home” Case Heading to U.S. Supreme Court, Potential MH Industry Impact Looms

April 27th, 2018 Comments off

MobileHomeCaseHeadingToUSSupremeCourtMobileManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsWiki“…there is always the possibility that a court, in a case like this, involving the construction of a federal statute, could look to our law in an effort to resolve the question before it.  And that, in turn, could lead to a misconstruction or other problematic statement by the court that could later be turned around and asserted in a case involving our [Manufactured Housing] law…” – MH Industry Attorney

 

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari Monday in two cases dealing with the question of whether breaking into a mobile home or other “nonpermanent or mobile structure” constitutes a burglary under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), consolidating them for oral argument,” said Jurist in a report picked up and confirmed by the Daily Business News.

The ACCA provides that people who have been convicted of “violent felonies” (including burglary) or serious drug offenses at least three times will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 15 years if they are found possessing or transporting a firearm,” per Jurist’s report, linked above.

The Jurist website says it is a “Legal News & Research University of Pittsburgh School of Law,” based in Pittsburgh, PA.

In a brief statement to MHProNews, Jurist said that they were not sure if the case involved was a a true mobile home or a manufactured home.  Their selection of the photo shown above was therefore not meant to suggest the kind of structure involved, as either a pre-or-post HUD code home.

 

Two Legal Insights of the Case, One from Within MH, One Outside Looking In

The question presented to the Supreme Court in both cases is whether “burglary of a nonpermanent or mobile structure that is adapted or used for overnight accommodation can qualify as ‘burglary’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984,” said a legal source to MHProNews that requested anonymity.  That source said, “I don’t know whether the structures in question are true mobile homes or not.”

The source is from outside of the industry, and was asked if the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), or other industry connected attorneys or associations had filed an amicus brief?

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the answer was “no.”

That same source said, “I also don’t know if the distinction between true mobile homes and manufactured structures is going to be germane to the Court’s consideration. However, to the extent that you can’t necessarily move a manufactured home and they don’t dissolve in the rain or anything, I would think that the fact that the Court’s considering the contours of a “nonpermanent or mobile structure” would rule out most manufactured homes. I would guess that most MH are both permanent and immobile.”

The petitions for certiorari (Stitt and Sims) should have more details about the facts of the case,” the source stated, adding, “Failing that, Court Listener should have all of the documents from the trial court (Stitt and Sims).”

An industry attorney told the Daily Business News reasons why this case could become significant to the industry, if it isn’t properly addressed.

While this case involves a criminal statute that is not directly related to the definition of “manufactured home” as set forth in the statutes governing the federal regulation of the industry, there is always the possibility that a court, in a case like this, involving the construction of a federal statute, could look to our law in an effort to resolve the question before it.  And that, in turn, could lead to a misconstruction or other problematic statement by the court that could later be turned around and asserted in a case involving our law, or, even worse, used in a way that fails to provide manufactured housing residents with the same type or degree of criminal law protections that are afforded other homeowners or residents.  The potential impact of such a discriminatory outcome — in this case – on the industry’s post-production sector, and the need for an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief addressing this issue, further illustrates the necessity of independent, national, collective representation for the industry’s post-production sector,” said Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

The industry’s self-proclaimed post-production sector has been represented for decades by the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

In a video comment to MHProNews, former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith said that the industry must be honest with itself, and admit that it had often failed to be proactive (see video below).

The question is, will MHI roll-the-dice and not issue a press release that clarifies the issues, accompanied by an amicus brief to the high court?  Or will MHI do both issue a clarifying release and file an amicus brief, and thus protect the industry from a risk that could be avoided if acted upon now?

Time will tell. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Citing Justice Department Ruling, MHARR Calls on HUD to Repeal Regulatory Guidance Documents

April 25th, 2018 Comments off

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The Justice Department [DOJ], which is charged with bringing civil actions to enforce federal health and safety laws, has now made it crystal clear that HUD may not use sub-regulatory ‘guidance’ documents that have not been considered by the MHCC and have not gone through rulemaking, in order to impose new or modified mandates on manufacturers of HUD Code homes, and new unnecessary costs on manufactured home purchasers,” said Mark Weiss, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

 

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFrom their offices in Washington, D.C.,  Weiss said in a statement to the Daily Business News that, The tragedy is that Congress itself said exactly the same thing nearly two decades ago when it included section 604(b)(6) in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.”

The rephrasing, the DOJ and the Trump Administration are reemphasizing the common sense notion that the law should be followed, as opposed to guidance or other documents that have not gone through the proper rule making process. In the case of manufactured housing, the process includes the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, or MHCC.

The time has come for HUD to finally obey the law as written, and its ongoing EO 13771/13777 review of all existing and pending regulations and “regulatory actions” offers the perfect opportunity for HUD to formally renounce both the fatally-flawed 2010 “Interpretive Rule” and its pile of invalid pseudo-regulatory “guidance” documents – before the Justice Department, or a federal judge, does it for them,”  said Weiss.

Weiss statements fit with principles outlined by MHProNews editorially and in regulatory comments letter t HUD in January.

The balance of the MHARR release to MHProNews reads as follows.

MHARR CALLS FOR REPEAL OF HUD   

MANUFACTURED HOUSING “GUIDANCE” DOCUMENTS

Washington, D.C., April 25, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), citing recent rulings by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stating that DOJ would no longer use its authority to enforce Executive Branch agency “guidance” documents in civil court enforcement actions relating to alleged violations of federal health, safety, civil rights and environmental laws, has called on HUD to formally repeal manufactured housing regulatory “guidance” documents which should have been published for notice and comment and subjected to Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) review pursuant to section 604(b)(6) of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, but were not. MHARR, in the same April 25, 2018 communication (copy attached), also calls on HUD to repeal a 2010 “Interpretive Rule” which erroneously construes section 604(b)(6) of the 2000 reform law to require notice and comment rulemaking and MHCC consensus review only for HUD regulatory actions that would otherwise constitute “rules” within the meaning of the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

For decades, the HUD manufactured housing program used “guidance” and other psuedo-regulatory pronouncements to evade the rulemaking requirements of both the APA and the original Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.  When Congress sought to put an end to this abusive practice by including section 604(b)(6) in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 – which, on its face, requires prior MHCC review and rulemaking for any new or modified “policies, practices or procedures” relating to “standards, regulations, inspections, monitoring or other enforcement activities” – HUD promptly ignored Congress’ clear directive, ultimately issuing the 2010 Interpretative Rule, which effectively and unlawfully read section 604(b)(6) out of the law, by limiting its application to “rules” that already require rulemaking under the APA.

This action to negate the clear and unambiguous will of Congress (with the passive acceptance of some within the industry), effectively opened the floodgates to a train of ever-increasing abuses during the Obama Administration – and particularly under the tenure of former program Administrator Pamela Danner – which saw multiple new, costly and needlessly burdensome de facto regulatory mandates imposed by HUD via “field guidance” and so-called “Standard Operating Procedures,” which were never brought to the MHCC for prior review, or published for notice and comment.  These include, but are not limited to: HUD’s massive expansion and re-direction of in-plant regulation; “frost-free” foundation “guidance,” which effectively modified an existing regulation; new and modified requirements for attached garages and other “add-ons;” baseless restrictions on multi-family manufactured housing; and memoranda relating to on-site completion, among other things.  Such actions – and many other similar pseudo-regulatory mandates — have significantly harmed both manufacturers (particularly smaller independent producers) as well as the industry’s post-production sector, by needlessly increasing regulatory compliance costs and simultaneously undermining the industry’s ability to compete with other segments of the housing market. Through these devices, and through the unchecked and unaccountable activities of its program “monitoring” contractor (set forth in a non-competitive contract which itself violates multiple aspects of federal law), HUD has developed – and enforces — an entire secondary tier of unlawful mandates under the guise of “interpretations” and “guidance.”

Recognizing the extremely damaging effects of such psuedo-regulation and reflecting the regulatory reform policies of the Trump Administration, the DOJ, in its rulings issued on November 16, 2017 and January 25, 2018, determined that it will no longer “use noncompliance with guidance documents as a basis for proving violations of applicable law” in civil lawsuits to enforce federal health and safety laws, such as the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  To the extent that HUD’s manufactured housing “guidance” documents conflict with this ruling and Trump Administration regulatory policy, MHARR’s April 25, 2018 communication calls for their retraction and repeal as part of HUD’s Executive Order (EO) 13771/13777 “top-to-bottom” regulatory review of the federal manufactured housing program. Similarly, insofar as the DOJ rulings show that HUD’s 2010 Interpretive Rule is fundamentally erroneous and fatally flawed, MHARR’s communication calls once again for the repeal of that rule.

About MHARR

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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