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Insider Tip – “Selling Access” to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Manufactured Housing Institute’s Latest Razzle Dazzle

April 18th, 2019 Comments off
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If the shoe fits…satirical MHI logo provided under fair use guidelines.

The definition given by Dictionary of the noun razzle-dazzle reads in part as follow, with the bold added for emphasis: “Informal. showiness, brilliance, or virtuosity in technique or effect, often without concomitant substance or worth; flashy theatricality: The razzledazzle of the essay’s metaphors cannot disguise its shallowness of thought.”

 

The Urban Dictionary defines the term ‘dog and pony show’ in similar terms. “Man do the ignorant apathetic masses eat up this dog and pony show.”

Dog and pony show” is a colloquial term which has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends,” said Wikipedia.

 

So razzle dazzle, or dog and pony show are designed to catch the eye and impress, even if there is no substance or practical usefulness to it. With that backdrop is this following insider tip. The words in brackets are added for clarity, our common MHProNews bold and brown are added to make a direct quote pop, but the comments – typos and all are in the original – are from an insider with knowledge of the developments in the manufactured housing industry’s version of ‘the Swamp.’

On the BC [Ben Carson] matter, though, you are absolutely right, as they use these stuff for dog and pony show, but never ask these people [at the Manufactured Housing Institute] to get something tangeable done for the industry and consumers…waste of the industry’s hard-earned clout.”

 

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From an MHI email to their members earlier this week. Such an address by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, MD, could be useful or not.  Will Secretary Carson do something substantive, that will help the industry, consumers, and HUD? Or is this just another photo op? Time will tell.

 

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The Daily Business News with MHProNews was previously tipped some time back about the red herring use of photo ops with political figure by Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and members of Congress, federal or state officials.  Photo ops are morally neutral, the specifics of how it is used is the question. In MHI’s case, per insiders, they are literal ‘head fake’ attempts to impress the rank and file industry member with their access – what MHI touts as clout – but without actually producing any useful results.

This new allegation would suggest that MHI is selling access to photo opportunities to Secretary Carson, because it costs hundreds of dollars to attend MHI’s Congress and Expo.

People love selfies and photos with celebrities and famous people. The desire for a photo with a notable person can include public officials. The photo of Nathan Smith with Vice-President Joe Biden, or the signed photo from Barack Obama serves to make the point.

 

 

One reason that presidential or other campaigns make coffee shop, restaurant, factory, or other stops is precisely to give ‘real people’ the opportunity to have a photo made with them. It is a practice done by people of both major parties. Those photos become free ads for a politico on social media, emails, texts or other more traditional ways to commemorate that moment. MHProNews team members are not immune to that phenomenon; we have photos with notables and officials too. We have not opted to publish such photos recently of a given team member with some well-known political personality. Doing so could be misinterpreted.

 

 

It’s a Profit Center

An upcoming analysis of the MHI 990s make it clear that meetings and events like their ‘Congress and Expo’ are profit centers. They earn significantly more from such an event than the cost to put it on.

In essence, per another source with insider knowledge, what the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is doing is “selling access” for “photo opportunities” with HUD Secretary Ben Carson in this case, or with other figures in various instances. Professionals got photos last year with Secretary Carson or others and more will doubtlessly do so this year. That’s not necessarily a slam on Carson or HUD. It is what it is.

Both MHI and HUD will be given an opportunity to respond to these concerns.

 

Where is the Practical Use of MHI Access and Clout?

The quote at top is a key to understanding the emergence of the puzzling picture that is manufactured housing today. If MHI has such “clout,” when they have photos with several key people in the Trump Administration, or with Democrats or the GOP in Congress, why aren’t they using it to gain real results? Why is MHI proudly pushing a speech and photo opportunities?

Why aren’t they asking and OBTAINING Secretary Carson’s potentially powerful position for HUD’s intervention in areas like

Or why haven’t they shown results in obtaining:

  • Eliminating the 10/10 rule on FHA Title I loans?
  • A broad use of the Duty to Serve lending by the GSEs for all manufactured homes, not just for the Clayton Homes promoted ‘new class of homes?’

The list of possible ‘asks’ by MHI and their ‘big boy’ masters could go on.  One might note what MHARR said to Fannie Mae’s new CEO, when they made the point that failing to implement DTS (or by inference, other such policies) adds to the profitability of Berkshire Hathaway owned brands in manufactured housing.  It gives Clayton and their sister companies an outsized influence.  It makes the point that MHI award-winner Marty Lavin previously made, doesn’t it?

 

Wasted MHI Clout? 

If MHI has such clout, as they have claimed for years in graphics like the above, why didn’t the stop the hit against their own prominent members in the John Oliver viral “Mobile Homes” video?

If MHI has such clout, why is the primary media narrative arguably against the industry’s homes and communities, rather than for it?

MHI can no longer as easily escape with the ‘head fake’ photo “razzle dazzle” or “dog and pony show” techniques any longer, so long as MHProNews and/or any others spotlight what they are and have been doing for years.

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What have these prior photo ops actually resulted in, other than photos?

Rhetorical or visual red herrings are a deceptive ruse arguably designed to deceive and impress independents or others without delivering any actual and measurable results. MHI is collecting millions in dues, and what do they have to show for it?  Why is the industry performing at a lower total production rate today than the year that Warren Buffett entered the industry over 15 years ago?

 

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Skyline-Champion (SKY) is an MHI member.  They are making the case in the chart above that there is upside.  Of course there is, but why isn’t that upside being achieved?  It is self evident to those who look at history and the facts that the industry is under-performing. Several MHI member companies have said as much, in their own IR presentations. Rollohome went from zero to 60,000 new homes shipped in 2 years. What was done before can be done again, better, faster, and with sustainable results, thanks to existing laws.

 

MHI obtained a video with Secretary Carson, and a video with previous HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Castro is currently seeking a run at the White House as a Democrat. Dr. Carson is a well-known member of the GOP, and as a Republican, sought his party’s nomination as president in the 2016 campaign cycle.  Why are those videos touting bi-partisan praise for the industry not on the home page of their website?  Why instead are they a challenge to find?

The evidence and reasons suggests – and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis has not yet denied or explained away – the claim that the “Illusion of Motion” has made MHI money, while the industry continues to consolidate into ever fewer hands.  MHI meetings have become ‘Buffett’s Big Boy Buffet.’ Members pay for the honor of potentially becoming the next meal for a corporate giant.

If the industry was performing near their historic norm, or to the industry’s potential, then the value of those businesses arguably would be higher.

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Does MHI, Clayton Homes, et al’s failure to seriously move the needle to advance the industry de facto benefit Berkshire Hathaway and others who are consolidating the industry at effectively depressed prices? If so, is MHI engaging in unethical or perhaps illegally deceptive trade practices?

Is it a coincidence that failing to fight and win media image, to fully implement good laws, to overcome regulatory or other hurdles creates shark-like resistance?  Meanwhile, the manufactured home industry staying smaller limits the attraction of new competition, and that pattern allows Warren Buffett and his de facto allies to buy up chunks of the industry at a discount? Aren’t these useful in doing exactly what Buffett has said in his own words?”  That summarizes points that publisher and industry expert L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has made.

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

The industry’s independents in MHI ought to demand their money’s worth, or seek new structures that achieve the claimed goals of the Arlington based association that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing.”

 

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Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. These lessons are not shared to discourage, but to identify the root issues, so that they can be successfully addressed.  One of many things that Secretary Carson could do is ask the FTC and DOJ to investigate allegations of violations of antitrust and other laws.

 

Photo ops and nice speeches are fine, and we can all enjoy them.  But it is measurable results that the industry needs, and the same applies to current manufactured home owners and the roughly 100 million living in rentals, most of who want to become a home owner.” says Kovach.

The time for razzle dazzle and head fakes is over. The industry continues to be consolidated.

See the related reports to learn more, found further below the byline, offers, and notices.  That’s this morning’s edition of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use© where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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For Want of a Nail – Manufactured Housing

Cui Bono? “Killing Me Softly,” Manufactured Housing’s New Theme Song?

 

 

 

 

 

Has the Manufactured Housing Institute Accused Former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith of Federal Law Violations?

October 1st, 2018 Comments off

 

HasManufacturedHousingInstituteLOGOAccusedFormerMHIChairmanNathanSmithPhotoSSKCommunitiesYouGotItHomesLogoViolatingFederalLawDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Earlier this month, the Manufactured Housing Institute produced a handout to their members. One of those was provided to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.

 

It came with a question.

 

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Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

Has former MHI Chairman, Nathan Smith violated federal law?  Isn’t that what MHI’s FAQ #6 implies, given SSK’s past and more recent marketing practices?”

It is an interesting topic.

This isn’t the first time that SSK Communities has been accused by others in manufactured housing for allegedly violating federal advertising, and possibly other laws.  As the Daily Business News noted last week, SSK Communities has had several legal woes.

Nathan Smith’s SSK Communities also has an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

 

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You can see a Nathan Smith, SSK Communities related report, by clicking this link here.

Further below, you can see a marketing item from Augusta Homes Sales, LLC, YouGotItHomes® from their Facebook page.  This is one of a number of such questioned marketing items over the years that has been brought to MHProNews’ attention by industry readers.

MHI’s new FAQ guide asks this question, among others, “Can retailers and community owners advertise monthly payment amounts and interest rates in their effort to sell a manufactured home?”

Here’s how MHI answered that question.

ANSWER:  “No. Pub. L. 115-174 § 107 provides added flexibility when discussing the mortgage lending process with customers during the sale of a manufactured home, including when referring customers to lenders to discuss financing options. It does not give authority to advertise credit terms.

While the law provides that a retailer or community owner cannot directly negotiate loan terms with a consumer or lender (including rates, fees, and other costs), advertising is generally not considered negotiating; it is an invitation to negotiate. However, Regulation Z, which implements TILA, still prohibits advertising hypothetical terms, such as a down payment, an interest rate, or a monthly payment. Advertising requirements also vary by state and advertising credit and/or loan terms may require registration and/or licensure under the SAFE Act. 

Retailers and community owners can make general statements about the availability of credit in advertisements, as long as they do not use specific credit terms or reference a particular lender’s available credit terms. They can also discuss hypothetical terms in person with customers when explaining the mortgage lending process. However, for additional information regarding state-specific advertising requirements, MHI recommends contacting qualified legal counsel.”

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Click here to see this image above in its original, full size, or to download.

Was Richard Cordray – who led the CFPB until leaving the federal agency to run as a Democrat for Governor of Ohio – too busy to look into concerns about Nathan Smith, a prominent Democratic supporter of former President Barack Obama?  ICYMI, you can later read these 2 related reports, linked immediately and further below.

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, From Mobile Home Resident to Manufactured Home Communities Owner, & Manufactured Housing Institute Leader

MHProNews is hereby spotlighting and raising anew such concerns, noting that Nathan Smith, his companies, and MHI may have an explanation or defense, and that they are ‘innocent until proven guilty‘ by law. Smith, MHI, and the CFPB will be asked to comment about this matter.

Stay tuned for a planned follow up on this report, based upon their response(s).

This should also serve as reminder to others who may or may not be using similarly questionable or legally risky advertising messages.

As a final point, MHI’s handout busily patted their own back hard several times for their role in the passage of S 2155.  To understand the background and facts about that topic, please the related reports, linked further below. That’s this evening’s manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Related Reports:

Manufactured Homes Could Help Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis, So, Why Aren’t More Manufactured Homes Being Sold?

 

Nathan Smith, From Mobile Home Resident to SSK Communities Owner and President Barack Obama Connection

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

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

May 15th, 2018 Comments off

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 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? 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.) 

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[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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Attorney General Files Charges against alleged con man accused of fraudulently collecting deposits on manufactured homes from consumers

September 7th, 2016 Comments off

NCAttorneyGeneralroy-cooperLaurinburgexchange-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNewsUsing the dream of homeownership to trick consumers out of their hard-earned money is just plain wrong,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said. “My office is here to protect consumers from these misleading and fraudulent business tactics.”

Cooper filed suit against George Henry Smith of Robeson County, for collecting payments from consumers who wanted to purchase manufactured homes, then failing to provide the homes as promised or return buyers’ money.

It was not immediately clear at press time if this is the same George Henry Smith which Atlas Public Records reports was a 64 year old charged on January 22, 2016 with “Assault On A Female,” also of Robeson County.

The attorney general’s offices stated that Smith showed prospective buyers manufactured homes he was not authorized to sell at Prevatte Home Sales, and at Terry Pate Home Sales in Lumberton.

Smith allegedly told consumers that he met via ads off property that he was a salesman, and when he arrived at the retail centers, Smith told the firm’s staff that he was an agent for the consumers.

Cooper’s office states that “Smith advertised used and repossessed manufactured homes to consumers at his workplace, mobile phone store Page Talk, and at other locations in the Robeson County area. Smith targeted consumers who spoke limited English, including using business cards written in Spanish.”

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The release states that, “Smith reportedly pressured consumers to sign phony purchase agreements and pay deposits as large as $9,800. When the manufactured homes failed to arrive as Smith promised, consumers contacted the sales lots and learned that the homes they thought were theirs had already been sold to someone else or had never been available for sale. Smith has refused to refund victims’ money, leaving several families unable to afford rent and forced to move in with relatives.”

Cooper’s statement has a problematic angle for honest manufactured home retailers, because it states that: “Before you put down money on a manufactured home, check out the dealer or agent thoroughly.”  But shouldn’t the same ‘buyer beware’ caution apply to the far more common scam of selling a conventional house to the unsuspecting and vulnerable consumers?

To get a sense of the scope of sheer volume of fake housing sales, USA Today reported that just one man in Detroit, MI fraudulently “sold” $18.5 million in houses; that man went to prison in 2015.

The attorney general’s pleadings asks the court to cancel all of the alleged bogus contracts buyers signed with Smith, to order Smith to pay refunds to consumers and $5,000 in civil penalties.

Cooper also asks the court that Smith be permanently barred from:

  • Engaging in unfair or deceptive business practices
  • Advertising or attempting to sell manufactured homes without a license
  • Accepting new orders or payments in North Carolina  ##

(Photo credit of attorney general Roy Cooper, LaurinburgExchange.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is the publisher of MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com.

Submitted by L. A. “Tony” Kovach to the Daily Buisness News, MHProNews.

Obama Administration and ACORN Housing accused of misuse of funds and corruption

November 29th, 2011 Comments off

AHCOA-acorn-name-credit Washington TimesWashingtonTimes reports author/editor Matthew Vadum has accused the Obama administration of “new evidence of corruption” involving an affiliate of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Cause of Action – a watchdog group – pressed NeighborWorks America, a taxpayer-funded federal nonprofit that funneled more than $26.5 million in federal foreclosure-avoidance money to ACORN Housing, to disclose an internal audit furnished to then-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, late last year. The audit found that while ACORN Housing and voter-fraud-accused ACORN are legally separate entities, there were numerous financial transactions and “evidence [of] extensive relationships between both organizations that may undermine claims of an ‘arm’s length relationship’ between them.” ACORN Housing, the audit states, worked closely with ACORN and even subcontracted some of the counseling work to “four ACORN local state chapters.” “We have determined that [ACORN Housing] lacks the accounting capacity to manage the size and complexity of the [foreclosure-avoidance] program funds,” said the audit, dated Dec. 17, 2010. ACORN Housing had poorly trained staff,  sloppy accounting procedures, and also violated conflict-of-interest guidelines laid down by the Office of Management and Budget(OMB), the audit said. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave $79,819 to AHCOA Miami on March 1, $300,000 to AHCOA on Aug. 11, and $350,030 to AHCOA Philadelphia on Sept. 2. Vadum’s report describes HUD’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan as a “longtime ACORN ally.“  Acorn Housing changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) about a year ago to avoid the stigma of being associated with ACORN, which was bared from receiving federal funding after undercover videos showing its employees were facilitating child prostitution in 2009.


(Editor’s Note:
Matthew Vadum is a senior editor at Capital Research Center and author of “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers”  from WND Books, 2011
)

(Image credit: WashingtonTimes)