Posts Tagged ‘Alleged’

“Monopoly” in Manufactured Housing Alleged by George Allen, MHI Defender’s Turn by former Community-Investor, Self-Claimed EducateMHC Blogger

May 22nd, 2019 Comments off



Free enterprise is predicated in part on the ability to compete. Be it in tea, banking, or other sectors of the economy, America from its earliest days as a colony includes examples of not just tax revolt, but anti-monopoly rebellion too. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt are among the scores of sources that have said as much.


  • The Open Markets Institute has said that antitrust or anti-monopoly efforts are one of the most important issues of our time. As they put it on their home page, the Open Markets Institute “…promote greater awareness of the political and economic dangers of monopolization, identifies the changes in policy and law that cleared the way for such consolidation, and fosters discussions with policymakers and citizens as to how to update America’s traditional political economic principles for our 21st century digital society.” Note to newcomers, MHProNews often turns direct quotes bold and brown to make them ‘pop,’ but otherwise the quoted words are as reported.
  • Several Democratic 2020 presidential contenders have made monopoly and antitrust enforcement a campaign issue.
  • The Trump Administration has let it be known that they have an executive order drafted on antitrust, a copy of which was obtained by MHProNews.
  • The Department of Justice’s antitrust point man – Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim – was cited at length in a prior Daily Business News on MHProNews report in a talk dubbed “November Rain.”
  • A top antitrust attorney named Lina Kahn was hired by Capitol Hill Democrats.  These 4 bullets make it clear that this challenge of market consolidation and monopoly are a bi-partisan concern, though the two major parties may have differing approaches.
  • Facebook’s co-founder is among several who have called for the breakup of the company.  But it isn’t just big tech that is facing calls of breakup under antitrust law.


That brief survey with links to various reports makes it clear that antitrust or anti-monopolistic practices sentiment has swelled in several swaths of the national political and economic discourse.

Which begs the question.  Other than MHProNews, and MHLivingNews, why has the bulk of the other trade media or bloggers in the manufactured housing industry been so obviously silent on the topic of monopolization, antitrust, and consolidation?

As MHProNews has noted before – but will hereby spotlight in a different way with additional quotes – there is an exception of sorts.

It’s George F. Allen, who shed his COBA7 moniker in favor of EducateMHC, reportedly sold his modest direct interests manufactured home communities, but still has a website called “Community-Investor.”

Before turning to Allen’s comments, let’s note that MHInsider, a far larger medium which is a staunchly pro-Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backer, reveals nothing on a site search under the term ‘monopoly.’  Ditto a search under ‘consolidation’ or ‘antitrust.’ A search for articles about manufactured housing’s ‘enhanced preemption’ – mandated by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 – are missing from MHInsider, much like that topic turns up nothing on MHI’s website too. In fairness and accuracy – to MHInsider’s credit – they provided a few pull quotes from HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s address in New Orleans, which is more than the zero found on MHI’s website as of this morning as this article is being drafted.  But MHInsider lacks the entire – and highly useful for the industry’s independents – recent Secretary Carson speech to manufactured housing professionals.




Other publishers in MHVille may lack a search tool, or have so few industry readers, that their pro-MHI stance is worth mentioning but not worth the time to document.  So, there are others, most of whom routinely sing from the same hymnal that MHI provides.  MHI-affiliated state associations often likewise regurgitate uncritically – often verbatim – MHI’s missives, perhaps for reasons noted in a prior report linked here.  That stated, one must note that a few manufactured home community (MHC) state associations broke ranks with MHI, citing the Arlington, VA based trade group’s lack of effectiveness.




Onto Allen and Monopoly…

With that survey and backdrop, here’s what Allen has had to say on the topic of monopoly operating in the manufactured housing industry.



The date shown is when the screen captures were performed, not the date it was published. More on that, further below.


To use a phrase Allen enjoys, those are salient points. He’s made others before, like this one.


While those are comments were made in years gone by, that begs the question. When the evidence for monopolistic behavior in America and our manufactured home industry specifically has mounted, why has Allen more recently defended the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is the arguably the breeding ground for what Allen dubbed himself called oligarchs and monopolists?


While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge that Ryan raised in the article above, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 

When Allen has demonstrably agreed with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in the past, why has he attacked the Washington, D.C. based MHARR more recently?   Aren’t his disconnects apparent?




Hold those thoughts.

Be it Allen, MHI, or others – each has precisely the same rights protected by the Constitution that we all do. From the days of the British colonies, to after the time that the United States was finally formed following years of revolutionary warfare, and through the varied phases of our national history, America has had a love-hate relationship with pamphleteers and publishers. But with few exceptions – like the classic prohibition of not crying “fire” in a crowded theater when there is none – we defend in principle the constitutionally protected right citizens enjoy to say what they will, even if it is determined later to be demonstrably wrong.

Which brings us to a pressing point of free speech and free press. On the left, right and the dwindling center, there are voices in media talking about the news that have raised concerns about free speech, concentration of media, and manipulation of news reports.  That there is a need for a graphic like the one below is troubling, but speaks volumes.


Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources. 

The quotes that follow exemplify the issue, across the left-right and even academic landscape.



Dan Rather quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.


Deepa Kumar quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.


Danny Glover quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.



That’s problematic, but hardly new in either American or world history. In ancient times, a leader might lop the head off someone who brought bad news.  Far more recently, media in the 20th or 21st century have examples of being pushed and prodded by government and/or private interests. One must be aware of that pattern in order to begin to discern the vexing reality that someone’s worldview is forged by what media sources they adhere to most routinely.





The founding fathers themselves experienced the problems of negative media that was often harsh and agenda driven.  The founders used the press and pamphleteering to stoke the flames that caused a revolution against England, and eventually turned colonies into the independent but United States. Those founders believed that it is the clash and testing of ideas that can reveal to those who scrutinize details what is or is not true.

A close reading or attention paid to statement and subsequent events may also reveal the instances when people say or write one thing, but do another.


FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

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


While all fail from time to time to live up to ideals, there is a special scorn many have for blatant and repeated hypocrisy. Perhaps rightly so.



Now the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has an antitrust statement. According to form, MHI’s numerous meetings every year are opened with a reminder that antitrust guidelines apply. But does that mean that they are adhering in deed to those antitrust guidelines, and not just merely in the mentioned word? There are highlighted items in the MHI antitrust statement, linked here, which in this writer’s informed view merit legal and regulatory oversight attention.

So why are these issues missing from MHI’s website?



Every symphony has high and low notes. There may be sobering, often dark drum rolls, and heartening crescendos. Symphonies – like other art forms – are meant to entertain, reflect, and inspire life. Novelists have plots, as well as subplots. Intentionally or not, publishing, writers, and media sources go through their own peaks, valleys, twists, turns, and familiar refrains.

The wonder isn’t that Allen – not just MHProNews or MHLivingNews – has raised concerns about “consolidation.”

Rather, it’s that others in manufactured housing trade publishing have not done the same. Are they unaware? That’s highly unlikely, because this writer hears from those publishers, their team, and followers. Are they afraid to rock the boat? Fearful? Paid-off via ads or other incentives? What?

One trade media competitor, in what was an unintended backhanded compliment said ‘Tony, you [MHProNews, MHLivingNews] write about that others in the industry read or talk about at bars and during meals.’  If so, that may explain why our audience dwarfs all others.  But that statement begs the question, then why doesn’t that gent and other writer/bloggers follow the lead of tackling the real issues, instead of playing footsy with MHI-driven drivel?




Why does MHI have an antitrust statement, beyond as legal cover, while doing nothing of merit to commission independent research over concerns that they as a nonprofit group are being used as a tool for consolidation?


Then keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn aside from evil and do good…” Psalm 34:13.


Let’s recall anew that George Washington, and other founders, for whatever their personal failings were – and they had them, as we all do – stressed the need for morality and religion, not just laws or a constitution.




With that backdrop, back to Allen, monopoly, consolidation and what to do about it in MHVille.


Quoting Allen

A Final Thought for Year 2018, but Key for 2019

No names here, but hope you too boycott an ongoing online MH-related news media attempt to denigrate and divide us as an industry and realty asset class!

In my opinion, life is too short to be making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks, only befouling internet platforms better used to promote manufactured housing and the land lease community lifestyle!

If so, join me in 2019, committing to read only print and online trade publications advancing the causes, and improving the image, of HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities! No more caterwauling (‘to fight like cats’) in public and in private. Period.”

To spell it out for those not informed, Allen called there for a boycott of MHProNews, and of this writer. The ironies and hypocrisy there are thick.  Because of his own self-contradictions, and his own de facto concerns over the very kind of monopolization and consolidation – in that quoted case above, of media – that he blasted previously about MHI and Clayton. Can George spell hypocrisy?

Yet Allen’s aptly cited problems with consolidation, oligarchy, and monopoly. He still calls consolidation “a problem” in even recent posts.



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


Nevertheless, he is hypocritically attacking this platform, and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), each of which have consistently been sounding alarms about those issues – with specific examples – to the attention of the thousands of the industry’s readers.


Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor. What Allen has, by contrast, avoided is what are the ways that he is being coached, rewarded, and influenced?  In pointing an errant finger, are three pointing back at George’s chest? Note too that MHProNews cites sources from MHI, MHEC members, MHARR, and others.  We do so accurately and in their historic context. 


Allen’s voice is significant, but small compared to this platform’s.  We have more readers in a few hours than he will have all week.  So, why bother?  Because frankly, reviewing the history of Allen’s musings make clear some of the very problems he once asserted, and now denies.  Its instructive to unpack Allen.


Many of these quotes are from MHI insiders.

Allen is interesting to the extent that he does periodically make accurate statements.  But a stopped clock is correct twice daily too.  More politely, he is a reason why we believe in the wheat and chaff approach to people and sources. We all have our good and bad days, our good points, and our weaker ones.  Our readers have pointed out that we get typos, for instance.  Guilty as charged.  That’s our chaff, but who strive for finer wheat that feeds our audience that doesn’t find like content from other’s in the industry trade media.

Closely read, Allen’s arguably consistent about only one thing, support for himself.

With that said, he has apparently been re-embraced by the very people – MHI and their leaders – that he railed against for unfair treatment by examining his business interests under the cover of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), and then unethically going into competition against him. Allen personally felt the sting of manipulative and costly maneuvers from MHI, whose structure and funding point to firms in Omaha and the Knoxville, TN metro areas as their dominating, driving forces.  He ought to be leading the charge, instead of giving the manipulators cover.

Rephrased, Allen knows first-hand who pulls the puppet strings at Arlington, VA based MHI. He fought them, he was marginalized, he lost. That is, he lost until he was more recently reembraced to be the apparent purported surrogate and attack dog for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.  Now, for example, MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer is back on Allen’s stage.

The key to understanding Allen’s pivots in publishing is to understand that he is highly motivated by self-interest.  That is per a former, significant client of his, who told this writer that the way to understand Allen is summed up in this saying: “With George, it’s always AAA – All About Allen.” Pondering that claim, and watching the pattern after that was heard, that source arguably proved correct.

The point here isn’t that Allen has flip-flopped, or that the balance of the industry’s trade media has been mute on the issues of monopolization, consolidation, antitrust, and market manipulation that has kept manufactured housing underperforming.




While MHI in their monthly shipment report doesn’t deny the decline, neither are they addressing the underlying causes, nor have they proposed a remedy via their messages to the industry. Why not?

Frankly, we’ve covered much of that ground previously.

So the point here now is to make clear to new industry readers, investors wondering why a stock isn’t performing as it could be, outside researchers, legal, and public officials looking into MHVille seeking to grasp the facts that have caused obvious patterns to be obscured by others –including, but not limited to, the industry’s trade media.




Be Skeptical, Question and Test

It’s entirely logical to test the accuracy of the reports and analysis here on MHProNews and MHLivingNews. It is logical to likewise test the writing and publishing of others in this same news and commentary space, to see how consistent each sources may be, or what evidence is offered by said sources beyond mere words.

GeorgeAllenPhotoPamDannerPhotoEducateMHCMobileHomeCommunityInvestorManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsUnlike Allen’s railing – as was cited above – about “…making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks…” we’ve provided on MHLivingNews and MHProNews the documents and direct quotes from the sources involved.

Besides, Allen himself said similarly – as this report makes clear – only he’s not been consistent about it.

Allen uses the old debaters’ tricks of red herrings, commits the ad hominin attack fallacy, and demonstrably accuses others of what he does himself. It’s the classic definition of a hypocrite.



When we’ve given documented opportunities to Allen to publicly debate the issues we claim.  Bring on the supporting evidence as to what are the factors hindering manufactured housing industry’s growth, during an affordable housing crisis.

Other than MHARR and our trade media, who today in MHVille have offered a cogent explanation for the why and how the explains the cause of over 15 years of manufactured housing as an industry’s underperformance?

That underperformance in turn cost taxpayers, homeowners, and independent businesses collectively billions, at each turn.  Some of those independent businesses are the smaller community owners that Allen and his allies claim to care about.

That public debate offer with George Allen is one he’s routinely ducked out on. Thus, noting his roar like the lion in Wizard of Oz – but his failure to back up that roar – he’s arguably earned the mantle of that fictional character. It should be noted, Cowardly Lion finally got his courage, and did the right things.

We hope and pray Allen will do the same. Because Allen, in fairness and accuracy, has at times – albeit inconsistently – argued similar claims to those we, MHARR or others in MHVille seeking to maintain a lower profile have raised. Let’s note that some of those MHI sources, unhappy with what the Arlington trade group is apparently doing, have said they would testify to federal investigators about what they know.

Let’s return to one of those flashes from the past of apparent candor from Allen about the problem of monopoly power.


George Allen, photo credit,

Hopefully you already realize we live and work in turbulent times, where the national economy and our industry’s business model are concerned. But have YOU stopped and considered the lasting effects horizontal (consolidation) and vertical integration have had, and continue to have, on our industry and realty asset class?

If you’re one of those who believe the MHIndustry needs a new, independent national trade association to protect and advance the business interests and concerns of the post production sector of manufactured housing, you’ll want to read this week’s blog posting from beginning to end. Because there is indeed a third such party ‘waiting in the wings’ for the timing and leadership to be right and effective from the word ‘Go’!

  • In short order, the number of independent (street) MHRetailers plummeted from more than 14,000 to fewer than 4,000.”

After listing some of the extensive holdings of Buffett led Berkshire in manufactured housing, Allen says:

Now, here’s the proverbial ‘rub’. With quiet but increasing frequency we read of conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over (if not already ‘taken over’) the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry.”

Assuming truth and legitimacy of these claims of ‘conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry’, what’re the solutions? In the same op/ed piece in THE JOURNAL, the writer makes this case for a new independent national trade association to represent the post production sector of manufactured housing:

  • “…to monitor issues in the nation’s capitol, mobilize for effective action, and fight for their interests and issues, rather than the few industry-dominant lenders and the corporate conglomerates that stand behind them.” And until that happens, the writer opines, our shipments of new HUD-Code homes will continue to languish well below 100,000 units per year.

So, where’s this new independent national trade association going to come from? Surely not the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) with its’ 80+ percent national member market share of new HUD-Code manufactured housing distribution; nor, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and its’ regional housing manufacturing firms.”

Allen on that occasion from his blog dated 21 August, 2016 proposed himself  and his now defunct COBA7 as the industry’s solution and savior.  It is as if he set out to prove the point noted above from that former client of his that said, “With George, it’s always AAA – All About Allen.”

But sadly, one must ask, is Allen a white hat in MHVille, or a black hat?


White Hats, Black Hats…




Allenites – those who uncritically follow him – turn a blind eye to problems like his ‘education’ on lease-purchase, or contract for title, which an industry attorney has called ‘illegal’ in the Dodd-Frank era, and which the NY State Attorney General’s office punished dozens of manufactured home communities for practicing. Hasn’t Allen condemned the kind of problematic negative news headline causing issues that his buddy Tom Lackey is accused of running? If so, why didn’t Allen called Lackey out, and asked for his ouster from SECO’s board? See the Chattanooga Times Free Press report, which notably cited MHProNews in part of its coverage. Note the circle.  MHVillage – which is a sister firm to MHInsider, which has Allen as a writer.  MHInsider’s parent company is part of MHI.

Allen failed to mention at all then that Dick Moore/Bob Crawford had launched a third party effort dubbed the MHIDEA, which MHProNews reported years before this specific 8-21-2016 musing by Allen.

While the effort never garnered the traction its concept merited, MHIDEA – short for the Manufactured Housing Independent DEaler Alliance – was launched in 2008, even before the full effects of Buffett’s Moat became clear.



Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached.


MHProNews reviewed MHIDEA’s otherwise insightful notions in depth in a report, linked below.


Giving Thanks for Manufactured Housing Independents, Applauding “MHIdea!”


During the 2010 timeframe, MHProNews reported on the MHIDEA efforts. Hindsight can be 2020. Had MHIDEA been better supported – by us and others – would the industry’s current issues be as severe as they are now?

By contrast, MHARR covered these issues to various degrees, and in a consistent fashion.  It must be noted that several of Allen’s references to concerns over monopolization were oblique references to claims and allegations made by MHARR.  They have been by far the most consistent in the industry on the topics that they’ve engaged upon.

Once more, it must be noted that MHI avoids these controversies, as reflected by using the site-search tool on their website.  If they suddenly, after weeks and months of such reports suddenly popped information that mentions these issues onto their platform, that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve avoided it for some years.



Summing Up

This current and historic survey revealed the following.

  • MHARR has consistently called out the problems of market monopolization, proposed solutions, and has done so for a period of years. It should be noted that the MHARR website is relatively new, so one would have to go to MHProNews’ MHARR module, or specific MHARR monthly articles to see the years of consistency in their reports and analysis.


  • MHIDEA – while effectively dormant at this time – raised these concerns over a decade ago.
  • NAMHCO – which does not yet have a website – is still young, but has made it clear that they felt that MHI was ineffective and not advancing the interests of their members, which is why they said they broke from MHI in 2017.
  • MHI has nothing on several potentially positive items for the industry, ignored publishing Secretary Carson’s fine speech, and has nothing on these controversies.
  • MHInsider – essentially parrots the MHI stance, as have most if not all of the lesser known trade bloggers and publishers.
  • Blogger George Allen has flip-flopped, apparently based on if he’s getting benefits from MHI or not. But what’s clear is that Allen on several occasions raised the issue of monopoly, consolidation, and ‘oligarchy.’  More recently, Allen has attacked MHARR, and MHProNews for making arguments similar to those he himself previously advanced.  Allen does not bother to explain his contradictions, which can demonstrably occur within the same blog post.
  • MHProNews raised the issues years ago, in reporting on the MHIDEA and MHARR reports. But frankly, this writer – and our LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC family of publications – were not convinced initially. We reported what others said, but did not strongly advocate on the issues of monopoly, consolidation, marketing rigging, and the need for legal and federal action.
  • As I’ve said previously, per the SPJ standards of journalism ethics that call for clearly stating errors or omissions once noted, it took years of evidence, documents, news tips, and commentary by others until the scope and chutzpah of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis was fully grasped in more recent years.
  • Oddly, some of Allen’s and MHI’s circle and readers have been among those who’ve for some time explained why they thought market manipulation was underway. They explained Allen’s role – or lack thereof – in masking or exposing it at various times.
  • It should also be noted that MHInsider publisher Darren Krolewski himself praised this publication and writer for taking on the tough issues. He was among those that informed us of what was underway, where MHI was allegedly undermining our pro-industry growth work, even as we were dues paying members of that association.



Krolewski is now co-president of MHVillage, and the publisher of MHInsider. He now arguably avoids the difficult topics he once praised us for tackling on MHProNews.


Allen could perhaps go back and purge his site, if he was incentivized to do so. But we already have the screen captures, so why bother?

While he loves to charge that we misquote or do something ‘out of context,’ he’s not once provided evidence of that claim. In fact, as noted, when invited to debate or prove his case in a third-party moderated forum, publicly in front of an industry audience, and on video so others could witness it later, he’s always declined that offer.

The allegations and concerns raised in this report clearly tie directly into the issue of what we’ve dubbed  the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

Namely, that leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), Joe Stegmayer (MHI Chair), MHI salaried staff, and their inside and/or outside attorneys have repeatedly been invited to discuss and debate these concerns publicly.  Such offers to those leaders have been documented. The offer was to do hold such a discussion/debate in front of a live manufactured home industry professional audience.  That means that those who understand and/or are the most impacted by the issues to be discussed would be in attendance. A third-party moderator, plus video recording so others could see it all later, were part of the offer.

The powers that be in MHVille have declined every time. It’s their right to remain silent.  But that means that the allegations against them stand unrefuted.  One might ask, why they haven’t sued us – with or without just cause – as they’ve threatened in writing several times to do?  Is it perhaps because their leaders have praised us often, and for years, and that would come up in any legal proceedings?  How could they possibly explain it all away with a straight face?




What the axis apparently did instead was reembraced Allen, who was persona non grata after their purported backstab of Allen only a few years ago. Allen was apparently re-engaged and rewarded precisely, to be used as a purported surrogate and as an attack dog against MHARR, MHProNews, and this writer.  Given that they can’t or won’t defend their actions, they’ve turned to the smear tactics instead. Allen and company do what they allege we do, interesting ploy, isn’t it?



Last week, an MHI member named Andy Gedo began to enter into a question/answer with this writer about an article posted on LinkedIn.  That posted article spotlighted how Kevin Clayton, in a recent video interview with CNBC, did not deny that Berkshire monopolization of not only manufactured housing, but the broader housing market, was underway. Gedo initially questioned, but gave up on, defending Clayton against that claim. The Gedo discussion with this writer in its entirety is linked below.


Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues


While these incidents, Berkshire Hathaway documents and direct quotes in context linked here or other concerns are not proof in an absolute or legal sense, it is enough to cause more federal regulators, public officials, candidates, media/researchers to sharpen their scrutiny.  That’s frankly part of the reason to do such summary articles, which then link evidence and examples.

The reason we say ‘more’ is because there are already – beyond MHARR, NAMHCO, MHIDEA, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews – non-industry sources that have spotlighted some of these same concerns.  Some of those are linked below.


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

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

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

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

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

But what those other sources may lack are specific examples of documents and video that were not yet published, until the trade media our LLC deploys covered them.



In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. Why hasn’t Allen told his readers how that cost them money?


What this summary does is reveal to industry readers and to outsiders looking in that there is substantial evidence of monopolization, consolidation, and examples of potential violations of antitrust laws at play in manufactured housing that date back about a decade or more. That’s almost roughly the same timeframe that Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway bought Clayton Homes, and began the slow ‘strategic moat’ and other related conquest techniques of the manufactured housing industry.

No one with common sense can believe that Buffett, Berkshire, and their billions could somehow have failed to grow manufactured housing to over 500,000 or more shipments a year.  MHI’s president himself said that was doable.


MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments


Which leads thoughtful readers and researchers with the vexing concerns that manufactured housing has been de facto sabotaged, largely from within.



That’s why the industry is the ‘best kept secret’ in affordable housing, as Terry Decio from Skyline Homes lamented on camera.



That’s arguably why Secretary Carson’s full address isn’t found on MHInsider, or at all on MHI’s website.  Carson made it clear he wants to promote the manufactured housing solution, and end the secrecy that hangs over the industry.

Alan Amy is one of the many quiet, thoughtful voices that helped advise this writer as to what was occurring, and why. Manufactured housing is the housing of the future, not just the past, said Amy.  The big boys are consolidating the industry at a discount now, knowing that they can reap billions in annual earnings once they’ve completed their conquest of the industry, and a friendly administration to their interests takes over in Washington, D.C.



Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies, and opportunities.  From independents like Gus, to the largest players in the industry, and thousands in between, this is the most read source in the industry, because we tackle the issues most avoid – all in search of getting manufactured housing to achieve its true potential.


Note the trend line. This is from an MHI member firm’s investor relations package.  They point to the industry underperforming, but they refer to it as the upside potential for growth. Manufactured housing is underperforming. Note the difference between RVs 20 years ago, and MH 20 years ago. No one else has advanced a thesis as logical and compelling. To date, Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington have not even attempted to refute the claims. Will they today?

The puzzle pieces fit, which is what Occam’s Razor calls for in its test of reason.  Otherwise, observers are to believe that Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, and MHI staff are all incompetent?  That they don’t know how to grow this industry that used to produce hundreds of thousands of homes per year?  That they can’t achieve growth during an affordable housing crisis? That’s absurd.

Once more, the powers that be are invited to refute or explain away these concerns and allegations. Or they can keep using diversionary tactics, while the industry’s shipments have shrunk for 7 months, during an affordable housing crisis?  Absurd. Preposterous.  Impossible to believe, unless the powers that be want it to be so.

And on that note, let’s call it a morning, as the sky suggests that the dawn will soon break.  We pray that dawn will be a sign for this once far greater industry that a new day is coming.  But like the founders and generations before us, freedom won’t be free. It will only come from a struggle.  That struggle begins with understanding the issues, which hopefully this report, fact-check, and analysis has helped shed fresh light upon.

It is long past time to break up the monopolists, using existing federal and state laws.  As Secretary Carson said about a different topic last night on Tucker Carlson’s show, “enforce the law.”

That’s this morning’s first look at “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Industry news, commentary, fact-checks, and analysis.) ##

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

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

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project

MHARR Calls on HUD Secretary to End Discriminatory And Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes

Ultimate, Proven Contrarian Investing – Ethical vs. Unethical, Legal vs Illegal Manufactured Housing Industry Strategies

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

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






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

April 18th, 2019 Comments off

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.”



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.



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.


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?



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.


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.


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.”



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?






Was Clayton Homes, Their Manufactured Housing Institute, Racially Tone Deaf on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

January 22nd, 2019 Comments off


It is a well-known concern that Clayton Homes, and their affiliated/sister Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders, has been repeatedly accused of “racism” and “predatory lending.”

Maxine Waters (CA-D), the new chairperson for the powerful Housing Financial Services Committee (FSC), and 3 of her colleagues are among those who have formally lodged that complaint. They cited the Seattle Times. Rep. Waters also said she believed Clayton to be ‘a near monopoly.’


U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Mike Capuano (D-MA). Image credit, Twitter, Wikipedia. See Water’s statement, linked here.

Others in media and nonprofits have covered that same issues and concerns

As recently as last year in Clayton’s hometown metro, Knoxville media made such allegations an issue.

Clayton denied it, but where is their logical follow through?


Or where is MHI on this racial sensitivity issue?


Recall, that following the Charlottesville episode, MHProNews invited Clayton, 21st Mortgage, and MHI leadership to provide a statement that asked them to publicly denounce racism. Their reply? Silence. By contrast, published a lengthy tome on the subject, co-authored with the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr.

So, with that brief backdrop, how is it possible that Clayton and the Berkshire Hathaway dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) made no mention this past weekend of the federal remembrance of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Just look at the various screen captures 1.22.2019, prior to 11:00 AM ET.



Not only is nothing found on the MHI website or main social media, but also on the Clayton blog, Facebook, and on their Twitter pages – nothing about M.L. King Day. Why not do something as simple as what is shown below?


Are they tone deaf?


The more one looks, isn’t it more evident that MHI postures, without performance?

Or are these all clues that the allegations or racism may be true?


How diverse has MHI, for example, been in their leadership in recent years?

By contrast, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a model of diversity.

For further contrast, MHProNews on Monday published 4 stories, 2 of which were specifically tied to the late Dr. King’s remembrances. The other two Daily Business News items had elements related and cross-linked to the Rev. King, slavery, modern civil and/or religious rights issues.

The Backdrop to a Larger Issue

Why is manufactured housing suffering in the public perception? Is part of it caused – right or wrong – by an impression of racism, that the largest trade association and the largest producer of manufactured housing both failed to dispel? The largest block of buyers now – at least potentially – are millennials. Concerns about racism is on that group’s radar.

Time and again, MHI and Clayton fail to lead in easy or in meaningful ways, why?

That’s MH “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)


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“Seek First” a Post-Charlottesville Message of Healing and Principles for America

“Unwise and Untimely,” “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” African Studies Center, University Of Pennsylvania, MLK Day

His Dream Was Rooted in American Dream, “Free At Last”

Millie Francis, Bradenton Tropical Palms ROC Resident, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Religious Discrimination, Fair Housing Act=Media Drama Continues

Sex and Human Trafficking Involving Manufactured Home Community, Hits Fox Video Report

HUD Program Misconduct Alleged by House, a Reason Why So Few Manufactured Homes are Being Built

September 26th, 2018 Comments off


The report that follows below from the House Financial Services Committee (FSC) to the Daily Business News on MHProNews underscores several issues that have been spotlighted previously.

Among them is a question that was raised by the Urban Institute last January. Why are so few manufactured homes being built and sold?  Among the factors is the reality of subsidized housing and projects like the one noted in FSC report.

Think about the fact that dozens of cases like the one noted, per The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee report, are scandal plagued.

Think back to the comments from manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye Jr. raised.

Other related topics, after the allegations of possibly criminal and other scandalous issues, will be linked further below the FSC statement to MHProNews.



Committee Examines Serious Allegations of Misconduct at Illinois Housing Authority

WASHINGTON – The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee met today to examine the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) oversight of the Alexander County Housing Authority located in Cairo, Illinois.

“Today’s hearing was essential to help get to the bottom of the Alexander County Housing Authority’s (ACHA) troubling role in allowing living conditions in both the Elmwood and McBride housing developments to deteriorate so much that HUD has to demolish both of them and has taken over possession of the ACHA. Due to the actions of the ACHA, nearly 200 families will have to uproot their lives and move from Cairo, Illinois to another city.

“What’s even more frightening is this could just be the tip of the iceberg, as 50 other Public Housing Authorities have been designated as troubled by the HUD Inspector General. We have to make sure all 3,300 PHA’s comply with HUD’s policies and address health and safety hazards to make sure another situation like Cairo never happens again,” said Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI).

Key Takeaways

  • HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) failed the residents of the Alexander County (IL) Housing Authority since 2010 by inaction, bureaucratic wrangling, and a failure of leadership.
  • HUD identified issues with ACHA’s governance and attempted to bring the agency into compliance; however, efforts did not lead to a positive impact on the conditions at ACHA.
  • The HUD OIG report noted that HUD staff was “stunned…at what [hud] saw, not just in terms of deplorable living conditions that [hud] encountered but at the poor, even absent record keeping, the staggering backlog of critical repairs, all of this going to the very health and safety of the residents living there.”

Topline Quotes from Witnesses

“Today’s hearing is about government’s failure to protect the vulnerable among us. Most of you have never heard of Cairo, Illinois – but it’s time you had… Many of us first learned the extent of the problems at the public housing authority in Cairo through reports in the Southern Illinoisan newspaper… Many had no appliances, heating, or air conditioning… After my Illinois colleagues and I requested a federal investigation, HUD placed the housing authority into receivership… The cause of this tragedy comes down to two words: greed and neglect… The federal government must do a better job of conducting oversight, especially when it involves the health and safety of people in need.” – The Honorable Mike Bost of the 12th Congressional District of Illinois.


“HUD identified issues with ACHA’s governance, including the misuse of funds, conflicts of interest, and a failure to comply with HUD policies and Federal civil rights laws… Despite HUD’s attempts to bring ACHA into compliance, its efforts did not resolve the negative conditions at ACHA. Residents continued to live in deplorable conditions as ACHA languished, and ACHA officials were generally uncooperative in addressing the negative conditions HUD identified… Although it may to be too late to save ACHA, as of June 2018, 50 other PHAs were designated as troubled. Therefore, we offer four recommendations to improve PIH’s administration and oversight of troubled PHAs.” – Jeremy Kirkland, Acting Deputy Inspector General, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.



There are dozens of articles that MHProNews has done on topics related to a simple economic principle.  Whatever you subsidize, you tend to get more of it.

Poverty vs Prosperity?

for some 50 years, the federal government – often in concert with state/local governments – is subsidizing housing and are building housing “projects.”  For decades, this has been problem plagued.  The Cabrini Green in Chicagoland was but one notorious example.


HUD is sending signals that under the leadership of Secretary Ben Carson, some of this may be shifting course.  Secretary Carson has promised a new era of cooperation with our industry.  For more on that, see the related reports, further below.

A new style of private/public partnership, one that winds down the scandal-plagued programs of the past could help fuel a renaissance for manufactured housing, create more home owners, and could save taxpayers billions a year over time. See further below for more. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

“A New Era of Cooperation and Coordination,” is Promised by HUD Secretary Carson, Saying “I Hear You”


Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

Warren Buffett Success Secret$, Video Interview Including “The Moat”

March 16th, 2018 Comments off


Take what Kevin Clayton said in the exclusive video and reports previously produced by the Daily Business News.


Marry it up with what Warren Buffett himself has said in interviews and comments, like those shown in the under 3 minute video below

What you discover is a hand-in-glove fit.

The new Warren Buffett video posted focuses on his self-described ‘secrets’ of success.  These are his words – hiding in plain sight – that has made Buffett successful in manufactured housing, and in other fields too.


One could sum it up as The Nation did in their recent report on Buffett, that included insights on Clayton Homes, linked below.

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

The video with Buffett is not what some would call sexy, but it does provide powerful insightful.  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)


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

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

“Follow the Money” – Controversial Urban Institute Report on Manufactured Housing

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Alleged Bad Actor Faces Lawsuit, Foreclosure

February 22nd, 2017 Comments off

A condemned home in the GreenPark Residences community. Credit: SaintPetersBlog.

In what has been a multi- year saga, the city of Tampa, Florida is suing the owner of a condemned manufactured home community for millions in code violation fees.

According to SaintPetersBlog, nearly six years ago GreenPark Residences obtained a neglected 18-unit community in the city, and since then, officials with the City of Tampa have been at odds with Rosario C. “Ross” Scopelliti, 51, who owns GreenPark and has allegedly done whatever he can to legally avoid necessary repairs and maintenance on the homes there.

In 2012, city officials had condemned 17 of 18 of the homes in the community, and had to relocate nearly two-dozen residents.

And, it appears that at the same time, Scopelliti was working to get the city to pay him.

Scopelliti has filed for bankruptcy protection, and filed a 15-count federal lawsuit against the city in April 2014 for “inverse condemnation.

In the suit, Scopelliti accused the city of interfering with his leases and undermining his business by offering his tenants $1,500 each for relocation costs.

He pointed out that once the city condemned the homes in the community, residents stopped paying rent, and that the city used selective code enforcement against him.


GreenPark Residences, red marker on map. Credit: Google.

After the U.S. Middle District of Florida court ruled against him, Scopelliti continued his battle by filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals, which affirmed the District court’s ruling at the end of January.

The ruling then set the stage for a suit filed February 6th in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, where Tampa says GreenPark owes more than $13 million in unpaid code violation liens issued in 2011.

The city is now seeking to foreclose on GreenPark.

Per SaintPetersBlog, Scopelliti is a Canadian native and has previously sued a local government for condemning housing he owned, including the city of St. Petersburg, Florida in a similar case in 2001.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of stories of so-called “bad actors,” including a recent case in Chapmanville, West Virginia. That story is linked here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.