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

May 18th, 2019 No comments

 

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Andy Gedo’s LinkedIn profile says he is a “Partner at ManageAmerica.” They are on online property management platform, that cites manufactured housing as one of their specialties. They are active at Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) events, and per sources, an MHI member.

 

To set the stage for the discussion that follows, let’s note that Gedo – who entered into a public online discussion this week with our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach on LinkedIn regarding Clayton Homes – previously posed a question to George F. Allen.

Gedo asked Allen a question about one of Allen’s posts, “George, please provide the details of your proforma $12,000 annual expense budget for a 200 site community.  That amount doesn’t even cover a Manager’s salary for such a community.  What am I missing?”  It was a perfectly reasonably question.

Allen’s response?  There was none.  To which Tony Kovach, after liking Gedo’s question, posted this: “George, Andy Gedo has asked a relevant question.  Where is your reply, sir?  How can you claim to educate, when you won’t answer questions?  Isn’t that part of the educational process, Q&As?” For more on Allen, Joe Stegmayer, MHI and related, click here.

That post and exchange reveals several things, because Tony Kovach previously asked Allen a question about another post. Allen’s reply? None.

The first reasonable takeaway is that respectful discussion – which can include direct questions, even pointed questions – are a potentially useful facet of social media.

With that backdrop, Gedo, who’s firm’s website says started in 1999, asked about a post made by our publisher earlier this week.  Here is the link to the that LinkedIn post, and the screen capture below is a reflection of the linked article that Gedo to, which sets the stage for the online discussion.

 

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Here’s Gedo’s comment/reaction to that public social media post. “Come on Tony, her question wasn’t whether Clayton/Berkshire intends to monopolize the entire homebuilding industry, but rather whether they intend “own every aspect” of it — to vertically integrate, not own the entire thing.”   The “her” Gedo was referring to is CNBC’s Diana Olick, who covers real estate news for the business focused, left-of-center news website.

Here’s Tony’s reply, with the typos like ‘distinction’ in original.

Its a distiction without a difference Andy.  Perhaps you’ve missed what HousingWire, Bloomberg LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertor others have spotlighted?  Warren Buffett said he had 3 percent of brokerage in an annual letter, and added “Only “97 percent to go.” Google it.  That said, I respect your question.  Try explaining these facts, linked below.  Kevin, Tim, and their attorneys have declined.  Why not try to explain it for them?

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

We routinely invite Clayton, 21st, and MHI to respond, or dispute our concerns. Why do they duck that, if there is nothing to hide?  So back to your question. CNBC is perhaps the first in mainstream media for a while that asked that question that way. It lacked a follow up, but at least they deserve credit for asking about the growing concerns not just here, but in other mainstream media that use the word “monopoly” when it comes to Clayton and Berkshire.  Those other media are found linked here.

http://mhpronews.com/blogs/tonykovach/ultimate-proven-contrarian-investing-ethical-vs-unethical-legal-vs-illegal-manufactured-housing-industry-strategies/

AndyGedoLinkedInManufacturedHomeCommunitiesPhotoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsGedo rapidly posted on LinkedIn the following retort. As MHProNews has often done for several years, we’ve turned the quoted text brown and bold to make it pop, but the comments are otherwise unedited in any material fashion.

Tony, the CNBC interviewer’s question was:  “Your parent company, Berkshire Hathaway owns a real estate brokerage, it owns an insulation company, it owns a Benjamin Moore… and it owns [Clayton Homes, which has bought 9 site-built homebuilders].  Is this their master plan, to own every aspect of the U.S. housing market?”   Kevin Clayton gives an honest and revealing answer that explains why Berkshire believes that owning both manufactured and conventional builders will enable them to realize efficiencies by “blurring the lines” between the two.  Both the question and the answer are about vertical integration, not monopolistic practices.   You are still entitled to your opinion about whether Clayton wields monopoly power, but it isn’t addressed in this interview, and that is obvious to anyone who bothers to watch it with an unbiased eye.”

Gedo was clearly posing a thoughtful defense for Clayton Homes via his comments.  That’s fair, and MHProNews editorially respects that, and encourages others to do the same.

Tony praised Gedo for his effort.

Andy, kudos on giving it a good shot, sir! Again, it is a distinction without a difference. Kevin’s reply is quoted at length in the linked report:

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/antitrust-heats-up-with-supreme-court-ruling-monopolization-legal-experts-weigh-in-clayton-related-comment-connection/

We don’t duck the facts, we check ’em.

Kevin didn’t deny the trend toward monopoly. What he did was say it was a 100 year plan, and yes, it includes ‘blurring the lines.’”

Our publisher then pivoted back to Gedo’s original question, which said in part: “…her [CNBC’s Oleck] question wasn’t whether Clayton/Berkshire intends to monopolize the entire homebuilding industry…” With that part of Gedo’s question in mind, Kovach said he added this in his publicly posted reply.

Italics, bold and brown – as before – are added for publication here to make it ‘pop,’ but the text by Tony is as in the original post.

ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhoto

Look, you or anyone can ignore what The Nation, OpenMarkets, the Atlantic, Guru Focus, or the Seattle Times published. It isn’t as if it is just MHProNews, is it?

Which begs the question. Why aren’t others in the industry’s trade media raising this issue? Why are so many – perhaps out of fear, going along to get along, etc. – not saying publicly what they discuss privately? Even George Allen, before he was re-embraced by Arlington, raised the issue of “oligarchy” and the problem of consolidation. That’s a polite phrase for alleged monopolistic practices. Please look at the links shared, and respond to those. Then, get your friends in Arlington and Knoxville to reply directly. It’d be the hottest read in MH. Feedback welcome. Thx.”

The Seattle Times in a May 18, 2018 article touched on the issue of ongoing federal investigations of Clayton Homes.

But Tony went further, adding follow up questions for Gedo.

Andy, now let me ask you a few questions, please. I think your firm is an MHI member, right? How do you explain the fact that MHI doesn’t have the Ben Carson speech on their website?

Why doesn’t MHI respond to attacks by MHAction? Or the John Oliver video?

Frank Rolfe, an MHI member, pointed out some years back that MHI fails to either promote good third party news, or defend against third party attacks. We’ve followed the pattern since then. There is evidence for Frank’s concerns.

Tim Williams, while MHI Chairman, said there is a good case to make to defend against every attack. So, why hasn’t MHI done so? Who benefits from 7 months of dropping year-over-year shipments? Consolidators?”

 

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The same was true early this morning. Do you think they will update it during this weekend? Add the Carson speech next week? Ever? If not, why not?

 

The Value of Andy Gedo’s Comments

Now, there could be many possible reasons why Gedo didn’t respond further, as of 6:53 AM ET.  We encourage him or others interested in the discussion to do so.  Again, that LinkedIn post and related question thread is linked here.

It must be noted that Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, other Berkshire Hathaway brands, and numbers of individuals associated with the Arlington, VA based MHI monitor and/or engage there. Why didn’t they weigh into that discussion?

That’s just part of the value of the discussion that Gedo launched.

There could be several reasons why MHI has not yet posted the useful and encouraging Secretary Ben Carson New Orleans speech, or the positive National Association of Realtors (NAR) research by Scholastica Cororaton, or the comments MHI used to publicize – but stopped doing a few years ago – about Eric Belsky about manufactured housing as of 6:59 AM ET.

But that begs the question.  Why are they failing to do what Tim Williams, Frank Rolfe, and others have said is an obvious, useful or logical need?  The possibly reply to that is what Tony Kovach posted “Who benefits from 7 months of dropping year-over-year shipments? Consolidators?”  Kovach noted that even George Allen used to point to the same types of problems, until he was ‘re-embraced’ by MHI leaders, like Kevin Clayton or Joe Stegmayer.

 

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To see more disconnects between Allen and his flip-flops, then and now, click here. ‘Even a stopped clock is right twice daily.’ See the John Oliver Mobile Homes fact check here.

 

There will be a special report tomorrow morning that will be a ‘taking it to the next level’ report. Watch for it.

In the meantime, two prior quotes will be useful to end on here, after making the following observation.  Thousands of manufactured home industry – along with hundreds of other professionals interested in or researching the industry – logon daily, not for mere opinions. They can go elsewhere for more colorful if routine opinions, but rather, they come here for fact checks, analysis, and answers to the questions that no other trade publisher in the industry is addressing.

The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) broke away from MHI, precisely because they were not effective at their stated claims.

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is an independent producer’s association.  For obvious disclosures sake, they are also a sponsor at this site. That said, they don’t control our content – nor do our parent company’s other clients or sponsors. We control our content, based on what seems to be relevant to the industry’s needs, timely issues, topics, and related factory-built housing industry interests.

Given a 7-month downturn of HUD Code manufactured home shipments during an affordable housing crisis, the industry is perched for a new round of consolidation – that is a virtual given.  Especially so, if there is no turn around.  Why has Clayton or MHI ducked that vexing issue?  Why has Clayton’s parent company – Berkshire Hathaway – not used their own BH Media Group to publish articles on manufactured housing that counter the negative media accounts?

But those obvious disconnects beg the questions: why has Buffett/Berkshire apparently used ‘dark money’ channels to de facto help fund MHAction?  Or why fund the Center for Public Integrity, which did the first Clayton Homes/Seattle Times expose?  Why support Prosperity Now, which opposed MHI backed Preserving Access?

To understand the full scope of the arguably deceptive web of traps that have been laid for unwitting manufactured home independents and investors in certain publicly traded firms, click here for more details and analysis.

If mere ‘opinion’ was what readers got here, this platform wouldn’t be the industry’s runaway largest audience by far reading reports like this. For more details, click the below.

 

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

In a small industry, to have over 12,000 logons daily with well in April is an astonishing market penetration. In 12 months, over 16,818,375 pages have been viewed here on MHProNews. To grasp that number, picture a stack of over 525,574  32-page magazines piled high. That blows away anything in manufactured housing. To learn more, click the linked text-image box above.

Do draw this towards a close this Saturday, those who have the time and want to truly understand what is occurring in their industry, there is no other manufactured housing trade media analysis that has even dared scrutinize the facts like those linked here which Gedo, Clayton, or MHI have not responded to publicly. What are they skittish over?

Why are others in the industry trade media afraid to check those facts which quote Kevin Clayton, Warren Buffett, and Tim Williams, word for word?

Apparently so. No investor or professional can understand manufactured housing without understanding the ‘elephant in the room.’ That’s Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, and also Knoxville metro-based Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF).

Andy Gedo is to be commended for making professional yet pointed questions. We welcome those. They clarify that what is occurring is more than opinion. We welcome him continuing the discussion, if he so chooses.

The startling issue is why others manufactured housing trade publishing or bloggers have ignored what the Nation, The Atlantic, GuruFocus, Forbes, The Hustle, the Seattle Times, or the Jacksonville Florida Times Union have reported that point to similar concerns that MHProNews and/or MHARR, or NAMHCO have raised. It’s not like we are crazed rogues, rather, we cover topics that others have – only we’ve done so with more focus, details, and depth. We’ve invited the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies to weigh in. Silence. At least Andy Gedo tried.

Note that those linked mainstream media reports above sources span the left-right political/media divides? So, Andy Gedo and others – with all due respect – the facts are what they are.

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Dr. Ben Carson, HUD Secretary, official photo. See his full speech in New Orleans, linked here, along with videos, and more. Note: we claim zero influence with Sec Carson, but it is interesting to note that his comments dovetailed with several points found in MHProNews, and in Tony Kovach comments letters to HUD.

When HUD Secretary Ben Carson tells MHI members to their faces that it is time to end the secret of manufactured housing, that should be a wakeup call to the industry and its many investors,” said industry expert, publisher, and former MHI member L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. “MHI members have to ask why the Arlington based trade group have not touted to the whole world Secretary Carson’s entire speech?  Why hasn’t Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway, or the BH Media Group done so? Why not use their media contacts and self-proclaimed ‘clout’ to publicize this good news for most manufactured housing industry professionals and possible consumers? Kevin Clayton and Tim Williams – they are educated, and intelligent professionals.  Are we to believe that they are hiding the good news about manufactured homes? If so, why?  Who benefits from hiding the truths about manufactured homes? Perhaps as or more important, how many millions are being harmed?  How much does this cost manufactured housing independents every year?”

Such pertinent, ‘evergreen’ questions are not found anywhere else presently in MHVille’s trade media.  Why not?  Rather, there is an almost echo-chamber like effect, which sings various pages out of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington hymnal.  But if that song book is resulting in loss of shipments year-over-year, and more consolidations, why sing along?

Perhaps that is why our readers are voting with their browsers, tablets, smartphones, and time here on MHProNews and MHLivingNews because this is where they find news, analysis, fact-checks and commentary that holds together and makes troubling sense.

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The next step in untying the Gordian knots of manufactured housing will be unveiled tomorrow morning. Watch for it.

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Right is right even if no one is right. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is wrong. Objectivity, an issue that Andy Gedo correctly raised, is valuable. That takes time and discernment.

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

 

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3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

Antitrust Heats Up With Supreme Court Ruling, Monopolization Legal Experts Weigh In, Clayton-Related Comment Connection

 

Tariffs “…Will Effect Demand,” says Kevin Clayton, Answers CNBC’s Monopoly Question – Video – plus Manufactured Housing Market Updates

 

Inside Scoop on the Manufactured Housing Industry in Memes

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

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

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues, May Updates

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

May 11th, 2019 No comments

 

ClaytonHomesLogo21stMortgageLogoVanderbiltMortgageLogoInvestorProfessionalManufacturedHomeLessonsLearnedMHProNews

The past is prologue ideally to be learned from. When an error is made, it could be ignored, covered up, or deflected by some razzle-dazzle style head-fake. Or an error can be admitted, addressed, amends made as possible, and then one can advance with head held high.

 

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews pondered separating these three Berkshire Hathaway owned company snapshots.  But Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) are so interconnected, and the lessons learned for investors and MHVille pros are so interrelated, that it made more sense to do this as one overview article that acts as a hub to several other linked reports.

With that said, let’s note that the nature of a con is that someone is deceived by some form of ruse. The goal of the ruse or con is to separate ‘the Mark(s)’ – the targeted victim(s) – from something valuable.

The hypothetical case for a con job in manufactured housing only requires a few people to be in the know. Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, and Tim Williams would logically be among those purportedly in on such a con job that rigs the market by using political connections, nonprofits, financing, stirring up bad news, and other means.

The vast majority who work with or for those three people have no need to know. Hundreds or thousands in their employ might be terrific personally, and unaware of the ploy. One must be fair and separate wheat from chaff.

So, for surrogates of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis who scoff at “conspiracy theories,” they are either ignorant pawns, lack discernment, are liars, part of the head-fake, or cowardly sycophants – take your pick. By the way, linking some doesn’t mean or imply that there aren’t others.  There are some mouthpieces that arguably clean up their act better than others do.

 

The Elephant in The Room

The content and links herein set the stage for almost everything else that matters in manufactured housing today vs. 20 years ago.  To understand an industry, one must grapple with the realities of the elephant in the room.

After repeated and documented offers to leaders at Clayton, 21st, VMF, and MHI to clarify, correct any factual errors or offer an alternative explanation, they’ve remained silence.  That’s not proof that what is found herein or that is linked is correct.  But given that we have faithfully quoted Warren Buffett, Tim Williams, and Kevin Clayton at length and in their own words, that’s a good indicator that we are onto something significant.  The fact that we are the most read means something too.

 

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

Regular readers who already know that definitive report linked above on MHLivingNews backwards and forward, know that the evidence to support the allegations of manufactured home market-rigging with related antitrust violations are compelling.

Who says? Numerous everyday industry professionals, but also attorneys, including those into antitrust law.

Furthermore, as noted, we’ve given repeated opportunities to

  • the Claytons,
  • Tim Williams/21st,
  • MHI,
  • their attorneys,
  • and the MHI’s outside attorney assigned to ‘deal’ with us on MHI’s behalf

chances to respond in writing or live in public. No direct replies in the last year from them have denied or explained away any of our fact-checks or reports.  But there have been plenty apparent ‘over the target’ reactions from their surrogates like ones linked here and here, etc.

There are also lesser-known surrogates that have allegedly been used by the axis.  We see no value to mentioning them now.  There has also been legal saber rattling, and other ploys we won’t dive into today.  Clearly, they’ve not been successful in deterring our reports, fact-checks, and analysis.

Before making the investment case for manufactured housing, let’s make the Manufactured Housing Case as a prime solution for the well-known affordable housing crisis in brief.  Because in a housing industry that does well over a trillion dollars a year in business, the potential for manufactured housing could well be over $100 billion a year, not the paltry under $8 billion achieved in 2018.  Manufactured homes are the most proven form of affordable housing.

 

UltimateManufacturedHomeHousingInfographicNotMobileHomeTrailerHouseFactoryBuiltHomeIndustryDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews-600

 

As you ponder motivation for doing what Buffett and his brothers in MHVille are doing or why, ponder the business potential reflected below every few years. There are few if any industries that have more upside.  You can quickly see why someone who thinks long term could be willing to accept millions of lower profits now, in order to gain billions more later, right?

 

CashPileMillionBillion100billionTrillionDollarInfographicManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

U.S. housing sales are about a 1.67 trillion a year business in 2018.

 

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Making the Case for Manufactured Homes

This week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has made a fine summary case for manufactured housing.  It is linked below.

 

 

Oddly, as of 9:30 ET on this date, that speech by Sec. Carson – delivered to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in New Orleans – is not found on the MHI website. That’s significant and is part of a wider pattern, as will be reflected later.

 

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Over the years on our 2 industry-leading trade media sites, we’ve complied decades of federal, non-profit, university-level, and other third-party research.  Recently, we took some of the best or most significant of those items and published them at the link below.

 

 

Properly understood, that third party research plus Secretary Carson’s comments, collectively make a compelling fact-based case for manufactured homes.  The common concerns about manufactured homes are routinely and readily debunked.  That can be done by using non-MH industry sponsored research.

 

EvidenceDisprovedMisconceptionStereptypesContinuedInfluenceLocalGovernmentsRestrictionsQuoteLisaTylerPhDExamingAttitudesManufacturedHousingMHProNews

The quote is from a doctoral dissertation that used reams of university-level, peer reviewed research. Dr. Tyler was invited by this writer to participate in various panels. Her work merits attention.  Which begs the question, why didn’t MHI invite or promote her work?

 

Once more, those research documents are routinely not to be found on the MHI Website. Why not?

 

NARNationalAssociationofRealtorsScholasticaGayCororatonGAOReportMHIlogowebsiteManufacturedHousingInstituteLogo2019-05-11_0949MHProNews

MHProNews has been spotlighting this issue for months, of MHI not proving useful research on their website. The decline in shipments continues. Perhaps if they are embarrassed publicly long and often enough, they will finally do something common sense that gets to the heart of the industry’s challenges? Until then, as of the date/time shown, there are numerous, useful, third-party research reports that are not to be found on the MHI website.

 

Three of those more recent linked reports, pardon the plug, happen to name me and/or one of our publications in a footnote or acknowledgement. It’s not bragging when it is true. It is important to note as it acknowledges our expertise in this realm.  So too does the praise by many of the same professionals we’ve been compelled by evidence to now critique. It is evidence of several reasons why MHProNews/MHLivingNews and this writer should be taken seriously, because the opposition does.

Sometimes, you are better known by those who oppose you.

That segue aside, there’s over twenty years of research that makes the compelling case for manufactured housing.

Which begs the questions. Why doesn’t MHI have all this potentially useful research on their website? Or Clayton on theirs?  Again, perhaps they will at some point – out of pressure – finally do the obvious.  But as of the date of this report, such research was absent on the MHI website. Let’s consider a related issue to the point that Dr. Tyler’s quoted comment could address, if it was being used.

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOthenMHIChairmanGoodArgumentsRefuteEveryStatisticsRespondEveryStoryPBSDIckErnstDailyBusinessNewsmHPronews

Why has MHI for some time failed to mention Enhanced Preemption?  By contrast, why does the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) website have several mentions of the same topic?

 

EnhancedPreemptionMHIWebsiteSearch

Both sources with MHI, and MHI’s outside counsel, have stated that they monitor our website. They’ve been asked directly about this issue. No changes. Given the issues the industry faces on zoning and placement, why are they allowing one of the best arguments to go unused? This was rechecked at 2:58 PM ET, on 5.11.2019. Same result.

 

EnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform4-26-2019ManufacturedHomesMHProNews

 

 

The answers, the evidence suggests, is because the first – MHI – postures promoting manufactured homes. They do enough promotion to be able to say that they promote. The second trade group – MHARR – isn’t marketing focused, they are federal regulatory focused, but often have powerful facts useful for researchers and marketers alike.

However one wants to spin it, MHI and Clayton are either ineffective, and/or nowhere achieving their capabilities or capacity. How is it possible that a fairly modest organization like our LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHProNews and MHLivingNews – are doing more effective promotions than far bigger and better funded operations do? Why are we able to achieve local results that blows their results away? Why has Clayton purchased locations that we’ve performed coaching and business development services at?  These are a few interesting questions we will allow to hang out for now.

Keep in mind that the Berkshire Hathaway brands of Clayton Homes, 21st, and VMF dominate MHI through dues, via influence on their executive committee, their sway at the state association level, and also via their influence over several individual members.

Yesterday, we did a similar but shorter report on Nathan Smith of SSK Communities. Thousands of industry professionals have already flocked to that report. Smith and SSK have reportedly done business with Clayton and 21st for years.

 

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, Manufactured Housing Institute Leader, Profitably Correcting the Record

 

Rephrased, the Arlington, VA based MHI to a high degree does whatever their Omaha-Knoxville master’s and their ‘big boy’ colleagues want. An award-winning MHI success story has said as much. No questions need to be asked, no explanation of a plot has to be shared; if a directive is given by the powers that be, a directive is followed.

Simple. Easy.

Ergo, there is no need for a conspiracy, when raw power working quietly in the daylight will do.  It is entirely plausible that some at MHI or elsewhere in other nonprofits had no clue as to how they were being used.  They may well have had plausible deniability, that is, until they read about it here on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews. 

Frankly, given their deep pockets, it is stunning that they’ve not already sued us, even if they arguably have no valid case against us.  Either way, the as yet unchallenged evidence linked is published for readers like you to ponder and discern for yourself.

 

Third Party Investor Research

There are routine contacts of our operation from a variety of sources. Among the investor contacts was one that indicated they’d studied the kind of ‘strategies and tactics’ employed by Buffett and the Claytons – but they witnessed that in other industries first.  To that operation, what they’ve read here and on our sister site MHLivingNews is stating the obvious.  To them, it is part of the broader pattern of monopoly power being exercised in America.

But that knowledge of their tactics is not deterring them from advancing their own plans in factory-built housing. They believe they can outperform the Claytons. Hold that thought.

About two years ago, MHProNews floated the notion that Amazon could easily enter factory-built housing industry. They were already promoting the sales of container housing.  Last year, Amazon started that process of directly entering factory-home building via their Alexa Fund investment in Plant Prefab.  See the quotes in the infographic above.

SoftBank’s support for modular builder Katerra is noteworthy too. They could, in theory, rapidly rival Clayton in a few years.

Google is experimenting with modular at their own offices.  Other ex- or current-Silicon Valley giants are exploring the industry too.

We won’t go through a litany of other poised to get in, because some of those contacts have asked for anonymity as they prepare their own launches.  To show the flip side, there are investors like Robert Robotti, who for some time cheered manufactured homes.  He’s cooled since.  But my hunch is he didn’t grasp the undercurrents.  Robotti may not have read between the lines on MHI’s now exited president and CEO, in his parting message to the industry.

 

“Out-Performing the Market” Robert Robotti, Value Investing, and Manufactured Housing

But the examples shown reveal that there are those who ‘get it’ about factory-home building. From more modest investors who are thinking in terms of placing a few million into the mix – up to giant-sized firms or investment groups that could enter with a splash – there are several who ‘get it.’

Some in their own words have said that they want to set themselves apart by being ‘white hat’ firms in the manufactured, modular, or prefabricated industry, vs. the ‘black hats’ that posture being a ‘white hat.’

 

Manufactured Housing – White Hats, Black Hats, Investing, Consumers, MH Independents

 

What hat color does Buffett’s brands sport?

Let’s share some screen captures, thirds-party videos, and  links to our own research to allow our readers to answer that question for themselves. Because while vexing to the industry, it spells opportunities in disguise for those who grasp nettles.

 

LeadersGraspNettlesDavidOgilvyFatherModernMarketingQuoteMHProNews

 

Before diving in, here’s the bottom line for investors.  Clayton and Berkshire’s MH brands, per sources, posture nice, but can play rough.  You as an investor must be willing to fight that fight. Current industry pros, the same thing holds true.

 

Mobile Home Militia – “Clayton [Homes] Wants Your Cornbread Too” “Join the Revolution” – ‘You Gotta Have Swagger’

 

But here is the huge potential takeaway for savvy investors with chutzpah.  There are already good laws on the books that if enforced would ‘unchain’ manufactured housing.  For those that need an expert = who want to do a White Hat operation = and can budget for that role to guide that process successfully, click here.

 

 

To sum up, the potential to earn millions to billions in manufactured housing exists. One can make the argument that Clayton/MHI and other nonprofits have allowed and/or deliberately stirred up bad news to suppress and understanding of the industry. The opportunities are so big, they wanted to hide them in plain sight.  That logically helps explain why useful or good news is hidden from the public on the MHI or Clayton sites. To learn more, click the article linked above and below.

 

 

Having teed this up, let’s review the evidence for ‘black hat’ activities alleged by others against Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes, or their lenders. Because what that reveals is this. Those willing to invest, mix it up, and be the white hat in specific markets can demonstrably jump ahead rapidly.  Because there is a hunger for affordable housing.  The evidence supports HUD Code manufactured housing’s value.

A few power players may be keeping their foot on the industry’s brakes, in order to consolidate more of manufactured housing at a discount.  But have they overplayed their hand?

 

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

 

 

Are they now stuck, having their grand scheme revealed here?

 

 

Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

 

Investors must weigh the pros and cons of that evidence for themselves, but we are presenting a sampling of the evidence of purported black hat activity, which in the light of the video posted below, reveals the value of what white hat activity could achieve. Note, we’ve since parted ways with the videographer that produced this for us – my bad for not checking his credentials more closely.

That said, the value of this video is significant on several levels to investors, skeptics, the pubic – and us too.  Note how Jim Clayton finished this video?  Is this among the reasons why the ‘big boys’ have rattled sabers, but have not in fact acted legally?

 

 

Let’s sample some pro Clayton videos they’ve made or spotlighted themselves, and then contrast those with videos by others.

 

 

Clayton Homes Third Party Videos

To be fair, here is a video that Clayton produced. It’s a fine video.  It purports to address the image issue.  Published on Sep 1, 2017, it has had as of this morning 8,985 views this morning, per their YouTube page, which said the following.

Clayton Unveils Have It Made Campaign: Clayton, one of the largest home builders in America, is kicking off its biggest marketing campaign to date focused on how its building process can help provide affordable housing to hardworking families.”

 

 

Let’s contrast that Clayton video with a customer-produced video posted by Ted Davis and published on Apr 7, 2017. Also as of this morning, Davis’ video had 22,738 views.  Keep in mind Davis has done more than one such video, as have scores of other Clayton, 21st or VMF customers.

Here’s what Davis said on the YouTube page. For first time visitors, bear in mind that on MHProNews and MHLivingNews we often turn direct quotes bold and brown, to make them pop. Otherwise, the text is as in the original.

 

My Clayton Manufactured Home Features .. Fake Studs

We bought a Clayton Manufactured Home summer of 2015. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was what was available. It would appear that Warren Buffet owns Clayton, and they have bought up several lesser mobile home companies, removing a lot of competition.

If you listen to Clayton, they want you to think they have a quality product, and they say they will stand behind it. So far, they have fixed a few things for us.

However, if they actually had a quality product, the repairs would NOT have been necessary. They say their product is built to HUD standards. HUD must have way different standards for mobile homes vs. site built.

Check my videos of things we have had problems with.

  • Plumbing … bad faucets, leaking pipes, pipes that fell off at a touch. The master bath tub faucets weren’t even connected to any pipes.
  • Wiring … I have never seen hardware like this before. Strange light fixtures, plugs, and switches.
  • Doors … I have discovered that the interior doors seem to be made of cardboard, as well as the door frames. Also some don’t fit right.
  • Interior studs … they are fake, little bits and pieces glued together.
  • Sheetrock … less than a half inch
  • Assembly is with tons of staples and some glue. I haven’t found any framing nails yet.
  • The lids on the toilets were cheap plastic. One broke when I sat on it the first day in the house. I now have real, wood, lids.
  • The house was supposed to have compact fluorescent lights installed. Didn’t have any. Not a single one.
  • They DID get us really nice decks, front and back, including a wheelchair ramp on the front one.”

 

 

 

For newcomers to manufactured housing, please note that there are legitimate answers to the issues and concerns that Davis raised.  Why weren’t they addressed?  Does Clayton want the blowback, so that more decide not to buy a manufactured home at this time?

The most common sense reputation defenses are often not followed by Clayton.  Why not, given Buffett’s statements about defending reputation?  Our sources in Clayton tell us that cancellation of retail orders or agreements are becoming more commonplace, more so now than in days gone by.

 

WarrenBuffettQuoteCantBePerfrectCanAffordLoseMoneyNotShredReputationMeasureActWhatIsLegalHappyToHaveUnfriendlyButIntelligentReporterWriteFrontPageMHProNews

 

Prefabulous® is the latest Clayton Homes campaign. From their YouTube page,

Prefabulous® Clayton Homes. Published on Feb 12, 2019, “We’re building homes a different way. A smarter way. Homes that are beautiful, strong and, most of all, affordable. That’s Prefabulous®.” As of this morning, it has had 6,475 views.

Again, in fairness to Clayton, the video is cool. Quality. It is techy.  It aims at Millennials.

 

 

But the numbers of YouTube views tells the key point of the story.  Are we to believe that Clayton can’t do a better job than this paltry total?  Or is this in fact evidence that it is a fig leaf?  Window dressing? Are videos and campaigns that don’t move the needle much at MHI or Clayton ploys that look real enough to the underinformed? When in fact they routinely fail to hit the bulls eye of what keeps Americans from even considering a manufactured home, much less buying one?

Let’s let those questions soak in, as you consider the following.

By contrast, as was reported, documented, and has gone unchallenged by the powers-that-be at the links herein, Warren Buffett, via ‘dark money’ channels provided funding to Manufactured Housing Action or “MHAction.”  Buffett has de facto funded other nonprofits that have attacked the industry, and his own brands too.

MHAction and two other nonprofits teamed up to do a white paper, that was spotlighted by the Washington Post, along with others in mainstream media. A few weeks later, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver featured a report that spotlighted that same MHAction white paper.  Oliver’s viral video was errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes,” and you can see it either linked here with an analysis or below.

Published on Apr 7, 2019, it says, Mobile Homes: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) and has had 5,867,951 views.  Put differently, in less time, it has had almost 100 views to every view of Clayton’s Prefabulous®.  Ouch.

 

 

Ask yourself this question. Which video – Prefabulous® or Oliver’s Mobile Homes – is having more of an impact on the marketplace?

Isn’t the answer obvious?

Again, there are answers to each of the concerns raised by Oliver, which to demonstrate, are summed up in the link below.

 

https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20190420/letter-affordable-mobile-homes-are-desperately-needed

 

Why didn’t Clayton or MHI reply publicly to Oliver’s hit?

Is this only a recent pattern?  Or are there other examples of bad news being created by Berkshire brands in MHVille that date back years?  Let’s look.

This next video by Democracy Now, a progressive media operation.  It spotlights both FEMA woes tied to Clayton, and also the Haiti issues that Clayton and the Clinton Foundation became embroiled in.

 

 

In fairness, here is what Clayton homes published on YouTube as an apparent response to the criticism. “ClaytonHomes, Published on Aug 24, 2010.  Per their YouTube statement, “Just after the earthquake in Haiti, Clayton Homes contacted The Clinton Foundation to offer assistance. As the world’s largest manufactured home builder, Clayton Homes was happy to help, and has already built 20 new classrooms and hopes to be able to provide more in the future.”

 

 

Reality Check appears to be a right-of-center commentator, and they published this below about the Haitan incident. Reality Check: If Haiti Is a “S***hole” Country, Who Is Really to Blame?

 

 

 

The Democracy Now video had less views than Reality Check, but both blew away the views of Clayton’s posted video on Haiti.

But none of those videos were as impactful as the mainstream news reports that others carried at that time.  The Clayton/Haiti tale is one that points to broader issues of how certain reports linger briefly, and are forgotten.  But not by all.  While Clayton wasn’t specifically mentioned in this next video, housing provided is alluded to, and the Reality Check video above shows Kevin Clayton with Bill Clinton in Haiti.

 

 

 

Bear in mind that all of this is connected to Warren Buffett, who backed Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2016, and backed Barack Obama, who helped impose Dodd-Frank on banking, which also drove manufactured home lenders out of business. Once more, that’s not meant as a slam on Democrats.  There are examples of corruption in both major parties. Manufactured housing is a non-partisan or bipartisan issue.

 

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/democrats-republicans-agree-manufactured-homes-can-play-a-vital-role-in-easing-the-affordable-housing-shortage/

 

That noted, one can’t overlook the facts of how the game is being played, and how the system is arguably being manipulated in manufactured housing by Clayton, MHI, and others working with them.  It’s the truth hiding in plain

WarrenBuffettBillClintonHillaryClintonBarackObamaKevinClaytonNathanSmithPhotosDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews600

 

We’ll link up related reports, further below.  But this much ought to be clear.  While words like “alleged” need to be used to cover such reports, or attorneys could swarm us, there is significant evidence of the following.

 

  • Clayton Homes and manufactured housing in general are underperforming.
  • Other industry producers essentially make a similar claim, without pointing a finger at MHI or Clayton – that manufactured housing is performing well under historic trends and norms.
  • A new trade association formed last year, that broke away from MHI, specifically stating that they were doing so for a lack of performance by MHI.
  • MHARR exists and resisted merger efforts with MHI for years, because there is no confidence that MHI or their ‘big boy’ masters would properly represent the interests of their members.
  • Clayton Homes and their related lenders have sparked more apparent bad news than good news in mainstream media, and have done so for years – as even this brief survey reflects. While most industry trade media – part of an MHI ‘amen’ corner – avoid that painful reality, facts are what they are.
  • Some of these episodes of bad news can be traced back to donations made by Warren Buffett to various nonprofit organizations, see the report linked here.

 

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

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

 

Certainly, there is evidence of positive marketing efforts by Clayton and MHI.  But they are widely outperformed by negative mainstream news or consumer created content that rips the company. Even Clayton’s hometown news outlet carried this problematic report about the Knoxville-metro based firm and their lenders. These facts, reason, and evidence beg questions.

 

 

  • Are the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing incompetent?
  • Why is Buffett funding his own opposition? Is Warren Buffett a sadomasochist?  Who would do such a thing?

Frankly, we don’t think they are incompetent or trying to harm themselves per se.  Rather, they are arguably playing the long game.

How else can one explain the periodic, almost routine episodes of bad news sparked by Clayton, and often funded by groups that Warren Buffett has donated to?

SeattleTimesCenterforPublicIntegrityClaytonHomesManufacturedHomeMHProNews4292019

Carefully discerned, the pattern can logically suggest that Clayton is using bad news as another element of the fabled Buffett Moat strategy.  If so, that means that without warning, bad news can hit the industry, which while suppressing Clayton too, arguably harms other businesses with less financial staying power more.

 

The Four Purported Known Elements of the Buffett Moat Strategy

It could be summed up like this.

  • The power to tax is the power to destroy.
  • The power to regulate, is the power to destroy.
  • The power to choke off or limit access to lending or capital is the power to destroy.
  • The power to stoke bad news that harms individual business can over time involve the power to undermine a business’ value, and destroy marginal operations.

 

These bullets means that Clayton can acquire weakened, underperforming businesses at a discount. Recall what Ted Davis posted: “It would appear that Warren Buffet owns Clayton, and they have bought up several lesser mobile home companies, removing a lot of competition.” He’s a layperson, a consumer – and he sees parts of this pattern.

Then line that up with what award-winning, manufactured housing industry veteran Alan Amy said.

 

 

 

 

As to keeping industry shipments low, consider the odd statement by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison made that seemingly encourages slow growth and low production totals.

 

 

 

When this writer, who did that video interview with Jennison, heard that coming from the mouth of MHI’s CEO, I had to control my composure.  It was a shockingly questionable statement – at best – for the president of the industry’s largest trade association to make at a time when the industry was struggling to recover. Frankly, it did not dawn on me until years later what the actual meaning of that statement from Jennison was.

In hindsight, it is far more revealing than it was at the time. It explains why he gets bonuses that we’ve dubbed failure bonuses.

That’s why history has to be part of such fact-checks.  Buffett is right about this, the rear view mirror is often clearer than the windshield.

In the light of the above, consider the summary graphic about ‘the Moat’ below.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

 

 

Dark Grace…

The argument can be made that each of these examples of ‘black hat’ behavior can be an opportunity in disguise for those willing to behave in a robustly white hat fashion.

There is also an argument to be made that individually or in a local group, white hat firms could forge their own white hat trade group.

There is no need for perfect behavior in business when simple honesty will do. But there is a need for trade groups to have and live up to standards of ethical behavior.  If someone routinely harms the industry’s image, why should they be part of a white had trade group?

For those of us who have been in the manufactured housing business for years, and have dealt with the public directly for years, you know as well as I do that if you treat most people fairly and honestly, they are good customers.  There are a few who sadly try to twist anything to get something for nothing. But they are the exception, not the rule.  Good paperwork can deal with those kinds of clients.

For years, we’ve taught professionals not to oversell or overpromise.  Prepare customers for reality and they will be satisfied.  There is a method for training team members for doing so successfully, where the customers will be happy with what they are sold, and will send you their friends after buying.

Every road block in the industry can routinely be traced back to forces within manufactured housing that are keeping the industry at low ebb.  Who said? Prominent MHI member and controversial critic, Frank Rolfe here and here.

That’s opportunity in disguise.  For those willing to do what’s right, and who aren’t afraid to buck the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, the upsides are many.  As to risk, there is always some risk.  I can look someone in the eye and tell them about all of the efforts that we believe the evidence suggests how the axis threw a variety of slings and arrows at us, in an attempt to try to drive us out of business.

Yet, we are still standing.

After a dip for a time in readership after an assault from the axis, we’ve not only rebounded, we are about double where we stood a little over a year ago.  Professional readers and investors want the truth.  Our opposition wants to know what’s been published here. Across the spectrum, readers from all sized firms flock here daily by the thousands on the most engaged professional trade media site in all of manufactured housing.

Pros and investors want answers that make sense, not the BS that is being shoved at them by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis sycophants. Anyone can create an echo chamber, and illusion of cheer leading.  Doing real facts with evidence and ‘follow the money,’ takes time, thought, and preparation.

When there are 7 months of declining shipments during an affordable housing crisis, the nature of the threat and the realities of the industry are becoming more self-evident.

Our efforts – thanks to supporters, sponsors, and sources that are often within the axis – in turn gives hope and encouragement to others. Furthermore, it isn’t just us, because other firms have stood up to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and can say similarly.

Let’s note briefly a plug with a purpose.  Just as a talk radio station doesn’t expect a sponsor to endorse them, nor does a station endorse the sponsor, so too here there are no requirement that someone has to agree with what we publishSponsors and clients can still benefit from the industry’s biggest and most engaged audience.

CaseyMackTonySoheylaMHProNewsTeamFirstCallDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The plug and related business development points aside, and we could do white hats with our marketing/coaching too – leads me to this point. Frankly, I’m convinced that no one in the industry is coming anywhere close to their potential.  Why?

When 8.3 million housing units are needed, per the National Association of Realtor’s Lawrence Yun – and only factory building can logically close that gap – that means that it is possible for single firms on the production side to be doing hundreds of thousands of units a year.  Rollohome went from start up to 60,000 homes delivered in 2 years. If that could be done before, it can be done even better today. That in turn translates into big upsides for retailers or communities.

All business ultimately comes down to a local sale to a local person.  Just as all politics are local, so too all business is local.

A properly motivated company with the right people and resources can rapidly and profitably grow with proven, honest, ethical, and sustainable approaches. That’s the happy note that we will end this report about Clayton on.

What to do about Clayton’s purported black hat tricks and behavior?  Be the obvious local White Hat.  Do the homework. You’ll see that the opportunities are amazing, but one needs the guts and gumption to get the glory.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020 News: Big Brother, Antitrust – Anti-Monopoly – Manufactured Housing, and You

April 26th, 2019 Comments off

 

2020NewsBigBrotherAntiTrustAntiMonopolyManufacturedHousingYouMHProNews

Let’s string together what may seem to be disconnected points, that are in fact quite inter-related.

 

When the New York Times this morning opens with the words, “Joe Biden Announces 2020 Run for President, After Months of Hesitation” that is less than a ringing endorsement by their staff writers.

It is followed by this: “The former vice president has stayed on the sidelines while his record has been scrutinized. His entry is sure to reshape the Democratic primary contest.” Those parts of their morning news are certainly worthy of their flagship role in left-of-center media reporting.

A routine irony in reading the NYTimes is this. They often espouse a worldview where the elite can guide the nation into a better world.  For the NYT, government plays a key role in that vantagepoint.  So, headlines like this next one that is also from the NYTimes reveals that government intervention can often make a problem worse, not better.

NYT Editors’ Picks

San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse.” By Dana Goldstein, “A system devised to empower parents and integrate schools has not worked as intended, offering a cautionary tale to districts across the country.”

That subject, wittingly or not, is directly connected with access to affordable housing, and thus manufactured homes is in the background of so many of these issues.

Access to affordable housing is one of the larger issues that loom ahead.  So too are antitrust laws, and more.

Among the campaign issues in the various races for 2020 that will impact manufactured housing professionals and investors.  Among them are tax or regulatory policies, antitrust, land use or housing policies, law enforcement in general, finance or access to capital, and any rules or proposed laws that have a manufactured housing specific impact.

Ryan Young at the Competitive Enterprise Institute had this to say yesterday, “Both parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Neither President Trump nor most of the Democratic candidates are proposing improvements. Over at the Washington Examiner I take a closer look:

After a two-decade lull following the Microsoft case, big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue. Both political parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Regulators, politicians, and voters have reasonable concerns about concentrated corporate power. But few policies are easier for big companies to game than antitrust regulation. Reformers should favor having fewer regulations for special interests to capture, not more.”

Quoting that’s should not to be construed as MHProNews necessarily endorsing Young’s views.  Wheat and chaff, with all people and things.

 

AntitrustlawsInvestopediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNes

 

That disclaimer noted, it is to report that Young’s arguably correct about these aspects of his quoted statement above: “Both parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue,” that’s demonstrably true. Further, “big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue. Both political parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Regulators, politicians, and voters have reasonable concerns about concentrated corporate power.”

Other than MHProNews, there is no one else in manufactured housing trade media that has seriously dealt with the issue of monopolies, antitrust, and how those topics have and do impact the currently low state of the new manufactured housing industry production, sales and the ripple effect that has throughout the industry.

While others talk about monopolistic practices, say our competitors in trade media, they have largely avoid writing about the topic itself.  That revealing, isn’t it?

Now, hone in on this pull-quote from Young:

But few policies [antitrust law] are easier for big companies to game than antitrust regulation.”  That’s also arguably true, as our reports have tended to reveal.  For years, clever methods have been deployed that have as a goal expanding certain big-boy brands Moats. Those methods are ways to game the system.

As you discern who you plan to support in 2020, keep antitrust regulations and law enforcement in mind.

While the Trump Administration has not yet had a breakout case in antitrust, Young is correct in noting that “After a two-decade lull following the Microsoft case, big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue.”

As political realists here at MHProNews, one ought to recognize that the nearly two-year Mueller investigation was a drag on the White House politically. As a political ploy, and speaking from the independent perspective of a non-party aligned publication, the Mueller probe and others like it in Congress were arguably successful in hobbling the GOP during the first two years of the Trump Administration.

That’s now in the rearview mirror.  Useful economic growth policies are a testament to what was done despite a brazen attack on the 2016 election outcome.

So, it is unclear what President Donald J. Trump may or may not have done in the absence of that political assault exemplified by Mueller. That’s not to give the White House a pass, but it is a reality that in fairness ought to be considered.

 

Inside MH…

There is a message circulating yesterday and today from our publisher to specific industry leaders, trade publishers, and personalities. It seeks feedback from them.  Several in the message chain are tied to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, their attorneys, plus others.

Because there are already several federal and other investigations reportedly underway tied to the above, and the potential for more, it may not be a surprise if they continue to sit on their 5th Amendment right to remain silent.  Because anything they say could be used against them later in a court of law. MHProNews will update you on that outreach at an appropriate time.

But mainstream news evidence that such probes are ongoing is found in the video posted below.

 

Public viewing on that video are increasing since the Daily Business News on MHProNews began to post it.  Some things just take time, as Warren Buffett has said himself.

That’s this morning’s first look at “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Manipulating Manufactured Housing Pros – Caterwauling Mudslinger, Just Write a Check, Pay Cash, Use Plastic, and Shut You Up

April 25th, 2019 Comments off

 

GeorgeFAllenEducateMHCCommunityInvestorImageManufacturedHousingInstituteClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayMHProNews

Jealousy. Lunacy. Hypocrisy. Once was, award-winning, former community-investor George F. Allen bemoans MHARR, begs them and NAMHCO for unity with MHI, all while assailing this platform. Will someone in his circle please show him how to use the GPS app on his phone?

 

Or is Allen still navigating by using an old app-less flip phone? Does he not see that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), himself, we and others have all left the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) for good, stated, and ongoing reasons?

Let’s unpack wanna-be “EducateMHC” magician and trickster Allen’s Good Friday assaults and caterwauling complaints about several MH industry things, as he purportedly puffs to carry MHI’s water. Yes, that’s the same MHI Allen himself quit, that he said privately and publicly betrayed had him, and that he long complained about their purported oligarchic practices. In his trying to point a finger at others, has he successfully instead pointed three fingers back at himself and his buddies affiliated with the Arlington, VA oligarchic front group?

Let’s dig into the evidence and find out.  Because after 6 months of declining new manufactured home shipments during an affordable housing crisis, manufactured housing retailers, communities, producers, lenders, and all others merit serious answers, not another artful dodge.

 

What is it All About?

Professionals in our industry or any other are obviously in business to make money. For the majority who want to earn an honest living, that requires information, among other factors.

So as the ancient Romans put it, “scientia potentia est” or “knowledge is potential power.”

Knowledge is only potential power because accurate information must be properly acted upon in order for it to have practical value.

But what if the information being put forth isn’t accurate?  Doesn’t that make success more difficult to obtain?  Especially for the independent business person, who may be competing against a nearby industry giant?

That’s just one reasons why critical thinking skills are necessary.  Because Allen is right about this much, there are two entirely different narratives at play in manufactured housing industry trade circles.  That begs the question, which narrative is more accurate?

As a thoughtful strategist – the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it – the purpose of education is to build character and to learn to think critically. Keep in mind what King and his colleagues accomplished.  Flash back to 1950.  Who would have thought that black Americans could have so many social, economic, and political barriers for their progress removed by the efforts of King and others working with him?

Knowledge, critical thinking – reality-based understanding – these are important for any professional, especially for those in a seemingly uphill battle.

IfMHProNewsIswritingAboutItIWantToKnowAboutItQuoteIn a normal industry, some of the types of facts and insights needed to succeed would typically come from trade associations.

Sadly, in manufactured housing – as even their exiting president Chris Stinebert obliquely suggested – the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has purportedly been failing at their own mission.  Why else would Stinebert wait until his final column to list all the ways that MHI was – from his insiders vantagepoint – failing to get to the root issues? To learn more, see the linked final article by Stinebert, here or above.

So while some moan or rail that MHProNews dares to hold MHI or other ‘big boys’ to account, it must not be forgotten that others – including, but not limited to, MHI insiders – have blasted MHI before or contemporaneously with this publication.

Rephrased, there is ample evidence that Stinebert and others in and out of MHI have provided to demonstrate that the Arlington, VA based trade group was weaponized to do the bidding of their ‘big boy’ masters.  Let Allen or others in MHI try to defend against that claim as best they can.

 

White Hats, Black Hats

Those ‘big boys’ are often tied to Omaha based Berkshire Hathaway, or Knoxville metro based Clayton Homes and their lending affiliates.  To be accurate and objective, there are other companies in the mix too.  MHI can arguably be seen as a mix of black hats and black hats.  The question then is, which hat is a given firm or individual wearing?  And are white hat firms giving black hat conglomerates cover for black hat activities?

The contention that much of the industry’s ills are in many ways internal did not begin here at  MHProNews.  One might argue that we were a bit slow on the uptake.  But if so, it was to make sure that the evidence existed to back the various claims being made, often by MHI insiders.

More recently, thanks to numerous voices inside and out of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, MHProNews and our publicly-facing sister site can and have sincerely advanced the troubling case that the industry is underperforming due to the fallout from purported: antitrust violations, ongoing efforts at market manipulation and association failures.

One need look no further than the historic shipment data to recognize that the industry is underperforming.

Even publicly traded MHI member companies are making that argument that the industry is underperforming, as the Skyline Champion (SKY) graphic below reflects. The comments were added by MHProNews, but the green line reflects that the industry has a long-term average of some 224,000 new HUD Code home shipments annually.  It has achieved 372,000 plus new manufactured housing units produced in 1998.  In the mobile home era, over 55o,000 units were produced and sold for 2 years running.  What was done before can surely be done again.

 

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

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

 

Another example of how MHI and their big boy brands are stirring the industry’s problems is the John Oliver’s satirical viral hit “Mobile Homes” video, accessible via the linked text-image box below.

 

 

That’s not caterwauling. That’s better known as following the facts, evidence, money trail, and logic.  That’s what researchers and reporters are supposed to do, George.

 

 

CaterwaulingDefinedManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

These examples are the very essence of the critical thinking skills that Dr. King, Jr. and so many other thinker-doers through the ages have said is necessary for human progress.

 

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George F. (F?) Allen’s ‘Defense’ of MHI and Certain State Association Executives

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George Allen, photo credit, MHProNews.com.

George F. (F?) Allen is up-front in each blog post for some years about why he writes. “Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’”  Meaning, write him a check, take out your plastic, or cash and he’ll provided you with his sage views.

Of course.

Never mind that he’s now out of the land-lease business, so by his own prior definition, he no longer has “skin in the game.” Ooops.

Never mind that – per sources in his own circle – despite his new ‘EducateMHC’ moniker, his own daughter reportedly failed in the land-lease community business.  That reported failure almost took Allen himself under, per those same sources in Allen’s own orbit.  Ooops.

And never mind that Allen’s and his colleagues in SECO have an idea of education that has proven to be legally problematic, as the report and cross-linked information here outlines.  Ooops.

Keep in mind that Allen likes to entertain others, and is rather good at it. Among his delights are ‘magic tricks.’  The person who is adept at slight-of-hand actions has attempted a verbal slight-of-hand for some time, one could say.  In fact, why not point out that part of the ‘mystery shopping’ service that Allen provided for years was predicated on fooling people into thinking that he was an actual prospect.

So, what follows from Allen’s blog as his Good Friday topic is prudently considered through the lens of those assertions and related factoids. He’s been successful for years in writing and organizing events for a fee.  Done well, that’s a legitimate part of the American way.  Done badly or problematically, it is a good reason to apply “caveat emptor.”  Let the buyer beware.

 

Thanks, George 😉 Allen’s Over-the-Target Responses to Recent MHProNews Reports 

Naval and Air Force pilots have long had the expression that you don’t catch flak unless you are over the target.

Sources indicate to MHProNews that some of the same state executives that complained about leaks to this publication have at times shared information with Allen or others too. That’s obviously done when those same association executives doing the ‘leaks’ thought it useful to their interests.  Perhaps so, but it is mentioned here because Allen did in his missive quoted at length further below.

Part of the purpose of good media is to hold the powerful to account. Who says?  The Society of Professional Journalists and their code of ethics.

 

SPJSocietyProfessionalJournalistsCodeofConductMHProNews

 

It has been a while since Allen has taken public aim at this platform in an apparently failed attempt to get industry readers to boycott MHProNews.  That was allegedly done as ‘carrying water for’ association executives in the MHI orbit.  In response to the SPJ bullets 2 and 3, noted above, this fact-check and analysis are hereby offered.

Allen, himself a prior MHI critic, has apparently found a new way to profit from being a periodic voice to attempt to dissuade industry independents from following the reports and analysis on MHProNews. 

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Allen has not bothered to explain in depth to his readers what changed his views about MHI, on the concerns he previously noted publicly below.  Does his lack of consistency bother him?

 

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George Allen can’t have it both ways, but that doesn’t apparently keep him from trying. He has a modest following today, which once used to be a larger following. As a former client of his told MHProNews, with George “It’s AAA, All About Allen.” If someone is doing good, and Allen’s not somehow in the mix, it is not uncommon for Allen to attempt to undermine that source, per some of his own followers.

  

Facts, documents, and accurate quotes in context are #NettlesomeThings.

New readers should bear in mind the following points.

 

  • Allen and Spencer Roane have been offered the opportunity to publicly dispute the evidence presented here on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews regarding themselves and/or the concerns associated with MHI, that he himself previously voiced routinely. They’ve repeatedly declined to engage in a public discussion or debate.  That’s in keeping with their 5th Amendment right to remain silent, which we respect.  But that leaves others free to ponder, if they had the better case, why not make it in public?
  • MHI, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, and/or their attorneys have been made a similar offer to publicly dispute the evidence presented here or on MHLivingNews via a moderated, on camera, and in front of a live audience of industry professionals. They’ve repeatedly declined the opportunity to do so.  Once more, that’s their right.  Perhaps they’ve duck out knowing their are federal investigations underway, and that whatever they say could be used against them in a court of law?  See the video, below the next bullet.  NOTE: views of that video have apparently more than doubled since we began sharing that mainstream media report about investigations of Clayton and their related lenders, from their own hometown news station.
  • George F. Allen, various figures associated with MHI, Jim and Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams and others may be loathe to admit it today, but they have each praised this publication for being pro-industry and for the good work being done here. Now that same analysis done here that they previously praised has turned dark in their eyes.

 

 

As believers in free enterprise and the value of honest competition, Allen – right or wrong – is serving an obliquely useful function. This publication and MHLivingNews are apparently ‘over the target,’ so we are ‘catching flak.’ This isn’t the only recent attack by opposing voices.  But the other assaults are less visible, and this one by Allen is visible.

As an observable attack, Allen is thus useful to manufactured home industry investors, advocates, and professional readers to understand the ongoing dynamic within MHVille. The visceral reaction being quoted below by Allen – in his role as a periodic tool for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis – will speak for itself.

Let’s see what Allen said, and then unpack it in a very few words.  As the reader can see from the screen capture below, provided under fair use guidelines, attacking this publication was his headline topic.  That’s a backhanded compliment. The text that follows the image shown is from his blog on that date and is unedited in any fashion.

 

GeorgeAllenEducateMHCBlogAnalysisFactCheckAnalysisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Nobody Else Will Tell You This!

Enough of the Name Calling, Sensationalist Caterwauling, & Questionable Claims!

Since 2009, manufactured housing’s nadir (‘worst’) year ever, when only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped nationwide, we’ve collectively and simultaneously endured and experienced:

  • The loss of easy access to chattel capital for new home loans in communities
  • Two venerable trade magazines ceasing publication (i.e. Manufactured Home Merchandiser and The Journal)
  • Two new trade pubs birthed (i.e. MHInsider and Manufactured Housing Review)
  • A near continuous online diatribe (‘bitter & abusive denunciation’) of one – but not both, national advocates for manufactured housing (i.e. MHI but not MHARR), one or another state association executive (e.g. WI being latest target), and specific corporate executives (e.g. from Clayton Homes & 21st Mortgage) not aligned with a particular yellow journalist’s views of the manufactured housing industry.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Together, as an industry and realty asset class, we should be; no, we must be, ‘working together’ to eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2019. Also to offset negative press coming from social activist quarters regarding predatory site rent practices foisted on homeowners/site lessees! But such a coming together will continue to elude us as long as an industry outlier broadcasts speculative contrarian tripe, tearing down manufactured housing and land lease community business models at will!

SOLUTION? Make it a point, henceforth, to support your state manufactured housing association as an active member, as well as one or more of three national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR & now, NAMHCO). Also ensure you’re on the receiving end of MHInsider magazine, Manufactured Housing Review online ezine, the Allen Letter (if a land lease community owner/operator), and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter – if a top housing manufacturer or portfolio executive!

Frankly, that’s ALL YOU NEED TO READ & BELIEVE, to stay cogently, accurately, and timely informed about industry and asset class matters! Resist any temptation to succumb to reading anything by anyone engaged in name calling, sensationalist caterwauling, and questionable claims! JUST DO IT – resist the temptation to muck & muddle your thinking. You’ll be glad you did!

If you need contact information relative to trade entities and publications identified in the previous paragraphs, simply let me know via gfa7156@aol.com or (317) 346-7156. And to subscribe to the Allen Letter and or the Allen Confidential business newsletter, visit www.educatemhc.com

 

FiskFiskingDefinitionManufacturedHssuingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Fisking – Unpacking Allen’s Missive

In no particular order of importance.

  • Allen tells his readers who to read, and who not to read. That’s his first amendment protected right, up to the point that he may be part of an organized boycott effort, because a boycott can become legally questionable in antitrust and other types of legal controversies.
  • Allen fails to admit that he and his inner circle are reportedly regular readers here on MHProNews. Thank you, to all of our readers.  Pardon the hypocrisy of some who tell others not to do, what they themselves do.  The fact that he and his circle read here is implied by his attempted critique.
  • It is Allen who fits the caterwauling definition, because what he gave are emotional appeals and red herrings, not an actual effort to debunk even a single factual claim made here or on MHLivingNews. There is no effort made by Allen to point out any failure in logic, any inaccuracy, or any of the evidence we’ve presented that sparked his public moaning.

Here is a pull quote that bears a nod of interest.

Together, as an industry and realty asset class, we should be; no, we must be, ‘working together’ to eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2019.”   The reality is that the industry will not be ‘working together’ – because some are arguably working to purportedly eliminate their industry competition, by direct and indirect means.  Allen’s related quote is equally lacking in logic. He wants people to support “one or more of three national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR & now, NAMHCO).” Excuse me, sir? MHARR and NAMHCO exist because MHI – in their view – have failed the industry.  It is an either or proposition. 

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

Once the rules of engagement and methods used are better understood, then one can often predict what will follow. 

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Why Hasn’t Allen Explained to MH Community Readers How Clayton/21st Hurt Their Interests?

Note that neither Allen, nor anyone else in the orbit of industry publishing he has cited has attempted to debunk the documents, direct quotes and evidence linked from the text-image box below.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

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 George F. (F?) Allen told his readers how that cost them money? Why is Allen giving perps cover?

 

What Allen fails to tell his readers is how that attack on industry independents harmed independent owners of manufactured home communities.  Yet Allen claims to be their protector.  How so? Isn’t he giving other big time cons cover?

Allen cited in this and a prior posting about the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO).  Those associations are both breakaways from MHI. They exist because each trade group’s members believed that MHI wasn’t getting the job done properly.

Allen fails to mention that important fact. By contrast, MHProNews has not missed that obvious mark.

Calls for ‘unity’ by Allen or MHI sound good, warm and fuzzy — until they are carefully examined. Unity behind what? Unity with what goal?

If the big boys absorb the smaller firms at a discounted value due to market manipulation, that’s unity.  Is that the unity that Allen wants?  Why is Allen de facto working for the interests of the consolidators that he periodically takes pot-shots at? Isn’t it just another head-fake?

What Allen ignores in his missive – either through ignorance or perhaps from incentives offered by the ‘big boys’ – is that a key reason that the industry is underperforming is rooted in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies.  Allen makes no effort to debunk the evidence published here or on MHLivingNews for that claim.  Why would he?  The powers that be and their own attorneys won’t touch that topic in public, and perhaps with good reason. So, in goes GFAllen…

Allen ignores the fact that Clayton has been the source of embarrassment to the industry, starting not long after Warren Buffett bought them for Berkshire Hathaway.

 

 

Thus, it is unlikely that Clayton, 21st, or MHI will publicly respond to our published – documented, and evidence based – concerns.

Allen laments Frank Rolfe, predatory community operators, and the John Oliver video errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”  But what F (F?) Allen fails to mention is that MHI is connected to each operation in that Oliver video. Ooops.

Several Florida newspapers opted to run the same letter sent by our publisher.  The reportedly did so only after an editor checked the claims and sources, per the editor that did the fact checking. The letter was sent to only 1 publication, but at least 5 have run it.

 

 

Those claims lodged here, on our sister site MHLivingNews, and summarized in that 300 word letter published in the 5 links above all remain unchallenged.

MHARR’s new initiative, that Allen both praises and slams at the same time, exists precisely because MHARR states their belief that MHI has so dropped the ball on post-production issues that they have no other choice but to try to act where MHI is failing to do so.

 

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

 

It’s America.  People are free to write a huckster and incentivized mouthpiece a check if they want to do so. They are free to read Allen or attend his meetings.  Those that go say the networking is pleasant and useful, but some lament the ‘education’ part of it.

But what SECO and the Allen Roundtable arguably prove is that professionals in manufactured housing are so desperate for answers and professional opportunities, that they will listen even to someone with his track record of recent years. In years gone by, Allen helped found the National Community Council (NCC), which is part of MHI. But more recently, Allen himself has quit MHI and the NCC.  Allen himself won’t pay to go to their fundraisers, errr, ‘meetings.’

Allen has positioned himself to fill a vacuum.  As soon as someone else steps up and offers an alternative, don’t be surprised if his meetings and ‘education’ vanish like a fleeting morning fog in sunny Florida.

Once more, our publisher invites Allen – or the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis – to publicly dispute and disprove

  • in front of a live audience of industry professionals,
  • with moderator and
  • on camera any of the claims made here on pro-growth MHProNews or MHLivingNews.

You can’t solve a problem by ignoring the root causes.  That’s what Allen either doesn’t get or has arguably been incentivized to ignore and obscure.

Thus despite Allen’s caterwauling and attempted slight of hands, our published case against the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, their surrogates and allies stands.  If any of these concerns or allegations we’ve reported or that others have raised were easily disproven, why hasn’t anyone in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington orbit and/or their surrogates stepped up to the plate and made the public effort?

 

GeorgeFAllenPhotoEducateMHCMobileHomeLandLeaseCommunityAdvocateExpertLogoManufacturedHousingMHProNews

People can make mistakes, and people can be misled. But the mature person admits an error, and that is part of the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics. Make corrections promptly and prominently. Where has Allen ever admitted an error? He was either right to condemn MHI before, or right to defend them now. Allen was either right to blast Frank Rolfe for using the term ‘mobile home’ or he is wrong to do so himself now.  He can’t have it both ways. Can you spell inconsistency?  Hypocrisy?

 

Conclusions? 

George F. (F?) Allen (GFA) is arguably either:

·        confused,

·        clueless,

·        corrupt,

·        or some combination of those.

As noted, Allen and his buddy Spencer Roane have been given the opportunity several times to debate the issues he laments publicly with our publisher in a moderated session, on camera, in front of a live industry professional audience. Allen and Roane both keep ducking that offer. Shall we add the word cowardly to the bulleted Cs above?

BTW, that same offer to discuss and debate the issues has been repeatedly extended to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis. Allen has apparently been carrying water for them in recent months, and perhaps this is missive by GFA their reply.  But given the history of Allen previously decrying their rigged system, as was shown above, what was the MH Axis thinking?  Can’t they come up with a better surrogate? If not, doesn’t that speak volumes too? 

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. And ponder that GF Allen may just be another piranha, shark, or alligator in the Buffett moat.

 

That’s this morning’s first installment of manufactured housing Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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“When Rules Don’t Apply” Docudrama Video, How Workers, Others Get Ripped Off By Giants Breaking Laws – Successful Case Spotlighted

April 10th, 2019 Comments off

WhenRulesDontApplyDocumdramaVideoManufacturedHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It is the Department of Justice, says the makers of this video, that put the theft of wages workers as 4x higher than the loss to property crimes.

 

4 times more lost wages to companies – white collar – than to those who steal, rob, vandalize, etc.? That’s the claim of the makers of the new documentary video, “When Rules Don’t Apply.”

It explores a successful actual antitrust case that was lodged not so long ago against big tech companies.

Here is the teaser version of their video.

 

But to what degree does this influence industries like manufactured housing?

Sources inside those giant MH brands, and their competitors too, have been telling MHProNews that the alleged rigging of the marketplace by Berkshire brands, in collusion with some at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is resulting in wage and earnings suppression.

 

WageTheftVsPropertyTheftDeptOfJusticeWhenRulesDontApplyDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

This is an overlooked point of the harmful impact of monopoly and the manipulation of markets. It has been highlighted before by MHProNews, see related reports, further below.

 

They’ve also sounded the alarm that if Clayton succeeds in its slow-motion takeover of manufactured housing, that its currently high-earning general managers (GMs) will find their pay cut.  Insider say that happened once before but had to be walked back.

Antitrust laws exist because monopolies are harmful to all but a favored few.  That is why monopolies or ‘trusts’ are illegal.  The Daily Business News on MHProNews will continue to raise awareness on this critical issue for the sake of the industry’s independents, but also for those who work for firms of all sizes.

 

 

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

 

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

NOTICE: You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here. You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. Connect on LinkedIn here.

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

(Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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2) To pro-vide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

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HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Money, Minorities, Manufactured Homes – Foiling the American Dream of Affordable Housing

April 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

MoneyMinoritiesManufacturedHomesFoilingAmericanDreamAffordableHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the heart of what’s known as the American Dream is the ideal of home ownership and private property.  While millions may want affordable rentals, what study after study reflects is that the vast majority prefer to own rather than rent.

 

When millions are misinformed about a subject, it begs several questions. Among them – why is there misinformation? Cui bono? Who benefits from the misinformation?

Affordable housing is in crisis in every state in America. Go north of the border to Canada, a similar scenario exists there too.  

 

Land is plentiful in North America. The question of transportation to and from places of work or business is an issue, as congestion in cities like New York leads some there to ponder a tax each time a vehicle enters as one so-called ‘solution’ to their challenge.  Isn’t it interesting how some quickly turn to a tax – a penalty or cost – that discriminates disproportionately against the least economically advantaged? But let’s move on to the central issues noted in the headline.

 

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Home ownership is generally the better financial option over renting, so long as someone can afford the investment in making the purchase and plans to stay for several years. The renter pays for their housing, just as the person with a mortgage pays for a home. The question is does renter ever own what they are paying for or not?  Isn’t the renter paying the landlord to build equity, that if it were a mortgage to buy, would otherwise benefit the tenant?

 

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Wealth creation is aided by home ownership. HUD Secretary Ben Carson made that point repeatedly during his stops in the U.S. after he became the head of the sprawling federal agency.  Home owners, said Secretary Carson, have an average household net worth of some $200,000. By contrast, renting households only had a $5,000 average net worth, the famous brain surgeon said.

 

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The GAO determined in 2014 that manufactured homes are the most affordable kind of housing, often less costly to own than to rent. The National Association of Realtors “Making the Case for Manufactured Homes” came to a similar conclusion in 2018. See FAU professor Ken Johnson’s comment on the wisdom of someone buying a manufactured home vs. renting or another type of home ownership. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/researchers-shake-up-american-dream-rent-vs-buy-ken-johnson-florida-atlantic-university-exclusive-to-manufacturedhomelivingnews/

 

Then why has HUD, state, and local governments paid lip service to affordable housing for so many years? Because the most proven affordable permanent home in the U.S. (or Canada) is a manufactured home. Yet they are increasingly being marginalized or discriminated against. How does one explain that pattern?

 

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RevDonaldTyeJrBusinessmanManufacturedHousingAdvocateDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Tye explained that public housing – an entitlement – often yields addiction. Ownership vs. renting or living in “projects” leads to integrity, a view he likens to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

ItsAsWrongtoUseNWordToDescribeBlackAsUseTWordTodescribeManufacturedHomeRevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword

 Isn’t this part of the antidote to the t-word nomenclature issue? See the video interview with Donald Tye, Jr. at this link here.

 

Information Wars

A Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member who is not a dual member with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) told the Daily Business News on MHProNews that he is “ready for info wars.”

It was a keen insight. It was a kind of polar opposite to Skyline’s Terry Decio’s lament to MHProNews a few years ago, “I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house America.”

Those are statements from two different MHI-only member producers of manufactured homes. Both consciously or not are fingering the same issue. Information. Understanding. That de facto points to their opposites or possible causes, which are misinformation or misunderstanding.

 

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

In the Bible there is a story told of a man who finds a treasure in a field. He hides it again, goes and sells what he needs to in order to buy that field and own the treasure legally. That treasure hunter didn’t want the facts of his discovery to become known, or else he might lose his opportunity.  That story has many morals, insights, and takeaways. One is that knowledge was a potential advantage — but limiting that knowledge for a time was an advantage to that person who wanted the treasure.

Whoever better controls the understanding of manufactured housing can influence the value of manufactured homes and businesses in the factory-built housing industry. Misinformation benefits some, while harming others.  Hold that thought.

 

 

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

ClintonImpeachedWashingtonPostDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

While there are agendas and bias in media, and it has long been so, it would be an exaggeration to say that all news is fake news. MHProNews believes in a wheat and chaff approach with all people, sources, and things. Keep the good wheat, ignore the rest of the chaff.

Hillary Clinton, while First Lady to then President Bill Clinton, spoke of “a vast right-wing conspiracy” against her husband and herself. It was utter nonsense, of course, a mere head fake to distract from the reality that caused Bill Clinton to be impeached and lose his license to practice law. But it was also an absurd claim on its face, given that at that time much of the media was in primarily progressive or left-leaning hands.

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was a rising star and a favorite target of the left in those days, just as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post or New York Times are targets for several voices on the right today.

Each has a point, as right-or-wrong, they all have hidden or open agendas.

Far better to note or find the unvarnished truth than buy into someone’s spin. But as Shadows of Liberty reflected, or more recently Sharyl Attkisson has documented, various media have their own unique agenda(s). But that doesn’t require secret society meetings or a formal conspiracy to coordinate those voices.

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

The keen insight of Reagan Administration Secretary of the Interior, James Watt notes below is still apt. Google doesn’t have the exact quote, but his keen insight goes something like this.

I don’t believe that most of what some call conspiracy theories are actually conspiracies. What I do believe in are people
with common interests, acting in ways that benefit their common interests, and that common purpose may appear to be conspiratorial
.’  – James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior.

Let’s use a hypothetical example. If you hire a motivated kiss-ass, and you let the kiss-ass know that you want X instead of Y, watch that kiss-ass work hard to deliver X to the best of her or his ability.

So Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway fame doesn’t need a memo to go out to the Urban Institute or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in order for them to behave in a certain way. Kevin Clayton doesn’t have to send a memo to MHAction, asking them to protest group A, instead of group B. All that is needed is to hire or recruit people who behave in certain ways. Behavior becomes fairly predictable, once a person or group are understood.

Hypothetically, if Buffett wanted to use Berkshire’s deep pockets potential to buy all of manufactured housing up, he could. What stops him from doing that are antitrust laws, the legal barriers that keep someone or some organization from monopolizing a marketplace.

 

JamesGWattPhotoQuoteIdontBelieveinConspiracyTheoriesPeopleWithCommonInterestsActingInWaysAppearConspiratorialDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

So if you wanted to monopolize a market, and avoid federal or other legal scrutiny, how would you do it? Using the purported Buffett method, you buy a castle (a metaphor for a fine business in a sensible industry) with a good Moat, and then you deploy everything you can to widen and deepen that Moat slowly over time. You drive competitive players out, by what may appear to a causal observer to be market forces.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. It takes courage, intelligence, and sound planning, but the artificial moats that hinder manufactured housing could be breached by using a robust application of existing laws.

 

Part of how that could theoretically be accomplished is to weaponize media and public perception against that business’ interests. One might blur the distinction between a mobile home, a trailer house, and a HUD Code manufactured home. Make the term ‘trailer trash’ truly demeaning. Increase the regulatory barriers for that product/service. Force the little guy out of business entirely, causing an independent to sell out for less than their intrinsic value. If there’s no sale, watch their business go bankrupt.

Never mind, to the mercenary greed of those who might use this method, that tens of millions are harmed by such a process. Pay no heed to the social, taxpayer, or other cascading calamities this tragic ploy sparks.

 

 

In science, one might not always be able to directly prove X. But one might eliminate several possibilities as explanations for X. For the truly fortunate scientist, they can both demonstrate a smoking gun evidence for a hypothesis, and also use Occam’s razor to eliminate other possible explanations too.

Buffett’s Berkshire could afford to educate the public about manufactured homes quite readily in the course of perhaps a year or two. You wouldn’t use stupid advertorials to do that if you have access to billions, and could make hundreds of billions in gross revenue annually from a potential business.

 

You might instead:

   use your extensive media contacts, to consistently correct every bit of misinformation that exists. Berkshire brand 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams suggested something similar. And/or,

   use your own BH Media Group to correct the record day-by-day until people grasp the amazing reality of manufactured homes.

   You might have MHI publish openly – rather than hide or fail to publish on their website (one of several examples, is linked here) the most effective third-party information or arguments for manufactured housing.

   You might not allow Clayton Homes staffers to use the term ‘mobile home’ or even ‘trailer house’ in videos or social media posts that they do (examples on YouTube).

   You might ask your billionaire buddy who owns Netflix or Amazon to put out a new hit TV series that has the hero and heroine living in a manufactured home, and have friends that do too, the polar opposite of having something like the Trailer Park Boys. Make manufactured home living cool and smart. Stress how environmentally sound manufactured homes are, how much more appealing they are, and of course how much money you save.

 

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

   You might have a new resident manufactured home owner group form that works with industry to successfully address issues, instead of working against the interests of industry.

   You might allow the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), that you once held stock in, to enter the manufactured home market in a robust fashion, instead of in a toe in the water way.

   You might use your clout at HUD to get the 10/10 rule dropped on FHA Title I loans.

   You might use your clout at HUD to get them to enforce manufactured housing’s enhanced preemption, so that local zoning officials don’t keep minorities or others from buying a manufactured home, and benefiting from it.

 

The list could go on, but do you see the point?  Isn’t the list above the common-sense or obvious things you’d do if you actually wanted to promote manufactured home living into a mainstream form of housing?

That begs the question. Why instead has the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis failed to do such obvious things?  We believe these to be people of above average intelligence and motivation. Then how does one explain their repeated failures for some 15 years to do the obvious?

 

 

Explaining ‘Leadership’ Failures  

The industry’s so-called leaders have arguably failed on several levels to do whatever is obviously in the industry’s best interests if robust growth were the immediate goal.

Which leads one from direct evidence of purported restraint of trade and market manipulation and indirect evidence like the above to a vexing, but logical conclusion. The powers that be not only don’t mind minorities or others to be trapped in renting for years on end.  Rather, it benefits the billionaires and multiple billion dollar value operators in a twisted way to keep millions trapped in poverty, if the goal is to consolidate the affordable manufactured home industry slowly over time. It fits the Buffett quote below to the tee.  

 

WarrenBuffettAZQuoteCriticalFactorDetermineValuePayFairBargainPriceMHProNews

 

It also fits the Buffett quote below about Moats too.

 

GoodBusinessIsLikeAStrongCastleWithaDeepMoatAroundItSharksIntheMoatIwantItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

What are the contrary arguments to such evidence? That’s a fair question.  We’ve asked that too. 

So we invited Kevin Clayton, Tom Hodges, Tim Williams, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, and outgoing MHI president Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison to discuss or debate that contention in public and on video. They declined time and again for some two years now.

They most recently opportunity to attempt to explain to the industry’s professionals some alternative explanation was in Tunica on March 28th, 2019.

Instead, the powers that be since Tunica are suddenly putting out a flurry of MHI memos. They suddenly care about independent retailers enough to put on a so-called educational meeting that they charge them extra to attend. Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington Illusion of Motionas Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR dubbed it – has kicked into high gear.

It’s what another professional with deep MHI ties termed “razzle dazzle.”

 

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Hard Data vs Razzle Dazzle

But the latest new HUD Code manufactured home shipment and production numbers say it all. If they wanted to support independents, they could have done so for years.

 

Febuary2019NewHUDCodeManufacturedHousingShipmentData

 

Solutions? MHProNews don’t ask people to boycott Clayton or MHI for many reasons, including that it can be actionable or possibly even illegal. But we do ask people to ponder this, who are your true friends in the industry? Who is feeding you meaningful information vs. mindless blather? Who are your true enemies? Are you or your company feeding a hand that bites yours?  

Keep what an MHI member said in the opening of the article linked via the text-image box below.

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Members Defending MHI, Great Debate About Manufactured Home Industry Progress, Problems, and Profits

 

The industry’s giants can’t have it both ways. Logically, no one can. If you treat people and professionals like cattle, they get tired of not being heard and of getting herded. When you treat individuals like they are your chattel, their natural tendency is to rebel. 

There are good reasons why interest in creating a non-producers association is growing. More on that another time.

For now, we simply note what MHI award winner Marty Lavin said.

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

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

 

Or what Frank Rolfe, a current MHI member, said.

 

 

We note too what former MHI VP Danny Ghorbani stated.

 

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But the point in this article is simple. The value of manufactured homes is amazing. It is what Ron Thomas, Sr. called “a phenomenon.” But that phenomenon is misunderstood. During an affordable housing crisis, creating so much misinformation around the solution that is hiding in plain sight requires something bordering on a magic trick.

But when an echo chamber effect is established, then the steady drum beat of a false narrative can seemingly become believable. Look at the Trump Campaign-Russia collusion narrative. Tens of millions bought that lie. Millions still want to believe it, after it has been debunked by what the president called over a dozen “angry Democrats” – attorneys who indeed favored Democratic candidates, and also worked for Special Counsel Robert Muller. 

 

Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage

 

Nor is that a bias against either party, as manufactured housing and affordable housing are bipartisan issues.

 

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

It will take time and effort to deprogram the millions from each of those lies. It’s an info-war.

It will take information wars – using facts, reason, and truth over misinformation and fear tactics – to achieve the victory that could benefit tens of millions who are now renting. The rest are details and commentary, some of which are found via the linked reports below the bylines, business development offers, and notices.

 

NothingIsChangedUntilItisChallenged

 

If there is authentic concern for minorities or anyone who may be financially disadvantaged, manufactured homes are an option that must be better promoted and understood. Voices across the two major party divide have come to that conclusion. What’s next is the need for political and legal officials to act to break up such a monopolistic ploy.

 

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

That’s this Saturday’s 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:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

Al Kemp, Taking out the Trash Talk about Manufactured Homes

FEAR, a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis, and the Manufactured Home Dilemma

 

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

 

HUD Lashed for Alleged Manufactured Housing Contract Miscues, Brian Montgomery, White House Notified of National Association Concerns

Warren Kicked Hornet’s Nest – How Move May Connect With MH, Renters, Professionals

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

 

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

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

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gannett Media Exposés, MH Community Owner Moves Sparks Outrage – IEDs of Manufactured Housing

April 2nd, 2019 Comments off

 

GannettMediaExposeMHCommunityOwnerSparksOutrageIEDsManufacturedHousingHavenparkCapitalPartnersMHProNews

Given the nature of the internet, bad news in one part of the country travels nationally and globally. So, while this specific incident may or may not seem to be in your market(s), or that of some professional that you know, this Gannett Company media series of exposés could well cost you potential customers.

 

Even if you aren’t in the manufactured home (MH) communities’ sector (MHCs), given how interconnected manufactured housing is, this report will – properly understood – reveal real-world impacts on honorable businesses and investors.

This vexing series is obviously causing angst among hundreds of residents that these stories covered.

 

 

In the American Heartland…Where Politicians Are Criss-Crossing Their State

In a series of reports by Gannett owned Iowa City Press Citizen and the Des Moines Register reflects the outrage by residents who are being hit with rent increases reportedly over 50 percent that will impact them this summer.

Residents at Golf View Mobile Home Court in the Iowa City suburb have been notified by Utah-based Havenpark Capital that they will see their rent spike from $284 to $450 on June 1 — a 58 percent increase,” wrote Ian Richardson and Zachary Oren Smith on March 29, 2019.

Havenpark reportedly did more in another community they acquired. “When the new owners of Midwest Country Estates in Waukee taped notice of a 69 percent rent increase on the doors of residents last week, they were doing the same thing at another recently purchased mobile home park in North Liberty.”

George W told the Better Business Bureau (BBB) on 02/07/2019 that, “Havenpark Capital bought eight Value Homes LLC parks in Mid-Michigan. Our rent increase (including new fees) included a 40%+ hike. Every communication from them states, “we are going to do amazing things.” Nothing amazing has or will happen. Our property manager even encourages us to contact our State Representatives and expresses displeasure in the company’s greedy business practices. Meanwhile, a whole lot of people on fixed incomes are hurting to pay their bills. Some are having to sell their homes and move.”

So, when the Gannett-owned newspaper’s journalists reported the quotes cited herein, they underscore a pattern that complaints to the BBB had already established. The bullets below reflect three quotes from an article linked here.

  • Don Lund, who’s lived at Golf View for 21 years, told the Press-Citizen he’s worried about how his current income — $700 per month from disability and about $160 from newspaper writing — will be able to handle the increase.
  • Most people buy a trailer ’cause we can’t afford a house,” said Lund, who was born without hands or feet. “I spent $40,000 on this back in 1997, and it took 20 years to pay it off.”
  • In Waukee, 91-year-old resident Arletta Swain said she’s lived in the mobile home park for nearly 50 years, and this increase will “take me right down to my last dollar.”

Or ponder the impact on residents, prospective buyers – and thus independent businesses – that reading the following bullets pulled from this link here.

  • Alex Kornya, assistant litigation director with Iowa Legal Aid…,which offers free civil legal assistance to the elderly, low-income, veterans and other vulnerable groups, sees a “high proportion” of people coming to its office with mobile home-related issues.
  • Rent will be going up to protect our community,” the letter [from Havenpark Capital] says. “If the rent did not go up, the land where Midwest Country Estates sits today would have been more valuable if it were changed into apartments, or a large retail store, causing all of our residents to be evicted.”

 

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Havenpark Capital Partners Website

We presently own and operate 25 communities totaling approximately 5,000 home sites. We continue to source properties meeting our investment parameters and offer qualified investor access to a geographically diversified portfolio of properties through private fund offerings.” So says the Havenpark Capital Partners website.

They also stated that their investment criteria is as follows.

  1. 100+ Home Sites
  2. Located in a Metropolitan Area of 100,000+
  3. 3-5 “Star” Asset Quality

 

What the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Says About Havenpark

BBB File Opened: 5/31/2018
Years in Business: 3
Business Started: 1/5/2016
Business Started Locally: 1/5/2016
Business Incorporated: 1/5/2016 in UT
Type of Entity: Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The BBB currently rates this firm as a D+.

 

HavenparkCapitalPartners4-2-2019DesMoinesRegisterDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

Another Comment from the BBB, and Statements from MHC Seller Barbara Hames

Horrible company! They come in added $100 to our rent, then added water bills on a well, and sewer charges and even school tax. Anyone looking to move into anything these greedy money grubbers own…DON’T. They didn’t add a clubhouse, child play area nothing of any real benefit. This area has many senior citizens who live here who will probably have to give up their meds to live here.” – Shar K, 12/11/2018, per the BBB.

 

Among the sellers to Havenpark Capital described by the Gannett owned newspapers was Barbara Hames, of Hames Homes.  Here is a video from their website.

 

 

Barbara Hames told the Press Citizen that they were not looking to sell two of their communities.  For half-a-year, Hames said they were getting 2 to 3 calls a week from potential buyers.

 

 

Hames, a prominent and popular figure in the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA), explained the decision to sell to Utah-based Havenpark Capital in these terms.

  • We were absolutely not looking to sell….It is a family business here.”
  • The DNR informed us that Sunrise (Village) would need to be upgraded in a year or two and West Branch would eventually need to be upgraded.” DNR is short for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
  • The reason the offer [from Havenpark] was tempting was both [manufactured home land-lease communities] in Iowa City and West Branch would cost a lot to bring into full compliance.”
  • Hames described the hike in site fees as “surprising…”
  • Even if they raise the rent, they also invest a lot of money in the parks they purchase,” Hames told the Press Citizen.
  • The prices in eastern Iowa have been artificially low for years,” Hames said, which likely made such hikes inevitable.
  • When supply is bigger than the demand, prices go down,” Hames said, who explained that the lack of other credit sources after the fall of Green Tree Servicing forced them to establish their own lending. “The supply of manufactured home sites has been high because of the lack of financing for people wishing to purchase.”

Knowingly or not, Hames has described a pattern that the Daily Business News on MHProNews has tracked for years. More recently, our analysis reflects that several of these issues arose in the aftermath of events described on MHLivingNews at this link here. As Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage and Clayton Homes built their respective strategic moats, thousands of retailers were tipped out of business.  That in turn had a cascade effect that impacted communities like Hames’ and thousands of others too.  After all, it was those retailers that used to sell homes into communities that kept them near capacity, and allowed property owners to maintain their locations.

The well-liked Joanne Stevens was reported as the broker in the deal with Havenpark.  Per her website, “NAI Iowa Realty Commercial is proud to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.”

So, on at least two levels, Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway brands are in the mix of what has transpired in these Iowa manufactured home communities.

 

The Intersection of Mainstream Journalism Realities and Manufactured Housing

Contemporary local media journalists have numerous pressures and limitations placed upon them.  As the number of writers and editors declines, due to dwindling ad revenues lost to competitors such as Google or Facebook, a journalist often lacks the time to dig deeper into an issue than may have been the case in years past.

To generate reader interest – which yields more clicks or sold newspapers – media sources tell MHProNews that they have to focus on controversy and attention-sparking headlines and stories.

So finer details, correct terminology, mitigating circumstances, or other nuances may not rank as high as it otherwise might have in years gone by. It’s not fake news. But it is news that by accident, media dynamics – or at times, an unstated agenda – often reflects poorly on manufactured home living.

 

PublishingHandPickedInformationCanBeWorsefortheImpressionItMakesOnManufacturedHomesandOurIndustryThanStatingEntirelyFalseInfo-BradLovinNCMHA

Sometimes media has an agenda, and Brad Lovin’s comment is quite apt. But in other occasions, journalists pressed for time may not be able to dig deeply enough to understand the often subtle or complex dynamics at play. But the impact of news articles is real in either case.

 

For example, these bullets from the same Gannett media source.

  • Resident Janet Hook said…”We’re sitting ducks is what we are…”There’s a lot of us out here who don’t know what we’re going to do.”
  • An NAI Iowa Realty Commercial survey of 13 mobile home parks in the Des Moines metro from October 2018 showed rents ranging from $244 to $596 per month, with an average monthly rent of $436.
  • Joanne Stevens, an NAI Iowa Realty agent who helped with the Midwest Country Estates sale, said owners that want to stay in the mobile home business long-term need market rate rents to keep parks operational and well-maintained.

Nowhere is the Berkshire Hathaway connection to these events explicitly mentioned. Nowhere in these reports will you find a more in-depth explanation for how Berkshire owned brands arguably helped fuel the issues that caused these communities to lose occupancy for years.

As regular and detail-focused MHProNews readers know, the industry’s business model was disrupted in large measure by the events documented here.  There rest are details and commentary.  It is the kind of nuance – or even in-your-face-facts that mainstream journalist who are not well versed in manufactured housing, for the reasons noted above, can easily miss.

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

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

 

It will be recalled that not long after Berkshire bought Clayton Homes, the community side of Clayton’s operations were spun off.  Per sources, “Warren” didn’t want to be seen ‘as raising the rents on grandma.

Yet thanks to the domino effect, it is apparently okay with ‘Warren’ when someone else raised granma’s and others site fees.  It is even better when a firm Buffett-led Berkshire owns gets a slice of the brokerage commissions involved. Then, in an ironic twist, Buffett can go on national television, and lament how some citizens become “roadkill” that should be cared for by a Big Brother government.

Buffett has also reportedly used some of his profits to help fund the protest groups – such as MHAction – as reported by the Golden States Manufactured-Home Owners League or GSMOL – see a report, linked here.

The net results?

Real- but artificially-sparked headwinds arise or are allowed to develop.  Lacking the time to dig beyond the surface, journalists in the contemporary media environment may not be able to properly spotlight the underlying causes or contributing factors to the issues that they report on.

So, hearing from residents or others that ‘mobile homes depreciate like a car goes unchallenged, even though there is evidence by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2018 research that manufactured homes can and do appreciate.  Cases like the ones these Gannett media stories reflect may indeed result in depreciation, if someone is forced to move quickly.  But that same loss of equity could occur with conventional housing too, given similar dynamics and a hasty sale.  Stating the facts, but absent all the nuances, can thus cause still more harm to potential sellers of a manufactured home, when they might rightly ask in the wake of such reports, ‘why would I want to be next in line for this kind of situation?’

 

The MH Industry’s Largest Post-Production Association…

Where is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on this or similar issues?  The Daily Business News on MHProNews asked the Arlington, VA based national association.  They are silent. Why? Could it be because some of their ‘big boy’ members benefit from such patterns?

Meanwhile the independents of the industry at large suffer. Who suffers most? The mom-and-pop ‘family’ operations, that may or may not realize what dynamics they have succumbed to, as this report from Iowa sadly reflects.

 

Metaphorical IEDs in Manufactured Housing

Buffett’s and his minions’ strategic moat tactics don’t require specific foreknowledge of precisely what will occur or to whom.  All they need to know is that when a domino is tipped over, other dominoes in the chain will follow.  See the illustration at the top of this article.

What the Atlantic’s report earlier this decade pointed to impacted not only independently owned manufactured home retailers.  It also logically harmed manufactured home communities, producers, lenders – anyone involved in the manufactured home industry business-supply chain.  ICYMI, or need a refresher, you can click on the hot-linked text-image box below for more details.

 

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

 

What is occurring in Iowa is like a metaphorical improvised explosive device (IED) planted by a terrorist. Only these IEDs have an economic impact on people, whose personal or professional lives are just as disrupted as soldier’s would be when hit by an unexpected land-mine.

The industry’s once multi-decades successful business model has been disrupted. It could be rebuilt. #OpenMarkets, antitrust law and other solutions must be put into play to right the imbalances (see related reports, further below the bylines and notices).

 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

Click here to see the referenced document, quotes from Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders that year, and a video with Kevin Clayton.

But until the necessary steps are taken to change the dynamics already in play, consolidators like Havenpark Capital will do what Buffett’s “Conquest Capitalism” arguably allowed it to accomplish.

And none of the Omaha-based Berkshire brands found in the Knoxville metro, or MHI would – or could? – respond to these concerns in the presence of their peers, who met in Tunica last week to discuss just such issues.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. That’s not just a clock, it’s effectively an improvised economic-explosive device that mimics IEDs.  How long before politicos in Iowa or elsewhere decide that they will step in to ‘fix’ the problems?

If so, will their political fixes only hasten the issues that caused Barbara Hames and independents like her to sell in the first place?  See the rent control report, linked here.

That’s the latest #NettlesomeThings from MH “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.

 

 

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Sun Tzu – Ultimate Manufactured Home Freedom Alliance

 

Independent MH Communities, Retailers – NAMHCO’s Susan Brenton Says What Fueled Break from Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

State Level Shipment Data Continues to Flash Warning Signals for New HUD Code Manufactured Housing Sales

 

MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

MHARR Urges Congress to Preserve DTS In GSE Reform Legislation DBN

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Monopolistic or “Antitrust” Action Heating Up in Washington, D.C., What It Could Foreshadow for MHVille

March 7th, 2019 Comments off

AntiMonopolisticAntiTrustActionHeatingUpWashingtonDCWhatCouldForeshadowforMHVilleDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

On the left or so-called progressive side of the political aisle, several Democratic candidates for the 2020 race have made strong statements about doing more antitrust action. One of those are linked further below. Then, on the conservative side of the aisle, some Republicans and others are condemning what they see as a trend toward bias by Big Tech that violates their free speech rights.

 

Furthermore, President Donald J. Trump has purportedly had drafted an executive order (EO) on antitrust action. See that prior report, from the linked test image box below the byline and notices.

Against that backdrop, there is talk of how this talk of antitrust could play out in MHVille. That talk about the issue is more behind the scenes of late, but it exists. Some firms, per sources, are shoring up antitrust and other legal experts.

With that, there is a growing move in Washington, D.C. to take a more serious look at antitrust, most of the news revolves around big tech. But it should not be though that it would end there.

There’s discussion, for example, of how Cavco and their SEC woes may or may not include possible antitrust issues.  If so, that could prove difficult for Clayton Homes and their related Berkshire Hathaway manufactured home lenders.

These two videos and the pull quotes from Bloomberg Law, therefore, should be construed not only on the obvious level of big tech. Big Tech also obviously impacts manufactured housing, via marketing and in other ways.

While there is debate back and forth, one could argue that there is growing energy behind antitrust action in Washington and beyond.

So, these videos and the Bloomberg Law commentary should be construed through the lens of how this may play out for members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

 

 

Antitrust Enforcement in Spotlight at Senate Hearing

  • Posted on Bloomberg Law, at this link here, March 5, 2019, 5:46 AM Updated March 5, 2019, 5:20 PM
  • Senate antitrust hearing comes amid heightened pressure on Alphabet’s Google, Facebook
  • Robert Reich, Joshua Wright testify
  • The Senate’s top Republican [Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)], on antitrust issues March 5 cautioned against using competition law to address growing concerns about big-tech companies.

By contrast, Bloomberg’s recent video discussion, posted below, said the following

Feb.27 — U.S. antitrust enforcers are zeroing in on technology giants following years of criticism that they haven’t done enough to rein in dominant internet companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. The Federal Trade Commission said it’s creating a task force led by senior competition officials and 17 staff lawyers to investigate potentially anticompetitive conduct by technology companies. Matt Stoller, Open Markets Institute fellow, and Bloomberg’s David McLaughlin discuss on “Bloomberg Technology.”

 

 

Note that the Open Market’s folks have taken specific aim at Clayton.  Some tweets are shown below.

AustinFrerickOpenMarketsAntiTrustAntiMonopolyClaytonHomesWarrenBuffettPredatoryLenderMinoritiesMoreDailyBusinessNewsManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

HowClaytonHomesMakesMoneyAustinFrerickTwitterOpenMarketsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

See the related reports below for more that is more manufactured housing specific, and ties together mentions of the above.

 

Independent Businesses, Affordable Manufactured Housing, Open Markets, & Robust MH Sales Growth

That’s this evening’s “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

 

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Lina Khan, AntiTrust Legal Queen, Set to Join Democratic Staff, FAANG & BM, Beware – Plus MH Market Updates

 

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

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

Manufactured Housing Institute Members Defending MHI, Great Debate About Manufactured Home Industry Progress, Problems, and Profits

 

 

Who Will Act? Will Senator Elizabeth Warren, and/or the Trump Administration Act to Restore Open Markets, Thereby Supporting Affordable Manufactured Homes?

 

Draft EO for Trump Administration AntiTrust Order Obtained by MHProNews

 

Brad Says POTUS Trump is Right: More than Facebook & Twitter, Google Threatens Democracy, Online Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Close Reading of Facts Bring Left & Right Together for MHVille, Nation?

February 3rd, 2019 Comments off

 

BrightIdeaLightBulbSenatorElizabethWarrenPotusDonaldTrumpCloseReadingFactsBringLEftRightTogetherforMHVilleNation

Among the featured reports below is a surprising look at possible points of agreement between Senator Elizabeth Warren – a 2020 Democratic Presidential hopeful – and President Donald J. Trump (GOP).

 

If so, it’s arguably a big plus for our industry, consumers, and nation.  See that on What’s New on MHLivingNews.

There are several reports connected to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, and a bold new effort alleged by numerous sources of Clayton trying to rig the marketplace.  Names are named, facts are cited.  Clayton has not yet denied it. It’s hot.

There is also developments on past and new issues regarding 21st, wholesale and other practices. See that report, further below.

There’s a new infographic packed report.  It spotlights at-a-glance housing data, including manufactured home insights.

Then there are exclusive insights on NPR, PBS, and the dark money behind them, which for whatever reasons periodically target manufactured housing.

On the Masthead is a look at why no one can truly understand the macro-picture of modern manufactured homes – including why we are still at historically low production levels – without understanding Warren Buffett’s concept of the strategic, economic moat.

There are new reports last week about Cavco, their controversy – and legal maneuvers – at play there.  There are surprisingly useful comments from George Soros, see that report too.

New reports from HUD Secretary Ben Carson and other HUD related issues are likewise linked below.

Fannie Mae and manufactured housing, political, economic, market news, and much more follow.

With no further adieu, here are the headlines from the week that was January 27, 2019 to February 3, 2019.

 

What’s New on MHLivingNews

mhlivingnews-improvedlivingforle-logo

Who Will Act? Will Senator Elizabeth Warren, and/or the Trump Administration Act to Restore Open Markets, Thereby Supporting Affordable Manufactured Homes?

 

What’s New on the Masthead

TheMastheadCommentaryLATonyKovachMHProNews

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

 

 

What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

11DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogos

Saturday 2.2.2019

·        New 2019 U.S. Housing Infographic with Manufactured Home Data Points

New 2019 U.S. Housing Infographic with Manufactured Home Data Points

Friday 2.1.2019

·        HUD Secretary Ben Carson Touts 2018 Accomplishments, Highlights

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Touts 2018 Accomplishments, Highlights

·        “Throwback,” BLS Reports New Records, Plus Manufactured Housing Market Update$

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

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

·        Latest New Residential Home Sales Data from HUD and U.S. Census Bureau

 

 

Thursday 1.31.2019

·        President Trump Considering Herman Cain for Fed, Manufactured Housing Stock Update$

·        CFPB and 21st, Second Shoe Drops? Flooring w/21st Mortgage Corp? Insider Tips

CFPB and 21st, Second Shoe Drops? Flooring w/21st Mortgage Corp? Insider Tips

·        Independent Clayton Retailers – Insiders, High Cost of Going Along to Get Along?

Independent Clayton Retailers – Insiders, High Cost of Going Along to Get Along?

·        Market Manipulation, What Does the Law Say?

Market Manipulation, What Does the Law Say?

 

Wednesday 1.30.2019

·        US Economy “in a Good Place” Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Stocks Soar, Manufactured Housing Stock Updates

·        Remember-Anything You, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, or Anyone Says Publicly at Louisville Show May Be Recorded by Audio, Video – Legal Details

·        NPR Targets Manufactured Home Communities, Including Sun, RV Horizons, Frank Rolfe, Buffett-Berkshire Hathaway Related Details

NPR Targets Manufactured Home Communities, Including Sun, RV Horizons, Frank Rolfe, Buffett-Berkshire Hathaway Related Details

·        Biggest Employers Video, Map By State, Where Clayton Homes Parent Berkshire Hathaway Ranks

 

Tuesday 1.29.2019

 

·        PBS & NPR Reporting on Manufactured Housing News, Pulling Back the Veil

PBS & NPR Reporting on Manufactured Housing News, Pulling Back the Veil

·        Howard Schultz, Potential Independent Presidential Candidate, Former Starbucks CEO, Blasts AOC, Senators Warren & Harris Plans, Plus MH Market Updates

·        Chinese PreFab Housing In U.S., Reasons George Soros’ Davos Remarks on China’s Threat Important to MHVille

Chinese PreFab Housing In U.S., Reasons George Soros’ Davos Remarks on China’s Threat Important to MHVille

·        Cavco Industries New Board Member, Susan L. Blount – Corporate, Manufactured Home Industry Insights on Pick, Timing

 

Monday 1.28.2019

 

·        White Paper on Digital Media, Details, Trends, Marketing Insights for Manufactured Housing

White Paper on Digital Media, Details, Trends, Marketing Insights for Manufactured Housing

·        Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz hires ex-Obama aide for Communications, Does Independent Run Hurt Dems or POTUS Trump More? Plus MH Market Updates

·        Cavco Industries (CVCO) Class Action Suit

Cavco Industries (CVCO) Class Action Suit

·        Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

 

Sunday 1.27.2019

·        Bonuses, Bonuses! Manufactured Housing Struggles During Affordable Housing Crisis, While Top MHI Staffers Get Bonuses

Bonuses, Bonuses! Manufactured Housing Struggles During Affordable Housing Crisis, While Top MHI Staffers Get Bonuses

Let the facts inspire you to yearn for more. That’s MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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New Association Weighs In, Giving Credit Where It’s Due, Opportunitie$, But Winds of Change Challenge Manufactured Housing’s Future

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

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

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

February 1st, 2019 Comments off

ClaytonHomesRapeMobileHomeMilitiaSoundAlarmAgainstClaytonHomesRape

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews were sent messages about allegations regarding Clayton Homes targeting Regional Enterprises, based in Brandon, MS.

 

One tip stated as follows:

Clayton manufacturing just effectively cut off their largest independent dealer relationship in the country because he invested in a factory that took some of their people. Truly anti competitive behavior.”

 

MobileHomeMilitiaGroupPhotoDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

MobileHomeMilitiaLogoFBDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsAnother is a post on Facebook by the so-called “Mobile Home Militia” – and was forward to MHProNews.

“…Clayton met with Heath Jenkins of Regional enterprises and informed him they would no longer be paying him rebate (essentially cutting them off without having to repurchase) Regional purchased $40m from Clayton in 2018, making Heath their largest retailer. Why would Clayton do something like this? Because he opened a plant and hired some of their people. If they would purposely go out and rape their largest dealer, what chance do the rest of us have? Clayton has convinced hundreds of independents they are your business partner, but make no mistake, they are your largest competitor.”

The post opened with the words: “It’s not just a T-shirt to us,” an apparent reference to the meme, posted below.

That same post ended with the words, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

MHProNews has reached out to Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage Corp officials for comment. We have been unable to reach Regional Enterprises’ Heath Jenkins by phone, but have left a voice message encouraging his response.

Connie at Regional Homes of Bonifay, FL was also asked to insure Jenkin’s follow up, which she assured MHProNews that she would pass on to him our message and request for comment on the allegations.

Another contact in management at Regional was also asked by MHProNews to get Jenkin’s to reply.

It should be noted that even if true, Regional Enterprises may have their own reasons for not wanting this sort of news to leak out.  That’s part of the vexing nature of the purported “Moat” of Clayton, 21st, Berkshire, et al. Fear over the economic impact, embarrassment with one’s own team, concerns sparked with other suppliers, actions by other competitors, and a range of other possible motivations enter into the mix that may cause a purported ‘victim’ company from going public.

 

WelcomeRegionalHomesNetworkManufacturedHomeRetailerDealersClaytonCMHNumber1IndependentDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

Part of a Pattern?

This is not the only time this sort of allegation against Clayton Homes, CMH – their manufacturing division – or their affiliated lenders, such as 21st Mortgage Corp have been made.

MHProNews will post a follow up report, which will include any comments provided by Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway, the Monopolistic Housing Institute (err, Manufactured Housing Institute or MHI), or other relevant related brands.

Multiple sources have made this allegation to MHProNews.  If true, is this part of a broader market pattern?  The answers are found in the linked related reports, further below.   It should be noted that there have been multiple news tips this week, some have already been reported and are included in related reports, further below.

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

 

Why are so few manufactured homes being sold?  Why have the numbers of independents been contracting for years? Don’t reports like this one, and those below, help answer those questions?

This exclusive is the latest MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

NOTICE: You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here. You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. Connect on LinkedIn here.

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two.

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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.

 

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