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White Collar Shakedown, Fear, Hobbs Act, and Manufactured Housing Independents Struggles

March 18th, 2019 Comments off

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Fear can be an element of extortion, according to the Hobbs Act, says the Justice Department website. For newcomers to the Daily Business News, on MHProNews, brown and bold text are direct quotes from the source cited.  This topic is being raised because more than one credible source – both recent and previously – has contacted MHProNews with their experiences in this context.

 

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed …. A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court. Both the criminal and civil,” per Wikipedia.

Shakedowns and ‘Protection Rackets’ are other terms used for various types of extortion, and they will be examined following the DoJ information.

 

Relevance to Manufactured Housing

The relevance to manufactured housing is simple and direct. There have been a number of manufactured housing independents who are afraid of doing things that are lawful and within their constitutionally protected rights. They are arguably victims of extortion.

Does that extortion come from drug dealers? No. MS 13? Not reports on that at this time either.   Rather, these are fears based upon well known actors in the Manufactured Housing Industry. Links will be provided after the DOJ and other information that follows, below.

Because there are several reports from different markets that have pointed to the same sources that they fear. Coincidence?

 

 

How the Hobbs Act May Be Applied to Manufactured Housing

What follows is from the Department of Justice (DoJ) website. It is copied verbatim, but

MHProNews is turning bold and blue some of the items from DoJ below that may be relevant and apply to our industry.

 

USDepartmentofJustice2402HobbsActGenerallyExtortionMHProNews

  1. HOBBS ACT — EXTORTION BY FORCE, VIOLENCE, OR FEAR

 

In order to prove a violation of Hobbs Act extortion by the wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, the following questions must be answered affirmatively:

  1. Did the defendant induce or attempt to induce the victim to give up property or property rights? Property” has been held to be “any valuable right considered as a source of wealth.” United States v. Tropiano, 418 F.2d 1069, 1075 (2d Cir. 1969) (the right to solicit garbage collection customers). Property” includes the right of commercial victims to conduct their businesses. See United States v. Zemek, 634 F.3d 1159, 1174 (9th Cir. 1980) (the right to make business decisions and to solicit business free from wrongful coercion) and cited cases). It also includes the statutory right of union members to democratically participate in union affairs. See United States v. Debs, 949 F.2d 199, 201 (6th Cir. 1991) (the right to support candidates for union office); United States v. Teamsters Local 560, 550 F. Supp. 511, 513-14 (D.N.J. 1982), aff’d, 780 F.2d 267 (3rd Cir. 1985) (rights guaranteed union members by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. §  411).
  2. Did the defendant use or attempt to use the victim’s reasonable fear of physical injury or economic harm in order to induce the victim’s consent to give up property? A defendant need not create the fear of injury or harm which he exploits to induce the victim to give up property. See United States v. Duhon, 565 F.2d 345, 349 and 351 (5th Cir. 1978) (offer by employer to pay union official for labor peace held to be “simply planning for inevitable demand for money” by the union official under the circumstances); United States v. Gigante, 39 F.3d 42, 49 (2d Cir. 1994), vacated on other grounds and superseded in part on denial of reh’g, 94 F.3d 53 (2d Cir. 1996) (causing some businesses to refuse operations with the victim sufficiently induced the victim’s consent to give up property, consisting of a right to contract freely with other businesses, as long as there were other businesses beyond defendants’ control with whom the victim could do business).
    Moreover, attempted extortion may include an attempt to instill fear in a federal agent conducting a covert investigation or a defendant “made of unusually stern stuff.” See United States v. Gambino, 566 F.2d 414, 419 (2d Cir. 1977) (argument that FBI agent pretending to be extortion victim could not be placed in fear is not a defense to attempted extortion of the agent); see also United States v. Ward, 914 F.2d 1340, 1347 (9th Cir. 1990) (an attempt to instill fear included a demand for money from a victim who knew that the defendant was only pretending to be a federal undercover agent when he threatened the victim with prosecution unless money was paid).
    However, the payment of money in response to a commercial bribe solicitation, that is, under circumstances where the defendant does not threaten the victim with economic harm, but only offers economic assistance in return for payment to which the defendant is not entitled, is not sufficient to prove extortion by fear of economic loss. United States v. Capo, 817 F.2d 947, 951-52 (2d Cir. 1987) (solicitation of money from job applicants by persons having no decision making authority in return for favorable influence with employment counselors was insufficient evidence of inducement by fear); but see United States v. Blanton, 793 F.2d 1553, 1558 (11th Cir. 1986) (inducement by fear was proven by the defendant’s solicitation of a labor consulting contract, to help employer stop outside union organizing, when the solicitation was accompanied by defendant’s threat to form another union and begin organizing employees if the consulting contract was not accepted).
  3. Did the defendant’s conduct actually or potentially obstruct, delay, or affect interstate or foreign commerce in any (realistic) way or degree? The Hobbs Act regulates extortion and robbery, which Congress has determined have a substantial effect on interstate and foreign commerce by reason of their repetition and aggregate effect on the economy. Therefore, the proscribed offenses fall within the category of crimes based on the Commerce Clause whose “de minimis character of individual instances arising under [the] statute is of no consequence.” United States v. Bolton, 68 F.3d 396, 399 (10th Cir. 1995) (upholding Hobbs Act convictions for robberies whose proceeds the defendant would have used to purchase products in interstate commerce), quoting, United States v. Lopez, — U.S. —, 115 S.Ct. 1624, 1630 (1995); material in brackets added; see also United States v. Atcheson, 94 F.3d 1237, 1243 (9th Cir. 1996) (robbery of out-of-state credit and ATM cards); United States v. Farmer, 73 F.3d 836, 843 (8th Cir. 1996) (robbery of commercial business); United States v. Stillo, 57 F.3d 553, 558 n.2 (7th Cir. 1995).
    Hobbs Act violations may be supported by proof of a direct effect on the channels or instrumentalities of interstate or foreign commerce, as for example, where the threatened conduct would result in the interruption of the interstate movement of goods or labor. See United States v. Taylor, 92 F.3d 1313, 1333 (2d Cir. 1996) (extortion of money, unwanted labor, and subcontracts on construction projects by threatened shutdowns and labor unrest); United States v. Hanigan, 681 F.2d 1127, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 1982) (robbery of three undocumented alien farm workers while they were traveling from Mexico to the United States in search of work); United States v. Capo, 791 F.2d 1054, 1067-68 (2d Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds, 817 F.2d 947 (2d Cir. 1987) (scheme to extort local job applicants had a potential effect on interstate applicants who might otherwise be hired).
    Indirect effects on such commerce are also sufficient, as for example, where the obtaining of property and resulting depletion of the victim’s assets decreases the victim’s ability to make future expenditures for items in interstate commerce. Taylor, supra (depletion of contractors’ assets). However, the Seventh Circuit has distinguished Hobbs Act cases involving depletion of a business’ assets from those involving the depletion of an individual employee’s assets which, the court has ruled, are not as likely to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of the Hobbs Act. United States v. Mattson, 671 F.2d 1020 (7th Cir. 1982); United States v. Boulahanis, 677 F.2d 586, 590 (7th Cir. 1982). Other circuits have agreed where the extortion or robbery of an individual has only an “attenuated” or “speculative” effect on some entity or group of individuals engaged in interstate commerce thereby diminishing the “realistic probability” that such commerce will be affected. See United States v. Collins, 40 F.3d 95, 100 (5th Cir. 1994) (conviction for robbery of a computer company employee reversed on grounds that theft of victim’s automobile with cellular phone had an insufficient effect on his employer’s business); United States v. Quigley, 53 F.3d 909 (8th Cir. 1995) (upholding the acquittal, following guilty verdict, of defendants who beat and robbed two individuals in route to buy beer at a liquor store).
  4. Was the defendant’s actual or threatened use of force, violence or fear wrongful? Generally, the extortionate obtaining of property by the wrongful use of actual or threatened force or violence in a commercial dispute requires proof of a defendant’s intent to induce the victim to give up property. No additional proof is required that the defendant was not entitled to such property or that he knew he had no claim to the property which he sought to obtain. See United States v. Agnes, 581 F.Supp. 462 (E.D. Pa. 1984), aff’d, 753 F.2d 293, 297-300 (3d Cir. 1985) (rejecting claim of right defense to defendant’s use of violence to withdraw property from a business partnership).
    However, the Supreme Court has recognized a claim-of-right defense to Hobbs Act extortion in labor-management disputes. In a 1973 decision, the Court reversed the conviction of union-member defendants who had used violence against an employer’s property, during an otherwise legitimate economic labor strike, in order “to achieve legitimate union objectives, such as higher wages in return for genuine services which the employer seeks.” United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396, 400 (1973). The Court reasoned that the legislative history of the Hobbs Act disclosed that Congress had been concerned with attempts by union officials to extort wages for unwanted and fictitious labor, to which employees were not entitled, as contrasted with the policing of legitimate labor strikes in general. Therefore, the Court concluded that the union members’ use of violence during the strike was not “wrongful” for purposes of Hobbs Act extortion. The Supreme Court also made a broadly worded statement that
    “wrongful” has meaning in the Act only if it limits the statute’s coverage to those instances where the obtaining of the property would itself be “wrongful” because the alleged extortionist has no lawful claim to that property.

Id.

In its labor-management context, the claim-of-right defense is not applicable where defendants do not have legitimate labor objectives. The labor claim-of-right defense has been held not to excuse the following kinds of coercive demands:

  • payoffs to union officials and employee representatives in violation of the federal labor laws (29 U.S.C. § 186); United States v. Quinn, 514 F.2d 1250, 1259 (5th Cir. 1975) (solicitation of church donation in return for removal of labor pickets); United States v. Gibson, 726 F.2d 869 (1st Cir. 1984) (request for payoff to remove pickets);
  • sham fees which labor unions are not entitled to collect under the labor laws; United States v. Wilford, 710 F.2d 439, 444 (8th Cir. 1983) (economic coercion of dues and initiation fees from truck drivers who were self-employed or who were told they would receive no member benefits);
  • employee payments which violate existing labor contracts; United States v. Russo, 708 F.2d 209, 215 (6th Cir. 1983) (under threat of job loss, employees’ payment of health and pension contributions which labor contract required employer to pay);
  • employer payments to labor unions which are not included in existing labor contracts; United States v. Traitz, 871 F.2d 368, 381-82 (3d Cir. 1989) (violence used to collect fines on employers for non-compliance with union rules which were not made part of the labor contract);
  • demands that a non-union employer cease business operations during a sham union organizing campaign; United States v. Edgar Jones, 766 F.2d 994, 1002-03 (6th Cir. 1985) (violent campaign by union officials and union-represented competitor to drive the non-union employer out of business under the pretext of persuading employees to join the union and enforce area wage standards);
  • employer payments for labor consulting to establish a bogus “sweetheart union” and thereby discourage legitimate organizing by other unions; United States v. Blanton, 793 F.2d 1553 (11th Cir. 1986).
  • construction contractors’ payments of money, wages for unwanted and superfluous employees, and subcontracts with employee representatives which were unrelated to the hiring of employees. United States v. Taylor, 92 F.3d 1313, 1319 and 1333 (2d Cir. 1996) (extortion of contractors by leaders of minority labor coalitions).

Several courts of appeals have limited the claim-of-right defense to the context of labor-management disputes by refusing to extend the defense to extortionate violence and economic fear in commercial disputes and public corruption cases. United States v. Debs, 949 F.2d 199, 201 (6th Cir. 1991) (violence against union members in retaliation for support of opposition candidate for union office); United States v. Castor, 937 F.2d 293, 299 (7th Cir. 1991) (violent threats to obtain consent to enter into business arrangement); United States v. Zappola, 677 F.2d 264, 269 (2d Cir. 1982) (beating of debtor to coerce repayment of purported debt); United States v. Porcaro, 648 F.2d 753, 760 (1st Cir. 1981) (franchisor’s violence to compel franchisee to vacate premises); United States v. French, 628 F.2d 1069, 1075 (8th Cir.1980) (public official’s kickbacks on bail bond settlements); United States v. Cerilli, 603 F.2d 415, 419 (3d Cir. 1979) (solicitation of political contributions); United States v. Warledo, 557 F.2d 721, 729-730 (10th Cir. 1977) (violence by Native Americans to compel railroad to pay reparations for tribal lands).However, other courts have held that the extortionate use of fear of economic harm in commercial disputes is subject to a claim-of-right defense on the grounds that, unlike violence, the use of economic fear is not inherently “wrongful.” See United States v. Kattar, 840 F.2d 118, 123-24 (1st Cir. 1988) (threat to expose church to litigation unless purported “award” for information was paid to defendant was not a legitimate use of economic fear where the information was false and defamatory); United States v. Clemente, 640 F.2d 1069, 1077-78 (2d Cir. 1981) (extortion of bogus consulting payments from subcontractor coerced by the threat of labor unrest against the subcontractor’s principal).Where the claim-of-right defense applies, courts have generally held that the Government must prove that the defendant knew that he was not entitled to receive the property which he sought to obtain. United States v. Arambasich, 597 F.2d 609, 611 (7th Cir. 1979) (demand by labor union official on employer that the official and others be hired for no-show employment using threat of labor unrest); United States v. Sturm, 870 F.2d 769, 774 (1st Cir. 1989) (in prosecution involving debtor’s withholding of property from a creditor-bank, “the term ‘wrongful’ requires the government to prove, in cases involving extortion based on economic fear, that the defendant knew that he was not legally entitled to the property that he received.”); United States v. Dischner, 974 F.2d 1502, 1515 (9th Cir. 1992) (failure to instruct that defendant must know he had no entitlement to property he sought by use of economic fear did not rise to the level of plain error; but “knowledge of the extortion encompasses knowledge of the lack of lawful claim to the property.”). [cited in JM 9-131.010]

##

 

DoJ notes that this type of behavior – extortion by fear – can have significant economic impact.  Of course. It is arguably in the tens of billions of dollars for manufactured housing, and far more for the nation large. See the report liked below, noting that the term ‘fear’ in that case is a reference to marketplace fear, rather than a reference to fear by extortion.

 

ValuePenguinFearManufacturedHomesSolutoinAffordableHousingCrisisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The use of the term FEAR here is NOT in the sense of the Hobbs Act, RICO, etc. Rather, this linked article is shared to help establish some of the economic impact on the U.S. economy that the purported efforts of extortion by fear being exercised in the manufactured housing industry. https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis

 

 

What is extortion?

Extortion refers to obtaining property or compelling action by the use of threats or by the misuse of public office. … Extortion by threats or fear (coercive extortion) can refer to any illegal use of a threat or fear to obtain property or advantages from another, short of violence, which would constitute robbery,” says Encyclopedia’s legal definition.

Extortion is a serious crime because it causes victims to believe they are perpetrators, and by exploiting that fear, the extortionist can repeatedly and openly engage in acts of extortion with little threat of being prosecuted,” said Jeffrey E Grell, JD, on RicoAct.com.

The threats and fear that have been publicly described by the Mobile Home Militia (#MHM), others that have been privately described and have not yet been are all potentially subject to the Hobbs Act, RICO, and other activities. RICO can include a misuse of the mails, and a misuse of the wires.  See purported examples of that linked here and here.

For the purported reasons why there is fear, beyond those noted, readers may find more about the related reports, below. The law exists to protect the interests of the honest from those who would warp or manipulate the system. Federal and other officials should be called to full use.  See that among the related reports, below the bylines, notices, email headline news offer, etc.

 

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MHProNews has repeatedly offered major players based in the Knoxville metro, Arlington, VA and their attorneys the ability to respond.  They’ve exercised their right to remain silent.

 

 

Stay tuned for more, as the law provides solutions.  The marketplace and civil process offers opportunities too. Sign up for our emailed headline news, below at the right. That is this afternoon’s “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

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

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

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

Restraint of Trade, Manufactured Housing Institute, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage, and Antitrust Law

 

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

How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”

 

Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage’s Manufactured Housing “Spies”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

January 10th, 2019 Comments off

 ExaminingDerekThompsonAtlanticReportMobileHomeMarketRetailMarketAsFastestDyingBusinessinAmerica

 

At the center of a perfect storm of boomer burnout, a brutal recession, and a rapidly changing industry, the mobile home retail market could be the worst industry in America. Here’s why,” wrote Derek Thompson as his subheading on a story for the Atlantic, a popular progressive news and views website. With a raging affordable housing crisis in the U.S., or in Canada for that matter, how is this contraction possible?  

 

At the time Thompson’s report was published, it was the headline that shocked many in the manufactured housing industry.  That headline sparked controversy, which wasn’t limited to the threat to manufactured home retail, but could have been misread as a challenge to the existence of other parts of the industry.

That headline? “America’s Fastest-Dying Business? It’s Mobile Homes1,” said Thompson. Across the left-right divide in manufactured housing professional circles, Thompson’s narrative sent shock waves and reactions, including commentary and reports here on MHProNews.

 

TheAtlanticLeftRightMediaDivideManufacturedHousingIndustrySharylAttkison

 

But in hindsight, Thompson – who obviously erred in terminology when he referred to federally regulated, HUD Code manufactured homes as ‘mobile homes‘ [SIC] – was citing serious data. Besides the error in terminology, was there any other oversights or misses in Thompson’s report?

To properly analyze any study, research, or statements, one ought to first admit that no single report can cover every detail or nuance. This report, like Thompson’s or any other is self-limiting. Facts, quotes, and statements are used by a writer who could have arranged them in a variety of ways. That years later, Thompson’s work in the Atlantic is worthy of review stands on its own merits.

The Daily Business News on MHProNews is hereby looking back at the Atlantic report, a section-by-section “Fisk” or fact-check of what was good, bad, or possibly missed. While this focused on retailers – what Thompson calls “dealers” – it should be more broadly understood by manufactured housing (MH) investors and professionals as impacting every part of the industry.  Why?  Because then and now, a large part of the industry’s production goes to market via retailers.  Having – or not having – a sufficient number of independent retailers has and still does place pressures on manufactured home producers, communities, suppliers, installers, transporters, financial service firms, and arguably all others throughout the industry. 

 

FiskFiskingDefinitionManufacturedHssuingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews 

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Design by MHProNews.

Following his subheading quoted above, Thompson wrote as follows. “If I asked you to name America’s least fortunate industry, your mind might go to records stores, obliterated by on-demand apps; or photofinishers, left in the cold as digital cameras turn Americans into our own photo editors; or fabric makers, where business is booming … in Shenzhen, China. 

But when it comes to unlucky industries, it’s manufactured home (aka mobile home) retailers who really hit the trifecta*. First they missed out on the housing boom. Then they felt the gut-punch of the recession. Now they might yet might miss out on the recovery. That makes them America’s fastest dying industry, according to a new report from IBISWorld.”

DyingUSIndustriesNotMobileHomesManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

These graphics were part of Derek Thompson’s original report, and are placed in the same location with respect to the Atlantic’s narrative. That original report is linked here.

 

If Thompson was referring to the conventional housing boom of the early 2000s, he was quite correct in saying that manufactured housing missed it. 

But in the early 2000s, Eric Belsky of Harvard University’s respected Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) had been researching manufactured home quality, and the industry in general. Based upon his research, Belsky projected that despite of the slide in manufactured home sales due to the arguably self-inflicted wound of a repossession glut in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, Belsky’s study and analysis led him to believe that given the need for affordable housing plus the improved quality of manufactured homes, would lead the industry into housing dominance by 2010.

So, Thompson mentioned none of those points by Harvard’s Belsky.

That said, the projection by Belsky proved to be wrong, for reasons noted and explored as part at the report linked below.

 

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

 

Back to Thompson’s narrative in the Atlantic.

With a 70+% decline in revenue over the last ten years, the mobile home industry faced a descent on par with record stores and clothing mills. But it’s the pace of its future decline that sets them apart. In the next six years, manufactured home dealers are projected to see revenue evaporate 50% faster than even music stores and the wired phone industry. Here are full IBISWorld rankings, listed by industry revenue.”

 

NPRAtlanticDyingIndustryManufacturedHomeRetailNotMobileHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notes to new readers on MHProNews. 1) MHProNews uses brown and bold fonts to reflect direct quotes. 2) The graphic above was part of Thompson’s Atlantic report at this same point in his narrative, but the arrows and commentary are by MHProNews.

 

***

Noting again the error in industry terminology issue, which should have said manufactured home, Thompson wrote, “The typical mobile home buyer is a retiring, low-income couple in the southeast, said Mary Gotaas, an analyst at IBISWorld. The southeast region accounts for 40% of the industry’s dealership, and mobile homes are usually bought by consumers over the age of 50. “They’re retiring, they don’t care about equity or link-to-land ownership, and they want something cheap because they’re saving for things like medical bills,” she said.”

Ironically, at about that same time, HUD was producing a PD&R that reflected university-level research on manufactured housing. Here’s how HUD describes a PD&R, “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) supports the Department’s efforts to help create cohesive, economically healthy communities. … It is intended to help you identify PD&R data sets that can be used as a basis for your research or analysis.”

 

RegulatoryBarrierstoManufacturedHousingPlacementinUrbanCommunitiesHUDPDR-postedManufacturedHomeLivingNews595x357 (1)

The HUD PD&R screen capture – with linked download available here – arguably reflects a lack of understanding about how enhanced preemption could solve the affordable housing crisis using mostly private capital. The research is useful, but adding in the missing ingredient of enhanced preemption would make it priceless. 

That roughly 8 year old research commissioned by HUD made the point that the data reviewed proved  that manufactured homes could and did appreciate in value, and that it did do so side-by-side with conventional housing in urban neighborhoods as infill. Some of the biggest ‘hits’ on the manufactured home industry’s products and value-proposition were being debunked by university level scholarship.

Returning to Thompson’s narrative in the Atlantic, “Thirty years ago, I had a list of 90 manufactured homes makers,” said Thomas Roberts, a real estate agent with Century 21 Realty in Fremont, California, who works with mobile home makers. “Today, I don’t think there are more than 25. Nobody’s opening mobile home parks.”

Both of those claims were exaggerated at best, and were demonstrably errant. But Thompson was quoting someone else’s claim. And while factually wrong, the trend lines were broadly relevant.

 

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

 

There were dozens of fewer factories, and the creation of new manufactured home (MH) communities had slowed to a trickle.  As noted above, all of that can be traced in part to a restriction of capital/financing. That impacted the occupancy rates of MH communities, and thus also the creation – or lack thereof – of new land-lease communities.

DataCompMHVillageNewManufacturedHomeCommunityOpeningsNotMobileHomeParksManufacturedHomeIndustryResearchDataReportsMHProNews

 

Thompson next said, “Five broad factors account for the mobile home industry’s long slide. First, the housing bubble’s loose credit encouraged low-income families to buy regular “site built” homes instead of mobile homes. Second, the recession hit low-income folks who comprise most of the mobile home market harder than average. Third, the housing bubble’s collapse killed the price of houses and condos, making them a better deal for low-income families (especially since manufactured homes depreciate in value, while a house’s value increases over time). Fourth, older couples who would normally sell their house to buy a mobile home are waiting for the value of their houses to rebound. When the market recovers, they’re more likely to buy “modular homes,” which differ from mobile homes because their walls are put together on site.”

That is once more laced with errors and accurate insights alike. Modular homes are built in modules, with the walls already assembled, plus an ongoing terminology issue, misusing ‘mobile homes’ when he means ‘manufactured homes.’ But those errors aside, several point are broadly correct. Furthermore, in Thompson’s defense, he was citing third-party sources. So, he might be forgiven technical industry errors in writing a one-and-done column about what he thought was a dying industry.

 Terminology2HarvardFreddieMacNeighborworksManufacturedHomeDefintionMobileHomeTraileModularPanelizedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews432

 

Thompson rolls on in his narrative in this fashion. 

Fifth, and most importantly, even when demand for mobile homes returns, retailers might be left in the dust. A new trend in mobile homes is for manufacturers to open their own outlets, so that retailers are bypassed.” That was a telling comment, on what industry professionals refers to as vertical integration.

 

 

Wrote Thompson, I actually think the next six years are going to shape up for [mobile homes] really well,” said Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute. “People are looking for smaller homes, and dollar-for-dollar, we offer the best house.” Thompson or his editor clearly should not have inserted “mobile homes” in brackets, given that Thayer Long well knew that they are HUD Code manufactured homes. For newcomers, in the U.S., there have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976, in Thompson’s misinterpreted sense of the term.  In Canada, their mobiles homes of the past, gave way to their Z240 code for manufactured homes decades ago as well. 

But what followed from Thompson was arguably vexingly correct, “The future of the industry will resemble Clayton Homes, a mobile home conglomerate which was acquired by Warren Buffet in 2003. Clayton started as a retailer, but they’ve expanding into manufacturing, financing, leasing, and insuring mobile homes. Now the company is a do-it-all industry leader that even serves as a distribution center for other manufacturer’s homes. Thus sounds the death knell for private mobile home retailers.”

While that was broadly accurate, what Thompson did not note was how this was being accomplished. Once more, the facts presented in the report previously linked or here paints a more complete picture.

 

 

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You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

 

Disclosures About Disclaimers  

Think about this fact. Mainstream news media routinely uses other firms logos, content, videos, and images. How do they do that without getting sued for copyright violations?

Short answer?

First, we are not attorneys, but our reading of what federal websites and the courts have upheld is the following. That under the principle of “fair use,” media is able to use others content in specifically defined ways. So, when a firm like MHProNews uses Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, or the Manufactured Housing Institute logo of content, and stays within those “fair use” for news-media lanes, they are a legal defense from a claim of copyright infringement.

That’s mentioned for a few reasons.  One, while the Atlantic provided their fair use disclosures in their article by Derek Thompson differently than MHProNews has been doing for years, they gave disclosures too. No doubt, those disclosures where provided with fair use guidelines in mind.

Here is how the Atlantic finished up their disclosures on Thompson’s article.

Photo: Afroswede/Flickr

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*Contrary to common belief, today’s manufactured or mobile homes don’t all look like 1960s caravans, with the cinder-blocks and wheels. Manufactured homes are prefabricated houses built entirely off site and delivered to where the family has leased land. They can look awfully like real “site built” homes. See for yourself on Clayton’s gallery of manufactured and modular homes. The word “mobile” doesn’t always to their constantly moving — although many mobile homes are built on wheels — but rather their ability to be transported when needed.”” MHProNews Footnote 1: coming from a non-MH industry professional, that’s a pretty good mainstream explanation of a manufactured home.

Thompson and/or his editor used a British expression “1960s caravans” to distinguish the mobile homes of the past, with the manufactured homes of today. At the end of their article, they essentially corrected the terminology errors the rest of the Thompson article used. That is arguably better than many in mainstream media do, given that thousands of articles or videos errantly use ‘mobile home’ indiscriminately and/or interchangeably with manufactured homes. 

 

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There are phases are different points in the evolution of the factory-built home industry history, just as there has been an evolution in telephones, computers, automotive or scores of other industries. For instance, one doesn’t properly call an old bag phone from the 1980s – the early version of a cell phone  to the smart phones of today.  The two are different, but the former evolved over the years into the later.

 

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

 

Thompson’s article linked to Clayton’s website. It bears mention that an article last year in the Boston Globe, didn’t link Clayton’s site, but it did spotlight Clayton Homes produced homes and pricing. More on that another time. 

Finally, about what some might see as the overuse of third-party discourse notices on MHProNews. MHI has had multiple attorneys over the course of years sending threatening letters to the publisher of MHProNews. Among those are “cease and desist” letters are complaints about the use of a logo, which were part of the fisking of their content. Those attorneys arguably must know – if they are worth their salt – that they have no legal leg to stand upon. That’s not to say that they can’t sue.  In America, almost anyone can. But MHI – and the powers behind their throne – must know it is a hollow threat in the sense that they realize that MHProNews is operating within the guidelines of fair use.  

What MHI attorneys, leadership – elected or staff – have not done is debunk or disprove any of our research. They arguably want to silence this platform, which is demonstrated in a variety of ways. But emailed invitations as recently as last week to: Clayton, 21st, Cavco, Nathan Smith/SSK Communities, and MHI’s staff leadership have yet provided not a single intelligent response that debunks a even one claim or concern raised here or on MHLivingNews. Rather, MHI and their powers-that-be demonstrably have used efforts – like threats of litigation – to silence us by threats and intimidation tactics?

What should that tell the industry’s readers and investors?

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

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Some of those who allegedly are now resisting the reports on MHProNews, have previously and publicly praised MHProNews as the best in the industry.

What messages from readers and third-party metrics tells us is this. Our readership – which was already the runaway #1 in manufactured housing trade media – has skyrocketed since we began our exposes of the purportedly rigged, corrupt system that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies have used to slowly monopolize manufactured housing. What this article in the Atlantic did was identify the trend.  What the Atlantic’s Thompson didn’t do is identify how that was done by manipulating capital, credit, and more.  Again, click here to learn more.

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Legacy returned as a sponsor. Placement of their ad, or any others, shouldn’t be construed as that sponsor agreeing with any specific article.

Others think that they also benefit Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and what is arguably a rigged system too. But there are growing voices within those operations that confirm and thank us for reports like this one.  The rise of former MHI members, who launched new trade groups, or left MHI, are evidence that the research here is based on realities that others in manufactured housing recognize, and are acting upon.

 

Atlantic/Thompson Fisking Takeaways? 

Are independent manufactured home retailers SLOWLY dying?

The trend lines say, sadly, yes. A state association executive said almost the same rate of decline in the total number of independent retailers roughly a year ago. Facts and trend lines are what they are. 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

Spotlighting this trend is debatably necessary as part of the process for the underlying causes of affordable housing’s crisis.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

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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.

New Era in National U.S. Manufactured Home Community Representation Underway?

Production Decline Continues in November 2018

 

Independent National Manufactured Housing Post-Production Association Takes Major Step

 

 

 

 

 

Micro Modular Apartments: Sanity versus Salary?

December 23rd, 2013 Comments off

While New York City and other crowded urban areas attracting young professionals are turning to micro modular apartments of 200 to 400 square feet–as MHProNews posted here May 27, 2013–mental health professional are citing psychological problems that may result from such tight quarters. “Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20’s,” Dak Kopec, director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College told the Atlantic. “But they definitely can be unhealthy for older people, say in their 30’s and 40’s, who face different stress factors that can make tight living conditions a problem.” Not only do children need more space to flourish, but a cramped living environment may lead to alcoholism, domestic abuse and claustrophobia. As Vincent Mancuso says in observer.com, “The apartments are supposed to enable single city dwellers access to a cheaper alternative to sky-high rents, but tenants might be choosing between their sanity and their salaries.”