Posts Tagged ‘author’

John Grissim Guides Author Finger Pointed at 21st Mortgage Corporation, Notorious Tim Williams Letter Cutting Off Retailers

May 29th, 2019 Comments off


Since its inception in 2003 this part of my web site has offered a mix of consumer news, excerpts of reports about manufactured homes, miscellaneous ideas and suggestions, Q&A snippets, updates, consumer alerts, and commentary from yours truly,” said John Grissim, author of the Grissim Guides in a Summer-Fall 2018 announcement.


Grissim notes he’s published 90,000 words in his various blog postings over the years, calling that book-length.  He’s perhaps best known for the research-volume aimed at consumer by that name, the Grissim Guide.

Grissim wasn’t necessarily praised by many professionals, as he was both pro-manufactured homes, but also tough on of HUD Code manufactured housing.

A quote from him dated February 2009, helps make the point why not all industry pros loved him.

After outlining a concern out of Utah, he said as follows: “Comment: With this story gaining momentum and national attention, once again HUD-ville takes a big hit to its image. It’s hard not to believe that its homes are nothing more than cheaply constructed, poorly designed housing for the working poor.”  Note to our growing numbers of new or first-time readers, MHProNews often turns quoted text bold and brown to make it pop, but otherwise the text is as in the original.

Grissim went on to say, Last summer the buzz was all about formaldehyde out gassing from travel trailers and single-section HUD-code homes used for temporary housing by hurricane victims. This is absolutely the last thing this industry needs to experience.”

It should be noted that Grissim’s audience was a blend of potential consumers and manufactured housing industry professionals. Part of his business model was selling his Ratings Guide, a book that purported to rate the quality of the various builders of HUD Code manufactured homes.

Industry purists, such as our publisher, frankly thought the very premise of the Ratings Guide to be problematic for manufactured housing. Why?

Because if a HUD Code manufactured home builder meets the construction, energy, safety standards, and all the relevant inspections, certifications, etc., that was Number One.  HUD Code homes have significant consumer protections, most notably since the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000.  That was the period Grissim was publishing such columns in.

So, of course there would be differences in fit and finish between entry level, mid-range and upscale or residential style manufactured homes. But Grissim, who could claim being an experienced journalist, was lawfully able to publish what he wished. That’s America and the right to free speech and freedom of the press.

The above tee’s up a sense of the author, because thousands of manufactured housing professionals today would otherwise be unfamiliar with Grissim. Having set the table, it’s the following quotes at length from that report of his that are the focus of this fact-check and analysis.

Let’s begin by noting that by Grissim covering this as he did, albeit incompletely, he did so well before others, most of whom to this day have ignored the topic all together.

What follows is word-for-word from his post – linked here. We’ve screen captured this page too, as a documentary reference should the site go down or be otherwise changed, which Grissim himself suggests he plans to modify his content. Following the content between the — lines, there will be an MHProNews analysis. Typos are in the original.


— start of extended quote —


As recession deepens, MH plant closings mount. Industry production capability could shrink 30% by summer. What this could mean for home buyers.

Figures released early this month by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (IBTS), the Washington, DC-based organization that tracks numbers for HUD, show a total of 169 production facilities around the U.S. are currently engaged in building HUD-code homes. That figure is down from 180 in October of last year.

But the worst may be yet to come. Some plants shut down over the holidays due to lack of orders, which are typically low during the winter months. With many retail dealerships struggling to make ends meet, and with sources drying up for so-called inventory flooring loans (loans to pay for lot models until they’re sold), orders from retailers for model homes may drop dramatically. This in turn could trigger a corresponding increase in plant closings.

One industry professional familiar with these trends told me he would not be surprised if by summer the total number of still-operating plants was in the 125 range, amounting to a roughly 30% contraction since last fall in the MH industry’s total production capacity.

Put another way, by this summer another 43 plants could be idle. For many companies, this will be catastrophic, forcing them into bankruptcy or sale. This is particularly true of builders that produce only HUD code homes, versus a mix of HUD and modular code dwellings. Unfortunately, the MH industry is generally weak, with very few players strong enough to buy their competitors, or even assume their debt.

Companies that are able to produce, in addition to HUD code homes, modular-code homes and RVs (especially park models), should fare better during the crunch, but the outlook is still grim. Adding to the challenge, some parts and materials suppliers to the RV and factory-built home industry are themselves in survival mode, and may go under.

In late January, Liberty Homes, the Goshen, IN-based builder, announced it was closing its Statesville, NC plant, laying off 90 workers. Patriot Homes, also HQ’ed in Indiana, has closed its Texas plant, and another facility in Indiana, and reportedly laid off its entire engineering staff before last Christmas. And Fleetwood, as reported last month, is closing seven of its plants.

For its part, industry stalwart Palm Harbor Homes reported company sales for the fourth quarter of last year were $89.6 million, down from $140.6 million during the same quarter a year previously. PH’s shipments to its most important markets–Texas, Florida, Arizona and California–were down nearly 38%. Larry Keener, Palm Harbor’s CEO said they expect this downward trend to continue through calendar 2009. The company is looking to free up some working capital by leveraging some of the more than $100 million in unleveraged assets on its books.

Also hanging in there is Cavalier Homes, a publicly held builder HQ’ed in Addison, AL. On January 27, 2009, Cavalier agreed to sell its in-house finance company, CIS Financial Services, Inc., to Jacksonville, FL-based Triad Financial Services, one of the industry’s oldest (and consistently successful) manufactured home lenders, for $750,000 cash plus CIS’s loan portfolio. According to the company’s CEO, “Bobby” Tesney, the transaction was in no way an indication of any change in Cavalier’s fortunes. “We think we will be here for the long run,” he explained in a subsequent phone call. In fact, Cavalier has excellent cash reserves and no long term debt, so the builder looks to be in good shape to weather a long downturn.

For home shoppers, the good news is this remains a buyer’s market with retailers bending over backwards to sell you a home, and at a very competitive price. But be certain the manufacturer from whom you’re contemplating buying is still in business and will be there to take care of your warranty needs. And don’t completely rely on your retailer for assurances. Verify all dealer claims. Visit this site for the latest news, and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions.

With some big banks moving to block mortgage brokers from offering their loans to consumers, home buyers may have fewer choices.


In its February 1, 2009 edition, the New York Times reported that some large national banks, such as JPMorgan Chase, are no longer accepting home loan applications processed by mortgage brokers. [See also the story that follows this item.] Ostensibly the reason is, during the go-go subprime home loan years, many independent mortgage brokers played fast and loose with the documentation criteria they used to qualify borrowers, allowing many to obtain loans way beyond their ability to pay. The banks in turn suffered the losses, not the mortgage brokers who pocketed their origination fees and incurred no further liability.

There is much truth in that argument, but regrettably a decrease in the number of reputable independent mortgage brokers (who typically offer a wider variety of loan products than the local bank) means home buyers will have less choices and may be obliged to borrow from local institutions who often charge higher interest rates.

For their part, the mortgage brokers counter that it was the lenders, not the brokers, who determined the submitted loan documentation was satisfactory and thus it was the banks’ sloppy standards that ultimately were the source of so many subprime loans going south.

The brokers certainly have a point. In my view both parties are to blame. For several years there, the banks were busy selling their brokered loans to Wall Street’s masters of the universe for big money and they, like the brokers, could have cared less how bad the loans were because they, too, were off the hook if the loans went south. But that’s another story.

This said, I recommend my clients talk to a reputable mortgage broker as part of the process of shopping for the money before shopping for a home. For more on working with mortgage brokers, please see the discussion on mortgage brokers in chapter 4 of The Grissim Buyer’s Guide to Manufactured Homes & Land.


Speaking of mortgage brokers, Clayton Homes’s subsidiary finance company, 21st Mortgage Corporation will cut them off as of March 1, 2009. But wait, there’s more….

Pity the nation’s independent MH dealers. As I reported in the Grissim 2009 Report, last month the Clayton-owned subsidiary finance company, 21st. Mortgage Corp., announced that due to lack of funds to lend, it was largely pulling out of the inventory flooring business for dealers who sold homes other than those built by Clayton and Clayton-owned subsidiary manufacturers. Then, on January 30, the other shoe dropped.

Tim Williams, 21st’s president, sent an email “to all MH retailers and mortgage brokers” announcing that due to the bank’s inability to find money to lend indie dealers to finance retail home sales, effective March 1, 2009 the bank will limit its financing programs to the following (I’m quoting here):

  1. We will no longer offer any of our programs to Mortgage Brokers.
  2. We will offer FHA Title I financing for any brand home subject to retailer meeting FHA requirements.
  3. All other finance plans will only be offered for sales of the following homes:
  4. 21st Mortgage repossessions
  5. New homes built by Clayton Homes, Karsten Homes, Southern Energy or any other Clayton Homes subsidiary. The dealership must be a 21st Mortgage approved retailer.
  6. For any brand of home floor planned with 21st Mortgage prior to March 1 2009
  7. For any brand of home sold from a retailer’s inventory provided the retailer replaces the inventory with a home built by a Clayton Homes subsidiary.


Williams’s letter went on to say:

“We will continue to seek adequate funding so we can once again become an active lender meeting all your needs. You need to take appropriate action to apply for financing with alternative lenders, including CU Factory Built Lending, Triad Financial, and US Bank. Many retailers have found the FHA a viable alternative and I urge you to talk with your credit manager and become familiar with the terms available.”

This announcement was directed to independently owned MH dealerships that have long used 21st Mortgage’s lending programs for homebuyers. But Clayton Homes’ also owns a second finance company, Vanderbilt Mortgage, which offers similar loan programs exclusively through Clayton Homes-owned dealerships. If 21st. is having difficulty raising capital to lend, it would make sense that Vanderbilt is also dealing with the same problem.

At this writing, there has been no change in Vanderbilt’s program. However, I have learned from a reliable source that an executive at one of the alternative lenders mentioned above recently received over a two week period calls from the credit managers of 18 Clayton-owned dealerships asking about the availability and terms of both his company’s chattel and home mortgage programs. Do they know something we don’t?

The above developments will not impact homebuyers who intend to pay cash or otherwise obtain financing from their local bank or credit union. The rule here is: dealer arranged financing for your home purchase should be absolutely your last resort. The interest rates are almost always higher than you will find elsewhere in the private sector. Shop carefully for the money before you begin shopping in earnest for the home of your dreams.

— end of extended quote from Grissim website —


Collage by MHProNews, provided under fair use guidelines.


That statements and views by Grissim are interesting on several levels.

  • First, not that it was every doubted, it nevertheless reaffirms that the 21st Mortgage Corp document signed by Tim Williams and previously published by MHLivingNews and MHProNews reads as the copy of an original that we’ve published, which is hereby reposted again, below.



This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. 


  • If there is any record of Clayton’s ‘captive’ lender Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) having any such issues funding issues, we are unaware of it at this time. Clayton, VMF, and 21st have all been repeatedly invited to respond to our published articles, and at each turn, they have declined.  The same invitation has been given to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is widely seen as dominated by Omaha and Knoxville.  The Arlington, VA based MHI has declined to respond or comment as well to the concerns surrounding the 21st letter and related
  • Grissim says those messages were sent out by email, and we have sources that say it was sent by U.S. mail too. That’s significant for reasons that attornies at Berkshire, Clayton, 21st, MHI and possibly others should understand the ramification of legally.
  • Grissim published this prior to the video interview published by MHLivingNews at the link below, wherein Kevin Clayton says in a past-present-and-future sense, that “Warren” assured them they have ‘plenty of money.
  • Grissim published that prior to the Warren Buffett annual letter, which seems to directly contradict they key claim made by Williams, namely, that they were cash strapped, and that is what allegedly forced their cutback.

The most complete report on this topic is found at the link below, which includes the quotes from Warren Buffett, and the complete video interview with Kevin Clayton, where he lays out the Buffett vision for the strategic “moat” and being a ‘tough competitor.’



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.


Restated, while there is more analysis that could be done on what Grissim wrote, the above is sufficient to reaffirm concerns that Berkshire Hathaway owned brands purportedly colluded in a fashion to rig the marketplace, tipping manufactured home retailers and more producers out of business.

Newer industry readers, investors, public officials, and other researchers should keep in mind that some who received that 21st letter from Tim Williams – and survived – recall the document, and have confirmed having received it.  Several of those have thanked MHProNews for not letting this topic slide, as they knew some put under by that document, and they recognize that if it happened before, something like that can occur again.

In the light of more recent revelations published in MHProNews and MHLivingNews, there are numerous reasons for Congress to investigate in a public setting what occurred, why, and how that impacted thousands of independent businesses that may have been marginal, but had survived up until that point in time.

The role of MHI, if any, in the matter also bears scrutiny.

If their paid staff grasped the reality, and hid it, what liability or legal exposure do they have?  One might wonder, why former MHI President and CEO Chris Stinebert left as and when he did, – well prior to the events related to these 21st financing cut-off letters – and why he waited until leaving to publish a letter that politely chided his own MHI trade association on issues, including financing.  See that at the link from his name, above.

To learn more about or review the related macro issues – all of which must be grasped to understand why manufactured housing is underperforming – see the related reports, further below the byline and notices.


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



To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP or Comments or Letter to Editor 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.

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

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Dramatic Reversal, City Passes Urgency Ordinance Effectively Banning Manufactured Homes, Front & Back Stories

February 26th, 2019 Comments off



The message below was sent from MHProNews publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, was sent this morning to Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) General Counsel, Rick Robinson, JD.


Several MHI members, and independents were among those BCC’d in this message.


The email below was sent to MHI SVP and General Counsel, Rick Robinson. Photo provided under fair use guidelines for media.


— Email to MHI VP and General Counsel, Rick Robinson —


Subject Line: Rick, on or off the record, your thoughts for publication on this MH issue please


Rick, if you have 15 minutes? 

Then read:



MHI was no where to be found in this matter. Nor were the state execs.  We asked, locals answered. The facts are what they are.

In about 2 days of mostly electronic efforts, the city went from banning manufactured homes, to reversing themselves.

On or off the record, I’d like your reaction. Email for our accuracy in handling.

Please note that there are several BCCs, including MHI members. We plan to do a write up, perhaps as soon as midafternoon, so a prompt reply is welcome.

If you can’t reply by then, and we publish first, you or MHI are welcome to provide a reaction to our reports, for the record.

Thank you,


L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach||


—end of message —


To our professional readers, investors and those Cavco Industries (CVCO) pursuing plaintiff’s attorneys. Ponder this question. MHI purportedly postures action, but where is the evidence of their results?

Read this local media report first, then read the article which outlines some of the motivations that sparked the dramatic reversal of the city officials. That tells a tale that should remind manufactured home industry pros a similar reveal to what occurred in Washington, IN last year. The city officials are quoted on-the-record in the linked article above.

If MHProNews’ publisher – in concert with aligned nonprofits – could accomplish a dramatic reversal in two days of mostly electronic communications, why can’t MHI routinely do the same?


See related reports, below the bylines and notices.



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


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



To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – 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.)

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.


To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

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

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



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

May 16th, 2018 Comments off


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On a closing note regarding Shapiro.


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

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

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

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

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“Trapped. Threatened. Scared.” “Mobile Home [SIC] Owner’s Fears Reflect National Crisis”

May 5th, 2018 Comments off


Trapped. Threatened. Scared. That is how thousands of people across the Front Range are feeling and they all have one thing in common: They live in manufactured homes,” says Denver 7 in their report on a manufactured home community in Thornton, Colorado.


At a time when about half of all manufactured homes are being shipped into land-lease manufactured home communities – what Denver 7 and others incorrectly call a “mobile home park *” – the solution that manufactured housing offers is being obscured by a steady wave of negative news.




With housing costs out of reach for many people in Colorado, the only path to home ownership is often through a mobile home park.*” said Denver 7.

The problem is that while they own the home, they do not own the land it sits on and that puts them at the mercy of their landlord.”


Several residents reached out to Contact7’s Theresa Marchetta about problems they face in their mobile home community.

After weeks of digging for answers and accountability, Marchetta uncovered the problems at one local mobile home park reflect a growing national crisis and a system failing to protect those who live there,” said their report.

Management, says Contact7, wouldn’t speak to them on camera.

That’s reminiscent of a comment from Frank Rolfe, who has often spoken with the mainstream media.  Rolfe says that he’s also scared about talking to the media. But he says that failure to engage only cements the stereotypes. He argues that engagement is necessary, noting that’s especially true, because the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and others won’t do it.


Friendly Village

At Friendly Village of the Rockies, homeowners say management does not live up to the name,” said Denver7.

You can either do it or just get out,” said one homeowner who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation by park management.

“Put a note on your door, do this within a certain amount of time or you’ll be fined,” said another resident in the community, Anthony Velasquez,” per Contact7.


The Pattern and the Trend

MHProNews asked then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams about the failure of MHI to engage on negative or problematic media accounts.  His reply to that inquiry is linked here.

Part of what Williams said is that there is a good case to be made that the engagement should take place routinely.

Hasn’t years of reports like Denver7 made it obvious that routine engagement with media and others is necessary?

Another Tim Williams, from the Ohio Manufactured Home Association, responded when bad news hit his state.  One of several examples of his pushback are linked below.

Tim Williams, OMHA, Responds to Issues Raised by NPR Report on Manufactured Home Communities

Rolfe has argued on stage in front of dozens of industry professionals that every time something harmful to the industry takes place, there should be push-back by the industry that clarifies any false or misleading issues.

Another state association executive told MHProNews that they have a policy of ‘not defending bad actors.’  Those two principles apply balance and context.

Because sometimes, there are simple, and yet unstated to the media, explanations for concerns that arise.  For example, enforcing guidelines for living are similar to a deed restricted residential subdivision enforcing their standards on residents.

In the case in Thorton, CO in the video above, the following is unclear based upon local media reports: did the home owners with the fencing concern agree to no fencing in writing, before they moved in?

That’s the sort of detail that Brad Lovin told MHProNews last year is often left out of such reports.

At the same time, should community operators reconsider certain standards?  In Paradise Cove in Malibu, home owners are allowed privacy fencing. Some other manufactured home communities (MHCs) allow for it, within specific guidelines. While fencing isn’t the only reason that the rich and famous move to a place like Paradise Cove, operators ought to consider the more upscale type of residents that allowing fencing or other appropriate additions may attract.

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Should that $3,000 fence be reconsidered by that management company?

If the Thorton community owner is indeed unable or unwilling to defend their fencing policy on camera or in writing to local media, how does that one-side local news report reflect on them?  Or how does that video report impact other MHCs in the same market, who are also in the land-lease community business?  How are retailers impacted?  Factories, lenders, and on down the list of industry connected professionals?

Part of the troubling answer is found in the Channel7 video.  The quotes below from the video are statements made by a sociologist that’s studied this issue, and they are telling a tale that isn’t entirely comfortable for the industry to hear.

University of Colorado Sociologist, Esther Sullivan, says 80 percent of the residents in places like Friendly Village own their homes,” said Denver7.

When I share with you the predatory practices I’ve seen in this mobile home park,* you’re not surprised by that?” Channel7’s Theresa Marchetta asked the professor.

No, this is indicative of cases occurring across the country,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan says she has become an expert on the topic, spending nearly a decade documenting “housing insecurity in mobile home parks.*

These issues that you see at Friendly Village may seem unique to this one park, but they are indicative of the capricious and arbitrary actions landlords take in mobile home parks across the nation. You hear these same stories over and over again,” said Sullivan.

The professor and author said she lived in “two mobile home parks* in Texas and Florida and documented the impact as they were sold off and closed down.”

They’re subject to rent hikes, often without notice, upon fees that are tacked-on, a lack of maintenance or an expectation they maintain the land that they don’t own,” Sullivan said.


Sullivan is not anti-manufactured housing. “Absolutely. We can’t build our way out of our current affordable housing crisis which we all can see in Denver,” Sullivan said. The industry’s members would be wise to properly engage with voices like hers, along with business that operate in a way that gets them A+ BBB or similar ratings.


The Broader Issues for MHVille, Current and Prospective Home Owners

The issues point to an image problem for commercially operated MHC properties owned by individuals, or portfolio operators. Failure to address the issue has arguably plagued the industry’s good operations.

The issues has been a boost to the image of resident owned communities (ROCs), which are often mentioned as the solution to this problem.  But that’s an oversimplification, as it ignores good community operations.

Who says?

ROC USA President Paul Bradley has stated repeatedly to MHProNews that there are a number of good operations in the country.  Bradley says they should not be lumped in with those who may fail to provide the same level of “economic security” for their residents.

Rephrasing, there are different kinds of privately owned companies.  But if the individual property owners don’t make that clear to prospective and current residents in their own markets, then they too can be harmed when bad news hits other nearby land-lease properties.


Resolution to the MHC Image Issues?

Common sense – sound reason – suggests there are two, and only two ways that this issue will find positive resolution.

  • 1) A community operator, or any other manufactured home industry business, must do is own marketing, and make their case to the public in their market area(s).  UMH Prosperities CEO Sam Landy has stated as much to MHProNews.
  • 2) Independent operations with shared values that provide residents an appealing lifestyle must band together, and work to resolve these issues through an association or alliance.

While some state associations strive to do just that, it is obvious from the steady drum beat of negative news that it is not yet enough.

What is self-evident is that years after MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach presented to MHI attendees a positively received message on engaging the media, MHI has failed to directly engage the news in an effect way.


Observing a problem without offering reasonable solutions is called whining. Consultant and publisher Tony Kovach pointed to actual cases of properly engaging with residents and media, in a highly praised presentation. Years later, what has MHI done with those examples shared?

Instead, MHI has focused on social media and controversial advertorials. If those were effective, would their own website traffic, and the industry’s ongoing image issues persist?

Note that Denver7 gave more than one favorable mention to manufactured homes as an affordable housing solution.  Professor Sullivan did too.

It’s the related image-harming issues that are causing ongoing problems for many in the industry.

The data doesn’t lie, see that report, linked below.

What are the FACTS about Manufactured Housing Industry Traffic vs. Real Estate? MHVillage, MHProNews, Manufactured Housing Institute Data

Head in the sands won’t change what’s self-evident.  There’s proof that the proper local efforts can work.  The logic of collective efforts is clear.  The reality of failure to act is demonstrably harmful.  Rather than deal with the issues, MHI stands accused of trying to silence those voices that raise the concerns or who provide meaningful solutions.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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* This is a terminological problem, mobile home and manufactured home are not interchangeable terms.  To learn more click the second linked related report, below.


Related Reports:

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

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

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released


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Talk Radio “Open for Business Host” Tom Egelhoff Sounds Off On “MOBILE HOMES” as “AFFORDABLE HOUSING ANSWER”

May 1st, 2018 Comments off


From time to time, the Daily Business News or discovers or is provided as a tip a column that is re-shared to our readers at length.  That’s the case this morning, with a post about manufactured homes written by talk radio host, Tom Egelhoff.


Before sharing Egelhoff’s observations about a hot topic in his part of the country – and the nation at large – some background on him and his career are in order.

KMMS AM 1450 Bozeman says about Egelhoff, “…Has Been The Host Of “Open For Business,” A Business And Consumer Talk Show On KMMS Since 2004. I’m The Author Of “How To Market, Advertise And Promote Your Business Or Service In Your Own Backyard” (Wiley), And “The Small Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less,” And “How To Market, Advertise And Promote Your Business Or Service In A Small Town.”

Egelhoff’s books are used as texts in the University of Alaska and Missouri State University.  He’s been a guest on MSNBC’s “Your Money.” He’s also been featured in Costco’s Connection Magazine, Target Market Magazine, Emerging Business, and Business Adviser.

We don’t want to do the SIC (typo or terminological error found in the original) during our extended quotes from his article, so we’ll politely note that what Egelhoff calls a “mobile home” in a “trailer park,” he himself clarifies by saying is in a manufactured home community.

A few thoughts will follow his column. The extended quote in brown text below, with only his closing call for comments omitted.


The original column is found at this link, here. Enjoy.


A small trailer park (sorry, manufactured home park) located on North Willson in Bozeman is in the cross hairs of development plans.

Kick out the MH’s and build multiple three-story duplexes in their place. Affordable housing gone. Welcome to another high rent district on the North Side.

My Affordable Housing

About ten years ago my wife and I disposed of our Bozeman home and moved into one of the Mobile Home Parks in Bozeman.

Why on earth would we do something so stupid? All that equity gone, losing an appreciating asset to live in a depreciating asset. Why?

Plus, you don’t own the land. Why do such a thing?

Consider this, as I did. The fine folks on South Willson don’t own their land either. They pay, as I do, lot rent in the form of property taxes. It’s semantics.

Don’t pay your property tax and guess what — you’re homeless.

My Affordable Housing Retirement Plan

Since I realized too late that retirement was closer then further I had to make serious plans for our financial future.

One of those plans was to dump a $1,500 a month mortgage payment for a $400 lot rent payment on something I owned outright.

That freed up $1,100 a month to invest in an interest bearing financial vehicle rather than pay it to a bank and hope my home might appreciate as real estate usually does.

However, in Bozeman I found that Mobile Homes also appreciate in this market.

In hindsight my decision to downsize our living quarters and upsize my investments has paid off handsomely in spite of the Great Recession of 2009.

Some Final Thoughts

For some people there might be a negative stigma attached to living in a mobile home. I really don’t care considering that I’m able to do most of the things my wife and I want to do without the worry of the monetary consequences. It’s a good feeling to have.

Our home appreciates as does our investment portfolio. I live in affordable housing. So do the folks on North Willson.

If the city commission was true to its word it would deny the raising of that park. Destruction of affordable housing to make way for unaffordable housing makes little sense.

Just because it’s on wheels doesn’t make it bad.”  

end of extended quote

He didn’t use the graphic below, but we have a strong hunch that he’d get the quote, and enjoy the collage of modern manufactured homes too.


Terminology matters, as we’ve said countless times.


Learn more, at this link here.

That noted, and not yet having spoken with Mr. Egelhoff, he may be using that lingo for specific tactical reasons – such as to connect with his target audience. The Daily Business News would note that there’s another way to accomplish that, but he’s a talk radio personality, not a manufactured home (MH) industry spokesperson.

At least. he’s not an MH spokesperson yet…

But in short order, Tom Egelhoff made the following points, that dovetail with topics we’ve covered for years.

  • Egelhoff’s brilliantly blunts the sting and stigma unjustly attached to manufactured home living.
  • He explains how manufactured homes can appreciate, as well as depreciate, part of what causes that are the same factors found in conventional housing.
  • He walks readers through the logic of investing the difference in cost between the affordable manufactured home and the higher cost conventional house, a point that Florida Atlantic University researcher and real estate economist, Ken Johnson has made (see that in the related report, linked further below).
  • He makes the pithy case for land-lease living too, and
  • Manufactured homes as the solution for affordable housing hiding in plain sight.

We plan to reach out to Mr. Egelhoff.  Should we connect, MHProNews will bring you more from this gentleman. Stay tuned. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

NOTICE: Exclusives from HUD, and Attendees about Secretary Carson’s comments at MHI will be part of an upcoming report. Sign up for our emailed news updates for that notice, and to stay up with all of the industry’s most popular, independent, and fact-based converge. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”



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Lessons, Meaning of Pain = Opportunities for Growth, says Management Guru, Soft Sell Author

January 16th, 2018 Comments off

BusinessManLookingSmartPhoneDailyBusinessNewsPixabayManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsNo one likes pain: emotional, physical or spiritual,” said Tim Connor in a detailed statement to MHProNews. 

Pain always has a message for us,” he said. Connor has worked for decades in the manufactured, modular, log and other systems-built housing and other industries.  The guru has 80 books in areas such as avoiding “corporate disconnects,” navigating change management, sales coaching, inspirational, and more.



Each of us wants to sail through life from birth to death without ever having:

-been betrayed.

-been abandoned.

-been lied to.


-been broke.

-had insurmountable problems.

-risked it all and lost.

-had health challenges.

-been disappointed.

-And this list goes on and on and on. . .

I for one know the value of pain.  I have had my share during my life.”


Connor is the author of over 80 books, including an international best seller, “Soft Sell” That book has gone through numerous printings, and has been so popular, it was translated into several languages.  That led to Connor speaking and providing corporate services in 25 countries around the world.

Connor stresses that pain is always there to warn or teach.  It is also an opportunity, a call for growth.

He quotes his mentor, Eric Butterworth, “The greatest times of creativity in your life can come during periods of personal pain.  Use these times to release all that you are and all you can do.”

Here are a few of the benefits of pain that I have learned over the years.  See if you have learned any of these yet –



  1. Introduces you to who you really are.
  2. Let’s you have a peek into the future.
  3. Releases great potential creativity.
  4. Begins the healing process.
  5. Is a signal that something needs to change.
  6. Helps you see that you have choices.
  7. Gives you the opportunity to grow or remain stuck.
  8. Is impersonal. It isn’t picking on any one group or individual.
  9. Develops in you the capacity to handle more pain in the future.
  10. Helps keep you focused in the present moment.”


Don’t ever deaden the pain you are feeling.  Get in touch with it.  Feel it. Understand it.  Learn from it.  Use it. And then move on through it. Then let it go,” Connor suggests.

His message came after the latest controversial report – pain – from within the manufactured housing industry.

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

It can easily be seen as advice for those coping with the pains of denial, betrayal, or whatever the pain of the news may mean for those experiencing it.


Among the other range of responses and calls that came following yesterday’s report, linked above, was another one, given on the record, above.  ## (News, change management, analysis, commentary.)

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Wired – Social Media’s Threats, Emotion Vs. Logic, Written Knowledge Vs. Visual (Superficial), and Manufactured Housing

October 26th, 2017 Comments off

SocialMediaPixabayDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsManufactured housing struggles with education and its image daily.  Yet the members of the industry are on social media by the thousands daily.

While the manufactured home industry is experiencing a modest annual recovery, it pales compared to the rapid growth of the use of social media by producers, retailers, communities, associations, lenders, and other  industry segments.

Against that backrop, are the thoughts of Hossein Derakhshan.  He’s an Iranian turned Canadian media analyst, imprisoned in Iran from 2008 to 2014, dives into the world of social media, and how he says it’s undermining knowledge.

Writing in the popular tech trade media, Wired, Derakhshan states that social media – which he uses – is threatening the foundation of knowledge. “In an image-centered and pleasure-driven world, [Neil] Postman noted, there is no place for rational thinking, because you simply cannot think with image,” Derakhshan states.


Society, says Derakhshan, is moving from the promise of the web, summed up by Immanuel Kant enlightenment battle cry of “Dare to know,” to the point where today, the phrase he says is more like, Dare to not know.”


Wikipedia is his prime example.

While Wikipedia’s funding is healthy, the content creation and updates are showing signs of trouble, Derakhshan stated. “It is text that enables us to “uncover lies, confusions and overgeneralizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalization to another.”

Author Liz Cowan’s Look at Social Media…

LizCowanAuthorHumoristSatireLizCowan-comManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSatirical writer, author, and humor columnist Elizabeth Cowan, expressed her concerns about Derakhshan’s topic like this.

Social Media wants to imply closeness, camaraderie and reaching out to others. When, in fact, the rise of social media encourages a solitary existence,” Cowan said.

Being social requires personal contact with others,” observes Cowan.

Cowan also uses social media, but warns of its anti-social elements.


When you sit in front of your computer in your underwear or least presentable attire, rather than going forth and interacting in real time with other humans, you create and enforce a cycle of existence best described as the state of being apart,” she said.


FracturedProverbsTwistedThoughtsCoverAmazonElizabethCowanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsBehind the mask of cheerful and amazing postings, lurks the soul…encased in self-imposed aloneness,” she said, adding that social media used uncritically, “This reality exists only in the mind of the poster and the viewer of the post. Social media is the road to the negation of humanity.”

Industry professionals can attest to the range of responses to time/resources invested in social media.

Some industry professionals have raved over their public responses, but others are saying “meh,” or admit that their results are poor.


And how truly informative are some of those postings? The often distrusted mainstream media is widely more trusted than social media, says Reuters.


Without the proper balance between knowledge and quick gratification visuals, social media can not only be isolating, but frustrating.

Entertainment vs. Talking and Genuine Communication?

Americans don’t talk to each other, we entertain each other,” Derakhshan points to Postman, who wrote. “They don’t exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.”


Likes and quick feedback can be a feel good, but they aren’t always followed by measurable results equal to the effort.

It’s that line between potential good and harm that arises from social media which both authors hold in common.

From Facebook to Instagram,” Derakhshan’s Wired column said, “the medium refocuses our attention on videos and images, rewarding emotional appeals—‘like’ buttons—over rational ones. Instead of a quest for knowledge, it engages us in an endless zest for instant approval from an audience, for which we are constantly but unconsciously performing.”


This doesn’t mean it is time to give up. But we need to understand that the decline of the web and thereby of the Wikipedia is part of a much larger civilizational shift which has just started to unfold,” he concluded.

Industry Takeaways

One takeaway could be that as industry professionals grapple with the opportunities that the web provides – including social media, to properly use such media to engage their audience – a more blended approach is needed.

Appealing visuals combined with text should be woven in a fashion that makes people do more than smile, or yawn.


Lifeway Homes Display of Sunshine Homes, at Tulsa State Fair.

Because as Credit Human’s Barry Noffsinger and others who target the more upscale buyers have noted, the next level up of home buyers are those with more income, and more education.


Those more qualified buyers, researchers, and investors routinely need more than pretty pictures or videos.


Some local operations are achieving success with social media, but the overall impact is exaggerated, as industry statistics reflect.


The proof is that with all of the videos, and good looking social media websites, the manufactured home industry is still shipping less than 100,000 new manufactured homes a year, at the current rate.

Lifeway Homes Display of Sunshine Homes, at Tulsa State Fair.

This is society’s but also the HUD Code manufactured home industry’s challenge – to rouse consumers with thought that moves some to actions.


Lifeway Homes Display of Sunshine Homes, at Tulsa State Fair.

Likes of cute videos and pretty pictures don’t routinely translate into dollars.  If they did, the industry would collectively be selling 500,000 or more new homes a year.

Textual knowledge that informs and compliments visual posts, are a key.  Social media posts must go beyond mere imagery. ## (Communications news, analysis, context, and commentary.)

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Strange vs. Moore, Trump vs. Bannon?

September 25th, 2017 Comments off

LutherStrangeVsRoyMoorePOTUSTrumpVsSteveBannonBreitbartDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAs tomorrow’s special election to fill the vacated seat by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ previous AL Senate seat looms, the heat and “controversies” from left-to-right wing media is rising.  So too is the spin that routinely fits a given media’s typical perspective.

Recent polling seems to indicate that appointed-Senator Luther Strange – whom President Donald Trump is backing – is trailing Roy Moore – whom former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and other conservative pundits supports – for the GOP primary for that seat. 

The race is being spun by some on the right as “the swamp” (Strange) vs. the anti-establishment conservative (Moore, by the right’s Breitbart followers).  Many Trump supporters clearly see that differently.

Here’s the unreported news flash.

Whomever wins, POTUS Trump and Breitbart’s leader Bannon will both win.

Whomever wins, is the odds-on favorite to win in the general election – both per L. A. “Tony” Kovach, MHProNews’ publisher.


Whatever your politics happens to be, given them credit because its due. President Trump and Steve Bannon have superior political instincts,” said Kovach.

For example, both understand that the mainstream media love to create controversy within the GOP, as if the party was hopelessly fractured and dying. In fact, if fundraising is any indicator, the GOP is leading Democrats by a wide margin since the president was sworn in, mostly due to the POTUS Trump base,” Kovach said.


Robinson vs. Kovach?

MHI’s Sr. VP and General Counsel Rick Robinson made an interesting admission last week in his presentation at the 5 State Convention in Deadwood, SD.

Robinson confessed that he thought that Secretary Hillary Clinton would win the electoral college, and he thought Trump would win the popular vote.

The actual outcome was the opposite.


By contrast, Kovach stated in writing several times last year that candidate Trump could win, and he did, despite the long-odds given by the mainstream media.  He used sources across the spectrum, and looked at the internal polling before making that call.


Featured image credit, Hurricane Harvey Relief.

Who Will Win Tuesday? 

Alabama is a manufactured housing production hub, as Daily Business News readers know.  AL is one of several states keenly involved in producing homes for victims of Hurricane Harvey.


Dr. Keith Ablow. Credit, Fox News.


Photo by Mark Simon, of L. A. “Tony’ Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY. 

IMHO,” Kovach said, “Dr. Keith Ablow was quite right earlier this year when he said that the president knows how to routinely outmaneuver the media at their own game.  Everyone slips and makes mistakes, but just watch and see.  For those who understand the various players, this controversy is a win for both the president and Bannon, as well as for Strange and Moore, who are getting more coverage than this might otherwise draw.”

The president has said he will support whomever the winner is of the GOP special primary. So far, the president has won every special election since he was sworn into often.  Stay tuned. ## (News, analysis.)

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

November 29th, 2011 Comments off

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

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

(Image credit: WashingtonTimes)