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“But I Was Born Free”

July 4th, 2019 Comments off
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Stills from Born Free music video by Kid Rock, posted further below. Collage by MHProNews.

Music gets appropriated for commercials, campaigns, causes, and political events on a routine basis. So why not do that for the interests of manufactured home professionals, investors, and the tens of millions in the affordable home seeking public?

 

Facts, figures and slogans often get swatted around like a ping-pong ball in a professional-level table tennis match to advocate for some new law.

Why not cut-to-the-chase, save time, money, and implement the good laws that are already on the federal law books?

There are unique opportunities for honest gain being forged in the crucible of often troubling circumstances. There are purported ‘black hat’ operations that have manipulated the system and political forces in order to divert existing laws while lining their own pockets. They do so at the expense of our fellow Americans, ethical businesses, and honest investors.

Why not use some jujitsu to spotlight those bad behaviors, while ‘white hat’ businesses, investors, organizations, professionals, advocates, and lawmakers come together to enforce good laws?

Why not hold hearings in Congress to spotlight the various ways that existing laws have been blocked, often by posturing or feigning which masks entirely selfish interests – often within our own industry’s ranks?

Let’s explore that case briefly below.

 

Born Free

I was born free. We believe in free enterprise and respect all honest work. It’s a holiday, yet the groundskeepers caught us by surprise – they are working outside – keeping the lawn, shrubs, and the property pristine. Wow, that’s unexpected, yet it’s amazingly American.

But some are born into vexing scenarios made worse by corrupted versions of capitalism rightly called conquest or crony capitalism. Is it any wonder that millions – seeing such misbehavior – question free enterprise?

However well intended HUD Secretary Ben Carson or his predecessor Julián Castro may be or have been, there is evidence that corporate interests have colluded with officials currently or previously at HUD to thwart existing laws. We’ll explore who and name some names in the days ahead.

But even what we already know from Senate testimony or from the Washington Post should be enough to cause alarm for observant and thoughtful professionals and honorable public officials.

Senator Thom Tillis, in a dialogue with HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “I don’t think that most people recognize how the regulatory burdens hit the poorest among us the hardest.” Tillis revealed that he grew up in what he called a ‘trailer house,’ but was more likely a mobile home or early HUD Code manufactured home. Tillis spoke about the morass of regulations that are “no doubt creating a higher price point.”

 

 

Senator Tillis (NC-R) jokingly said that in his personal case, the increased regulatory costs might have been the difference between a single wide, and a “single wide with a bump out.”  There are likely thousands of professionals in our industry that don’t even know what that means, because single sections with an extension are not so common any more. There was unquestionable more variety of manufactured homes built by more manufacturers 30 to 35 years ago than there are today. That’s not to say that there aren’t improvements, of course there are, as Secretary Carson said in the video above.  But for those who were in the industry in the 1980s, they recall ‘tip outs,’ balcony bedrooms, sunken baths, raised kitchens, and other floorplans that many today have not seen on a factory line in many years.

Tillis used his personal experience as an example to call attention for the need for regulatory stream lining that could benefit millions. That sound suspiciously like the executive order that President Trump issued just days ago. It was very much in keeping with what a Washington, D.C. based trade group has been calling public officials to do for years. Persistence may pay in the foreseeable future.

Secretary Carson, even early in his administration, noted that 22 million were living in manufactured homes and their mobile home predecessors. He said when you look at the progress made in the industry “it’s amazing.”

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

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

 

Dr. Carson went on to say that a lot of the housing was hard to distinguish from site-built housing, noted that pricing on manufactured homes was lower, but “the regulations are ridiculous.”  He noted that he put a moratorium on those and were inspecting regulations from “top to bottom.” More recently, Secretary Carson said that we can solve the affordable housing crisis, and he pointed to manufactured homes as part of that solution.

Some of those “ridiculous” regulations Carson spoke about in Senate testimony were no doubt about issues related to Danner that MHProNews and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), among others, had spotlighted for years.

Who was directly in charge of implementing HUD regulations?

Pam Danner, J.D., who per sources was inserted into her role at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) by backers within the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  While that claim may or may not be easy to nail down, what follows is already known.

Juliet Eilperin writing in the Washington Post in May 2018 said that it was the efforts of Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of MHARR and his colleagues that got Danner removed, for her purported excesses in regulatory overreach. By contrast, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Senior Vice President (SVP) Lesli Gooch specifically stated that they did not seek Danner’s removal.

That WaPo report was not denied by MHI.

When thousands of industry professionals were howling from coast-to-coast about Danner and overreach, why wasn’t the Arlington, VA based trade group likewise pushing for Danner’s removal?

Once the ‘wheat and chaff’ are separated, what becomes clear is this. MHI postured action, but failed at the most basic and obvious step; i.e.: seeking and obtaining Danner’s removal. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s per the clear implication of MHI’s SVP Gooch’s own words, as reported by the Washington Post. That’s the truth hiding in plain sight.

The deep pockets at MHI – and those behind them in places like Omaha, or the Knoxville metro, and their allies – can buy more of everything than MHARR and/or our publications can.  MHI is the one that claims they have clout at the federal level.  If so, how have they used that clout?

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That reality of their deeper pockets and broader access are precisely why it is logically stating the obvious where the roadblocks in our industry are. They are often internal, and the net impact is that the industry is consolidating instead of growing.  Several of MHI’s own past and present members have said as much.

 

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Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.

 

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

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Who benefits from slow growth or negative growth? Isn’t it the deeper pockets that can then buy more communities, retailers, producers, and suppliers at a discount? Doesn’t that fit the Warren Buffett mantra?

 

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

 

Therefore, it is an obvious time for a new paradigm.

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When MHProNews spotlighted that MHI had reputedly done nothing on reaching out to the CFPB in 2017, MHI – perhaps in there embarrassment – began to move to get something done. When MHARR pushed MHI long enough on the DOE energy rule, MHI finally pivoted. It seems that MHI acts for the interests they claim to stand for best when the spotlight hits their lack of action otherwise. 

 

It is time for new alliances to be created that bridge the gaps that are causing a harmful status quo.  It is outrageous that manufactured home shipments are into 9 months of year-over-year decline.  It is a disgrace that MHI and their outside attorney threatened us for lawfully publishing the item below, when it was they who were making the false claims and promises.

 

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That this decline is avoidable is exemplified by exceptions to the rule, such as our report on Nobility Homes, linked here.

That Buffett’s ‘donations’ have found their way into the hands of MHAction and other groups opposing MHI begs the question, have they been playing the industry’s white hats with the rope-a-dope for years?

 

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

 

While MHI, Prosperity Now and others are pushing for a new bill in Congress that could make things worse. Paradoxically, the claimed goal of that bill could be rapidly achieved simply by implementing existing federal laws. Which begs the question, why not push for implementing good laws that are already on the books?  Who benefits from more delays? Isn’t it the consolidators that want to keep manufactured housing misunderstood and underperforming?

 

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There are several reasons to believe that there is collusion and corruption that purportedly violates antitrust, IRS or other regulations, and possibly laws such as RICO.

 

 

We have new and significant recent features on Manufactured Home Living News. They lay the foundation that makes the case for implementation of existing laws. They also suggest how white hat brands, organizations, honest public officials, and investors could be working with manufactured homeowners, renters, and others to reform the system by implementing existing laws.

It could – indeed should – start with public hearings by Congress and possibly states to investigate and explore what has gone wrong.  No one could be as incompetent as the powers that be in Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington have been, could they? Which suggests that a relatively small group of people could be manipulating the system in ways that cause more homelessness, more poverty, and more grief for millions that would otherwise be avoided.

 

 

More in the days ahead on specifics within HUD that should cause alarm and spark action.

Those of us born in the U.S.A. were born free.  Let’s not lose that freedom to the machinations of a few that are trying to wrongfully enrich themselves to the detriment of the many.

 

 

Roll the stone away. Let the guilty pay. It’s Independence Day.

 

 

Summing Up

The solution to the affordable housing crisis has been hiding in plain sight for years.  There is a case to be made that it is often forces within the industry that have thwarted, allowed, and diverted resources and good current laws from spurring more sustainable growth. That growth would have meant more home ownership for people otherwise trapped in rent. That kind of corruption must be exposed and punished.

Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay, it’s Independence Day.”

Now you may better understand our mantra, “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © Dig into the related and linked reports above and below to round out the picture. Let’s restore the American Dream, starting with an understanding of Independence Day. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. All third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)

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For MH professional expert services, click here. For examples of third-party media, see links here, here, and here.

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC parent company of MHLivingNews and MHProNews. He is a highly acclaimed industry expert and consultant, a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, and is a 25 plus year award-winning manufactured home industry professional. Kovach earned the Lottinville award in history at the University of Oklahoma.

 

 

Related Reports:

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https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-reiterates-call-for-dts-investigation/

 

Manufactured Housing Production and Shipments, Official HUD Data, Report for May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berkshire’s Joanne Stevens Rips Manufactured Housing Institute

June 27th, 2019 Comments off


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NAI Iowa Realty Commercial is proud to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies,” says the Joanne Stevens website. The firm is a commercial real estate brokerage firm that specializes in manufactured home communities. Her website sports the logo of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), among others.

 

Stevens has her own following in the manufactured housing industry. She is known for typically being quieter and gracious.

In the June 25 release of Quarter 1, 2019 of publisher Kurt Kelley’s Manufactured Housing Review (MHR), Stevens had a column.  Under her byline, Stevens addressed the recent spat of negative news and resultant increased interest by political leaders in regulating manufactured home communities. She said that it revealed how unprepared the industry was to respond to such concerns.

Does Stevens have a point?

Saying in MHR that “Tenants, the media and legislators unleashed their outrage against rent increases and MHP owners,” she said that “What happened next [after what she described as a “significant” “rent increase”] is a commentary on how woefully unprepared the MH & MHP Industry is to make the case for the essential role mobile homes & parks provide in the low-cost housing landscape.”

Perhaps Stevens didn’t consider the full import or implications of her words. But when given an opportunity to respond, neither she nor publisher Kurt Kelly disputed the logic or accuracy of the facts outlined in a new report on MHLivingNews linked below. That report is a deeper dive into what is sparking the concerns she said that the industry is not prepared to deal with.

 

 

Her bold statement flies in the face of Nathan Smith’s pledge when he was chairman of MHI to leave the association as one that is more proactive than reactive. Smith said at that time that ‘the industry’ – which MHI members often use as phrase synonymous with MHI – had to be honest with itself. Smith said that ‘the industry’ [MHI] had failed repeatedly at being proactive. But there is more in his video, which was produced prior to Smith and SSK Communities legal and media controversies.

 

 

In praising MHProNews publicly and on camera, MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison also grudging admitted that “the industry” failed at times. Again, think of ‘the industry’ in this context as code words for MHI.

 

 

But what the new MHLivingNews fact check and analysis reveals is who and what are sparking those failures.

 

 

What Warren Buffett Said…

What Stevens may or may not know is that the word heard after Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes in 2003 was this. Buffett reportedly said he did not want to be seen as ‘raising the rents on grandma.’ Therefore, Buffett wanted the Clayton-owned land-lease communities out of the Berkshire family of brands. They spun off all of those manufactured home community assets.

But various Berkshire units clearly recognize the value of lending on manufactured home communities, or making personal property loans on the manufactured homes in them. The acquisition by Berkshire of Stevens’ led community side of NAI Iowa Realty Commercial was a recognition that there was money to be made in brokering land-lease communities too.

Snapshots like that are why a community leader – speaking about Buffett and Berkshire – said to MHProNews earlier this week, “Damn! That spider has webs everywhere.”

Stevens and Kelley were both given an opportunity to respond to this new report; Kelley already has, but Stevens has not yet done so.

But what they’ve arguable done is this.  Once more, they’ve obliquely made the case that it is often Berkshire and MHI connected brands that have sparked those bad news stories.  While Stevens did not name them, it was MHI member Havenpark that sparked media and political outrage. And as Stevens observed, ‘the industry’ – i.e.: MHI – was unprepared with a cogent reply to that outrage caused by their own members.

 

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Perhaps that is why? Or is there a method to the MHI madness about Berkshire and other ‘black hat’ brands causing bad news, and then not responding to it?  Does the graphic below Havenpark’s D+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) qualify as evidence of black hat behavior?  Where is MHI’s ethical code of conduct?

 

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The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) has been asked to weigh in on this controversy. A follow up on this topic is planned in the days ahead. See the related reports, above and below.

 

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Submitted 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.

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

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

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Photo of Commodore Homes model, MHARR logo, are provided under fair use guidelines. See article and letter to Secretary Carson, linked here. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-calls-on-hud-secretary-to-end-discriminatory-and-exclusionary-zoning-of-hud-regulated-manufactured-homes/

MH Community Leader Robert Van Cleef – Public Call – Federal Investigations of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Manufactured Housing Institute

 

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Affordable Housing Crisis, Ray of Light for Manufactured Housing? Plus, Manufactured Home Stock Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Incestuous” Lobbying? Kings of K Street, Revolving Door, Big Tech, Berkshire Hathaway – Follow the Money

June 25th, 2019 Comments off
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Videos are further below. Collage by MHProNews.

When it comes to risk, here’s a reality check,” says FINRA. “All investments carry some degree of risk…within [a] country…political risk and currency risk are notable factors…”

 

Investopedia says that “political risk and macroeconomic risk…affect the performance of the overall market…” The centrist Financial Times points to the dangers to investments posed by political risks too.

Investors and professionals will be discerning 2020 candidates, as will the broader population. But in a nation of hundreds of millions, the lens candidates are viewed through are clearly going to differ.

The perspective of the millennial racked by student debt may well be more attracted to a candidate that promises to deal with that issue than those candidates who say there is no money to pay for such a debt-elimination program.  By contrast, the investor or small business owner may look dimly at those candidates who pledge higher taxes and more regulations.

That’s not to suggest that all businesses or investors are more centrist or right-leaning.  Some of the world’s and America’s richest men often bet on Democratic candidates, as the Daily Business News reported in the run-up to the 2018 midterms. The recent revelation that the Koch brothers could be supporting more Democrats in 2020 is just one indicator that the wealthy see politics and lobbying as a tool of business that they play which can pay hefty returns on investment.

The business of politics influences the creation of new regulations, the suspension of regs – and sometimes the failure to properly enforce existing laws – that can help or harm businesses. 

This Daily Business News item on MHProNews will look at lobbying and the revolving door in general, and then pivot in the third part of this article to more manufactured housing specific items in this 30,000-foot level report.

 

Mainstream, Investment Takes on K Street, Revolving Door, and Business

Gearing up for a big fight in Washington, four of the biggest tech companies are increasing their lobbying efforts,” says CBS News’ YouTube page to introduce their recent video report posted below. “Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are drawing out lobbyists with connections to the government as they face mounting scrutiny for alleged anti-trust violations. Kenneth Vogel, Washington reporter for The New York Times, joins CBSN to discuss.”’

 

 

As an editorial note about the video above, Vogel lays out several of the facts quite nicely. But if one detects a tone of ‘regulation over breakup’ in his analysis, MHProNews would observe that ‘regulating’ these companies is arguably not going to work as some think. The regulations in place haven’t worked, or the vexing scenarios Vogel describes wouldn’t exist. ICYMI, see what Professor Ed Lotterman says on the topic in the report linked from the text-image box below.

 

Real World Economics’ Professor Ed Lotterman says “Playing Monopoly is More Than Just Rolling the Dice”

 

Several of the Democratic 2020 candidates – Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren jump to mind – as well as a growing number on the political right have said that they think these tech giants need to be broken up under antitrust laws. Some of those same Senate Democrats have signed a letter asking the CFPB to dig into concerns over Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and their associated manufactured home lenders.

In the CBS News video, Vogel touches upon several useful underlying themes to understand, including the ‘revolving door,’ which will be the focus of an upcoming manufactured housing industry specific exclusive report.

With regard to the New York Times’ Vogel’s narrative, antitrust law and how it is used is likely to be a campaign topic in the contests ahead. Clearly, Big Tech will be fighting it, as they have for years.  It is likely no coincidence that the Trump Administration’s antitrust division at the Department of Justice is reportedly opened investigations into some of the firms named above.

While they may approach these subjects from a different perspective, when both major parties spot a similar problem, that may be a sign that critical mass on an issue is approaching.

The video below is from the Obama Administration era, and thus is a bit dated.  But it makes clear just how large the lobbying business is, and why big business is willing to invest so much in it. The ROI on lobbying is stunning. This Motif investing video also has a touch of dry humor in the music an imagery.  The sources for the data are often shown in the bottom right corner of the screen.

 

 

As Motif summed it up, “If you follow the “Kings of K Street” motif, you know that companies that invest in influence have a leg up.” What that means is that smaller businesses and investors have to play smarter or they can get run over.

 

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MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, follows the evidence, and the money. 

 

MHProNews recently spotlighted how the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has spent its lobbying dollars via their political action committee, the MHI PAC.

 

Democrats? Republicans? Political Campaigns Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) PAC Supported

 

Berkshire Hathaway, as thousands of industry pros know, is the parent to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), plus a number of other manufactured housing industry connected firms.

But Berkshire’s ties with the so-called tech giants are deep and growing, so that should not be overlooked in the snapshot outlined above.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates of Microsoft fame have long-standing ties, including Buffett donating billions in Berkshire stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where Buffett is a trustee.

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Collage from the Gates foundation website.

 

Berkshire now has roughly a billion dollars of Amazon stock.  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Buffett certainly collaborated on various levels years before that formal investment.

Berkshire also owns stock in giant Apple. According to CNBC on May 3, the value of Berkshire’s holdings in Apple in late 2018 was some $40 billion dollars.

So, when one is thinking about the tech giants, don’t forget that Berkshire and Buffett are not likely that far off. 

 

“Have…Giants…Stifled Competition,” Antitrust Battle Lines in D.C., plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

 

Berkshire’s own lobbying is prodigious. See the summary in the graphic that follows.

 

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Thus the tech giants plus Berkshire all share an interest in fighting antitrust action. Never forget that for Buffett and Berkshire, regulations can be a tool on their side that is wielded against other lesser firms.

 

Raw Power Over Manufactured Housing

The raw power to destroy independents is linked below.  That hot-linked text-image box takes a reader to the report which purportedly documents collusion and violations of antitrust laws.  Based upon years of research, MHProNews believes that only an AT&T style breakup of these firms under antitrust laws will suffice in the end. 

 

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In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by their president Tim Williams, Warren Buffett’s direct quotes from that same year’s annual letter, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, all line up in what attorneys who reviewed it see as ‘smoking gun’ evidence of antitrust violations. They demonstrate how thousands of independent retailers, communities, and several producers – among others – where purportedly directly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. See for yourself: https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

But as a much-needed lead up to federal antitrust action, Congress can hold open hearings to spotlight on camera how Berkshire brands, MHI, and the ‘big boys’ dominating our industry impact consumers, investors, and most others.  In a similar vein, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), a trade group that represents independent producers, is calling for just such congressional investigations on the finance topic: see that from MHARR, at this link here

There are resident-community leaders who are coming to a similar conclusion.

 

MH Community Leader Robert Van Cleef – Public Call – Federal Investigations of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Manufactured Housing Institute

There will be an exclusive, special report planned for later this week on the revolving door and how that is connected to and impacts manufactured housing. That impacts thousands of industry operations. So if MHVille matters to you, don’t miss it.

 

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Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com. Put the phrase “News Tips” or “Comments” in the subject line to help us spot yours in our volume of emails, thank you.

That’s today’s third installment of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ©. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)

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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.

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Submitted 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:

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Antitrust – “You Can’t Penalize Success But Can Penalize Bad Behavior.” Former Ast AG Bill Baer, plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

Senator Cory Booker – ‘We Need a President…to Enforce Antitrust Laws,’ Digging Warren, POTUS Trump

 

Democrats, Independents, Elephant in the Room, Third Parties, 2020 Kickoff, and Manufactured Housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MH Community Leader Robert Van Cleef – Public Call – Federal Investigations of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Manufactured Housing Institute

June 19th, 2019 Comments off

 

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In a news tip today to the Daily Business News on MHProNews is the following public call by Californian Robert ‘Bob’ Van Cleef for federal investigations of some high profile organizations in the manufactured home industry.

 

From Van Cleef’s post today, found at this link here, is the following.  The post is styled “Requesting an Antitrust Investigation.” He cites and links several sources, including his representative, DoJ, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, John Oliver’s viral video, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, and Manufactured Home Living News, among others.  The hot-links are in the original.

 

Requesting an Antitrust Investigation

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Bob

This is a follow up related to John Oliver’s report on living in Manufactured Home Parks. In his report, he exposed the illegal and immoral actions, potentially violating Antitrust and RICO laws, by various companies.

     See:  HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video

One of the major threads of his report relates to the actions of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and the Manufactured Housing Institute. He shows them working in collusion to violate the law.  He also shows the harm that they are bringing to the people that live in the manufactured home parks they manage.   This includes many who are seniors, disabled and living on fixed incomes.

Request to Congress

Based on my research, after viewing that report, I sent an email to a staff member for Congressman Ame Bera, who represents the district I now live in, requesting the following actions. 

First, I asked that the Congressman write a letter to Makan Delrahim, the Assistant Attorney General responsible for overseeing the Antitrust Division.  The focus of his letter should be to ask the Antitrust Division to review the actions of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and the Manufactured Housing Institute for possible Antitrust and RICO violations.

The second request would be to have him contact HUD Secretary Carson to have his agency enforce the existing federal laws with respect to Federal Preemption and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

Finally, it would not hurt to supply for our Democratic Representative to reach out in a bi-partisan manner to support Secretary Carson’s efforts to treat Manufactured Homes as an asset in today’s housing crisis.

See:  HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s Speech on Manufactured Homes, “Manufactured Housing…Active Ingredient…Medication…for a Stronger America.

Affordable Housing

Mary and I couldn’t afford to live in San Jose anymore.  (We were economically evicted.)  However, after selling our heavily mortgaged home in San Jose, we purchased outright a manufactured home in Rancho Cordova.  I was amazed at the improvement of our quality of life!  The home was bigger and nicer than the one we left in San Jose.  Also, we found the new neighborhood to be open and welcoming, and best of all, it was affordable!

Everyone is talking about affordable housing.  Based on my experience and as described by Secretary Ben Carson, manufactured homes could be a valuable tool for reversing our current housing shortage. 

Why can’t more people take advantage of manufactured homes to get out of their housing trap?

That will be the basis for future posts.

##

 

Per sources and his post suggests, Van Cleef has become a leader in his land-lease community among residents there. He’s actively engaging public officials and others in an effort to find solutions to the types of troubling issues his post referenced.

MHProNews will plan to monitor his posts, as we do others that are engaged on issues relating to manufactured home professionals and consumers.

 

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Views From Trenches of Manufactured Housing – Factories, Retailers, MHCs, Others Sound Off

 

Real World Economics’ Professor Ed Lotterman says “Playing Monopoly is More Than Just Rolling the Dice”

 

Manufactured Home Communities’ Dodd-Frank Moment Looms, Senator Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Several Manufactured Housing Institute Community Members

Dueling Statements, NAMHCO, MHI, MHARR, Weigh In On Controversial MH Bill, “George Allen Pawn Gambit”

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. Why hasn’t Allen told his readers how that cost them money? https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

“Have…Giants…Stifled Competition,” Antitrust Battle Lines in D.C., plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

MHARRCallsHUDSecretaryCarsonEndDiscriminatoryZoningHUDRegulatedManufacturedHomesCommodoreHomesCorpMHARR

Photo of Commodore Homes model, MHARR logo, are provided under fair use guidelines. See article and letter to Secretary Carson, linked here. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-calls-on-hud-secretary-to-end-discriminatory-and-exclusionary-zoning-of-hud-regulated-manufactured-homes/

 

What Congressional Representatives, Senators, and Industry Professionals Should Be Asking About Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WAVY, Mainstream TV – HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Innovative Housing Showcase – Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway Revelations

June 11th, 2019 Comments off

 

WAVYMainstreamTVHUDSecretaryBenCarsonInnovativeHousingShowcaseClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayRevelationsManufacturedHomeMHProNews

WAVY is one of several mainstream news outlets that came up in a Google search for “Innovative Housing Showcase” (IHS) and “Manufactured Homes” on 6.10.2019.  That’s more than a full week after the event – which ran from June 1-5, 2019 – began.

 

The WAVY report was fine, with a body of 336 words – not counting the headline, captions, etc. – and included the video posted below, which says it was produced by KNWANorthwest Arkansas News.

 

 

The portion that dealt with manufactured homes read as follows.

Ben Carson, the U.S Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said the federal government is focused on improving  building standards and codes to reduce risks. He said officials are also looking at many options including encouraging alternatives like manufactured homes,” per WAVY and the KNWA video.

They are bolted down to cement foundation. They are better able to withstand hurricanes and tornadoes than site-built homes are,” according to a brief clip with Carson.  But it is unclear from that statement, if Carson was speaking about a “Boxabl” prefab that he is standing in during the interview, and/or if he was speaking about HUD Code manufactured homes.

As manufactured home retailers know, not all manufactured homes are placed on a cement slab foundation, although they must be installed on an approved foundation for the area that it is being placed in.  The short video below sheds some light on the topic for those not familiar with the details.

 

 

Allow us to take a 100 acre area and put in 1,000 units in a matter of days or weeks instead of a year or more,” Carson said about the potential for more rapid post-disaster relief, per WAVY.

The HUD and National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) co-sponsored event can be viewed as positive for the industry.  The reactions from those in various videos taken during the event would reflect that impression.

 

Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Connections, and Revelations

However, upon closer scrutiny, some interesting points emerge both pre-IHS, during their National Mall display, and post-event.

First, “Innovative Housing Showcase” and “Clayton Homes” turns up zero results, as of this morning on the Google search shown below.

 

InnovativeHousingShowcaseClaytonHomes2019-06-10_1127GooglesearchManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

Clayton, as most industry professionals know, is the largest builder of HUD Code manufactured homes.  They and their fellow Berkshire Hathaway brands are commonly viewed as the dominating force at the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Clayton did not display any manufactured homes, but per our sources, had team members present for the event.

 

InnovatieHousingShowcaseIHSManufacturedHomeGoogleSearch2019-06-10_1116ManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Perhaps more noteworthy is the absence of any BH Media Group coverage of the IHS event.

BH Media Group, part of the Berkshire Hathaway owned assets – including their de facto flagship Omaha World Herald – turned up no results in the search above. BH Media Group has several media assets in Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. where this event took place.  A 2018 list of BH Media group newspapers is below.

BerkshireHathawayMediaGroupNewspapersLogoPerTheirWebsite8-14,2-18DailyBusinessNewsMHProNEwsLogo

Most manufactured home industry professionals don’t realize the broad scope of the BH Media Group’s direct assets. Beyond these, there are other media ties and interests that Berkshire Hathaway arguably can leverage. Why haven’t they done so with respect to the Innovative Housing Showcase? Or Secretary Carson’s positive address in New Orleans? How does this reality compare with the claims of Kevin Clayton, MHI, or their sycophants, such as MH Insider and George F. Allen?

 

Given the fact that a media outlet from Northwest Arkansas, Bloomberg, Fox Business, and Epoch Times – among others – all thought this is relevant topic, why not the BH Media Group?

The very limited number of total Google search results for on IHS and manufactured homes further undermines any claims that might be made that Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway, or MHI are properly promoting events like this one that could sway more consumers who are considering their housing options.

Such factoids reinforces other concerns raised by MHProNews, MHLivingNews, or MHARR about Clayton’s, Berkshire’s, and MHI’s intentions regarding the growth of the industry.

There are only a few logical explanations for this.  They reasonably could be summed up as follows:

  • Clayton, Berkshire, and MHI are inept at promoting the manufactured home industry. (MHProNews doesn’t think this is the case, this is just a potentially logical explanation for the poor media coverage during an affordable housing crisis).
  • Clayton, Berkshire and MHI lack motivation or the talent necessary for promoting such an event (same parenthetical comment as above).
  • Clayton, Berkshire, and MHI posture efforts and offer fig-leaves like some nice, professional videos, which are getting very few views – especially when compared to negative media coverage.
  • Clayton, Berkshire, and MHI are allowing the industry to struggle during an affordable housing crisis, and are therefore promoting or allowing impressions to exist that would not appeal to most consumers.
  • Clayton, Berkshire, and a few ‘big boy’ MHI members are allowing headwinds that might be abated to continue, precisely with the goal of consolidating more of the industry into ever fewer hands.
  • In support of the above, the fact millions of dollars in Warren Buffett’s donations have gone to organizations that have often opposed manufactured housing supports some of the later bullets.

As prior reports last week reflected, there are some MHI videos of the event, see the more detail report from the linked text image box below.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

But for an organization – MHI – that has a full-time public relations person, plus other staff members, what were they doing in the run-up to the event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.?  Why wasn’t this event last week an all- hands-on-deck to promote the turnout of federal, other public officials, and the mainstream media?

A related and upcoming report on MHProNews will reveal that the turnout of elected officials was embarrassingly low. MHI claims ‘clout,’ but when it comes to actually using it on something that could potentially grow industry acceptance and sales, why is it so lacking?

These relevant queries and factoids beg more questions.

  • Does MHI and other ‘big boy’ members do ‘fig leaf’ promotion, designed primarily to appease industry critics of their efforts?
  • Are MHI and a few ‘big boy’ firms trying to impress their followers? Because if they are trying to move the needle for the industry, 8 straight months of year-over-year declining new home shipments clearly reveals that however bold their claims may be, the sobering facts mitigate against any rationale notion that their efforts are working.

The acid test is new home sales, production, and shipments.  Anything else is a fig-leaf, dodge, or distraction.

 

Secretary Carson’s Historic Effort

HUD Secretary Carson certainly has done more than perhaps any of his predecessors in the 21st century to promote manufactured homes and other forms of prefab or tiny housing.  But has Dr. Carson’s staff tell him about “enhanced preemption,” or other relevant details from reports linked with added evidence that should be red flags?

Certainly, there are those at HUD who have made it clear to mainstream media that Clayton Homes and their lenders are already under investigation.

 

 

There is no indication that we can find that Secretary Carson has been briefed by his staff about the “enhanced preemption” enjoyed by manufactured homes under federal law established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  When MHProNews recently asked multiple HUD officials about that concern, they declined to comment.

MHI has declined comment on that topic as well.

MHI’s president and CEO signs a form with the IRS every year that claims that MHI is seeking to address regulatory and market acceptance. Evidence uncovered from this and related reports linked herein call that claim – made under penalty of perjury – into doubt.

 

IRSForm990RichardDickJennisonMHIPresidentCEODailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It is not legally permissible for MHI, or other nonprofits, to deliberately deceive prospective or current members, or the federal government, about their true goals and objectives. While the standards are different with publicly traded firms, failure to properly disclose the reasons for underperformance, per legal sources, could likewise be a possible source for liability and/or various types of federal action.

 

This is the #1 news, fact-checks, and analysis resource that makes manufactured home industry professionals think.  With that, it’s a wrap on this installment of News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

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Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”

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

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

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

June 3rd, 2019 Comments off

 

WashingtonLeakJusticeDepartmentPreparesMajorAntitrustInvestigationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

According to Rueter’s and Yahoo Finance, “The U.S. Justice Department is preparing an investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google to determine whether the tech giant broke antitrust law in operating its sprawling online businesses, two sources familiar with the matter said.”

 

Officials from the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission, which both enforce antitrust law, met in recent weeks to give Justice jurisdiction over Google,” according to those sources, and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which broke the story.

This word from Washington, D.C. will fuel speculation that Berkshire Hathaway brands, along with other tech giants that impact manufactured housing and the nation, will soon become more visible targets of antitrust regulatory scrutiny. Those who’ve relied on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their industry trade mouthpieces would have had no clue that this has been brewing for years. Meanwhile, MHProNews has been covering this developing topic from several angles for years. Our sister site has been laying the foundation for understanding on MHLivingNews too, in reports like the one linked below.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. MHProNews has given these firms an opportunity to refute or clarify the issues and concerns raised.  They and MHI have all declined responses. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

Pivoting back to the Google-specific matter, this could be welcome news for manufactured housing industry professionals for several reasons.

Google declined comment initially, but DOJ would not confirm or deny the claim of an antitrust investigation. It’s worth noting that the European Union (EU) has fined Google billions for prior antitrust concerns.

During the Obama Administration, there was DOJ and FTC pressure on Google, but it went nowhere substantially. In April, 2016, the left-of-center news source – the Intercept – reported that “the Google lobbyist with the most White House visits, Johanna Shelton, visited 128 times, far more” than others. The Obama Administration and the tech giants – including Google – had a cozy relationship, by several mainstream media accounts.=

Lawmakers have complained about alleged political bias, its plans in China, and more.

 

“For the Good of Consumers and Competition”

TripAdvisor remains concerned about Google’s practices in the United States, the EU and throughout the world,” TripAdvisor chief executive and co-founder Stephen Kaufer said in a statement, adding: “For the good of consumers and competition on the internet, we welcome any renewed interest by U.S. regulators into Google’s anticompetitive behavior.” Note to first time visitors, MHProNews often takes direct quotes and turns them bold and brown to make them pop, but otherwise the content is as stated.

This is very big news, and overdue,” Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican Google critic, said on Twitter with respect to this investigation.  In that, he joined President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who said that Google is a threat to democracy.

 

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

 

This has become an increasingly bi-partisan issue, as what follows will reflect. While MHI devotees fly into Washington, D.C. today, will this even be a topic, unless a brave member raises the relevant questions?

 

The Broader Antitrust Picture and Manufactured Housing

As MHProNews has previously reported, several Democratic lawmakers and 2020 presidential hopeful candidates have made antitrust part of their platform.  Among the most visible to date has been Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D), who has renounced any corporate contributions in favor of individual donors.  Perhaps of more import to manufactured housing industry firms, Warren has sent off a round of formal letters of inquiry to manufactured home community operators. See that MHProNews exclusive report, linked here.

Even more specifically, Democratic Senators have asked the CFPB to take steps to curb allegations of predatory behavior by Clayton Homes and their lenders, see that recent report, linked here.

Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D) threw down an antitrust gauntlet with ABC News, in a video and report posted below.

 

Senator Cory Booker – ‘We Need a President…to Enforce Antitrust Laws,’ Digging Warren, POTUS Trump

 

Daily Business News on MHProNews reported in 2018 that the Trump Administration had prepared an antitrust executive order.

 

Draft EO for Trump Administration AntiTrust Order Obtained by MHProNews

 

This trade media platform also reported Democratic steps taken, such as the one below.

 

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

 

Sources have told MHProNews that Berkshire Hathaway has ‘beefed up’ its antitrust legal team, perhaps in anticipation of just such an expected move. That may also explain why Berkshire’s industry players who have allegedly been involved in allegations of antitrust and other potentially corrupt practices have remained silent when asked about this topic.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Learn more at this link here, here, and here.

MHProNews will continue to monitor this developing issue. Antitrust is likely to be a significant part of the 2020 debate.  Consolidation and monopolization is a concern across numerous industries, and manufactured housing is one of them. To learn more about this topic which is expected to expand to other giant firms, click the links above, or further below the byline and notices.

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

 

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Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending

May 28th, 2019 Comments off

SenateDems2020ContendersAskCFPBProtectconsumersAgainstPredatorLendersClaytonHomes21stVanderbiltWarrenBuffettLogophotosManufacturedHomeMHProNews

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) led a group of eight other Democratic Senators in calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to improve transparency around manufactured home financing, according to a release from the office of Senator Cortez.

 

Senator Cortez was joined in the letter signed “by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.),” said the statement informing the Daily Business News on MHProNews.

The letter, found at the link here, was dated May 9, 2019.  To date, there is no known response found in an online search on this topic made by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, or Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF).

Specifically, the letter from Senate Democrats did not name a company, which is potentially more problematic for independents.  However, it did link to the Seattle Times/Center for Public Integrity report found at this link here.  That report specifically names Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway’s manufactured home lenders, and Warren Buffett.

It begins with this paragraph, “Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett controls a mobile-home empire that promises low-income borrowers affordable houses. But all too often, it traps those owners in high-interest loans and rapidly depreciating homes.” For new readers, note that MHProNews often turns quoted text brown and bold to make it ‘pop,’ but otherwise the words are as in the original.

The original letter from the Democratic Senators is linked as a download here, and said in part “We urge the CFPB to work with consumer advocates to design and implement an appropriate disclosure form that ensures manufactured home buyers understand their options and are not steered into high-cost loans.”

Their provided copy of the letter is not scannable, so MHProNews recreated a scannable (readable) version for online researchers, which is found as a download linked here.  Thus far, no one in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis have published a response to this Democratic initiative.  Why not?

SenateDemocratsSignLetterCFPBManufacturedHousingPredatoryLendingMHProNews2019-05-27_2024

There are times that MHProNews waits to see what response, if any, Omaha based Berkshire, Knoxville metro based Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, or the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) makes. Recall Nathan Smith’s pledge that MHI should become more pro-active? Where is the evidence for that in this report? Are we to think that the manufactured housing’s powers that be don’t know about this Democratic call to action?

 

What to Expect?

Should Democrats retake the Senate and White House and hold the House of Representatives in 2020, expect this document to be a harbinger of what’s to come. Recall the deep dive on the Masthead, linked here.

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

 

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

Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Customer or Product of Tech Giants? Manufactured Housing Connections and Implications

May 23rd, 2019 Comments off

AreYouCustomerProductTechGiantsManufacturedHousingConnectionsImplicationsMHProNews

There is significant evidence of the monopolization of America.  Perhaps the best-known examples are the tech giants, many of which have come under fire from both sides of the left-right political divides here in the U.S.  The New York Times reported on Mar 20, 2019 “European authorities on Wednesday fined Google 1.5 billion euros,” equal at that time to some $1.7 billion U.S. dollars, for antitrust activity.

 

As CNN pointed out, that was the third in a series of billion-dollar penalties” for Google.

As MHProNews reported, a co-founder of Facebook, along with other former executives, have called for the breakup of Facebook. That report can be accessed below from the hot-linked text-image box.

 

 

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg Discusses Antitrust Breaking Up, What Kevin Clayton, Joe Stegmayer, MHI Can Learn, plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

 

MHProNews has thus far been alone in industry trade media to report that Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway now have roughly a billion dollars in common interests.  Given that Amazon has moved into prefab housing, and Kevin Clayton led Clayton homes is likewise into conventional, prefab, and manufactured housing, it ought to be considered as a rumbling of a potential earthquake in manufactured housing.

 

Amazon-Berkshire Announcement – Emerging Factory-Building Elephant in the Room?

 

The list that follows includes some of the top billionaires in the world.  There have been times that #3 Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, parent company to Clayton Homes and other manufactured housing brands, has reportedly been rivaled briefly by #4, Bernard Arnault, a Frenchman.

 

top10BillionairesinWorldVisualCapitalistManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

When one grasps the concept of interlocking directorates, and then how nonprofits can be weaponized to expand that reach of these giants even further, the threat to independents in all segments of society – including manufactured home independents – grows.

InterlockingDirectoratesGraphicExampleManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It is with this backdrop, that Jeff Desjardins Visual Capitalist (VC) infographic comes into focus.

Here is how VC says the tech titans are earning their billions.

 

HowTechGiantsEarnTheirBillionsVisualCapitalistInfographicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

How the Tech Giants Make Their Billions

At a glance, it may seem like the world’s biggest technology companies have a lot in common.

But a closer look, says VC, suggests that there are two broad categories between these firms.  You are the customer, and you are the product.  Here is how they put it.

You are the Customer

In the broadest sense, three of the tech giants make money in the same way: you pay them money, and they give you a product or service.

Apple (Revenue in 2018: $265.6 billion)

  • Apple generates a staggering 62.8% of its revenue from the iPhone
  • The iPad and Mac are good for 7.1% and 9.6% of revenues, respectively
  • All other products and services – including Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, Apple Pay, AppleCare, etc. – combine to just 20.6% of revenues

Amazon (Revenue in 2018: $232.9 billion)

  • Amazon gets the most from its online stores (52.8%) as well as third-party seller services (18.4%)
  • Amazon’s fastest-growing segment is offline sales in physical stores
  • Offline sales generate $17.2 billion in current revenue, growing 197% year-over-year
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) is well-known for being Amazon’s most profitable segment, and it counts for 11.0% of revenue
  • Amazon’s “Other” segment is also rising fast – it mainly includes ad sales

Microsoft (Revenue in 2018: $110.4 billion)

  • Microsoft has the most diversified revenue of any of the tech giants
  • This is part of the reason it currently has the largest market capitalization ($901 billion) of the Big Five
  • Microsoft has eight different segments that generate ~5% or more of revenue
  • The biggest three are “Office products and cloud services” (25.7%), “Server products and cloud services” (23.7%), and Windows (17.7%)

The remaining tech giants charge you nothing as a consumer, so how are they worth so much?

 

You are the Product

Both Alphabet and Facebook also generate billions of dollars of revenue, but they make this money from advertising. Their platforms allow advertisers to target you at scale with incredible precision, which is why they dominate the online ad industry.

Here’s how their revenues break down:

Alphabet (Revenue in 2018: $136.8 billion)

  • Despite having a wider umbrella name, ad revenue (via Google, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Ads, etc.) still drives 85% of revenue for the company
  • Other Google products and services, like Google Play or the Google Pixel phone, help to generate 14.5% of total revenue
  • Other Bets count to 0.4% of revenue – these are Alphabet’s moonshot attempts to find the “next Google” for its shareholders

Facebook (Revenue in 2018: $55.8 billion)

  • Facebook generates almost all revenue (98.5%) from ads
  • Meanwhile, 1.5% comes from payments and other fees
  • Despite Facebook being a free service for users, the company generated more revenue per user than Netflix, which charges for its service
  • In 2018 Q4, for example, Facebook made $35 per user. Netflix made $30.

So while the tech giants may have many similarities, how they generate their billions can vary considerably.  Which is why MHProNews for some years has been spotlighting those professionals who are raising the warning about monopoly in general, often who specific several tech giants.

 

Some are marketing products to you, while others are marketing you as the product.  Odds are excellent that you are engaged using products or services from multiple – if not all – of these giant firms.

The solution? Understand the pattern, and fight back legally and ethically with whit and wisdom.

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

 

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

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.

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

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

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MarketWatch Reports on Manufactured Housing, 2018-2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Scoop on the Manufactured Housing Industry in Memes

May 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

InsideScoopManufacturedHousingInMemes$100MillionCashPalletManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

Some readers have asked the Daily Business News for MHProNews for an executive summary of why manufactured housing is underperforming compared to its historic norms.

 

It has been a while since we’ve done cartoons or memes.  While these are meant to be a bit on the lighter side, the issues they reflect are serious ones.

 

WarrenBuffettKevinClaytonPhotoClaytonHomesModelHomePhotoBerkshireHathawayAnnualEventPhotoMemeCartoonManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

While some of the conversations are obviously fictional, as is common with memes or satire, the impacts and nature of the matters described are arguably correct.  Those in Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington or their allies are welcome to formally reply.

In spotlighting the next meme, it should not be construed as partisan. Democrats and Republicans in Minnesota have studied manufactured housing, and agreed in a bipartisan way that that the industry offers an important part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis.  That said, its a real photo, and there is no disputing that Warren Buffett backed candidate and then President Barack Obama, and that he had access – and a Buffett grandson – working in the Obama White House.

 

WarrenBuffettPresidentBarackObamaPhotoMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

To underscore the reasonableness of these themes of these memes, click on the first of several reports linked below the byline and notices.

 

WarrenBuffettPhotoPresidentBarackObamaPhotoMemeCartoonManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

We value reader input, as well as news tips. Many of our reports are based on tips from people working in the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) orbit.

 

PhotoKevinClaytonWarrenBuffettKeithHoldbrooksClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayClaytonFactoryMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryCartoonProNews

 

Readers are reminded that our publisher was elected by his peers to be on an MHI board.  He has a better than average sense of that trade group than the vast majority of industry professionals who have never been to any or only a few MHI events or meetings, because he was there for years of meetings and first-hand observations.

If this is your first article to read on MHProNews, know that we do mostly serious research, analysis, and fact-checks which have made and kept us the runaway #1 in manufactured housing since our first year. We are now in our 10th year of serving the industry.  But it helps to break up the serious with some periodic satire.

Our evening market report will be posted soon.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Senator Cory Booker – ‘We Need a President…to Enforce Antitrust Laws,’ Digging Warren, POTUS Trump

May 13th, 2019 Comments off

 

SenCoryBookerWeNeedAPresidentToEnforceAntiTrustLawsDiggingElizabethWarrenPOTUSTrumpManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Still frame from video, posted below. The text graphics are by MHProNews.

I don’t care if it’s Facebook, the pharma industry, even the agricultural industry. We’ve had a problem in America with corporate consolidation that is having really ill effects,” New Jersey Senator and 2020 Democratic Nomination contender Cory Booker said in an interview for ABC News “This Week.”

 

It’s driving out the independent family farmers. It’s driving up prescription drug costs. And in the realm of technology, we’re seeing…one or two companies controlling a significant amount of the online advertising.” he continued.  Booker’s comments come on the heels of Facebook’s co-founder and former chief executive Chris Hughes’ publicly calling for the breakup of Facebook, see that and other former FB insiders comments, linked here.

IfMHProNewsIswritingAboutItIWantToKnowAboutItQuote

Executive level readers comment.

Tens of thousands of manufactured home industry professionals use Facebook daily.  But the issue of controlling wide swaths of media, or other antitrust concerns that impact manufactured housing, are far broader.

It should be noted that Big Tech, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are more routinely saying to federal officials, ‘regulate us.’ But as deeply-focused, regular, and longtime MHProNews readers know, that call for ‘regulation’ can be akin to big banks getting ‘regulated’ by Dodd-Frank.  The consequences of Dodd-Frank and the regulations that flowed from it were that smaller lenders got driven out.

Rephrased, a giant firm can better handle regulations, which pushes out smaller ones.  Thus FB’s and Zuckerberg’s – or any other similar call for regulation vs. antitrust law breakup – can properly be seen as a ruse that simply won’t work in practice as it is being promoted.  It’s a false flag solution to a real and pressing issue of the growing monopolization of America.  It is possible to posture opposing a big company, but de facto take an action that helps it, rather than controls or breaks it up.

 

Booker on Antitrust, President Trump and Elizabeth Warren

If I’m president of the United States, I will have a Justice Department that uses antitrust legislation to do the proper investigations and to hold industries accountable for corporate consolidation,” Senator Booker said to ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Booker said he believes in “process,” and in this ABC News video delivered a not too subtle elbow at both fellow Democratic contender, Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) as well as GOP President Donald J. Trump.

In early March, fellow 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the breakup of Facebook, Amazon and Google. MHProNews and MHLivingNews have spotlighted Warren’s more aggressive posture on antitrust than some of her fellow Democrats.

As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people,” the Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote. “To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.”

The arguments being made by these and some other Democratic and GOP voices could be applied to Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, and their top manufactured home lenders.  It could be applied to Microsoft.  Thus an apt battle cry could be #DeFaangBM. Break up the FAANG companies, plus Berkshire and Microsoft.  These are important places to start the restoration of a more truly free marketplace in the U.S.

 

DeFaangBmAntiTrustOpenMarketsAffordableHousingManufacturedHomesHousingChoiceMHProNews

 

Booker said he doesn’t “think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and…breaking them up without any kind of process here.”

It’s not me and my own personal opinion about going after folks. That sounds more like a Donald Trump thing to say, like, ‘I’m going to break up you guys, I’m gonna break’ — no.” He deflected the point that it was Senator Warren saying that, not President Trump. “Well, that’s what she’s saying. She’s the one that’s saying that,” ABC’s Karl said.

Booker deflected, saying it was up to Senator Warren to discuss her positions.

I’m telling you right now, we do not need a president that is going to use their own personal beliefs and tell you which companies we should break up,” he said. We need a president that’s going to enforce antitrust laws in this country, and I will be that person.”

 

 

Given the crowded nature of the 2020 field, with about 21 Democrats currently in contention, and Howard Schultz possibly moving towards an independent run, hopeful’s like Booker are looking for media oxygen as well as financial support to sustain their White House ambitions.

 

The Issue of Antitrust, America, and MHVille

Both sides of the major party political aisle have allowed antitrust laws to languish, certainly since the 1990s.  As it is becoming obvious to both the left and the right, there are increasing calls to act in a way that will benefit the economy, jobs, and ultimately the vast majority of the people. ICYMI, or need a refresher, a useful overview was provided in the article linked below.

New York Times-David Leonhardt-“The Monopolization of America,” Manufactured Housing Slant

 

President Trump’s White House let it be know that an executive order on antitrust was drafted last year. His campaign manager has also talked about the threat posed by big tech. See more on that, in the related reports, below the bylines, notices, and offers.

While POTUS Trump has not yet acted, in fairness, it was only recently that the Mueller report came out, which lifted the cloud of baseless ‘Russian collusion’ that acted as a drag on his presidency, especially during his first year in office. It now remains to be seen what he will do with the remaining two years of what he hopes will be his first of two terms at the helm in D.C.

Given the significant extent to which consolidation has been impacting manufactured housing independents and manufactured home community residents in recent years, the interest in this issue is and should be high among industry professionals.

See the related reports, which includes the ‘November Rain’ address by the Trump DOJ’s top antitrust watch dog, further below.

It is difficult to imagine how an investor or professional in manufactured housing can begin to properly grasp the market without having a firm handle on the trends toward monopolization.  That means one must also understand what are the root causes of that trend.  The related reports reveal that it is an issue that spans the left-right divide.  There is oddly no one else in manufactured housing trade media that focuses on this issue, perhaps because they are de facto mouthpieces for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis?

It’s “Monday, Monday.” Will it be good to thee?  That’s this pre-dawn edition of the #1 most-read “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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