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Source – Manufactured Housing Institute Violated Law? Conflicts of Interest?

March 15th, 2017 Comments off
StopConflictsofInterestCostManufacturedHousingBillionsMHProNews

Collage credit, MHProNews/GraphicStock.

Bylaws, articles of incorporation and 990 tax returns are public documents,” an informed source with long ties to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) told MHProNews.

The source was responding to word that the Manufactured Housing Institute’s President, Richard Jennison and senior vice-president and general counsel, Rick Robinson, were among those who failed to turn over requested MHI documents to MHProNews.

The source then pointed to the fact that MHI was incorporated in the state of Illinois.

As an IL non profit, by law, the source said that MHI is required to provide the information requested.  Bylaws, and other documents are supposed to be public records.  Yet as of this time, MHI’s top staff have failed to send the records and bylaws.

Nor would MHI give a reason for not providing the records.

The source then provided the Daily Business News this Illinois state government link as a reference to the law.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2280&ChapterID=65  or see the state document download, linked here.

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Richard A. “Dick” Jennison, credit, RVBusiness.

As to why MHI’s president would fail to provide something that’s legally required, and a common-sense need for members or potential members, the source said: “Dick [Jennison] holds everything close to the vest is all I can say.”

Conflict of Interests?

It’s clear that several de facto conflicts of interest exist at MHI.  For balance, note that there are arguments that the association’s leadership might make to deflect from those obvious conflicts.

Without the bylaws and other MHI documents, it’s not clear if the Manufactured Housing Institute’s executive committee has engaged – or not in one or more potential conflicts of interest – from a legal or organizational sense.

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Tim Williams, credit, LinkedIn.

For example, under the bylaws, articles and laws of incorporation, is there a conflict of interest when The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – a finance related effort that directly benefits two major industry lenders – is being promoted by the association’s chairman, Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage Corporation, who’s firm is a direct beneficiary if such a law is passed?

Or is the consumer research that has been questioned by MHI award-winner, Marty Lavin, JD, – and other members – which benefits one or more major corporations, and is being paid by for by firms of all sizes at MHI, is that a conflict of interest?

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Compare and contrast MHI’s hiding information, with UMH’s welcoming outside coverage by media as a check of their actions. We welcome outside oversight and criticism as it allows us to objectively evaluate our actions.” – Sam Landy, explaining UMH Properties perspective on media, public critiques. The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) logo is their property, and is used here under fair use guidelines. Collage credit, MHProNews.

To begin to know the answer to those and many other pending questions, bylaws, other MHI non-profit records, and documents requested by MHProNews – both as a member, and as trade media – would have to be obtained and examined.

In an age when transparency is touted by many corporations and non-profits, what are the optics of MHI’s failures to be transparent or accountable?

Locked, Loaded…

Armed with the above information about IL state law, and other information, MHProNews once more contacted MHI for the requested – and by IL state law, legally required – records.

As the screen capture of the email to the listed MHI officers and some executive committee board members (see below) reflects, the organization has yet to respond or provide the required records.

Will MHI comply?  Or will they deflect or ignore the request on some grounds?

Why are they being so secretive, even about something as simple as providing association bylaws, which are common-sense as due to members, and mandated by law?

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One of several emails as sent to MHI, including typos (spell check was off). The bcc’s have been removed, but included several MHI members, along with select state association executives, so that they would be aware of the requests made to MHI’s leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source in Financial Services

A member of financial services had this to say to the Daily Business News.

The problems with MHI aren’t the Association’s doing, it’s a few members.  Lenders like CU aren’t bothered by all the aspects because they think consumer first and still make a decent return.

 As always “off the record” because I don’t need to get dragged into HR, but that is my 2 cents.”

While a lender was named in the message to MHProNews above, it should not be construed that the source does – or does not – work for that firm. Those comments came with respect to this article, linked below…

http://mhpronews.com/blogs/tonykovach/apples-to-apples-re-mhi-and-mharr-budgets-mission-and-analysis/

…and to the query directed to MHI’s senior staff, shown in the screen capture, above.

A Successful Texan’s Viewpoint

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Lance Inderman, credit, MHProNews.

Lance Inderman has long been active as a member at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association, and has served on their board in leadership roles.  Inderman’s business interests have included, but aren’t limited to, the energy sector, conventional housing builder, manufactured home retailer, and as an investor in HUD Code manufactured home production.

Commenting on this same issue, noted above, he said the following, for publication.

It’s my personal opinion that we have incrementally given up every bit of financial freedom we had. Dodd Frank was a big increment, along with ObamaCare. I’m of the opinion that giving up key parts of the reform to get a “win” for posterity makes no sense.”

Inderman elaborated by saying, “We need to keep educating the populace and Congress on the facts that we [in manufactured housing] compete on a different price point, and therefore a different finance scale with their multi million dollar ocean front homes, paid for by their donors.”

The successful professional modestly concluded his comments by saying, “I could be wrong …”

State Associations?

Bob Crawford, in the video shown at the link above and provided once more below, said that the state associations “do a great job.” But Crawford told MHProNews that he gives MHI at best “a 5 out of 10 in their effectiveness.

Retailers, lenders, investors and other industry professionals – often members of MHI and/or their state association(s) – are questioning the wisdom of yet another charge up Preserving Access hill by MHI.

It should be noted that state associations are unlikely to go on the record in opposing MHI, because of the current power structure of the industry.  Several sources have advised the Daily Business News that the dynamics at play in Arlington, VA are also at work in their association. Thus, publicly opposing MHI is not a practical option for most, perhaps all, state associations.

Yet privately, several association executives provide MHProNews with ‘intel and insights.’  A number thank MHProNews and MHLivingNews for spotlighting issues we’ve been reporting on, including concerns regarding MHI’s effectiveness, allegedly misleading statements to their own members, to the public, or MHI’s claims vs. deeds.

Finally!” one said by phone, “We have someone in our industry’s trade publishing that is willing to do actual research and reporting!”

As the report linked above comparing MHARR and MHI budgets and each organization’s self-stated missions reflects, MHARR does not claim to represent all aspects of manufactured or modular housing. It’s MHI that makes that claim on the national level (see their graphic, below). Furthermore, MHARR is doing everything they do with about 1/7th of the budget that MHI has.

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Composite Graphic from MHI website, shared under fair use guidelines, to demonstrate how they advertise themselves and their mission, claims, etc.. But many don’t feel properly represented, others think the association is focused on items that favor a few at the top.

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For balance, since MHI and their promoters declined commenting, the one aspect of MHI that is widely appreciated are their two educational and networking events. By contrast, their business meetings draw about 100 (+/-), which some state association meetings dwarf that attendance level.  Image credit, MHI website, provided under fair use guidelines.

Having used some $15 million dollars in 5 years of Jennison’s leadership, what has MHI actually accomplished? Who is to be held responsible for millions spent?

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All image credits are as shown, and images or third party documents that may be attached are provided under fair use guidelines. As MHI has allegedly threatened MHProNews more than once for using their information as reference in articles, it should be noted that even on copyrighted material, news operations have a broad latitude in publishing. Furthermore, the courts have ruled that when there is a “transformative use,” including analysis and critique of source materials, large portions or entire documents may be republished. It is easy to demonstrate that almost everything that MHProNews does is transformative, as new and independent vantage points are made.  A classic example of the media’s broad ability to publish even classified or secret material is the Pentagon Papers.

With billions of dollars in annual business slipping through the industry’s collective fingers, where is there a similar level of accountability that would exist in a company or a professional sports team?

When an Association is Willing to Break One Law

The allegations made herein are being provided along with links, facts, statements by numerous others and evidence. As readers can see from the emails shown, MHI is routinely being given an opportunity to respond or comment on industry related issues, many of which directly reflect on MHI’s lobbying and agenda.

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Another financial services member has told MHProNews, as noted in the email above, that the association could have struck a deal with non-profits to get the MLO rule modified via an agreement between non-profits, MHI and the CFPB.  MHI’s leadership allegedly passed on that opporunity.  The result?  MHI had near zero to show for 5 years of efforts on Preserving Access to Manufacturd Housing. Screen capture of email to MHI from MHProNews, at the date and time shown.

By contrast, on state based issues, state association executives normally respond, often promptly and typically on the record.  MHARR routinely responds in a timely way to MHProNews or MHLivingNews queries on the record too.

Why doesn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute respond to our – or as MHI member Frank Rolfe has charged – other mainstream media inquiries?

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Bob Crawford, Frank Rolfe in panel discussion on industry issues, both took aim at what they see as MHI’s misses, questionable efforts and failures on behalf of independent companies. Credit, Inside MH Road Show, MHProNews, still from video above.

Why does MHI’s leadership hide facts, or fail to provide an explanation – even on items required by law – that they ought to disclose or elaborate on? When the president of the United States makes himself available for questioning by the media, why not MHI?

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Graphic by MHProNews, of a quote from an interview with Kenny Lipschutz. Click the above or the below image to learn more.

The Deeds of the Few…

Is it as the financial services source cited above, the work of a few who are dominating “the Association” and taking many good companies and honorable professionals into questionable or repeatedly dead-end objectives?

In MHI’s recent release to members and the industry, provided at the link here under fair use guidelines, why has MHI not sounded off at all about keeping or changing Pam Danner as the federal official in charge of the manufactured housing program’s regulations?

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Why does MHI’s tight band at the top want allegedly only their side of the story told to the industry? Why have they threatened MHProNews with legal action for providing documents given to us – in many cases, by their members – or for doing reporting to the industry on issues such as DTS, Preserving Access, pending DOE energy standards, and others?

One wag said, “MHI is acting like a secret society, with only the inner circle fully informed, and most other members trusting them, following in good faith, or unable to effectively protest or even question leadership.

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As the list of on-and-off-the-record concerns about the Arlington, VA based national association grow, will there be an effort to reform the body into a more open, transparent and effective group that works for all segments of the industry?

If not, what should members and the industry-at-large do?

We Provide, You Decide.” (C) ##

(Image credits are as shown.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.  Learn more about the upcoming educational events at the Tunica Show, at this link here.

News and commentary by L. A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher and managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, parent company to MHProNews and MHLivingNews.com.  As in most publications, viewpoints published on MHProNews should be considered as those of the respective writer, or the publisher, and not those of a sponsor or advertiser. 

 

 

Equity LifeStyle Properties Declares Q1 Dividends

March 9th, 2016 Comments off

equity_lifestyle_propertiesMHProNews has learned the board of directors of Equity LifeStyle Properties (NYSE:ELS) has announced a dividend of $0.425 per common share will be paid on April 8, 2016 to shareholders of record as of March 25, 2016. On an annualized basis this represents a dividend of $1.70 per share.

Moreover, according to businesswire, the board declared a dividend of $0.421875 per depositary share (each representing 1/100 of a share of ELS’ 6.75% Series C Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Stock). On an annualized basis this represents a dividend of $1.6875 per share, payable on March 31, 2016 to shareholders on record as of March 10, 2016.

In other news, Gary Waterman, board member since 1993, has announced he will retire from the board of directors May 10, 2016, which will reduce the board members to ten.

Headquartered in Chicago, Equity LifeStyle Properties owns, or has an interest in, 388 manufactured home and recreational vehicle communities comprised of 144,244 home sites in 32 states and British Columbia, Canada. ##

(Image credit: Equity LifeStyle Properties)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Modular Classrooms to Assist in YMCA Rebuild

September 6th, 2013 Comments off

Five days after lightning set fire to and closed the main building of the Greater Naples (Fla.) YMCA, including the gymnasium, board members have begun planning for new facilities. Moving fast, YMCA President Paul Thein has arranged for modular buildings to be brought in so many of the classes and services can resume, especially for the younger members, hopefully within a week, as naplesnews.com tells MHProNews. While insurance will likely cover the loss, donations have begun coming in, including $10,000 from the Naples Area Board of Realtors. It is expected the Naples Children and Education Foundation will also provide assistance in the rebuild.

(Photo credit: PRWeb–Icon Construction–modular classroom)

RV/MH Hall of Fame Elects New Board Members

August 14th, 2013 Comments off

Seven new members have been elected to the RV/MH Hall of Fame Board of Directors at their recent board meeting, according to Board Chairman Barry Cole. The new members are: Dick Jennison, Manufactured Housing Institute; Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries; Mark Wasson, Bluelinx Corp.; Mick Ferkey, Greenway RV; Dana Nelson, RV Pro Magazine; Beverly Gardner, RVBusiness Magazine; and Raymond Padgett, Blue Ox. Additionally, fifteen members remain on the board and two others have retired. Says Cole, “These new board members will join the existing board members in helping us meet the challenges as we move forward and take the Hall of Fame to new levels of success.” As MHProNews knows, the Hall of Fame is located in Elkhart, Indiana.

(Photo credit: RV/MH Hall of Fame)

Midland School District may Vote on Manufactured Homes Tonight

June 25th, 2013 Comments off

The Midland Independent School District (MISD) in Midland, Tex. is a step closer to deciding where to site the manufactured homes it will be acquiring to house staff. At a special meeting tonight, June 25, board members may decide whether to site the homes on the grounds of an unused school, or lease 100 sites in vacant Stonegate Mobile Home Park. As MHProNews posted June 19, 2013, MISD would have to develop infrastructure at the school, so it may be less expensive to lease existing homesites at Stonegate. Cbs7kosa says the board has allotted $3.5 million for the project.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia–manufactured homes ready for shipment)

Fundraiser for Rep. Hensarling Slated

May 14th, 2013 Comments off

Caitlin Nauert of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) tells MHProNews the TMHA board members raised $16,000 towards a fundraiser it is co-hosting with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) for Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). As Chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Hensarling oversees the mortgage industry, and has long been a strong advocate of private versus public. Noting new capital will not come into the market as long as FHA is offering 3.5 down on loans to people with low scores, he says it is difficult to compete with Uncle Sam, who has the ability to print money. TMHA has another $7,000 it has raised for Rep. Hensarling’s campaign that will be presented at the May 29 fundraiser.

(Photo credit: financialservices.house.gov–Rep. Jeb Hensarling)

RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony adds Events

April 15th, 2013 Comments off

Updating a story we reported Feb. 20, 2013 about the Class of 2013 inductees into the RV/MH Hall of Fame Aug. 5, 2013, RVBusiness informs MHProNews that Mark Wasson of Bluelinx Corp., the newest board member and chairman of this year’s event has announced new events built around this year’s ceremony. One of the features is a private cocktail party at 4:30 PM honoring all past inductees, board members, and Class of 2013 inductees and their families. Following at 5:30 will be a cocktail reception for all those attending the dinner and ceremony that will begin at 7PM. Wasson is seeking a nationally-known speaker for the keynote address, and has also added a 50-50 raffle at the door and a vacation package raffle worth $5,000.

(Photo credit: RVBusiness)

Modular Builder to Own 90% of Bank

April 1st, 2013 Comments off

According to bizjournals, Thomas M. Saltsgiver, president and founder of modular builder Muncy Homes, Inc. of Muncy, Penn., has applied with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Banking and Securities to acquire 85 percent of the common stock of First Cornerstone Bank in King of Prussia, Penn. While the bank is 90 percent owned by board members, Saltsgiver is already the largest stockholder, along with the estate of the bank’s founder, Jim Overstreet. As of the end of last year, the bank had $149 million in assets, but lost $3.34 million in 2012, and had $16 million in non-performing assets. Loans made to landlords during the Great Recession suffered because many tenants could not pay rents. The bank’s assets declined faster than the non-performing loans. As MHProNews has learned, Muncy Homes, founded in 1973, sells approximately 500 modular homes annually through a network of builders in 13 northeastern states.

(Photo credit: Atlantic Bay Homes)

AMHA Chooses Leadership

December 7th, 2012 Comments off

MHProNews has been notified the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) has announced elected officers and directors for 2013-2014 at their recent 41st annual convention in Little Rock. The leadership positions are: Board Chairman, Sherman Price of Price Mobile Homes; Vice Chairman of the Board, Kevin Hawks of Hawks Homes; Sec., Brian Hardage of Livingston Homes; and Treasurer, Scott MacFarlane of US Bank. Other board members include Kyle Bennett, Neal Bodenstein, Dwight Chandler, Danny Mills, Matt Riley and Ken Ross.

(Image credit: Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association)

Drew to Report Financials

October 17th, 2012 Comments off

RVBusiness says White Plains, NT-based Drew Industries, parent company of MH and RV suppliers Lippert Components, Inc. and Kinro, Inc. will release its third quarter 2012 corporate financial report prior to the market opening Oct. 31. A conference call will follow that same day at 11 AM eastern time, although question-and-answer participation will be limited to institutional investors and analysts. A live webcast will be available to all others interested. As MHProNews reported Oct. 3, Drew Chairman Leigh J. Abrams and other board members and officers rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange Oct. 5, 2012 in honor of Drew’s 50th anniversary as a       publicly traded company.

(Image credit: Lippert Components, Inc., and Kinro Inc.)