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White Flag? Tariffs, Manufactured Housing Institute Fly-In, Antitrust Exemptions Topics by Politico in Washington, D.C.

June 5th, 2019 Comments off

 

WhiteFlagTariffsManufacturedHousingInstituteFlyInAntitrustExemptionsTopicsByPoliticosWashington, DCMHProNews

Politico is a left-of-center media outlet that is part of the News Media Alliance. That’s a trade group of some 2000 publications, of which this trade media is not a member of, that is pressing for legislation to exempt them from antitrust laws for a four-year period.  The goal is to allow them to negotiate with Google and Facebook in order to survive in the news industry, without themselves being charged with an antitrust violation. “We are at a critical time for the news publishing industry. Present trends simply cannot continue. We need to take action to give publishers the right to stand up for themselves and fight for a sustainable digital future for journalism,” says the News Media Alliance.

 

That is part of a ‘newsletter’ that paired or included reports on China, trade, tariffs, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) fly-in and more. There was no mention of the Innovation in Housing event that has its final day in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall today.

 

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

 

 

MHI’s Fly-In

Per Politico, “FLYING IN: The Manufactured Housing Institute is on the Hill today for the second day of a two-day fly-in. They’ll meet with Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind,), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), John Rose (R-Tenn.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), David Scott (D-Ga.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.).”

Ponder that the list above.  It had to be provided to one or more reporters.  Who is more likely to have provided that list than someone at MHI?  So why didn’t they also plug the display of manufactured homes on the National Mall?

That list of legislators includes several familiar names from the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act days. After years of effort and millions spent, that Preserving Access bill failed, in what’s been termed in hindsight as a rope-a-dope ploy. What part passed into law via S 2155 could have been achieved without legislation years earlier. See those links for more details, because even though these are well documented and evidenced insights, others in the manufactured home industry’s trade media routinely avoid such topics.

Trade, tariffs, and antitrust were dominating themes in Politico’s D.C. focused newsletter. They noted that Google and Facebook are spending millions in the nation’s capital, preparing for the antitrust, Congressional and other looming battles. It will be recalled that MHProNews spotlighted the revealing Kevin Clayton take on the matter, linked below. If Clayton is arguing to stop tariffs, that’s a possible signal to tea leaves readers to consider the opposite view.

 

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

 

White flag?

 

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

Never.

But a new piece of bipartisan legislation that was highlighted is a bill to fight Google and Facebook by exempting publishers from antitrust in negotiations with the digital duopoly giants. Think about that for a moment. Why not just break up Google and Facebook, and save the digital marketplace that way? Isn’t it akin to waving a white flag, to beg Congress to do what antitrust laws should be protecting digital publishers or others in business from already?

According to Roll Call on 6.4.2019, “The News Media Alliance reported spending about $385,000 on federal lobbying during the first three months of this year, while Google and Facebook both disclosed shelling out nearly $3.4 million in the same period. In all of last year, the alliance spent $1.8 million on federal lobbying, according to congressional lobbying disclosures. Google reported $21.2 million for 2018, while Facebook dished out $12.6 million.

In the convoluted world of Washington, D.C. following the money doesn’t automatically lead one to instantly discerning the underlying logic. Google and Facebook are individually outspending the combined lobbying efforts of the News Media Alliance. Allow monopolistic players to become too big, and of course they will use that power.  Or as NY Stern’s Scott Galloway phrased it last year in speak about 4 of the tech giants:

 

 

Without denigrating the aim of the News Media Alliance backed bill, perhaps the simplest and fastest answer are the ones reported here and here Monday. Investigate and break up the corporate giants, but extend it formally to Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft and all of the FAANGs. #DeFaangBM.

 

DeFaangBmAntiTrustOpenMarketsAffordableHousingManufacturedHomesHousingChoiceMHProNews

 

These are not liberals vs. conservatives, or ‘left vs. right’ issues.  Rather, they are about what is wrong or right, and that should be non-partisan. This pattern impacts manufactured housing professionals and investors, wittingly or not, day by day.

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

This is your hump-day, second 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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Dr. Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Manufactured Housing Conference Remarks New Orleans, Louisiana, Hyatt Regency Hotel, May 7, 2019

Census, HUD Official Residential Construction Report for April 2019, Dare to Compare to Manufactured Housing Data

MHARR Weighs in, HUD Secretary Carson Letter – “Discriminatory…Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes”

 

Cowards, How Winning Is Done, and Manufactured Housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

May 27th, 2019 Comments off

 

shockingTrueStateofManufacturedHousingINdustryPlusSolutionsProfitableSustainableGrowthMay2019

For busy professionals, holidays often provide a good time to review facts, themes, issues, and trends to gain useful perspectives.

 

Let’s begin this review of the true state of the manufactured housing industry with a litany of facts and their source relative to U.S. housing, affordable housing, and manufactured homes.

 

 

manufacturedhomefiredeaths-2013nfpareport-citation-postedmanufacturedhomelivingnews-janhollingsworth

HUD Code manufactured homes – per the NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Report has such a low fire incidence, that they expressed surprise, as the last sentence above reveals.  But it is their own study.

AreMobileHomeFiresBurningtheIndustrycreditNFPA2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Here is another reason why definitions and proper terminology matters.

 

ManufacturedHomeNotMotorHomeNotTrailerOftenCalledMobileHomeNotThatEitherNFPAFireAnalysisManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchDataDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Rephrased, manufactured homes are far safer than is generally believed, as safer or perhaps marginally safer then more expensive conventional housing, and are a widely misunderstood solution to the affordable housing crisis.

 

UltimateManufacturedHomeHousingInfographicNotMobileHomeTrailerHouseFactoryBuiltHomeIndustryDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews-600

 

On Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) we made the point years ago, apparently picked up by some in the mainstream media, that manufactured homes are a solution to the affordable housing crisis that is hiding in plain sight.

 

SolutionToUSAffordableHousingCrisisHidingInPlainSight-660x329

Click image above or the link here to see report and related video. 

 

That report linked above featured the following video, which is every bit as relevant today as it was the day it was first published.

 

 

We’ve mentioned before the quote from Terry Decio.  Decio’s comment resonated with thousands of manufactured home industry professionals.

 

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

So, all of the above begs the question: why are manufactured homes selling at a lower national annual pace in 2018 – or year to date in 2019 – than the year that Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway entered the industry with its acquisition of Clayton Homes in 2003?

 

SkylineChampionInvestorRelationsProductionGraphicDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

How is that possible?

But the above in a nutshell is the true state of the manufactured housing industry. The facts are what they are, and in some 550 words, the above sums it up.

 

Causes, Opportunities in Disguise, and Solutions?

We’ll take the above subheading in bite size subtopics.

Now what has caused this scenario? Objectively examined, several factors are contributing to this troubling trend.

On Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) and here on MHProNews, we’ve built step-by-step a case that reveals the following evidence, concerns, trends, and allegations. Let’s note that what follows references sources inside and outside of the manufactured housing industry.

Some of our reporting have been exclusives, publishing documents, quotes, videos, and details found literally nowhere else in manufactured housing today.  The documentation is provided at the report 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. 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/

 

The screen capture below is evidence of that prior claim that others have not yet published the same level of documentation as the report linked above has.

 

21stMortgageCorpLetterTimWilliamsDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews2019-05-26_1620

 

It isn’t that there has never been concerns raised by others, there have.

  • The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has made the ‘post production sector’ – which are often their code-words for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – a significant issue for no less than a decade, because since we’ve been publishing, they’ve periodically raised that concern. They did so previously in the now defunct Journal of Manufactured Housing.
  • Controversial speaker and writer George F. Allen in his blog, and at other times more privately, has raised this issue of the monopolization and consolidation of manufactured housing, and the purported failures of MHI.
  • Another source raised a similar issue, which has not yet been previously examined here in depth, and we plan to do so in the days ahead.

 

1)    Defenders of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton, 21st, MHI et al have said words to the effect that MHProNews has MHARR as a sponsor.  That’s true and is out in the open.  There is no hidden agenda. It should be noted that our fact-checks and analysis predates any advertising relationship with MHARR.

2)    Furthermore, that same point could be made that MHI, Clayton, and 21st Mortgage Corporation, which for years were sponsors of MHProNews.  Our fact-checks and related reports that led to our current understanding of the state of the manufactured housing industry began while those organizations were our sponsors. Meaning, we began our fact-checks and analysis that led us to this point while MHI and some Berkshire brands and their allies were among our sponsors.

3)    So, to a fair, informed, and objective-minded reader, it should be clear that MHProNews is not ‘pulling an Allen’ — who purportedly flips and flops according to who he thinks is or may benefit him at that time.  Note too that Allen’s flip-flops should not be construed to diminish the value of some of his prior critiques of MHI, Clayton, and their Berkshire Hathaway related business units in manufactured housing. That falls within the principle of separating the wheat from the chaff with all people and organizations. Nobody is perfect, neither are any organizations or companies. That includes this writer and this publication. But in keeping with Society of Professional Journalism Code of Ethical Conduct standards, we hold the powerful to account, and we have been revealing of prior incomplete understandings that explained more fully why manufactured housing wasn’t progressing as it should.

Doug Ryan with the nonprofit CFED, now known as Prosperity Now, has likewise alleged that Clayton and their related lenders were monopolizing in the industry.

 

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI.

 

Trade and Mainstream Media Summary

So, there are several sources within manufactured housing that have made similar claims and allegations to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews, although they have routinely not provided the level of documents, direct quotes, graphics, and videos that provide evidence that our industry-leading trade publications have.

There are voices across the left-right media divide that have raised the issue of monopolization in general.  An example of that is a New York Times column, linked here.

There are more specific reports about manufactured housing that pointed a finger at Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, and their manufactured housing related lenders of 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF). Examples of those are linked below.

 

 

There are numerous others, but that’s sufficient to make the point.

This publication and this writer have reached out numerous times to Clayton, 21st, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and their attorneys for comments or reactions to the allegations that purportedly demonstrate antitrust violations. They have routinely declined commenting, either in writing, or live at industry events.

 

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

 

But Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison – president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has himself said that the industry could be doing 500,000 new home shipments. Which begs the question, during an affordable housing crisis, after decades of positive, third-party research praising manufactured homes, why isn’t the industry at record highs?

 

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

But what is arguably the definitive report ‘making the case’ for behavior that violates antitrust laws is linked here.  The Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is arguably not only ‘failing’ to be effective, but is arguably behaving in ways that de facto foster consolidation, which benefits Berkshire Hathaway and other ‘big boy’ companies.

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The Seattle Times, MHProNews, and even Clayton Homes’ local hometown media have each reported that federal investigators are digging into a variety of allegations involving manufactured housing brands connected to Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway.

 

 

 

It should also be noted that each of the most recent MHI Chairman have been involved in some kind of scandalous allegations or legal issues.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

Joe Stegmayer/Cavco Industries, Nathan Smith/SSK Communities, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp — the MHI executive committee reflects that 4 of the 5 named above arguably have ‘black hat’ style scandals associated with themselves and/or their respective firm.

 

A report that covers some of the same issues in more depth is found in the report linked from the text-image box below.

 

 

What thus far has been reported only by MHProNews and our sister site in trade or mainstream media are the dark money connections between Buffett’s donations which flowed to nonprofit groups that in turn often attacked manufactured housing in some form or fashion.

 

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

 

Rephrased, Buffett and Berkshire money – directly and/or indirectly – has been on both sides of numerous battles in manufactured housing.  The effect has been to cause a steady stream of consolidations.

 

Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

 

The result has been a severe contraction, outlined by the Atlantic, of the number of manufactured home independent businesses.  While routinely those were ‘small businesses,’ they also included the fall of larger organizations, such as Fleetwood Retail during the timeframe since Buffett entered the industry. A number of independent producers of manufactured homes have been lost during those 15 years.

Summed up, what GuruFocus called the unethical strategic moat, and what the Nation called Warren Buffett’s dirty secret, is arguably part of a larger scheme that has harmed access to affordable housing, by hobbling the manufactured home industry when it was most needed.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

Solutions? Congress, States, Other Investigators

The breadth and number of allegations of wrongdoing, while not proof in an absolute legal sense, are certainly just cause for Congress, state, or other investigators to take up this issue in an investigation.

It would be profitable to the nation at large, and thousands of independent businesses to press for congressional hearings and investigations on this matter.  By laying out in public the kinds of facts that HUD Secretary Carson, or reports like this one, has made about the proven value of manufactured homes, the stranglehold of Berkshire Hathaway could be broken.

Such a Congressional investigation can and should occur as a parallel to investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation for possible violations of the RICO, the U.S. Postal Service for misuse of the mails, the Department of Justice, HUD, and other federal regulatory bodies.

As 2020 is on candidates’ minds, the issues outlined – largely bipartisan or nonpartisan in nature – could be useful in scoring points with voters. That may be especially true for the roughly 111 million renters – per Apartment List – and the approximately 22 million Americans who live in mobiles built before June 15, 1976 and/or the manufactured homes made since.

But once owners of conventional housing and other businesses understand that the lack of affordable housing costs the nation an estimated $2 trillion dollars in lost gross domestic product (GDP) annually, per third-party research, the support for action to break up the monopolistic behavior of Berkshire Hathaway in manufactured home should grow among those too.

ValuePenguinFearManufacturedHomesSolutionAffordableHousingCrisis

https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis

See reports on that linked above and below.

 

 

But the bottom line is that acting to stop market manipulation is the right thing to do.  This has purportedly harmed thousands of independent businesses, and millions of our fellow Americans.

That’s the snapshot of the true state of the manufactured home industry, and how federal and other legal action could take positive, economically beneficial steps to investigate, and then appropriately punish such arguably treacherous behavior.

That’s this episode 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”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Monopoly” in Manufactured Housing Alleged by George Allen, MHI Defender’s Turn by former Community-Investor, Self-Claimed EducateMHC Blogger

May 22nd, 2019 Comments off

 

MonopolyManufacturedHousingAllegedByGeorgeAllenMHIDefendersTurnByFormerCommunityInvestorSelfClaimedEducateMHCBloggerMHProNews

Free enterprise is predicated in part on the ability to compete. Be it in tea, banking, or other sectors of the economy, America from its earliest days as a colony includes examples of not just tax revolt, but anti-monopoly rebellion too. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt are among the scores of sources that have said as much.

 

  • The Open Markets Institute has said that antitrust or anti-monopoly efforts are one of the most important issues of our time. As they put it on their home page, the Open Markets Institute “…promote greater awareness of the political and economic dangers of monopolization, identifies the changes in policy and law that cleared the way for such consolidation, and fosters discussions with policymakers and citizens as to how to update America’s traditional political economic principles for our 21st century digital society.” Note to newcomers, MHProNews often turns direct quotes bold and brown to make them ‘pop,’ but otherwise the quoted words are as reported.
  • Several Democratic 2020 presidential contenders have made monopoly and antitrust enforcement a campaign issue.
  • The Trump Administration has let it be known that they have an executive order drafted on antitrust, a copy of which was obtained by MHProNews.
  • The Department of Justice’s antitrust point man – Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim – was cited at length in a prior Daily Business News on MHProNews report in a talk dubbed “November Rain.”
  • A top antitrust attorney named Lina Kahn was hired by Capitol Hill Democrats.  These 4 bullets make it clear that this challenge of market consolidation and monopoly are a bi-partisan concern, though the two major parties may have differing approaches.
  • Facebook’s co-founder is among several who have called for the breakup of the company.  But it isn’t just big tech that is facing calls of breakup under antitrust law.

 

That brief survey with links to various reports makes it clear that antitrust or anti-monopolistic practices sentiment has swelled in several swaths of the national political and economic discourse.

Which begs the question.  Other than MHProNews, and MHLivingNews, why has the bulk of the other trade media or bloggers in the manufactured housing industry been so obviously silent on the topic of monopolization, antitrust, and consolidation?

As MHProNews has noted before – but will hereby spotlight in a different way with additional quotes – there is an exception of sorts.

It’s George F. Allen, who shed his COBA7 moniker in favor of EducateMHC, reportedly sold his modest direct interests manufactured home communities, but still has a website called “Community-Investor.”

Before turning to Allen’s comments, let’s note that MHInsider, a far larger medium which is a staunchly pro-Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backer, reveals nothing on a site search under the term ‘monopoly.’  Ditto a search under ‘consolidation’ or ‘antitrust.’ A search for articles about manufactured housing’s ‘enhanced preemption’ – mandated by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 – are missing from MHInsider, much like that topic turns up nothing on MHI’s website too. In fairness and accuracy – to MHInsider’s credit – they provided a few pull quotes from HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s address in New Orleans, which is more than the zero found on MHI’s website as of this morning as this article is being drafted.  But MHInsider lacks the entire – and highly useful for the industry’s independents – recent Secretary Carson speech to manufactured housing professionals.

 

MHInsiderLogoSiteSearchOligarchyMonopolyAntitrustEnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingTradeJournalMediaMHProNews

 

Other publishers in MHVille may lack a search tool, or have so few industry readers, that their pro-MHI stance is worth mentioning but not worth the time to document.  So, there are others, most of whom routinely sing from the same hymnal that MHI provides.  MHI-affiliated state associations often likewise regurgitate uncritically – often verbatim – MHI’s missives, perhaps for reasons noted in a prior report linked here.  That stated, one must note that a few manufactured home community (MHC) state associations broke ranks with MHI, citing the Arlington, VA based trade group’s lack of effectiveness.

 

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

Onto Allen and Monopoly…

With that survey and backdrop, here’s what Allen has had to say on the topic of monopoly operating in the manufactured housing industry.

 

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

The date shown is when the screen captures were performed, not the date it was published. More on that, further below.

 

To use a phrase Allen enjoys, those are salient points. He’s made others before, like this one.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

While those are comments were made in years gone by, that begs the question. When the evidence for monopolistic behavior in America and our manufactured home industry specifically has mounted, why has Allen more recently defended the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is the arguably the breeding ground for what Allen dubbed himself called oligarchs and monopolists?

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge that Ryan raised in the article above, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 

When Allen has demonstrably agreed with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in the past, why has he attacked the Washington, D.C. based MHARR more recently?   Aren’t his disconnects apparent?

 

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformlogoMHARRlogoSearchMonopolyAntitrustConsolidation

 

Hold those thoughts.

Be it Allen, MHI, or others – each has precisely the same rights protected by the Constitution that we all do. From the days of the British colonies, to after the time that the United States was finally formed following years of revolutionary warfare, and through the varied phases of our national history, America has had a love-hate relationship with pamphleteers and publishers. But with few exceptions – like the classic prohibition of not crying “fire” in a crowded theater when there is none – we defend in principle the constitutionally protected right citizens enjoy to say what they will, even if it is determined later to be demonstrably wrong.

Which brings us to a pressing point of free speech and free press. On the left, right and the dwindling center, there are voices in media talking about the news that have raised concerns about free speech, concentration of media, and manipulation of news reports.  That there is a need for a graphic like the one below is troubling, but speaks volumes.

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources. 

The quotes that follow exemplify the issue, across the left-right and even academic landscape.

 

TheseLargeConglomerateCompaniesDecideOnTheirownandForTheirOwnPurposesTheNewsWeSeeandHearDanRatherQuoteFormerCBSNewsPhotoTwitterDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Dan Rather quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.

DeepaKumarQuoteGiantMediaCorpLikeTimWarnerandNewsCoprDisneySoForthTheyGetToDecidWhatIsNews

Deepa Kumar quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.

DannyGloverQuoteItsNotOnlyAMonopolyOfWealthItsAmonopolyofInformationasWellDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

Danny Glover quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.

ThomasSowellQuoteIfPeopleInMediaCannotDecideWhetherTheyAreInNewsReportingbusinessorManufacturingPropagandaMoreImportantForPublicchoseNewssourcesAccordingly

 

That’s problematic, but hardly new in either American or world history. In ancient times, a leader might lop the head off someone who brought bad news.  Far more recently, media in the 20th or 21st century have examples of being pushed and prodded by government and/or private interests. One must be aware of that pattern in order to begin to discern the vexing reality that someone’s worldview is forged by what media sources they adhere to most routinely.

 

GeorgeOrwellQuotesOurAGeNoSuchThingKeepingOutOfPoliticsAllIssuesPoliticalPOliticsMassLiesEvasionFollyHatredSchizophreniaManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

HowardZinnQuoteGeorgeOrwellSaidWhoeverControlsthePastControlsTheFutureHeMeantHistoryImportantShapingViewNextGenerationMHProNews

 

The founding fathers themselves experienced the problems of negative media that was often harsh and agenda driven.  The founders used the press and pamphleteering to stoke the flames that caused a revolution against England, and eventually turned colonies into the independent but United States. Those founders believed that it is the clash and testing of ideas that can reveal to those who scrutinize details what is or is not true.

A close reading or attention paid to statement and subsequent events may also reveal the instances when people say or write one thing, but do another.

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

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

 

While all fail from time to time to live up to ideals, there is a special scorn many have for blatant and repeated hypocrisy. Perhaps rightly so.

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

 

Now the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has an antitrust statement. According to form, MHI’s numerous meetings every year are opened with a reminder that antitrust guidelines apply. But does that mean that they are adhering in deed to those antitrust guidelines, and not just merely in the mentioned word? There are highlighted items in the MHI antitrust statement, linked here, which in this writer’s informed view merit legal and regulatory oversight attention.

So why are these issues missing from MHI’s website?

 

2019-05-22_0735ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoAntitrustConsolidationMHProNews

Every symphony has high and low notes. There may be sobering, often dark drum rolls, and heartening crescendos. Symphonies – like other art forms – are meant to entertain, reflect, and inspire life. Novelists have plots, as well as subplots. Intentionally or not, publishing, writers, and media sources go through their own peaks, valleys, twists, turns, and familiar refrains.

The wonder isn’t that Allen – not just MHProNews or MHLivingNews – has raised concerns about “consolidation.”

Rather, it’s that others in manufactured housing trade publishing have not done the same. Are they unaware? That’s highly unlikely, because this writer hears from those publishers, their team, and followers. Are they afraid to rock the boat? Fearful? Paid-off via ads or other incentives? What?

One trade media competitor, in what was an unintended backhanded compliment said ‘Tony, you [MHProNews, MHLivingNews] write about that others in the industry read or talk about at bars and during meals.’  If so, that may explain why our audience dwarfs all others.  But that statement begs the question, then why doesn’t that gent and other writer/bloggers follow the lead of tackling the real issues, instead of playing footsy with MHI-driven drivel?

 

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Why does MHI have an antitrust statement, beyond as legal cover, while doing nothing of merit to commission independent research over concerns that they as a nonprofit group are being used as a tool for consolidation?

 

Then keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn aside from evil and do good…” Psalm 34:13.

 

Let’s recall anew that George Washington, and other founders, for whatever their personal failings were – and they had them, as we all do – stressed the need for morality and religion, not just laws or a constitution.

 

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With that backdrop, back to Allen, monopoly, consolidation and what to do about it in MHVille.

 

Quoting Allen

A Final Thought for Year 2018, but Key for 2019

No names here, but hope you too boycott an ongoing online MH-related news media attempt to denigrate and divide us as an industry and realty asset class!

In my opinion, life is too short to be making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks, only befouling internet platforms better used to promote manufactured housing and the land lease community lifestyle!

If so, join me in 2019, committing to read only print and online trade publications advancing the causes, and improving the image, of HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities! No more caterwauling (‘to fight like cats’) in public and in private. Period.”

To spell it out for those not informed, Allen called there for a boycott of MHProNews, and of this writer. The ironies and hypocrisy there are thick.  Because of his own self-contradictions, and his own de facto concerns over the very kind of monopolization and consolidation – in that quoted case above, of media – that he blasted previously about MHI and Clayton. Can George spell hypocrisy?

Yet Allen’s aptly cited problems with consolidation, oligarchy, and monopoly. He still calls consolidation “a problem” in even recent posts.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

To see more disconnects between Allen and his flip-flops, then and now, click here.

 

Nevertheless, he is hypocritically attacking this platform, and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), each of which have consistently been sounding alarms about those issues – with specific examples – to the attention of the thousands of the industry’s readers.

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Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor. What Allen has, by contrast, avoided is what are the ways that he is being coached, rewarded, and influenced?  In pointing an errant finger, are three pointing back at George’s chest? Note too that MHProNews cites sources from MHI, MHEC members, MHARR, and others.  We do so accurately and in their historic context. 

 

Allen’s voice is significant, but small compared to this platform’s.  We have more readers in a few hours than he will have all week.  So, why bother?  Because frankly, reviewing the history of Allen’s musings make clear some of the very problems he once asserted, and now denies.  Its instructive to unpack Allen.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuote

Many of these quotes are from MHI insiders.

Allen is interesting to the extent that he does periodically make accurate statements.  But a stopped clock is correct twice daily too.  More politely, he is a reason why we believe in the wheat and chaff approach to people and sources. We all have our good and bad days, our good points, and our weaker ones.  Our readers have pointed out that we get typos, for instance.  Guilty as charged.  That’s our chaff, but who strive for finer wheat that feeds our audience that doesn’t find like content from other’s in the industry trade media.

Closely read, Allen’s arguably consistent about only one thing, support for himself.

With that said, he has apparently been re-embraced by the very people – MHI and their leaders – that he railed against for unfair treatment by examining his business interests under the cover of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), and then unethically going into competition against him. Allen personally felt the sting of manipulative and costly maneuvers from MHI, whose structure and funding point to firms in Omaha and the Knoxville, TN metro areas as their dominating, driving forces.  He ought to be leading the charge, instead of giving the manipulators cover.

Rephrased, Allen knows first-hand who pulls the puppet strings at Arlington, VA based MHI. He fought them, he was marginalized, he lost. That is, he lost until he was more recently reembraced to be the apparent purported surrogate and attack dog for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.  Now, for example, MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer is back on Allen’s stage.

The key to understanding Allen’s pivots in publishing is to understand that he is highly motivated by self-interest.  That is per a former, significant client of his, who told this writer that the way to understand Allen is summed up in this saying: “With George, it’s always AAA – All About Allen.” Pondering that claim, and watching the pattern after that was heard, that source arguably proved correct.

The point here isn’t that Allen has flip-flopped, or that the balance of the industry’s trade media has been mute on the issues of monopolization, consolidation, antitrust, and market manipulation that has kept manufactured housing underperforming.

 

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MHARRshipmentProductionMarch2019ManufacturedHousingReportMHProNews

While MHI in their monthly shipment report doesn’t deny the decline, neither are they addressing the underlying causes, nor have they proposed a remedy via their messages to the industry. Why not?

Frankly, we’ve covered much of that ground previously.

So the point here now is to make clear to new industry readers, investors wondering why a stock isn’t performing as it could be, outside researchers, legal, and public officials looking into MHVille seeking to grasp the facts that have caused obvious patterns to be obscured by others –including, but not limited to, the industry’s trade media.

 

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Be Skeptical, Question and Test

It’s entirely logical to test the accuracy of the reports and analysis here on MHProNews and MHLivingNews. It is logical to likewise test the writing and publishing of others in this same news and commentary space, to see how consistent each sources may be, or what evidence is offered by said sources beyond mere words.

GeorgeAllenPhotoPamDannerPhotoEducateMHCMobileHomeCommunityInvestorManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsUnlike Allen’s railing – as was cited above – about “…making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks…” we’ve provided on MHLivingNews and MHProNews the documents and direct quotes from the sources involved.

Besides, Allen himself said similarly – as this report makes clear – only he’s not been consistent about it.

Allen uses the old debaters’ tricks of red herrings, commits the ad hominin attack fallacy, and demonstrably accuses others of what he does himself. It’s the classic definition of a hypocrite.

 

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When we’ve given documented opportunities to Allen to publicly debate the issues we claim.  Bring on the supporting evidence as to what are the factors hindering manufactured housing industry’s growth, during an affordable housing crisis.

Other than MHARR and our trade media, who today in MHVille have offered a cogent explanation for the why and how the explains the cause of over 15 years of manufactured housing as an industry’s underperformance?

That underperformance in turn cost taxpayers, homeowners, and independent businesses collectively billions, at each turn.  Some of those independent businesses are the smaller community owners that Allen and his allies claim to care about.

That public debate offer with George Allen is one he’s routinely ducked out on. Thus, noting his roar like the lion in Wizard of Oz – but his failure to back up that roar – he’s arguably earned the mantle of that fictional character. It should be noted, Cowardly Lion finally got his courage, and did the right things.

We hope and pray Allen will do the same. Because Allen, in fairness and accuracy, has at times – albeit inconsistently – argued similar claims to those we, MHARR or others in MHVille seeking to maintain a lower profile have raised. Let’s note that some of those MHI sources, unhappy with what the Arlington trade group is apparently doing, have said they would testify to federal investigators about what they know.

Let’s return to one of those flashes from the past of apparent candor from Allen about the problem of monopoly power.

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George Allen, photo credit, MHProNews.com.

Hopefully you already realize we live and work in turbulent times, where the national economy and our industry’s business model are concerned. But have YOU stopped and considered the lasting effects horizontal (consolidation) and vertical integration have had, and continue to have, on our industry and realty asset class?

If you’re one of those who believe the MHIndustry needs a new, independent national trade association to protect and advance the business interests and concerns of the post production sector of manufactured housing, you’ll want to read this week’s blog posting from beginning to end. Because there is indeed a third such party ‘waiting in the wings’ for the timing and leadership to be right and effective from the word ‘Go’!

  • In short order, the number of independent (street) MHRetailers plummeted from more than 14,000 to fewer than 4,000.”

After listing some of the extensive holdings of Buffett led Berkshire in manufactured housing, Allen says:

Now, here’s the proverbial ‘rub’. With quiet but increasing frequency we read of conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over (if not already ‘taken over’) the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry.”

Assuming truth and legitimacy of these claims of ‘conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry’, what’re the solutions? In the same op/ed piece in THE JOURNAL, the writer makes this case for a new independent national trade association to represent the post production sector of manufactured housing:

  • “…to monitor issues in the nation’s capitol, mobilize for effective action, and fight for their interests and issues, rather than the few industry-dominant lenders and the corporate conglomerates that stand behind them.” And until that happens, the writer opines, our shipments of new HUD-Code homes will continue to languish well below 100,000 units per year.

So, where’s this new independent national trade association going to come from? Surely not the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) with its’ 80+ percent national member market share of new HUD-Code manufactured housing distribution; nor, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and its’ regional housing manufacturing firms.”

Allen on that occasion from his blog dated 21 August, 2016 proposed himself  and his now defunct COBA7 as the industry’s solution and savior.  It is as if he set out to prove the point noted above from that former client of his that said, “With George, it’s always AAA – All About Allen.”

But sadly, one must ask, is Allen a white hat in MHVille, or a black hat?

 

White Hats, Black Hats…

 

 

TomLackeySECO2018-06-06_1742PlanningCommitteeSECODailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Allenites – those who uncritically follow him – turn a blind eye to problems like his ‘education’ on lease-purchase, or contract for title, which an industry attorney has called ‘illegal’ in the Dodd-Frank era, and which the NY State Attorney General’s office punished dozens of manufactured home communities for practicing. Hasn’t Allen condemned the kind of problematic negative news headline causing issues that his buddy Tom Lackey is accused of running? If so, why didn’t Allen called Lackey out, and asked for his ouster from SECO’s board? See the Chattanooga Times Free Press report, which notably cited MHProNews in part of its coverage. Note the circle.  MHVillage – which is a sister firm to MHInsider, which has Allen as a writer.  MHInsider’s parent company is part of MHI.

Allen failed to mention at all then that Dick Moore/Bob Crawford had launched a third party effort dubbed the MHIDEA, which MHProNews reported years before this specific 8-21-2016 musing by Allen.

While the effort never garnered the traction its concept merited, MHIDEA – short for the Manufactured Housing Independent DEaler Alliance – was launched in 2008, even before the full effects of Buffett’s Moat became clear.

 

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

 

MHProNews reviewed MHIDEA’s otherwise insightful notions in depth in a report, linked below.

 

Giving Thanks for Manufactured Housing Independents, Applauding “MHIdea!”

 

During the 2010 timeframe, MHProNews reported on the MHIDEA efforts. Hindsight can be 2020. Had MHIDEA been better supported – by us and others – would the industry’s current issues be as severe as they are now?

By contrast, MHARR covered these issues to various degrees, and in a consistent fashion.  It must be noted that several of Allen’s references to concerns over monopolization were oblique references to claims and allegations made by MHARR.  They have been by far the most consistent in the industry on the topics that they’ve engaged upon.

Once more, it must be noted that MHI avoids these controversies, as reflected by using the site-search tool on their website.  If they suddenly, after weeks and months of such reports suddenly popped information that mentions these issues onto their platform, that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve avoided it for some years.

 

 

Summing Up

This current and historic survey revealed the following.

  • MHARR has consistently called out the problems of market monopolization, proposed solutions, and has done so for a period of years. It should be noted that the MHARR website is relatively new, so one would have to go to MHProNews’ MHARR module, or specific MHARR monthly articles to see the years of consistency in their reports and analysis.

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

  • MHIDEA – while effectively dormant at this time – raised these concerns over a decade ago.
  • NAMHCO – which does not yet have a website – is still young, but has made it clear that they felt that MHI was ineffective and not advancing the interests of their members, which is why they said they broke from MHI in 2017.
  • MHI has nothing on several potentially positive items for the industry, ignored publishing Secretary Carson’s fine speech, and has nothing on these controversies.
  • MHInsider – essentially parrots the MHI stance, as have most if not all of the lesser known trade bloggers and publishers.
  • Blogger George Allen has flip-flopped, apparently based on if he’s getting benefits from MHI or not. But what’s clear is that Allen on several occasions raised the issue of monopoly, consolidation, and ‘oligarchy.’  More recently, Allen has attacked MHARR, and MHProNews for making arguments similar to those he himself previously advanced.  Allen does not bother to explain his contradictions, which can demonstrably occur within the same blog post.
  • MHProNews raised the issues years ago, in reporting on the MHIDEA and MHARR reports. But frankly, this writer – and our LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC family of publications – were not convinced initially. We reported what others said, but did not strongly advocate on the issues of monopoly, consolidation, marketing rigging, and the need for legal and federal action.
  • As I’ve said previously, per the SPJ standards of journalism ethics that call for clearly stating errors or omissions once noted, it took years of evidence, documents, news tips, and commentary by others until the scope and chutzpah of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis was fully grasped in more recent years.
  • Oddly, some of Allen’s and MHI’s circle and readers have been among those who’ve for some time explained why they thought market manipulation was underway. They explained Allen’s role – or lack thereof – in masking or exposing it at various times.
  • It should also be noted that MHInsider publisher Darren Krolewski himself praised this publication and writer for taking on the tough issues. He was among those that informed us of what was underway, where MHI was allegedly undermining our pro-industry growth work, even as we were dues paying members of that association.

 

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Krolewski is now co-president of MHVillage, and the publisher of MHInsider. He now arguably avoids the difficult topics he once praised us for tackling on MHProNews.

 

Allen could perhaps go back and purge his site, if he was incentivized to do so. But we already have the screen captures, so why bother?

While he loves to charge that we misquote or do something ‘out of context,’ he’s not once provided evidence of that claim. In fact, as noted, when invited to debate or prove his case in a third-party moderated forum, publicly in front of an industry audience, and on video so others could witness it later, he’s always declined that offer.

The allegations and concerns raised in this report clearly tie directly into the issue of what we’ve dubbed  the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

Namely, that leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), Joe Stegmayer (MHI Chair), MHI salaried staff, and their inside and/or outside attorneys have repeatedly been invited to discuss and debate these concerns publicly.  Such offers to those leaders have been documented. The offer was to do hold such a discussion/debate in front of a live manufactured home industry professional audience.  That means that those who understand and/or are the most impacted by the issues to be discussed would be in attendance. A third-party moderator, plus video recording so others could see it all later, were part of the offer.

The powers that be in MHVille have declined every time. It’s their right to remain silent.  But that means that the allegations against them stand unrefuted.  One might ask, why they haven’t sued us – with or without just cause – as they’ve threatened in writing several times to do?  Is it perhaps because their leaders have praised us often, and for years, and that would come up in any legal proceedings?  How could they possibly explain it all away with a straight face?

 

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What the axis apparently did instead was reembraced Allen, who was persona non grata after their purported backstab of Allen only a few years ago. Allen was apparently re-engaged and rewarded precisely, to be used as a purported surrogate and as an attack dog against MHARR, MHProNews, and this writer.  Given that they can’t or won’t defend their actions, they’ve turned to the smear tactics instead. Allen and company do what they allege we do, interesting ploy, isn’t it?

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Last week, an MHI member named Andy Gedo began to enter into a question/answer with this writer about an article posted on LinkedIn.  That posted article spotlighted how Kevin Clayton, in a recent video interview with CNBC, did not deny that Berkshire monopolization of not only manufactured housing, but the broader housing market, was underway. Gedo initially questioned, but gave up on, defending Clayton against that claim. The Gedo discussion with this writer in its entirety is linked below.

 

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

 

While these incidents, Berkshire Hathaway documents and direct quotes in context linked here or other concerns are not proof in an absolute or legal sense, it is enough to cause more federal regulators, public officials, candidates, media/researchers to sharpen their scrutiny.  That’s frankly part of the reason to do such summary articles, which then link evidence and examples.

The reason we say ‘more’ is because there are already – beyond MHARR, NAMHCO, MHIDEA, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews – non-industry sources that have spotlighted some of these same concerns.  Some of those are linked below.

 

  The New York Times had an interesting article on the historic trends, and named several industries being monopolized.

  The Atlantic, without specifying how the monopolization was being accomplished, noted that the independent retailers in manufactured housing were being rapidly eliminated/consolidated, that report is linked here.

  GuruFocus said “Warren Buffett Can’t Escape Unethical Strategic Moats,” their specific points are linked here.

  The Nation called it “The Dirty Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Billions…” and specifies Clayton Homes among those using the strategic moat in ‘dirty’ ways.

  The Jacksonville Florida Times Union summarized the connection between the John Oliver viral hit video dubbed “Mobile Homes,” MHI, Clayton Homes, and their related lenders. That op-ed was first fact-checked by an editor, before it was published not only in the one newspaper it was submitted, but at least in 5 Florida newspapers.

But what those other sources may lack are specific examples of documents and video that were not yet published, until the trade media our LLC deploys covered them.

 

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/

 

What this summary does is reveal to industry readers and to outsiders looking in that there is substantial evidence of monopolization, consolidation, and examples of potential violations of antitrust laws at play in manufactured housing that date back about a decade or more. That’s almost roughly the same timeframe that Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway bought Clayton Homes, and began the slow ‘strategic moat’ and other related conquest techniques of the manufactured housing industry.

No one with common sense can believe that Buffett, Berkshire, and their billions could somehow have failed to grow manufactured housing to over 500,000 or more shipments a year.  MHI’s president himself said that was doable.

 

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

 

Which leads thoughtful readers and researchers with the vexing concerns that manufactured housing has been de facto sabotaged, largely from within.

 

 

That’s why the industry is the ‘best kept secret’ in affordable housing, as Terry Decio from Skyline Homes lamented on camera.

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

That’s arguably why Secretary Carson’s full address isn’t found on MHInsider, or at all on MHI’s website.  Carson made it clear he wants to promote the manufactured housing solution, and end the secrecy that hangs over the industry.

Alan Amy is one of the many quiet, thoughtful voices that helped advise this writer as to what was occurring, and why. Manufactured housing is the housing of the future, not just the past, said Amy.  The big boys are consolidating the industry at a discount now, knowing that they can reap billions in annual earnings once they’ve completed their conquest of the industry, and a friendly administration to their interests takes over in Washington, D.C.

 

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies, and opportunities.  From independents like Gus, to the largest players in the industry, and thousands in between, this is the most read source in the industry, because we tackle the issues most avoid – all in search of getting manufactured housing to achieve its true potential.

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

Note the trend line. This is from an MHI member firm’s investor relations package.  They point to the industry underperforming, but they refer to it as the upside potential for growth. Manufactured housing is underperforming. Note the difference between RVs 20 years ago, and MH 20 years ago. No one else has advanced a thesis as logical and compelling. To date, Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington have not even attempted to refute the claims. Will they today?

The puzzle pieces fit, which is what Occam’s Razor calls for in its test of reason.  Otherwise, observers are to believe that Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, and MHI staff are all incompetent?  That they don’t know how to grow this industry that used to produce hundreds of thousands of homes per year?  That they can’t achieve growth during an affordable housing crisis? That’s absurd.

Once more, the powers that be are invited to refute or explain away these concerns and allegations. Or they can keep using diversionary tactics, while the industry’s shipments have shrunk for 7 months, during an affordable housing crisis?  Absurd. Preposterous.  Impossible to believe, unless the powers that be want it to be so.

And on that note, let’s call it a morning, as the sky suggests that the dawn will soon break.  We pray that dawn will be a sign for this once far greater industry that a new day is coming.  But like the founders and generations before us, freedom won’t be free. It will only come from a struggle.  That struggle begins with understanding the issues, which hopefully this report, fact-check, and analysis has helped shed fresh light upon.

It is long past time to break up the monopolists, using existing federal and state laws.  As Secretary Carson said about a different topic last night on Tucker Carlson’s show, “enforce the law.”

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

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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Not Renaming Manufactured Homes, Redefining Manufactured Homes – Tiny House Lessons Learned

May 7th, 2019 Comments off

 

NoRenamingManfuacturedHomesRedefiningManufacturedHomesTinyHouseLessonsLearnedMHProNews

Let’s be clear. Tiny houses are a fad or trend that provides numerous lessons for the factory-built housing industry.  That doesn’t mean that we have to rename everything as a tiny house.  It may be useful to use that phrase on a truly smaller HUD or other code factory-built home.

 

But this report is about more than ‘what’s in a name?’

Tiny house videos break all kinds of norms that numbers of manufactured home marketers mistakenly believe in.  Rephrased, that means there are lessons to be learned from this video specifically and generically.

We aren’t going to give away and unpack every detail from this video. But in the first day or two, this specific video had outperformed every Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) video made to ‘promote’ manufactured homes combined. It blows away the results from Clayton Homes new, costly “Prefabulous” campaign.  Ouch, but again, there are lessons to learn.

It may look cool, but it is also a house on a trailer frame. Think about that for a few seconds, and hundreds of thousands of people think this is cool!

 

 

It took the couple in this video 6 months to build this Do It Yourself (DIY) tiny house on a trailer frame. The couple was unemployed at the time, so they took that time to do the work, but also had help.

Now think about the value of the monetary value of that time.  Then think about the fact that they could have gotten a job and earned money during that same timeframe.

Here in the U.S., they could have purchased a far larger HUD Code manufactured home with the cost in time, talent, materials, etc. that was required to do that same DIY tiny house.

Millennials are among the age groups that think that tiny house living is cool.  We aren’t going to spell out every detail or nuance in this column, but let us say this.  Manufactured housing is underperforming.  The indicators are all around us, historic, other industry trends — including videos like this one posted above.

How can you break out of the trap of low volume sales? First, by being willing to learn the common sense lessons, ponder how it may apply, and be willing to think and do differently from the pack.

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

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There are common sense indicators that manufactured homes could be 5, 10, perhaps 20 times or more higher sales levels in local markets like yours than the industry is achieving today. RVs outsell MH 5 to 1. MH used to outsell RVs 3 to 2 in 1998.

Our publisher and industry consultant, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has said that bit of marketing lore, “You either define yourself, or others will define you.  If you allow others to define you – your product, service, business, industry, or you personally – then depending on the motivations of those others, they may define you to your disadvantage.  Learn how to define or redefine yourself and your manufactured home products or services in your market(s).”

The blend of historic and other lessons learned are all part of the path to increased success.

Clayton Homes and the trade association that they purportedly dominate, MHI, either know what they are doing or they don’t.  Either way, they too are underperforming, aren’t they?  Why not learn that obvious and valuable lesson? Why follow the leader that takes you to a dead end, or declining sales?

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

 

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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.

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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.

Related Reports:

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Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jujitsu – Last Week Tonight John Oliver “Mobile Homes” Video Fact-Check Revelations

April 14th, 2019 Comments off

 

JuJitsuLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoFactCheckRevelationsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Dictionary.com says, “Jujitsu definition, a method developed in Japan of defending oneself without the use of weapons by using the strength and weight of an adversary to disable him.”

 

Ponder that, “using the strength and weight of an adversary” against them. Here’s more about jujitsu or jiujitsu: “use of an opponent’s strengths or one’s own weaknesses to accomplish one’s goals.” That might sound like magic, an answer to prayer, or a dream come true.

Manufactured home industry professionals who want to see honest and robust growth need all of the above, plus what follows.

The hottest topic in the industry presently is that viral video by Oliver called “Mobile Homes.” You can see that video on MHLivingNews, linked further below.  Because that is the hottest issue, that also means that the fact checks and related on MHLivingNews are ‘read hot’ here on MHProNews.

That logically means those who are found here or on MHLivingNews can benefit from Oliver’s hit video. Those who aren’t, can’t to that same degree.

Our twin public and professional platforms have done fact-checks on challenging issues like Oliver’s video for years. The more analysis and commentary we do, the stronger our pro-growth trade media platforms become. No one else in our industry even comes close. No wonder there’s 1.2 million page views monthly on MHProNews alone.

Let’s give of how tackling to thorny issues is useful.  Let’s look at an example from 5 years ago.  It was arguably Frank Rolfe’s first big splash, “The Cold Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U” in the New York Times by Gary Rivlin.

 

ColdHardLessonsMobileHomeUNewYorkTimesGaryRivlinFrankRolfeMHProNewsManufacturedHomeLivingNews2019-04-13_1549

 

5 years from now, don’t be surprised if you find the same outcome above to be true about this hit video by Oliver.  We robustly respond online with appropriate fact checks and pushing back were needed. The result?  Jujitsu pays off.

 

JiuJitsuMartialArtsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Note, there are variants of proper spellings for Jujitsu.

 

John Oliver Video Analysis Summary

The short version of our various fact-checks – all found linked further below – reveals these surprising connections.

The firms slammed by Oliver are all connected to:

  • Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes and/or or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).
  • As Saturday’s special report linked below documents, MHAction’s dark money funding traces back to Warren Buffett. We followed the money trail, so it’s easy for you or anyone else to see the compelling evidence.
  • Those two bullets above mean that the responsibility for the allegations against each of the operations named by Oliver belong with those companies and non-profits, not anyone else. Why should the balance of the manufactured home industry suffer for what a relatively small group has done?
  • Rephrased, we’ve used jujitsu to put the responsibility where it should be.  Meanwhile, we, our industry allies, and comrades can benefit.

 

The rest are the fascinating details, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.

That means that MHProNews can pivot back to other matters, because those reports will keep working in the background for years to come.  So while MHI and their bud whine and preen, we’ve done what they couldn’t or wouldn’t do.

There’s Always More…

Several other significant issues occurred this past week, from 4-7-2019 to 4-14.-2019. With no further adieu, check those out in the reports linked from the text-image boxes or other hot-links that follow.  They are all here for you on the most pro-growth platforms in all of manufactured home professional or public engagement.

 

What’s New on MHLivingNews

mhlivingnews-improvedlivingforle-logo

HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video, Manufactured Home Communities Fact Check

HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video, Manufactured Home Communities Fact Check


Why is Seattle Dying? Affordable Housing, Misplaced Compassion, and Manufactured Home

Why is Seattle Dying? Affordable Housing, Misplaced Compassion, and Manufactured Homes

 

MHARRlogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews324

What’s New from MHARR

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly…

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

 

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

What’s New on the Masthead

For Want of a Nail – Manufactured Housing

For Want of a Nail – Manufactured Housing

 

What’s New on the Daily Business News from MHProNews

11DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogos

Saturday 4.13.2019

Upcoming Special Opportunities Intelligence Reports, Plus Headwinds, Immediate MHC Independents Warning

Upcoming Special Opportunities Intelligence Reports, Plus Headwinds, Immediate MHC Independents Warning

 

Friday 4.12.2019

Watchdogs? Attack-Dogs? The Smear, and Manufactured Housing

Watchdogs? Attack-Dogs? The Smear, and Manufactured Housing

Announcements Speeding 5G, Plus Manufactured Home Stock Updates 

MarketWatch Reports on Manufactured Housing, 2018-2019

MarketWatch Reports on Manufactured Housing, 2018-2019

Sun Communities Under the Hood – Data Reveals – Manufactured Homes, Communities, Comparisons with Conventional, Multifamily Housing

Sun Communities Under the Hood – Data Reveals – Manufactured Homes, Communities, Comparisons with Conventional, Multifamily Housing

Thursday 4.11.2019

Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

Stephen Moore Would Challenge Fed’s ‘Growth Phobia,’ Plus Manufactured Home Equities Updates

Michigan Association’s Video Campaign, What They’ve Said About Manufactured Home Living

Michigan Association’s Video Campaign, What They’ve Said About Manufactured Home Living

Warren Buffett Wades Into Politics, Why Not John Oliver’s Piece on “Mobile Homes?”

Warren Buffett Wades Into Politics, Why Not John Oliver’s Piece on “Mobile Homes?”

 

Wednesday 4.10.2019

“Mind Blowing,” Ultra-Modern Tiny House on Wheels, Viral Video – MH Intelligence Report

“Mind Blowing,” Ultra-Modern Tiny House on Wheels, Viral Video – MH Intelligence Report

President Trump Remarks to Union, Signs Executive Order on Energy & Infrastructure, Plus MH Market Updates

President Trump Remarks to Union, Signs Executive Order on Energy & Infrastructure, Plus MH Market Updates

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

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

Gen Z – Manufactured Housing Independents’ Intelligence Report, Useful Research Infographic

Gen Z – Manufactured Housing Independents’ Intelligence Report, Useful Research Infographic

 

Tuesday 4.9.2019 

Flashback! Funny, Surprising, Interesting Jay Leno, Donald J. Trump 1999 Video Interview

Flashback! Funny, Surprising, Interesting Jay Leno, Donald J. Trump 1999 Video Interview

Short History Of Taxation in U.S., Infographic, Plus Manufactured Home Equities Updates

Short History Of Taxation in U.S., Infographic, Plus Manufactured Home Equities Updates

Factory-Builders, Retailers, Developers – Is This Your Future Competition Beyond Berkshire Brands in MHVille? Understanding Jeff Bezos’ Amazon

Factory-Builders, Retailers, Developers – Is This Your Future Competition Beyond Berkshire Brands in MHVille? Understanding Jeff Bezos’ Amazon

“Economic Racism.” Angry Residents, Students, Civic Leaders Fight Plan to Ban Affordable Manufactured Homes, Industry Professionals Sound Off

“Economic Racism.” Angry Residents, Students, Civic Leaders Fight Plan to Ban Affordable Manufactured Homes, Industry Professionals Sound Off

 

Monday 4.8.2019

Mexico City, Florida Manufactured Home Community, Drone Photo, Video – 6 Months after Hurricane Michael

Mexico City, Florida Manufactured Home Community, Drone Photo, Video – 6 Months after Hurricane Michael

Art Laffer on POTUS Trump’s Federal Reserve Board Picks, Plus MH Market Updates

HUD Office of Inspector General Breaks Up Section 8 Scam

HUD Study on Manufactured Housing Discriminatory Zoning, Placement by Local Cities, Counties Requested

HUD Office of Inspector General Breaks Up Section 8 Scam

Sunday 4.7.2019

 

Seattle Is Dying, Are Cities Near You Dying Too? High Costs, Corrupted Systems, Manufactured Housing’s Potential Silver Lining

Seattle Is Dying, Are Cities Near You Dying Too? High Costs, Corrupted Systems, Manufactured Housing’s Potential Silver Lining

 

That’s When you carefully digest the content we provide each week, here are the two bullets it often boils down to once pondered.

  • First, there are numerous ways that a savvy firm in manufactured housing could be doing far more business than what it is, honorably and ethically.
  • The second point is that the industry’s leaders are arguably doing a terrible job, given the tremendous needs for affordable housing in the U.S.

That’s this Sunday morning weekly recap. We’re happy to be “Delivering to Manufactured Home Independents & Investors Useful Intelligence for Your Professional Life.” © 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.

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

Related Reports:

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

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

Cavco Industries Announces Latest Executive Level Changes

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

Sun Tzu – Ultimate Manufactured Home Freedom Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

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

April 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

MoneyMinoritiesManufacturedHomesFoilingAmericanDreamAffordableHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

HomeOwnershipRatesBlacksWhitesZillowManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

GoethalsRdManufacturedHOmeCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarson5000networthRenters$200000NetWorthHomeOwnersDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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

 

ManufacturedHomesGAO2014ReprotCompareApartmentsSingleFamilySiteBuiltHousingManufacturedHomesMHLivingNews

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

 

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

 

TheHUDCodeforManufacturedHomesisADiscriminationCodeMartyLavinJDMHIAwardWinnerMHRetailFinanceExpertCommunitiesOwnerPhotoQuoteMHProNews

RevDonaldTyeJrBusinessmanManufacturedHousingAdvocateDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

ItsAsWrongtoUseNWordToDescribeBlackAsUseTWordTodescribeManufacturedHomeRevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword

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

 

Information Wars

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

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

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

 

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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

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

 

 

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

ClintonImpeachedWashingtonPostDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

JamesGWattPhotoQuoteIdontBelieveinConspiracyTheoriesPeopleWithCommonInterestsActingInWaysAppearConspiratorialDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

You might instead:

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

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

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

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

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

 

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Explaining ‘Leadership’ Failures  

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

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

 

WarrenBuffettAZQuoteCriticalFactorDetermineValuePayFairBargainPriceMHProNews

 

It also fits the Buffett quote below about Moats too.

 

GoodBusinessIsLikeAStrongCastleWithaDeepMoatAroundItSharksIntheMoatIwantItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DuckDodgeDismissDistractDetractDefameFromIssueTacticsByThoseWithNoGoodAnswersMHProNews-768x609

 

Hard Data vs Razzle Dazzle

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

 

Febuary2019NewHUDCodeManufacturedHousingShipmentData

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

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

 

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

 

 

We note too what former MHI VP Danny Ghorbani stated.

 

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews  

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

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

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

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

 

NothingIsChangedUntilItisChallenged

 

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

 

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

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

 

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Controversy Erupts! Tunica Manufactured Home Show ‘Educational Seminar’-Legally Questioned “Lease Option” “Chattel Lending” ‘Taught’ by Spencer Roane, Promoted By George F. Allen, SECO

March 9th, 2019 Comments off

 

TunicaManufacturedHomeShowLogoSpencerRoanePhotoPentagonPropertiesPromotedGeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCMHVillageLogo600

We can’t be perfect but we can try to be. As I’ve said in these memos for more than 25 years: ‘We can afford to lose money—even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation—even a shred of reputation.’ We must continue to measure every act against not only what is legal but also what we would be happy to have written about on the front page of a national newspaper in an article written by an unfriendly but intelligent reporter.”

  • Warren Buffett,
    Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway, parent of Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and other manufactured housing and other industry brands. Quote cited by Business Insider, Reputation Defender, previously on MHProNews and others.

 

The manufactured housing industry is arguably routinely risking and losing shreds of reputation.

The bookend to the Buffett quote above is the following one, that industry professionals ought to grasp.

 

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett, cited by CNBC and others.

 

One could debate how well certain industry brands have – or have not – lived up to that high standard.  But the principles stated are an apt backdrop for what follows.  Why?  Because some industry association leaders are de facto weighing the risk to reputation, and arguably could be opening the doors to legal concerns and future litigation in the #nettlesomethings that follow.

 

 

Risking the Industry’s Reputation and the Threat of Litigation

Last year, industry professionals experienced several weeks of largely dark mainstream news reports by reporter Tyler Jett and others in media.  These involved the troubling stories of over a dozen home owners in northern Georgia who alleged that they paid or where paying for homes ‘sold’ to them ‘contract for title’ by land-lease community owner, Tom Lackey.  But per those customers, no titles were ever provided. Some said they lost ‘everything.’ Spencer Roane and the Southeastern Community Owners (SECO) were in the background of that ‘education’ of Lackey, as was promoter and blogger George F. (F?) Allen.

Neither Roane nor Allen would in any way repudiate what Lackey did, per a report by on May 26, 2018 by mainstream writer Jett, linked here.

 

TimesFreePressIndustryMembersDeclineCommentTylerJettManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBuisnessNEwsMHProNEws

One of several stories about problems at Tom Lackey’s manufactured home community. In this report, Spencer Roane and George F. Allen both declined to criticize Lackey, and in some ways, defended him. See report at this link. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/may/26/industry-members-decline-take-sides-rossville/471775/

 

The manufactured housing industry in general and land-lease community owners alike – most entirely unconnected to the troubling matter – nevertheless had their reputations arguably tarnished by the string of mostly bleak media reports.  As often occurs, that reputational harm occurred even though it was a tiny minority of the industry’s professionals involved in the troubling stories of ‘lease option’ ‘sales’ gone wrong involving Lackey and his SECO ‘educators.’

 

Fast forward to March 2019

Tornadoes. Rent control. Fires & crimes. Zoning. There are plenty of problematic items about manufactured housing in the news already. Does the industry’s independents, associations, and other companies need more avoidable pitfalls?

But unless a course correction is made, it will be no logically be no surprise if one or more future mainstream and trade news reports will again follow in the wake of ‘lease option’ related ‘education’ and related business practices.

But this time, the potentially avoidable miscue is scheduled to occur in Tunica, MS, at the industry trade show scheduled there for later this month.

According to an industry attorney with ties to Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) rather than the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), that lawyer previously advised the Daily Business News on MHProNews that the practice described is “illegal.”

In a message to our publisher, specially commenting on practices being promoted by Roane, Lackey, and SECO, that attorney said the following.

 

Tony, not sure if I’m walking into a [manufactured home industry political] land mine, but as I think you know, it’s ALWAYS been my position that lease option and rent to own are illegal if they are a “workaround” for chattel financing, which is what most such schemes are,” per that legal expert.

 

The Alabama Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) acknowledged they received our query about this controversial issue, which included a mention of the legal opinion above. They have not yet said what, if anything, that they and their colleagues plan to do about it. Along with the Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA), those states are part of the South Central Manufactured Housing Institute (SCMHI) and that nonprofit ‘owns’ the Tunica Show. Show Ways Unlimited and others in the mix have also been advised about these legal concerns too.

 

TunicaShowJenHallDorisHydrickDennisHillLanceLathamMicheleMiddletonSpencerRoaneGeorgeAllenMHProNews

WARNING. Don’t scan this article, or you’ll risk missing the point.

 

Additionally, all were advised that the New York State Attorney General’s office last year settled dozens of claims – including several larger manufactured home community operations – all of which reportedly involved variations of lease option transactions.  If larger communities couldn’t make lease option (LO) transactions work legally with officials at the state of NY, how is it that Roane and Allen believe that they can do better?

For the official statement from the NY AG’s office to MHProNews can be accessed via the linked text-image box below.

NYAGUAnnouncesMajorSettlementManufacturedHomeParkOwnersReformRentToWonPracticesFollowingIndustryWideInvestigationCommunityMHProNews

See the document as a download linked here. The question should be simple. If Spencer Roane and George Allen have prof that their system is legitimate, why don’t they simply provide that evidence?  If they can prove its legal, from a state or federal government agency letter saying as much, then by all means, let their ‘education’ go forward.  But if not, why should risk be created for others by problematic teaching of a practice that most say is illegal as the law currently stands?

 

 

 

Spencer Roane, George F. Allen Questioned – And Their Responses

As noted above, Spencer Roane and George F. Allen are no strangers to the legal and media controversies that can arise from ‘contract for title’ type sales that Roane and SECO ‘teaches.’  Neither Roane not Allen would condemn or correct on the record to the  Chattanooga Times Free Press the allegations about Tom Lackey selling homes where over a dozen households lost out, because no title was purportedly delivered to his “buyers.” The story made periodic news for weeks, across several news sources. The word heard that the legal fallout from that matter is far from over. So while the headlines are missing in the mainstream, per sources, the investigations continue.

So Lackey, Roane, Allen, and SECO could find themselves once more in the news over that industry black eye, which the majority of manufactured home professionals had nothing to do with.

Undeterred by the past pain, they press on.

MHProNews asked Roane and Allen (GFA) to show proof to the Tunica Show management and this media outlet that their education is legitimate and legal.

Allen, writing to Tunica Show officials, Spencer Roane, Ken Corbin, and MHProNews – among others – said this via email.

GeorgeAllenCommunityInvestorBlogMHMPostedMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryNewsMHProNews-133x150a

George Allen, photo credit, MHProNews.com.

In my opinion, there is nothing to be gained by responding to this request. All anyone, interested in this timely subject, has to do, is attend a presentation describing lease-option in detail. This is not a rent to own type housing finance program. Period. 

GFA

 

Note that at no time did Allen offer proof or any evidence beyond his word and Roane’s that this was a legally compliant program, one vetted by any attorney, much less authorized or vetted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or any state authority. Yet that’s what Roane and Allen were asked to provide.

Furthermore, here’s what the Tunica Show website said on 3.9.2019.

 

2019-03-09_1152TunicaShowPromoSECOSpencerRoanePentagoPropertiesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Further into Roane’s promo on the Tunica site, Roane claims: “Why the contract “passes muster” in some states…” – the italics has been added for emphasis. That phrase itself suggests that it doesn’t pass muster in other states.

Which ought to beg the question – why should the prospective attendees to an official trade association sanctioned event be made to hunt for proof of the legality of a practice that has been deemed non-compliant in NY, or elsewhere? Why did MHVillage – who handles this website – not question the matter?  Is it because they are chummy with Allen and company?

That said, here’s what Roane replied to the same circle of show-related officials, with the “Amen” by Roane presumably being a response to George F. (F?) Allen’s comment.

 

Amen.

Anyone truly interested in “the facts” might be well advised to do the following:

  • read the SAFE Act of 2008 & the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010
  • read each state’s modification of its mortgage law to comply with Federal law
  • read NY AG court case
  • attend MLO and MB/ML licensing course
  • pay for the special membership to IAMHA to obtain a copy of their attorneys’ L-O opinion & docs
  • pay $500+/hr. for consultation w/ attorney specializing in finance law
  • ignore sensation-driven, poorly researched, disreputable MH publications with poorly written articles based solely on unidentified “sources” and “no comment”.
  • attend my presentation at the Tunica Show (if allowed)

Regards, Spencer

 

RedHerringWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Artful dodge, razzle dazzle, or other trickster ways of emotionally or otherwise manipulating or moving the focus away from the actual issue.

 

Breaking Roane’s Response Down

Roane himself ducked the question with a blizzard of verbiage.  This is known as a red herring or a dodge.  Roane failed to at any time provide or offer proof of what he wants to teach that he claims is legally permissible. If its legal, why no proof?  Shouldn’t the Tunica Show, the associations, and sponsors care?  On the flip side of Roane and Allen’s claims are one of several thousands of search results about this very legal concern, which often references the CFPB calling the practice illicit.

SpencerRoanePentagonPropertiesSECOSoutheasternCommunityOwnersSymposiumCFPBTunicaManufacturedHousingShow2019-03-09_1134

 

So where the record stands is this.  Thousands on-line have commented on this issue, and the commentary largely runs contrary to what Roane and Allen have said.  Even this year, the NY AG’s office recently filed yet another case on this specific issue, see the linked text-image box below.

 

State AG Files Suit Against, Manufactured Home Community, Rent to Own, Lease Purchase Option Warning

 

Once again, here is the official release by the NY State AG last year, involving dozens of communities.  Also recapping, that MHI connected attorney said the matter is NOT legal.

Tony, not sure if I’m walking into a [manufactured home industry political] land mine, but as I think you know, it’s ALWAYS been my position that lease option and rent to own are illegal if they are a “workaround” for chattel financing, which is what most such schemes are.”

The Law Professors website notes that “the CFPB has taken an interest in these types of predatory transactions as well. … This looks more like just a loan disguised as a lease…”

Given all the evidence to the contrary, why should Roane and Allen be believed?

Roane himself seemed uncertain that he would be allowed to proceed.

It is not yet clear if the SCMHI and related Tunica show leaders and sponsors will allow him to do so.

 

MHI Asked to Weigh in on Legal Questions, Concerns

The sponsor of the Tunica Show website is shown as MHVillage.  They are a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member, and the state associations involved are MHI affiliates.  Those firms in New York that the state attorney general forced into settlements included MHI member firms. If MHI cares about industry image, following the Buffett mantra above, why not weigh in on this, and head off possible problems?

MHI attorney Rick Robinson was among those contacted by MHProNews to see if he will defend Roane and Allen’s controversial stance, or not. Clayton Homes attorney Tom Hodges is a MHI Executive Committee board member.  Hodges and MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer likewise been asked to defend, clarify, or alert others about the legal worries involved.

The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) have also been contacted. Will the new NAMHCO trade group weigh-in on an issue that the New York Attorney General’s office and others believe is no longer legal?

MHProNews will monitor the matter and follow up as it may be necessary to alert possible victims (err, attendees) of Roane’s ‘seminar education’ that he claims is legitimate, but for which he will offer no proof from the CFPB, state officials, or other authoritative sources that will certify its legality.

 

Secondary Liability?

As a final note to event sponsors, there is a question of downstream liability connected with a legally disputed issue like this too. Should this Roane-SECO lease option ‘training’ not be addressed in advance of the event, and if the ‘seminar’ goes on without published proof of the legality of the disputed concept, attorneys have advised MHProNews on similar issues that this could lead to secondary liability, later legal woes.

Seminar and SECO attendees of “LO” ‘education,’ beware. Free education of a legally challenged concept could prove costly.

Stay tuned for more, as needed and deemed warranted.  That’s manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

 

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

 

 

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Manufactured Housing Institute’s Three Stooges? SECO ‘Leaders’ George F. Allen, Spencer Roane, Tom Lackey and ‘Rent to Own’ Scams?