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

March 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

RestraintofTradeManufacturedHousingInstituteClaytonHomesVanderbiltVMF21stMortgageAntitrustLawDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Generally, before the start of each session of a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) business meeting, there is a brief reference made the antitrust guidelines.  This, say experts, is important on several levels.

 

MHI has produced a handout, linked here, which includes the following sentence.

The general requirements of the antitrust laws prohibit any agreement to restrict trade between competitors.”

That begs the question. What constitutes a restraint of trade?  As our Sunday morning topic that leads into our weekly headlines-in-review, the Daily Business News on MHProNews discovered the following doing some basic research.

restraint of trade

noun

LAW

  1. action that interferes with free competition in a market.”

 

There can be in contract law both licit and illicit restraint of trade.  For example, if you hire an employee, teach that person the business, and had them sign a non-compete agreement that covers a reasonable time frame (two years is common) after a possible separation, that might be a legal restraint on trade. Check with an attorney for details.

But price fixing or other efforts at manipulating or rigging the marketplace is not a legal restraint on trade.

 

Restraints of trade is a common law doctrine relating to the enforceability of contractual restrictions on freedom to conduct business. It is a precursor of modern competition law,” said Wikipedia

SummaryAntitrustLaw4PsGraphicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Here’s how the FindLaw website describes the matter.

Restraint of Trade – FindLaw

FindLaw › smallbusiness › restraint-of-trade

At the most basic level, “restraint of trade” is any activity that prevents another party from conducting business as they normally would without such a restraint. For instance, two businesses agreeing to fix prices in order to put another competitor out of business is an illegal restraint of trade.”

Rottenstein Law said:

“What is “restraint of trade”?

RXInjuryHelp.com › … › Injury”

 

Restraint of trade is an economic injury that involves interfering with another person’s ability to do business freely. Restraint of trade is part of antitrust law…”

So if a company or person is ‘INJURED’ or HARMED by a restraint of trade, or the threat of a restraint of trade that can be the cause of action by civil, state or federal authorities.  Note that under civil law, some causes of action – which can at times be handled by an attorney working on a contingency fee basis in a firm that specializes in such cases – can result in 3x damages to the injury incurred.  Do you think that may be why those in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis aren’t too keen to confess possible misdeeds?

 

Here’s another example, from Business Dictionary, that covers possibly licit actions.

“What is restraint of trade? definition and meaning

Business Dictionary › definition › restraint of trade…

Legal contract between a buyer and a seller of a business, or between an employer and employee, that prevents the seller or employee from engaging in a similar business within a specified geographical area and within a specified period.

Finally this morning, there is this pull quote from US Legal.

 

Restraint Of Trade Law and Legal Definition

USLegal › definitions › restraint-of-trade

Restraint of trade means any activity which tends to limit trade, sales and transportation in interstate commerce or has a substantial impact on interstate commerce.” 

There’s more on all of these, but that gives industry readers and investors a better sense.

Now think about restraint of trade in terms of what the Mobile Home Militia or #MHM has recently alleged. This is the latest allegation from that group. See that report under the Masthead, further below.

 

BarriersEntryMaintainExitMonopolisticTrustsCartonbulletsInfographicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHProNews editorially is pro-free enterprise, faith, flag, family and friends. That makes us 5F. America has a long tradition of antitrust or anti-monopolistic law and enforcement. In recent decades, that has arguably slipped. But there are voices across the left-right spectrum that see the risk of the monopolistic, and the issue of antitrust is roaring back. We support that for the benefit of small to mid-sized businesses and consumers. Where monopolistic behavior warrants it, big firms should be broken up under existing law. For a legal rationale on how that can be done without new laws, see the report linked here. For documents, quotes, video and examples of alleged monopolistic behavior in manufactured housing, click here.

 

Or ponder antitrust laws in terms of what the document from 21st Mortgage, the quotes from Warren Buffett, and what Kevin Clayton said in the video on this page stated.

Is attempting to interfere with the free communication of business information – say an organized or quiet boycott of a business publication – a possible restraint of trade?  Engaged Scholarship says “Protest Boycotts as Restraints of Trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act…”  So, yes.

Note that tying, boycotts, restraint of trade, and other such practices that are cited under various antitrust laws have been called for by purported surrogates of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  Some of the have been published, others were done verbally, by email, and so on.

With those thoughts in mind, now look more closely at what MHI’s own antitrust document said about possible, once more linked here as a download for your convenience. Also, ask yourself this.  Why has MHI refused to turn over documents that may reflect other possible conflicts of interests between their ‘elected’ leaders and the actions of the trade group?

AntitrustInstructionsWarningManufacturedHousingInstituteLogo

MHI antitrust instructions are shown at the link here as a download. Provided under fair use guidelines for media.

 

Hundreds of millions of dollars in fines were reported in 2018 alone by the Department of Justice (DoJ), see November Rain, by the DoJ’s top antitrust cop in the article linked further below. Keep in mind that not only are fines possible under antitrust laws, but federal law gives the government the power to break up a firm engaged in monopolistic practice.

With the breakup of monopolies in mind, while we disagree with Senator Elizabeth Warren on several issues, on that topic, she and her campaign could do the nation a favor. More on that, linked here and here.  Once more, we take a ‘wheat and a chaff’ approach to each person, each group.  Accept whatever is good – like wheat – but reject what is not – like chaff.

When you look at manufactured housing through the lens of market manipulation, it may become more clear why the industry is still well below historic norms.  That is based upon data that the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute’s own members have produced.

The SPJ is the Society of Professional Journalists. “The SPJ’s code of ethics states that journalists should “seek truth and report it” and that “journalists should be honest, fair, and courageous…” In fairness, we routinely reach out to those we are researching.

 

MHProNews’ dares speak ‘truth to power’ and hold the powerful to account.
That’s a traditional and respected roll of media.

 

We are not a trade organization, which is why we’ve encouraged the formation of a new post-production trade group, given the apparent failure of current post-production leadership over the course of many years. The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) came to birth in 2018, stating their dismay over years of MHI promises without fulfilment. Years before, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was born to deal with issues that MHI was failing to address for independent producers of HUD Code homes.  That said, we respect the right of those who freely want to be members of MHI.  There is another question about just how ‘free’ some of those decision are, but we’ll look at RICO law and related another time.

What will happen for other post-production groups? Will retailers, lenders, suppliers or others organize, as NAMHCO and MHARR have done?  Stay tuned.  Keep in mind that most industry have numerous trade groups, manufactured housing is odd in that it has so few.  Is that also a possible reason why the industry is constrained in its growth?

In the meantime, see the reasons for growing alarm and frustration, among a variety of other reports.  Below you will find the good news, the bad, and the ugly. Because while we aren’t SPJ members, we seek the truth and report it, coupling it with expert analysis you won’t find anywhere else in manufactured housing.

As usual, we don’t create a text-linked image box for each report, but we never do a topic that we don’t think has relevance to manufactured housing investors and professionals. With no further adieu, let’s dive into the week that was from 3.10.2019 to 3.17.2019.

 

What’s New on the Masthead

Mobile Home Militia – “Clayton [Homes] Wants Your Cornbread Too” “Join the Revolution” – ‘You Gotta Have Swagger’

 

What’s New from MHLivingNews

 

Celebrities, Millionaires, Billionaires and Their Appealing Manufactured Homes

 

What’s New from Washington, DC based MHARR

 

 

What’s New on the Daily Business News from MHProNews

11DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogos

Saturday 3.16.2019

 

Prefabulous by Clayton Homes, Behind the Scenes of Manufactured Housing’s Powerhouse “Have it Made” Campaign

 

Friday 3.15.2019

 

“I Can’t Think of a Good Reason to Keep People from Buying Affordable Housing” – Manufactured Home Industry Voices Video

 

“I Can’t Think of a Good Reason to Keep People from Buying Affordable Housing” – Manufactured Home Industry Voices Video

“November Rain” – DoJ’s Top Antitrust Cop – Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim ABA Speech on Antitrust Enforcement for Americans

 

Thursday 3.14.2019

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Sounds Off on Housing Market, Opportunity Zones, More

Hedge Fund Dumps Shares of Skyline-Champion, plus Manufactured Housing Stock Updates

Court Ruling on Sierra Club vs Rick Perry DOE on Manufactured Home Energy Regulations, Constitutional Law Professor, MHARR Weigh In

Tim Williams, PBS News’ Bad Bargain, Manufactured Housing Institute, Buffett’s Mirror, and Clayton’s Costume

 

Wednesday 3.13.2019

 

Minnie Driver, Millionaires, and Billionaires – Debunking “Housing for the Poor” Image of Manufactured Housing

Howard Schultz Serious About 2020 Independent Run, Outlines Plans, plus Manufactured Housing Equities Updates

Investors, Professionals, Planners, Advocates – Examining Affordable Manufactured Home Industry Market Potential

“Tug of War” – Manufactured Home Community Legislation – “Vicious Cycle Goes On,” Impacting Industry, Home Owners, and Potential Buyers

 

Tuesday 3.12.2019

 

 

“Warren Buffett has Another Headache” from Berkshire Hathaway Owned Brand, Says NY Post “it ain’t from a Dairy Queen Blizzard.”

DTS Manufactured Home Lending Committee Member Says MHI in “Unholy Alliance” to Divert Needed GSE Support Away from Manufactured Housing

Rocking Manufactured Housing Shows, Events, and Marketing Promotions

 

Monday 3.11.2019

 

What HUD Will and Won’t Say About Manufactured Housing Programs in 2020 HUD Budget

No Impeachment Says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-D), Trump 2020 Budget Rollout, Plus Manufactured Housing Stock Updates

 

Apt Warning for Manufactured Housing Professionals, MH Customers, by Award Winning Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, TEDx

 

Sunday 3.10.2019

 

·  Warren Buffet’s Quotable Quotes on Business, Institutions, Behavior, and News Reporting

Warren Buffet’s Quotable Quotes on Business, Institutions, Behavior, and News Reporting

That just about does it for this weekly recap.  Let’s note again that we respect the fifth amendment right to remain silent. We respect as well the rights of others to speak up, via the link below.

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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.

 

See the related reports immediately and further below the by line, notices, and  business development offers.

Make sure that you and your circle are plugged into the largest professional audience in all of MHVille. Sign up in seconds for our 2x weekly emailed headline news. From the largest to the mom and pops, and all in between, it is the most read emailed headline news in all of manufactured housing.

 

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

Finally, thanks to our sponsors, sources – plus thousands of daily readers like you – that’s made us and kept us the industry’s runaway most read trade media for some 9 years. Thank you so much. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, 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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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:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Sexual Predators” Beware! MH Community Owners! Retailers Warning – New Federal Sexual Harassment Initiative

April 13th, 2018 Comments off

SexualPredatorsBewareMHCommunityOwnersRetailersWarningNewFedSexualHarrassmentLionLittleGirlDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Behind every good intention can be unintentional consequences. Behind every real problem, abuses of the system can occur.

 

What some might consider to be an innocent flirt, what if an applicant or resident might view it as sexual harassment?

Thus everyone should be aware of a new initiative between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which could bring a world of hurt to Manufactured Home Community (MHC) owners, or perhaps even to manufactured home retailers too.

Obviously, there are genuine cases of sexual harassment – or other violations of the Fair Housing Act – which merit the kind of response that the federal government has just announced.

 

HUDNewsheaderManufacturedHousingIndsutryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

HUD and DOJ Announce National Program 

In a release to the Daily Business News, HUD and the DOJ have announced nationwide plans to combat sexual harassment.

Dr_Ben_Carson__wikipedia

Dr. Ben Carson, HUD Secretary, official photo.

All discrimination stains the very fabric of our nation, but HUD is especially focused on protecting the right of everyone to feel safe and secure in their homes, free from unwanted sexual harassment,” said HUD  Secretary Ben Carson. “No person should have to tolerate unwanted sexual advances in order to keep a roof over his or her head. Part of our mission at HUD is to provide safe housing and we will remain diligent in this mission to protect those we serve. I look forward to working with Attorney General Sessions and the Department of Justice as part of this task force to bring an end to this type of discrimination.”

AttorneyGeneralJeffSessionsDepartmentOfJusticeOfficialPhotoWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, photo credit, Wikipedia.

Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, immoral, and unacceptable,” said Attorney General Sessions.

It is all too common today, as too many landlords, managers, and their employees attempt to prey on vulnerable women. We will not hesitate to pursue these predators and enforce the law. In October, I ordered a new initiative to bring more of these cases, and we have already won relief for 15 victims. Today we announce three new steps to make the initiative more effective and to win more cases. I want to thank the dedicated and committed professionals in our Civil Rights Division and our partners in the Department of Housing and Urban Development for their hard work in this effort. We will continue to aggressively pursue harassers, because everyone has a right to be safe in their home, Sessions stated.

A pilot program was already launched in various places in the U.S.

White it’s announced focus is rental property, retailers or others who engage the home seeking public should realize that this initiative could become part of this effort too.

Per HUD’s release to MHProNews,In October 2017, the Justice Department announced an initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing and launched pilot programs in D.C. and the Western District of Virginia. The initiative sought to increase the Department’s efforts to protect women from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards, and other employees and representatives of rental property owners.”

During these pilots, “the Department developed and tested ways to better connect both with victims of sexual harassment in housing and with those organizations that victims may turn to first for help – including law enforcement, legal services providers, public housing authorities, sexual assault services providers, and shelters.  The Department also tested certain aspects of the initiative in other jurisdictions, including New Jersey, the Central District of California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Michigan.”

Two examples of fair housing cases involving manufactured housing in recent years are posted below.

 

VA MH Community Charged with Violating the Fair Housing Law

 

More Complaints Followed HUD, DOJ Pilot Campaign

These pilots created an “upswing” in legal complai9nts.

The two pilot programs generated an upswing in harassment reporting to the Department from both D.C. and the Western District of Virginia. In D.C., the Department generated six leads since the October 2017 launch. In Virginia, the Department generated three leads. While the Justice Department recognizes that leads and investigations do not always lead to enforcement actions, the pilot program’s results—when extrapolated across all the U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country—could lead to hundreds of new reports of sexual harassment in housing across the country.”

Because of what they called “promising results,” the  HUD is rolling out three major components to the initiative. Per their statement, the following.

First, the new HUD-DOJ Task Force to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing will drive a shared strategy between the Department and HUD for combatting sexual harassment in housing across the country. It will focus on five key areas: continued data sharing and analysis, joint development of training, evaluation of public housing complaint mechanisms, coordination of public outreach and press strategy, and review of federal policies.

Second, the outreach toolkit is designed to leverage the HUD and Justice Department’s nationwide network of U.S. Attorney’s Offices. The toolkit provides templates, guidance, and checklists based on pilot program feedback. It ultimately will amplify available enforcement resources and help victims of sexual harassment connect with the Department.

Third, the public awareness campaign has three major components: a partnership package with relevant stakeholders, launch of a social media campaign, and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) run by the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys. The campaign is specifically designed to raise awareness, and make it easier for victims all over the country to find resources and report harassment.”

Federal HUD Fair Housing Discrimination Complaint Case Update 

 

Owners and Professionals, Knowledge and Fairness Are Power

Nadeen-Green-For-Rent-Media-Solutions-

Nadeen Green, JD.

MHProNews published years of articles by an attorney who specialized in the field, “The Fair Housing Lady,” Nadeen Green, J.D.

Neither MHProNews – nor writers for this publication – are your attorney.  Nor are we giving legal advice per se, but rather are providing awareness of the issues and related news.

That said, common sense says that honesty and an understanding of both legitimate risks and possible abuses of the system should all be on the minds of professionals and owners.

As several past reports in the Daily Business News have noted, manufactured home communities have periodically been caught up in Fair Housing cases. The examples linked above are just 2 of many.

Anyone selling to, or dealing directly with the public in housing ought to be aware of the law, and apply the rules of decency and good sense.

That could start as simply as following the words of Jesus of Nazareth, “Do unto others as you would have others do to you.”  (Mt 7:12, Luke 6:31).  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

January 4th, 2018 Comments off

AntiTrustLegalGavelAntiMonopolyManufacturedHousingMHProNews

The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future,” says the Federal Trade Commission website page, further linked below.

Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly,” per the same federal facts page.

 

The Sherman Act outlaws “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.””

Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws.”

On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal.”

These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are “per se” violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed,” their overview page states.

The quotes above are highlights from the FTC text below, which is shared verbatim as follows for their complete context.

Note that after this section, there will be additional comments and links to information for those impacted or researching this high-profile topic.

The Antitrust Laws, Per the FTC

FederalTradeCommisionWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews“Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a “comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade.” In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.

The antitrust laws proscribe unlawful mergers and business practices in general terms, leaving courts to decide which ones are illegal based on the facts of each case. Courts have applied the antitrust laws to changing markets, from a time of horse and buggies to the present digital age. Yet for over 100 years, the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.

Here is an overview of the three core federal antitrust laws.

The Sherman Act outlaws “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws. On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are “per se” violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed.

The penalties for violating the Sherman Act can be severe. Although most enforcement actions are civil, the Sherman Act is also a criminal law, and individuals and businesses that violate it may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids. The Sherman Act imposes criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.

The Federal Trade Commission Act bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” The Supreme Court has said that all violations of the Sherman Act also violate the FTC Act. Thus, although the FTC does not technically enforce the Sherman Act, it can bring cases under the FTC Act against the same kinds of activities that violate the Sherman Act. The FTC Act also reaches other practices that harm competition, but that may not fit neatly into categories of conduct formally prohibited by the Sherman Act. Only the FTC brings cases under the FTC Act.

The Clayton Act addresses specific practices that the Sherman Act does not clearly prohibit, such as mergers and interlocking directorates (that is, the same person making business decisions for competing companies). Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.” As amended by the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, the Clayton Act also bans certain discriminatory prices, services, and allowances in dealings between merchants. The Clayton Act was amended again in 1976 by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act to require companies planning large mergers or acquisitions to notify the government of their plans in advance. The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future.

In addition to these federal statutes, most states have antitrust laws that are enforced by state attorneys general or private plaintiffs. Many of these statutes are based on the federal antitrust laws.”

The above is quoted verbatim from the page, linked below.

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/antitrust-laws

 FederalTradeCommissionWashingtonDCBuildingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Anti-Trust (Anti-Monopoly) Laws, Manufactured Housing, and You

During an affordable housing crisis, how is it possible that manufactured housing is doing so poorly?

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, MH won’t reach 40,000 of that total. What happened?

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

Was it a series of mishaps?  Or what is part of a plan, to allow the regulatory state to be used to crush many, so that those who built “the moat” could benefit?

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Antitrust, or anti-monopoly laws exist, as the FTC said, because it harms businesses and consumers alike.

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Are there reasons to think to think this may apply to manufactured housing?

That’s for a court to decide, and for attorneys who contemplate such a case to consider, and argue. That said, consider this.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

As the Daily Business News has previously reported, there have been thousands of companies that have closed or were acquired in the manufactured housing industry by larger operations. Was this the result of a plan, part of the moat strategy, of Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway, as it applies to the manufactured housing industry?

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

There are certainly Democratic lawmakers who have raised this issue, and others, who have specifically called Clayton Homes and their Berkshire Hathaway sister companies of 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage, a ‘near monopoly.’

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

As MHProNews began reporting for almost a year, there are also those within the ranks of the industry, who have called out MHI – widely seen within and outside of the industry as dominated by Berkshire Hathaway – as a tool of Warren Buffett led brands.

CampaignForAccountabilityNearMonopolyRacismSteeringPredatoryLendingClaytonHomesVanderbilt21stBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettLogosManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Not because these reports are among the most read articles,
but because there are voices within and outside of MH that say that this matters,
and because readers thank MHProNews for “having the guts” to cover it on behalf of the independents and consumers – who allegedly have been, are being, or will be harmed – we’ve taken this issue on.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

Allegations like those noted in or linked from this article have been carefully examined, per sources to MHProNews, from within Berkshire Hathaway owned brands and from MHI.

Given that MHProNews has invited replies we would publish, why have they not done so?

Given the fact that MHProNews’ publisher has invited a public debate MHI performance and related issues, why hasn’t Gooch, their attorney Rick Robinson (who as an attorney, is essentially trained in debating), or Richard “Dick” Jennison taken up the invitation?  Such a debate could be done via a recorded video, so that the entire industry could see it.

Why has MHI ducked out on that? Why didn’t MHI’s communication professional, Patti Boerger, join the panel discussion on “engaging the media” she was invited to at Tunica in 2017?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) SVP Rick Robinson Ducks Serious Industry Questions in Deadwood

Such reporting is only possible because some have provided their keen insights, documents, insider information, or who have otherwise made these concerns and controversies publication possible.

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

When Doug Ryan at CFED (rebranded as Prosperity Now) leveled the charge of monopoly, MHI’s Lesli Gooch was quick to publicly reply.  Frankly, Ryan’s framing of the issue wasn’t the strongest, and Gooch’s reply was thus made easy.

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. Soheyla Kovach approaches this from a fresh and unique perspective, as her report and analysis linked below proves.

But after months of invitations to MHI – including Ms. Gooch – other staff, and their executive committee members, MHI stopped replying to these concerns roughly a year ago.  They have also expressed refused to take questions in public.

In what might be seen as a type of ‘replies,’

  • an MHI contracted outside attorney,
  • surrogates of theirs,
  • an apparently anonymous package that delivered a threat via U.S. mail (which can be a federal crime = FYI, we called that ‘bluff’ and nothing happened),
  • have all threatened the publisher ofMHProNews. We called their bluffs.

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

  • They’ve arguably played games to harm us, but no legal action.

Note, these threats don’t deny what we’ve published. They are nibbles at the edges, not a denial. Last but not least, MHI sent an anonymous, unsigned letter, removing MHProNews as a member, under the pretense that they had no category for a news source in their association.

That’s demonstrably a ruse, but for reasons that will become clear in the days ahead, they would not give any of the documents requested that preceded that membership cancellation letter.

MHProNews is not alone as being singled out for a win-lose type of proposition. But all of this begs the question, what are they hiding?  Why are they hiding it?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

We hear from Congressional sources that investigations are underway.

We know from other sources that media and third parties are tracking these developments, and taking an interest.

Is there an anti-trust (anti-monopoly), case to be made?

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

Are there hundreds, perhaps thousands of manufactured home business that have been harmed by “the moat” and MHI’s arguably poor performance?

Has MHI begun ‘promotion’ (note, that favors a Berkshire Hathaway brand, a company that relies on Berkshire Hathaway product, and a company that is led by a former Clayton division executive) to duck the growing pressure to ‘do something’ demanded by this publication and numerous industry leaders, including MHI members?

Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, “The Secret” – The Rest of the Story

If MHI et al are serious about facts and defending the industry, why haven’t they corrected the documented cases of factual errors MHProNews has spotlighted, which have been disputes that arose from MHI’s own members?

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Warren Buffett, right, credit Wikipedia. Tim Williams, right, credit, LinkedIn. Collage credit, MHProNews. Click above.

If MHI et al are serious about facts and defending the industry, why don’t they respond to each and every flawed media report, as was once floated as part of their reason for hiring Boerger in the first place?

Do you or someone you know have a case or claim against MHI, Berkshire Hathaway?

Triple damages may await those willing to jump into that fray.

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

TwitterFacebookLinkedInNew Year’s Resolution: On this 11th day of Christmas, a request.

This writer already has one of the largest LinkedIn followings in the manufactured home industry. But we’ve frankly not asked for Twitter, or Facebook followers. That changes, starting today. If you want to keep up with posts relevant to the industry, you can connect via the links below.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach/

https://twitter.com/LATonyKovach @LATonyKovach
https://www.facebook.com/tony.kovach.71

 

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We agree with Warren Buffett on the value of the lessons of history, reading and research. Without those deep insights, the wool can be pulled over other people’s eyes.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended MH industry professionals in all of manufactured housing.

Leandra English Sues to Control CFPB, Who’s Legally in Charge?

November 27th, 2017 Comments off

LeandraEnglishCFPBLawManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNEwsLeandra English, a career staffer appointed Friday to lead the CFPB,” is suing the Trump administration for control over the CFPB, reports a range of sources, including the right-of-center Wall Street Journal, and left-of-center media outlets such as the New York Times, LA Times and others.

Outgoing director, Richard Cordray, appointed English to succeed himself last week.

President Donald J. Trump named as temporary head of the federal agency, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney Is a harsh critic of the agency,” reports Reuters. “Trump wants Mulvaney to run the CFPB until he can get a permanent successor confirmed by the Senate, a process which could take months.

Due to English’s filing suit on Sunday, it sets up “The unprecedented battle reflects competing visions of how to regulate the U.S. financial system.” said Reuters.

Besides potential impacts on manufactured housing finance and related issues – see link here –  the move could cause some tremors in the markets.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) signaled last week that it would back the president’s authority, as the chief executive of the federal government.

But it looms as a big D.C. battle.

RickMulvaneyBudgetDirectorNamedCFPBinterimHeadDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsDick Durbin, the U.S. Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, told CNN on Sunday that “Wall Street hates it like the devil hates holy water.”  Reuters said, “While the legal battle rages, the CFPB’s enforcement work will be put in limbo,” and “Anything that the agency does or fails to do could be subject to challenge until this cloud is removed,” said Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe.”

Trump Administration officials claim the president has the power to appoint an acting director under the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act.  Mary McLeod, the CFPB’s own general counsel, issued a three-page memo agreeing.

I advise all Bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB,” McLeod’s memo, dated November 25, stated.

Even the left-of-center Bloomberg’s take this morning reflects that the Constitution favors the Trump Administration.  But the fact that this tactic was launched at all is just the latest in the disturbing trend that some in the conservative media are calling the “deep state” resistance to the Trump Administration’s legal authority.

An previous and related Daily Business News report on this issue is linked below. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Obtained Email Details Richard Cordray Resigning Soon, Cong. Hensarling Reacts

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

3 Executives Being Probed for Criminal Insider Trades by DOJ, per Reports

September 20th, 2017 Comments off

SECFilingEquifaxJohnGambleRodolfoPloderJosephLoughranMarketWatchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsEquifax is one of the three primary credit reporting agencies.  As such, manufactured housing industry lenders and other professionals are routinely accessing credit files from Equifax.

Mortgage lenders are already pointing out that the data breach could lead to numerous, and long term, impact on those seeking to buy or refinance homes.

But the headline reports this week by MarketWatch, CNBC, Bloomberg and an array of others are focused on the possibility of insider trading by the three executives that sold some 1.8 million in stock the day after the massive data breach. 

Why Hasn’t The following Been Investigated?

What is not yet being investigated is the irony behind Experian’s Dark Web commercial in the wake of their massive data breech. 

The Daily Business News will continue to monitor the Equifax data breech and elements such as these allegations. ## (News.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

Soheyla, Tamas L. A. "Tony" Kovach family

Soheyla (pronounced “So Hey La”) Kovach (pronounced Co-Vatch), with her son Tamas (pronounced “Tah Mash”) and her husband, L. A. “Tony” Kovach, are on location at the Deadwood, SD 5 State Convention.

Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

DOJ, HUD Update Existing Guidance Despite Calls for a Moratorium

December 15th, 2016 Comments off
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Credit: HUD.

The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released updated guidance on the application of the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) to state and local land use planning laws on December 12th.

The guidance is designed to help state and local governments better understand how to comply with the FHA when making zoning and land use decisions as well as to help members of the public understand their rights under the FHA,” the agencies said in a joint statement.

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DOJ Logo

The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status (residing with children under 18).

The statute bars state and local governments from enacting or enforcing land use and zoning laws, policies, practices and decisions that discriminate against persons because of a protected characteristic, such as race, national origin or disability.

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Vanita Gupta. Credit: WAPO.

The Fair Housing Act helps protect open, free and integrated communities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

Government officials, housing providers and the general public need to understand how land use and zoning decisions can create barriers to equal housing opportunity.  We hope this guidance will help communities make these decisions free from discrimination.

Zoning and land use are inherently local decisions,” said Gustavo Velasquez, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for HUD.

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Gustavo Velasquez. Official Photo.

This updated guidance will help give localities and the American people a clearer line of what could constitute housing discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act.  Cities will also have more resources to understand their fair housing rights and responsibilities in the course of making decisions related to various types of housing, including group homes for residents with disabilities.

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Rick Robinson. Credit: MHI.

While a good portion of the Guidance deals with land use planning as it applies to group homes, there is much our state associations can use when they are dealing with cities attempting to eliminate our homes from the supply of affordable housing stock via zoning,” said Rick Robinson, General Counsel for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

The movement by the DOJ and HUD run counter to calls from many inside and outside of the MH industry for a moratorium until President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

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MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

MHARR recently told the MHProNews that they are calling on the heads of three agencies specifically – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to defer further action on pending controversial rules or actions that could have a severely negative impact on both the manufactured housing industry and American consumers of affordable housing.

That story is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Community Sued, Accused of Housing Discrimination By Department of Justice

October 6th, 2016 Comments off
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May Grove manufactured home community entrance. Credit: Central FL Equities.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against May Grove Village Manufactured Home Community based in Lakeland Florida, alleging that employees actively worked to keep African-Americans out.

Managers falsely told African-Americans that no mobile homes, (sic) or fewer mobile homes, (sic) were immediately available for sale, but told similarly situated white persons that more mobile homes were available, (sic)” the DOJ said in a release. “Managers also quoted prospective African-American purchasers higher prices and worse financial terms than similarly situated white purchasers. 

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DOJ Logo

According to the lawsuit obtained by the Daily Business News, between July and November 2015, undercover investigators with the DOJ Fair Housing Testing Program posed as buyers at May Grove Village and found that preference was being given to white buyers.

MHProNews readers are aware that use of the Fair Housing Testing Program has been on the increase, including in a settlement by Effingham Illinois based Four Seasons Estates last year.

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Nadeen Green, JD.

In an MHProNews column, attorney Nadeen Green, JD, shared that while attending the John Marshall Law School annual conference on fair housing that “the audience, particularly those involved with Fair Housing Assistance Programs (FHAPs), were chastised for not aggressively seeking emotional damages in their fair housing cases.

 

 

Green went on to share that “agencies and attorneys were coaching attendees to aggressively seek emotional damages in their fair housing cases,” and, that “the denial of housing or housing rights does not only mean that someone does not get to live in their housing of choice.

Green, referencing information shared during the conference, continued. “It can also mean that they are angry, hurt, shamed, discouraged, and perhaps facing consequences that could be life defining, such as their child not being able to attend the good public school in that area. 

In the May Grove Village case, Bay News 9 spoke with community residents who were surprised by the allegations.

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May Grove Village Manufactured Home Community, Lakeland, FL

It would be very shocking if there were any truth to it,” said resident Chuck Baggett. “Because of all the other people we have had in here.

I was surprised because it is the first time I hear that,” said long-time resident Ana Ocasio.

According to Bay News 9, other residents said that African-Americans had been regular community residents over the years.

May Grove owner James C. Goss and park managers Cathy Plante and Joey Gwozdz are named as defendants in the suit. The Daily Business News was unable to reach parties for additional insights or comments.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and monetary compensation for anyone turned away due to their race. ##

(Image credits are as shown.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

 

 

 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Disarming Arms Merchants

June 25th, 2014 Comments off

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) can issue a cease-and-desist order to shut down any business at any time, preventing the business from re-opening until either the government gives its approval or a court ruling is issued. Due to the usual slow movement of bureaucracies and legal wrangling, businesses cannot typically survive such a long wait. According to moonbattery.com, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is trying to choke off firearms dealers by encouraging financial institutions to close bank and merchant accounts connected to these businesses through its Operation Choke Point. In addition, MHProNews understands a bulletin from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) lists gun shops as possibly disreputable merchants alongside Ponzi and get-rich schemes. In 2012 Bank of America allegedly told McMillan Firearms Manufacturing that its business is no longer welcome, and McMillan subsequently closed its accounts after 12 years of banking with B of A.

Jason Oxman, CEO of Electronic Transactions Association, says Choke Point is also targeting ammunition sellers. He says the DOJ is threatening banks with subpoenas and investigative demands in order to help shut down firearms businesses. Osman: “Payments companies across the country are cutting off service to categories of merchants that – although providing a legal service – are creating the potential for significant financial and reputational harm as law enforcement publicizes its activities.” ##

(Image credit: wikipedia.org)

Government Issues Guidelines for Multifamily Housing

May 13th, 2013 Comments off

The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have issued new guidelines to assist design professionals, builders and developers in meeting their obligations regarding persons with disabilities when building multifamily housing. The regulations relate to width of doorways and sufficient space in the rooms for maneuverability of wheelchairs, as well as height of outlets, light switches and thermostats. Bathroom walls have to be reinforced to allow for future installation of grab bars, all for compliance with the Fair Housing Act. The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) tells MHProNews, according to HUD, 30 million Americans use a wheelchair or have trouble walking or climbing stairs.

(Photo credit: bloombergbusinessweek)