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

June 19th, 2019 Comments off

 

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

 

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

 

Requesting an Antitrust Investigation

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Bob

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

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

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

Request to Congress

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

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

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

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

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

Affordable Housing

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

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

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

That will be the basis for future posts.

##

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21st Mortgage Suit’s CFPB Denial, Exclusive Document on Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Housing Brands Investigation

February 14th, 2019 Comments off

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Never underestimate the power of money in Washington, D. C., or in the districts and states that send legislators to Capitol Hill.

 

Legislators or other public officials can be influenced about matters that moneyed interests care about in a variety of ways, as an examination of the power of money over politicos becomes more evident in recent years. So, for that and a variety of other possible reasons, there are no guarantees that investigations opened will lead to a just outcome.

With those disclaimers, a formal communication from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to the publisher of MHProNews, discloses a document that is the first known official statement by a Berkshire Hathaway brand on the allegations of market rigging and monopolistic activities.

The CFPB provided a letter from a 21st Mortgage Corp. attorney – noting that lawyers can are also known by the slang terminology of ‘a suit’ – denied all allegations made against 21st.

That staff attorney for 21st Mortgage Corp is Jeff Warkins, JD, who has been asked to provide comments for specific questions related to allegations that can be accessed by the linked text/image below.

 

Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier

 

 

21st Attorney Denies Allegations, BUT…

The entire letter from Jeff Warkins, JD, to the CFPB is linked here as a download.  MHProNews’ publisher has responded to those denials to the CFPB, which may be the subject of an upcoming report.

 

JeffWarkinsStaffAttorneyLitigatino21stMortgageCorpLinkedInDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

Collage from Jeff Warkins’ LinkedIn page, with MHProNews’ third party media fair use notice.

 

That noted, let’s go to the meat of what Warkins’ said on behalf of his firm.

“…Please consider this 21 st Mortgage’s official response.

Tony Kovack is not a consumer of 21 st Mortgage under any plausible definition of the term and thus his use of the Consumer Complaint portal is misplaced. Aside from that, the most appropriate and accurate response is that we flatly reject all of his assertions. Additionally, we are not aware of any HUD or other regulator investigating the “claims” to which Kovack has alluded…”

 

It should be noted that Warkins correctly spelled our publisher’s last name earlier, but then misspelled it for the balance of the letter.  If he couldn’t get something as easy as the spelling consistently correct, what other mistakes might have been made?

But more important, the fact that Warkins says he is unaware of other investigations is odd, as it has been reported last year by the Seattle Times, local media in Knoxville, and of course here on MHProNews.

Here’s what Knoxville’s WBIR said on their video report page, “A federal spokesperson confirmed to 10News Monday that it’s looking into a “fair housing” complaint tied to the Maryville-based home builder.” Rephrased, Warkins’ is either uninformed, missed easily accessed facts, and/or was perhaps hoping to bluff the CFPB?


Notice that hundreds more have viewed this local news video linked above since MHProNews recently posted it.

 

Questions Posed to Jeff Warkins by MHProNews:

— Start of quotes from message to Jeff Warkins, JD @ 21st Mortgage —

 

Jeff Warkins, JD,

We will be doing a report and would value your photo.  Please advise either way. Thanks.

We’d also welcome any other comments from you and/or 21st on the allegations linked below, which are a key element of what the CFPB is asking about.

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

More specifically, while your letter to CFPB correctly asserts that I’m not a customer, what you may or may not be aware of is that the State of NY AG’s office apparently referred the matter to the CFPB.

With that understood,

  1. do you deny that Tim Williams issued such a letter [As is linked here and above]?
  2. Do you deny that Warren Buffett’s annual letter has been accurately quoted?
  3. Do you deny what Kevin Clayton at Clayton Homes said on that video interview with Robert Miles?

 

Kindly clarify, confirm or comment on those points, and then please send your photo too. You are also welcome to comment or forward to an appropriate party on any of the issues noted further below.

Thank you.

Tony

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Office 863-213-4090 |

— end of quotes from message to Jeff Warkins, JD @ 21st Mortgage —

No reply to the above has been received from 21st as of the time of this post.  Later replies are welcomed from 21st, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Wheels like sort of complaint may grind slowly, as now House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters (CA-D) and other Democratic complaints which occurred in 2016 exemplify.  So, don’t misconstrue periods of silence on this issue.  Federal and other investigation fuses have been lit.

Other tips on this or other topic are welcome.

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Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

May 21st, 2018 Comments off

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Just hours or days before an expected Congressional vote in the House on their version of S. 2155, the Seattle Times is reporting on federal investigations into the business practices of Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage, and their affiliated Berkshire Hathaway lending units.

 

Gwen Schablik, a former Clayton employee who was featured in the 2015 article, said officials from HUD and the Department of Justice interviewed her about the issues last year,” per the Seattle Times’ Mike Baker.  “Schablik has said that she and other staffers raised concerns with superiors about Spanish-speaking borrowers who had signed loan documents they couldn’t understand. She said managers told her there was no need to translate the documents.”

Baker’s narrative said Clayton issued a statement to them, emphasizing a claimed culture of compliance, “and does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in its interactions with customers.” But when the Daily Business News asked Clayton to denounce racism last year, they did not accept the opportunity to do so.

We value working with federal and state agencies to improve processes and ensure all regulatory requirements are met and our customers are protected and treated fairly,” Clayton stated in writing, per the Seattle Times.

WBIR has a wrinkle in the report, shown below.

 

What It Means

The Seattle Times latest report confirmed several Daily Business News reports in 2017.

In that sense, Baker’s narrative is akin to the recent Washington Post report, which underscored facts reported by MHProNews, and/or by the Manufactured Housing for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

The Post confirmed reports by MHProNews on issues related to

  • Pamela Danner, the former administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP),
  • how the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) failed to ask HUD leadership to have Danner removed for numerous concerns over her allegedly problematic actions.    
  • MHI failed to act with respect to Danner, despite a widespread outcry against Danner’s repeated overreaches expressed by grass roots retailers, communities, producers, state associations, MHARR, and others. 
  • The overreaches were bad enough that HUD Secretary Ben Carson called them “ridiculous” in Senate testimony.

 

GuruFocus, Clayton’s Unethical Moats?

Days ago, “GuruFocus contributor John Engle asked the questionAre Warren Buffett’s Strategic ‘Moats’ Unethical?

 This isn’t the first time Buffett’s love of moats has been attacked,” per GuruFocus. “Berkshire Hathaway has been criticized for its business practices, which seemed to put profit over customers, particularly at its Clayton Homes division.”

It is worth noting that GuruFocus’  Rupert Hargreaves used the proper industry terminology – “manufactured home” – while Seattle Times still uses the incorrect term, “mobile home.”

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Clayton Homes, for example, the largest builder of modular and manufactured homes in the United States, has been accused of relying onpredatory sales practices, exorbitant fees and interest rates that can exceed 15 percent, trapping many buyers in loans they can’t afford and in homes that are almost impossible to sell or refinance.” Evidently, if the company were looking to expand its moat naturally,” said Hargreaves for GuruFocus,it would be trying to achieve the best reputation and results for customers rather than price gouging — a tactic only the largest [m]onopoly businesses tend to get away with.”

The Nation and others have also raised concerns about Clayton Homes, and their Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway lending units. 

 

Evidence of Monopoly?

To date, only MHProNews – thanks to a news tip from a reader – published 2 documents from 21st Mortgage Corp related to allegations of overtly monopolistic practices.

According to what attorneys have said to MHProNews who examined those 21st mortgage documents – and when compared to the facts in Buffett’s Berkshire annual letter that same year, along with the related videos – have led them to say that there is good evidence of monopolistic practices.

Is it just a question of time before word leaks out of anti-trust investigations of Buffett’s Berkshire manufactured housing industry brands? Will that include reported concerns over the trade association they dominate, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) too?

The Daily Business News report, Smoking Gun 3, is linked below. “We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

 

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