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

June 11th, 2019 Comments off

 

WAVYMainstreamTVHUDSecretaryBenCarsonInnovativeHousingShowcaseClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayRevelationsManufacturedHomeMHProNews

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

 

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

 

 

The portion that dealt with manufactured homes read as follows.

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Connections, and Revelations

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

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

 

InnovativeHousingShowcaseClaytonHomes2019-06-10_1127GooglesearchManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

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

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

 

InnovatieHousingShowcaseIHSManufacturedHomeGoogleSearch2019-06-10_1116ManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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

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

BerkshireHathawayMediaGroupNewspapersLogoPerTheirWebsite8-14,2-18DailyBusinessNewsMHProNEwsLogo

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

These relevant queries and factoids beg more questions.

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

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

 

Secretary Carson’s Historic Effort

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

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

 

 

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

MHI has declined comment on that topic as well.

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

 

IRSForm990RichardDickJennisonMHIPresidentCEODailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

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

 

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