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Cavco Industries Woes Mount, Official, Unofficial Insights, Broader Manufactured Home Industry Impacts?

February 14th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Thank you. And before we begin, please be advised that comments made during this conference call by management will contain forward-looking statements under the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements of expectations or assumptions about Cavco’s financial and operational performance, revenues, earnings per share, cash flow or use, cost savings and operational efficiencies,” said Mark Fusler, Director of Financial Reporting for Cavco Industries (CVCO), per the Motley Fool’s official earnings call transcript.

 

Some factors that may affect the company’s results include, but are not limited to the risk of litigation or regulatory action arising from the subpoenas we received from the SEC, the risk of potential litigation or regulatory action arising from the SEC related internal investigation and its findings, potential reputational damage that Cavco may suffer as a result of matters under investigation, adverse industry condition, our involvement in vertically integrated lines of business, including manufactured housing, consumer finance, commercial finance and insurance, market forces and housing demand fluctuations, our business and operations being concentrated in certain geographical region, the loss of any of our executive officers, federal government shutdown, and extensive regulation affecting manufactured housing,” said Fusler for Cavco.

This conference call also contains time-sensitive information that is accurate only as of the date of this live broadcast Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Cavco undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this conference call, except as required by law,” Fusler stated before turning the call over to Daniel L. Urness, President and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Cavco.

One could unpack those disclosures at great length and depth.

But what was not directly stated was that the number of shareholders plaintiffs’ attorneys doing “investigations” of Cavco and CVCO stock has mounted. It’s about a dozen known firms, to date – and while it is implied by Fusler – it is not bluntly stated.

Nor was it directly said that Cavco continues to take several preparatory moves, per legal sources, that make it clear that they expect a potentially protracted legal battle over the Stegmayer-SEC subpoena reported issue. That too may be construed as implied, but was not stated.

 

 

The Curious Case of Cavco and Joe Stegmayer?

There are communications that have been sent to MHProNews as news tips that have occurred since he stepped down as chairman and CEO of Cavco that some might interpret as Stegmayer exercising more leadership at Cavco than his current job title may imply.

The fact that Stegmayer is still Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Executive Committee ought to be of interest too.

 

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Why? Several possible reasons, per sources that include, but may not by limited to the notion of “derivative liabilities.” We will explore that topic in an upcoming report.

But look again at this part of Fusler’s disclaimer statements: “...market forces and housing demand fluctuations, our business and operations being concentrated in certain geographical region, the loss of any of our executive officers, federal government shutdown, and extensive regulation affecting manufactured housing…”

Which of those plaintiffs attorneys investigating Cavco have begun to uncover the various concerns about alleged market rigging or related that has been raised by MHProNews, MHLivingNews, MHARR and others? Which shareholders investigators have connected the relevant dots between Cavco, Clayton, and MHI?

Or who at the SEC is doing so?

How many of those shareholders attorneys or the SEC have had staff pouring over reports published here or elsewhere about Stegmayer, Cavco, Clayton, and MHI?

Without revealing sources and methods, it is common-sense to think that such research is the underway. If so, doesn’t that mean that Cavco’s legal bills and exposure will mount?

 

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But the market’s investors are apparently beginning to regain a measure of confidence in Cavco. They may – correctly or incorrectly – think the worst is over for CVCO, and that the stock is now “a value” in the Warren Buffett sense of the term.

 

 

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The storm brewing over Cavco could disrupt more than what some in MHVille, the investment community – or even in Phoenix, Knoxville, and Arlington –  may currently believe. MHProNews will do follow up reports that will continue to unpack what is occurring in the developing case.

 

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Until the next report, note as a disclosure that MHProNews’ management holds no position in any tracked stock in our evening markets report, nor plans to open a position in the next few days.  Some prior reports can be accessed from the text/image box below.

 

What’s Coming at Cavco Industries (CVCO), Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Stock Updates

 

But we are keenly interested. As the #1 read, and pro-sustainable growth manufactured housing trade media, plus consulting, and professional services provider, we wonder aloud why certain steps have not yet occurred at MHI, their member companies, including Cavco, Clayton, 21st Mortgage and others haven’t already occurred?

Stay tuned, because more is almost guaranteed to be revealed. And if so, will it once more send shock waves though Cavco, or others?  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavco Industries New Board Member, Susan L. Blount – Corporate, Manufactured Home Industry Insights on Pick, Timing

January 29th, 2019 Comments off

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Cavco Industries (CVCO) has provided a recent release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, regarding the announced selection of Susan L. Blount to the troubled firm’s Board Of Directors.

 

We’ve held that release for reasons that yesterday’s report on Cavco make clear. Before turning to portions of the Cavco release, industry sources tell MHProNews what this move represents.

Blunt on the Cavco Board of Directors is “…meant to inspire confidence both now and going forward…” for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), plus the firm’s current and prospective shareholders.

Sources also say that this move to bring Blount on board is meant to blunt prospective plaintiffs attorneys too. Cavco, per sources, have engaged in several moves designed to prepare the firm for the legal battles that are expected.  For more on those legal issues, see the related reports, further below.

 

Here are some quotes from Cavco’s release to MHProNews, following the composite screen capture from LinkedIn.

 

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Cavco Industries Appoints Susan L. Blount to Board Of Directors

Former EVP and General Counsel of Prudential Financial Inc. will Bolster the Board’s Financial Services, Governance and Insurance Expertise

Cavco Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVCO)…announced that its Board of Directors (“Board”) appointed Susan L. Blount as an independent director of the Company’s Board. Ms. Blount, an experienced financial services executive, retired as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Prudential Financial, Inc. in 2015, having served as General Counsel since 2005.

Ms. Blount’s appointment fills the vacancy on Cavco’s Board and brings its current membership to five directors, all of whom are independent. She will be a member of the Company’s Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee and the Company’s Compensation Committee.

We are extremely pleased to welcome Susan Blount to our Board,” commented William Boor, non-executive Chairman of the Board of Cavco. “Susan’s accomplishments speak for themselves. She has significant and very relevant experience in strategy, corporate governance, risk and compliance in both the public and private sectors.”

Mr. Boor continued, “Susan’s addition reflects our commitment to enhance the Board’s capabilities and diversity. We look forward to getting the benefit of her insights, judgment and counsel, and we are confident that Susan will make a meaningful and very positive impact on our Company’s future success.”

I am excited to join and begin to work with the Cavco Board as we move into 2019,” said Ms. Blount. “Cavco fills an important role in the US housing market and the Company has impressed me with its strong commitment to governance and focus on superior stockholder returns.”

Ms. Blount is an outstanding addition to our Board,” added Daniel Urness, President and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Cavco. “Her public company and diverse corporate management experience will offer fresh perspectives and oversight to help our leadership team enhance long-term shareholder value.”

Susan L. Blount

From 2005 to 2015, Susan Blount served as General Counsel of Prudential Financial, Inc. (Prudential), a leading provider of insurance, retirement and asset management products and services. In that role, Ms. Blount led the company’s global law, compliance, business ethics and external affairs organization. During that time, Ms. Blount was a member of key senior management committees including the Office of the Chairman Group, the Enterprise Risk Committee and the Capital and Financial Controls Committee. Ms. Blount joined Prudential in 1985 as a staff attorney in the company’s commercial real estate organization. Before being appointed General Counsel, she held various positions of increasing responsibility, including Chief Investment Counsel, Vice President and Corporate Secretary, and Associate General Counsel and Head of Shareholder Service. Prior to joining Prudential, Ms. Blount was an Associate at Kirkland & Ellis.

In 2017, Ms. Blount was an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University. Since 2016, she has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law. Ms. Blount is active in professional and community service. She currently serves on the University of Texas Law School Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Center for Women in Law and the Nantucket Historical Association. Ms. Blount has also served on the Boards of organizations such as Montclair State University, the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project. She has also been a faculty member at Stanford University’s annual Directors’ College and a participant in Stanford’s Institutional Investors Forum.

Ms. Blount graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in history and a juris doctor with honors.

About Cavco Industries, Inc.

Cavco Industries, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, designs and produces factory-built housing products primarily distributed through a network of independent and Company-owned retailers. The Company is one of the largest producers of manufactured homes in the United States, based on reported wholesale shipments, marketed under a variety of brand names including Cavco Homes, Fleetwood Homes, Palm Harbor Homes, Fairmont Homes, Friendship Homes, Chariot Eagle and Lexington Homes.

The Company is also a leading producer of park model RVs, vacation cabins, and systems-built commercial structures, as well as modular homes built primarily under the Nationwide Homes brand. Cavco’s mortgage subsidiary, CountryPlace Mortgage, is an approved Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seller/servicer, a Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities issuer that offers conforming mortgages, non-conforming mortgages and home-only loans to purchasers of factory-built homes. Our insurance subsidiary, Standard Casualty, provides property and casualty insurance to owners of manufactured homes.

— end of quoted section of Cavco release —

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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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Pink Flamingoes, The Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, and Manufactured Home Community’s Mainstream Media Controversy

January 19th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Once an item hits the mainstream media, or even trade media, it can begin to shape a narrative that may help or harm that operation. In as much as people – potential consumers of manufactured homes – begin or continue to form opinions based upon headlines and news accounts, the prudent business professional must weigh several factors in arriving at a decision on an issue that could shape or harden opinions.

 

Impressions formed by public officials, investors, and the home seeking population might last for months – or years.

 

Last December, the Daily Business News on MHProNews curated such a controversial topic out of Florida. It involves a senior Hispanic woman and her decision to say no to community management, who cited the guidelines for living, insisting that she remove an image of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe from the street facing front end of her single section home.

That December 2018 report, which included an on-the-record legal view on an aspect of the matter, is found at the linked test/box below.

 

Virgin of Guadalupe Appears, Community Management Resident Legal Uproar, Surprising Attorney’s Opinion

 

By the letter of the agreement, the community may be correct.

But are they making the right decision?

That will be briefly explored in this update on the ongoing incident, via this report and analysis. Because this thorny case has once more hit the mainstream media.

 

The MHC Saga of Millie Francis

Christmas 2018 and Epiphany 2019 may well be in the rearview mirror on the calendar. But for Hispanic senior Millie Francis those celebrations no doubt live on in her heart and mind as part of what forms her intractable stance on this matter.

Community management was previously contacted by MHProNews, and opted not to say more than what is already in the main media.

A video of Francis explaining her view is posted below.

 

 

Here is a synopsis – via pull quotes – of what the latest report said, per the Brandenton Herald. Note that this story has drawn national attention, not only from Catholic media, but local, regional, and national mainstream media – plus here on MHProNews.

 

  • A legal battle is brewing over a portrait of the Virgin Mary an 85-year-old devout Catholic woman had commissioned to replace a window on her Bradenton mobile home.
  • Attorneys representing Bradenton Tropical Palms’ board of directors have filed paperwork announcing that Millie Francis “has been sued in this proceeding,” with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes.
  • The suit included a demand for arbitration, a process where an arbitrator’s ruling would be legally binding in order to keep it out of an actual courtroom.
  • The issue with Francis went public in early November when property management demanded she remove the painting, which depicts Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Francis declaring, “They’ll have to kill me first.”
  • At the heart of the issue is whether the management of Tropical Palms is singling out Francis specifically for the subject matter of the painting. Management insists that the demand to remove the painting have nothing to do with religion and that Francis simply didn’t follow through on park rules pertaining to the replacement of her front window.
  • However, attorneys acknowledge in the documents that Francis submitted the forms, “but with no request for an overall change in appearance or design.”
  • Management insists Francis was required to submit additional requests to do the painting itself. Francis is not be targeted because of her religious beliefs, the lawyers said.
  • “This is pointed out solely to rebut the fact that (Francis) has attempted to turn the enforcement matter into an alleged discriminatory action by the board, when in fact, that allegation could not be further from the truth,” the documents state.
  • Francis isn’t buying that argument, noting that if the painting was of flowers she doubts this would have become an issue at all.
  • “It’s anti-Catholic and I don’t care what anybody says,” Francis said. “I’m sorry, but that’s what it is. I wasn’t late putting it up. That’s not the issue. It’s me and the painting.”

 

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Pink Flamingoes and The Virgin Mary – What to Do?

Some years ago, in a suburb outside of the Houston metro, I did a consulting project with a manufactured home community owner who had a solid 4 star property. That owner had serious backing from a billionaire. He wanted to change the image of his property, to set it apart from that of the industry at large.  His community was nearly new.  But it had been struggling for occupancy for years.  Despite the quality of the property, and large sums invested in marketing and other move-in incentives, the location was less than optimal in various ways,” said manufactured home industry veteran consultant and publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

As part of his marketing theme for the land-lease community, the owner stressed that the property ‘had no pink flamingoes.’ For him, it was a metaphorical way of setting himself apart from those manufactured home communities that had loose standards that made a place look cheap. With sidewalks, a large community park with picnic tables, flowers, trees, playground, swimming pool and more, tawdry pink flamingoes was the opposite of the image he had in mind,” Kovach said.

We had been successfully testing a variety of unique, even unusual, marketing outreaches. They were getting traction at a price less costly and more profitable than other efforts they had previously made. But one day a resident, in violation of the guidelines for living, put two pink flamingoes on the street side facing of her home. As I recall,” Tony Kovach said, “the owner wrestled with the issue personally, for all the reasons a community operation can imagine. As much as he hated it, he decided to let those pink flamingoes stay. We obviously had to drop that ‘no pink flamingoes’ mantra from the marketing message.”

The marketing campaign had no noticeable impact from that change,” said Kovach. “You could debate his choice either way, for all the reasons an attorney or portfolio operation knows. But that resident was happy, even though he as an owner was personally irked by the entire episode. That was pink flamingoes. In this case in Florida with a senior Hispanic woman named Millie Francis, who is by all accounts, a serious practicing Catholic Christian. The woman believes God Almighty wants her to fight this fight on behalf of the Virgin Mother of the Lord Jesus, manifest in the powerful cultural and religious symbolism of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Is this matter really that hard to figure out?”

 

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It is slowly approaching a year since the Millie Francis story has made headlines in local, regional, and even national news.  It frankly adds to the negative image of the entire community sector, and by extension, the industry at large.

Sometimes in business, one finds a way to forgo a right in order to achieve a higher good. How long before those property owner/management in Florida realizes that they have cost themselves, and untold others in the industry, in a fight that even if they win, it’s been costly in the eye of public opinion?

Think about the various interest groups that this ongoing imbroglio may offend.

 

  • Per Wikipedia, here in the U.S., “Christians represent 73.7%of the total population, 48.9% identifying as Protestants, 23.0% as Catholics…”
  • The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060,” according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
  • 50.8 percent of the population is female, says the Census Bureau.
  • 17 percent of the population is Hispanic, says Wikipedia, and they are by many accounts, among the fastest growing minority populations.
  • While the 2010 Census puts the white-only population at some 63.7 percent, that’s shifting. Would other minority groups identify with this Hispanic lady’s plight?
  • In 2016, 36.6 percentof household heads rented their home, close to the 1965 number of 37 percent, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center based on data from the Census Bureau,” per a report last year from CNBC. 
  • Potential downsizers, up-sizers, first time buyers, etc.

EditorsNoteMillieFrancisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

How does an incident like this encourage or discourage groups – like the above – from considering the manufactured home lifestyle?  If you were not an industry professional, how would it influence you?

 

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There are several initiatives underway from companies and associations alike. Some of them have been ongoing for several years. But the new home shipment data makes it painfully clear that they are not working in the measure that matters most to a business, bottom line performance. Learn more, Click Here.

 

Is there anyone that in some form or fashion that this incident may not offend?

Your professional thoughts?

 

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

 

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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.

(Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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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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Virgin of Guadalupe Appears, Community Management Resident Legal Uproar, Surprising Attorney’s Opinion

December 20th, 2018 Comments off

 

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In business, you might technically be on the right side of a law, but still appear badly to the public at large that you hope to attract and serve.

 

A recent fracas arose between 85 year old resident, Millie Francis, and a resident-owned manufactured home community’s management. Vanguard Management decided to make a legal issue over an elderly Hispanic resident’s outdoor religious artwork, which appears on the street-side of her home.

It’s made regional news from Atlanta to Miami. It gained prominence on Fox News nationally. A fair housing expert has shared her legal perspective on the matter with the Daily Business News on MHProNews, which will be presented further below.

But let’s set the stage first with some general background.  Then, we’ll look at some specifics of this case, and thereafter will provide the legal insights.

Why this attention in the industry’s leading trade media? Because the story is arguably about much more than the ‘guidelines for living,’ or other community rules. It’s even more than fair housing or freedom of religion issues, although those are all serious enough.

It is arguably a potential lesson to be learned about the message this sends to literally millions of members of various demographic groups, and what this says about manufactured home community living.

MillieFrancisBrandentonTropicalFarmsMobileManufacturedHomeResidentOwnedCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Regional Mainstream Media Coverage

Over one in five living in the U.S. is Catholic, according to Pew Research. “23.9% of Americans identify themselves as Catholic…approximately 72 million,” in a 2008 Pew report.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “57.5 million…The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2016, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 17.8 percent of the nation’s total population.”

The Population Reference Bureau says that some 46 million Americans are over age 65, about 15 percent of the population.

 

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So in one fell swoop, a photo and headline about this elderly woman’s tiff with her community’s management, and they have potentially offended no less than three sizable interest groups.

If you looked at women as another interest group, or those who take issues about freedom of religion seriously, even larger groups could be offended by the headlines this story about Millie Francis and what she says is her ‘heavenly inspired‘ art work has generated. That it has gone into the days covering Advent and the feast day of

 

That’s significant, because the Washington Post said in 2014 that “People don’t pay much attention to the news. … Overall, 41 percent of Americans report that they watched, read, or heard any in-depth news stories, beyond the headlines, in the last week…” It’s not just one media source that says a problematic headline that can lodge in someone’s subconscious.

A writer for Forbes in 2016 said, that 59 percent of you will share an article without reading beyond the headline.  Ouch.

So even if Vanguard Management, which reportedly operates Bradenton Tropical Farms – and which they and the community manager declined comment on this report – are technically correct, potentially millions who heard or saw a blip in their local or regional news, could have a problematic view of the matter.

Rephrased as a possible lesson learned for industry professionals, sometimes it is the better to be right, and still do what a resident of customer wants, then to make an issue that ends up creating headlines like this vexing story has.

 

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Let’s see what a letter writer in the Orlando Sentinel had to say, which is between the next two graphics.

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The section below is from the Orlando newspaper, an apparent opinion column, which gives insight into why such issues matter to professionals and home owners alike.

When the Virgin Mary appears, it’s usually cause for a celebration. In Bradenton, it might be cause for an eviction.

Or worse.

Millie Francis says she’ll give up her life before she takes down the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her mobile home, the Bradenton Herald reported.

“They’ll have to kill me first,” she told the paper.

They are Vanguard Property Management, which runs the mobile home park where the 85-year-old Francis lives. They say she has run afoul of the rules and neighbors have complained about the work of art.

The hubbub began this spring when Francis replaced the front window of her mobile home with a piece of plywood, the Herald reported. A devout Catholic, she went to Mass and was inspired to paint the image.

Janet Nowakowski, the neighborhood property manager, told the Herald that Francis had permission to remove the window. She said the project was not completed in time and that Francis didn’t get the painting approved by the park’s architectural review committee.

Francis thinks it’s more as a case of religious discrimination than red tape.

“There’s all kinds of stuff out there, but this is because I’m Catholic and it’s wrong,” she told the Herald. “With all the things going on in the world, I would think there would be more important things to worry about than this.”

Such worldly concerns have inspired people to seek divine guidance for eons. In that quest, there have been about 2,000 sightings of the Virgin Mary since 1531, when the Catholic Church started investigating such reports.

One of the most famous sightings was at Lourdes, France in 1858. Now 6 million people a year visit St. Bernadette’s grotto, with thousands hoping to be cured from their afflictions.

Clearwater made the sightings map in 1996 when a stain on the glass window at the Seminole Finance Company took the shape of the Virgin Mary.

Jesus has been spotted in a lot of places, including a breakfast taco and a bag of Cheetos.

The Bradenton mobile home park has no restrictions against grocery sightings, but Nowakowski said Francis will have to resubmit her application to the architectural review board if she wants to keep her painting.

Francis says that’s not going to happen.

“I don’t bother anybody and I don’t want anyone bothering me,” she told the Herald. “I got permission from them, but I’m not asking for anymore permission. This is America, I’m 85 and will do what I want with my own property.”

God’s speed, Millie Francis.

 

FlorideWoman85FightingKeepPaintingVirginMaryMObilehomeHavetoKillMeFirstDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFox

ReaderCommentsFoxNewsMillieRichardsVirginGuadlupeStoryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Check out the above.  The headline is from Fox, on their national news site. The comments that follow the photo and caption are just some of those posted by readers about this scenario.

 

 

With these items as a backdrop, let’s turn to what Nadeen Green, JD, an actively retired fair housing attorney and long-time expert for For Rent had to say about this case.

 

Fair Housing Attorney Sounds Off

MHCSuedAccusedofHousingDiscriminationByDepartmentofJusticeNadeenGreen-jd-for-rent-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews

Nadeem Green, JD.

Per Nadeen Green, J.D., I used to see this quite often in the apartment industry and those of us who teach fair housing always told owners/companies to understand that it is an “all or nothing” business decision.  Many MF communities have rules that say nothing can be placed outside or in windows to be viewed from the outside. Others allow residents to display what they want (sports flag during important games, holiday decorations, flags from their original countries, etc). Often there were time rules – 2 weeks before an event, holiday or national day, for example. one week after.  But once such is allowed, it is pretty well open season, which is why “nothing” often was the case.

 

In this article the threshold issue is whether there are rules and policies for anything done outside the home (note that there is a reference to an architectural committee process) and whether this resident complied with those.  If other artwork or displays have been allowed, arguably hers should be as well unless there is a rule along the lines of “seasonal displays will be allowed but they must be secular and non-religious displays will not be allowed.”  If this resident is allowed to have her art displayed (whether as a result of community rules or legal ruling) than anyone else can have religious displays as well…from any religion

One more comment…there is no need to accommodate for religion in housing (unlike in the employment arena).

While fair housing and fair employment have many parallels, they have never been in lock step (even, as you now know, the protected classes are different under the federal law).  BTW, often state or local governments do add further protections to the housing laws so sometimes the differences are not as vast.

For years “disparate impact” was a difference.  It is articulated in the federal employment law but not mentioned in fair housing, which led to all sorts of legal wrangling so that now that must be considered in housing (mostly as to criminal background checks for residents).  Another big area of difference in civil rights laws is that of service animals.  The Americans With Disabilities Act does not recognize emotional support animals and those can be excluded from public places; the Fair Housing Act does recognize emotional support animals and that is why a housing provider must accommodate such.  Disability is the only federally protected class that requires reasonable accommodation and that is why disability is the number one area for legal disputes – HUD charges and private lawsuits.”

— end of Nadeen Green’s legal commentary. —

There you have the legal side of the Millie Francis – Madonna painting issue, with the normal disclaimer that Nadeen Green is not your attorney, so this should be understood as general guidance, not specific legal advice to you.

So, as noted above, there are several ways to ponder this issue.  There is a strictly legal view.  There is the public relations perspective.  There is a resident relations to consider as well.  What’s missing from this is the question of how other residents responded to Francis’ display.  Finally, there is the question – what if she was truly inspired to take up this issue?

Lots to ponder, and unpack, just days before Christmas.  That’s “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ©   ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing Institute Housing Alert, Affordable Housing Crisis, MHI’s #NettlesomeThings Response

Festivals of Light – Hanukkah and Advent in Manufactured Home Land – a.k.a – MHVille

 

 

 

Deaths in MH Communities from Trees Falling, “Get to the Root of It”

September 6th, 2018 Comments off

DeathsinMHCommunitiesfromFallingTreesGetToTheRootofItDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

In Arkansas, and Florida, recent local media reports focused on tragic deaths that occurred when trees fell on what they each news outlet called a “mobile home.1” Meanwhile a West Coast law firm sent out a message announcing an event to discuss the liabilities involved, under the title – “Get to the Root of it! Tree Laws and Driveways.” 

In Russellville, AR, the following video was posted under the headline “Falling Trees an Ongoing Problem at Mobile Home Park Where Mom, Son Killed.”

Fox16 said, “Johnny Hicks, who used to live at the park off Main Street and was visiting family there over the weekend, can’t stop reliving what he witnessed when a rotting tree pinned a mother and her 2 children underneath

There was a little girl screaming and I started talking to her trying to calm her down,” Hicks said. “All the mom was saying was ‘I’m dying, help I’m dying.'”

The tree was so big crews needed a crane to get the family out. By then firefighters say Alesha Huggins and her 9-year-old son died, while the 6-year-old girl was injured and is recovering at the hospital,” said Fox16.

Hicks said he believes what happened was preventable, explaining that falling trees are an ongoing problem that park management neglects. “The family has told them they want this tree checked out, I guess too little too late,” Hicks said.

Meanwhile, “ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — Tuesday night’s first storm-related death appears to have occurred in Escambia County.” Here’s ABC3340’s video on that fatal incident.

These are all stark reminders of how something like tree care can have life and death consequences.  Prudent advanced care can avoid injury, property damage, or death, along with avoiding the possible legal repercussions.  See related reports below for other perspectives. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Footnote 1.  As regular readers know, mobile and manufactured homes often have terminology mixed and misapplied. To learn more, see this link here.

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Related Reports:

Exposé! Heartbroken Conventional Housing Buyers? Dare to Compare Site Built with Modern Manufactured Homes

 

Affordable Living! Before and After Video, Remodeling a 1972 Mobile Home, Under $5,000

 

Manufactured Home Community Residents Reach Settlement In Legal Action

April 24th, 2017 Comments off
ResidentsReachSettlementInLegalActioncreditLowellSun-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Lowell Sun.

In Massachusetts, residents of the Chelmsford Commons manufactured home community have reportedly reached a six-figure settlement in a class action lawsuit against community owner, Michigan based RHP Properties.

According to the Lowell Sun, the suit alleges that RHP improperly raised rents on residents over the last five years. As a result of the settlement, residents have started to see reductions in their rent rates, and RHP has agreed to pay out more than $100,000 to about 350 current and former residents.

I’m hoping that we can get something to bring us all back down again,” said resident Sally Walters, who received a letter earlier this month that RHP was reducing her rent by $9 as a result of the settlement.

Three community residents, who claimed that RHP violated a 1990 master lease agreement that stated that rent increases were to be based, in part, on changes to the Boston Consumer Price Index, filed the lawsuit earlier this month.

Instead, the suit claims RHP based the increases on the national CPI, which rose faster than the Boston index, resulting in inflated rents.

The new owners, if the cost of living doesn’t go up they’re still going to charge you,” said one resident.

They know lots of the residents are on social security and disability.”

Additionally,the lawsuit also claimed that RHP added the cost of repairing a water main break to residents, and that as a part of the settlement, RHP has agreed to set aside an additional $10,000 to compensate residents.

For residents, even though the reduction amounts may be small, they have a significant impact. Many residents, who are on fixed incomes, have had to leave the community due to rent increases of $20 to $30 per month.

Anything helps, there’s no doubt about it,” said resident Jerry Robinson. Robinson has seen a reduction in his rent of $16 so far.

A Middlesex Superior Court judge still has to approve the settlement before notices are sent to residents. RHP has not commented on the settlement. ##

 

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

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

Legal and General Reveals Secret for Modular, Prefab Lending

February 9th, 2017 Comments off
LegalandGeneralRevealsWhatsNeededforModularPrefabLendingcreditLegal&General-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Legal & General factory. Credit: Legal & General.

The survey arm of insurance giant Legal & General believes it has the answer for bringing the mortgage market on board with prefab and modular home lending.

An industry-wide guarantee would help bring everyone to the market but, of course, their appetites will differ according to the requirements of their own lending policies,” said a Legal & General spokesman.

There are many ways of reassuring mortgage lenders that homes constructed offsite are reliable enough to lend on.

But not least is the need to establish an industry kite mark such as Build Offsite Property Assurance or the National House Building Council which offer independent assurance around the design life of the homes.

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Credits: Legal & General, Cavco, Open Clip Art.

Legal & General, which owns a modular housing factory capable of building 3,000 homes per year in Leeds, U.K., has been active in the manufactured, modular and prefab industries, including increasing its stake in builder Cavco Industries.

Speaking on the Farmer Report by Cast CEO Mark Farmer in November, which called out modular housing as a solution to the U.K. housing crisis, Paul Stanworth, managing partner at Legal & General, commented on the company’s plans.

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Paul Sanworth. Credit: UK Infrastructure Investment.

This review sets out a clear way for the construction sector to reinvent itself in order to meet the ever-growing demand for homes and infrastructure,” said Stanworth.

Legal & General is helping to address this problem by investing in a modern factory to produce homes using manufacturing processes seen in the production of cars and other consumer goods.

This construction method is safe, clean, and fast, providing a high level of consistency and durability. We sincerely hope that Farmer’s review galvanizes the entire sector to invest in innovation and secure its future.

According to Mortgage Introducer, Legal & General Surveying Services has been helping lenders understand risks and opportunities with visits to development sites that use modern methods of construction and by having speakers talk to property risk managers. It has also invited lenders to its factories.

The government also supports offsite construction and hints that a soon to be published housing white paper may increase that support,” said the spokesman.

The government will be keen to use these homes to fulfill the need in our cities as well as new towns. We see offsite construction as part of the wider solution to the housing crisis, and these buildings are particularly well suited to delivering affordable homes – the very kind of property we need most.

LegalandGeneralRevealsWhatsNeededforModularPrefabLendingcreditMortgageIntroducer-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Mortgage Introducer.

While critics of prefab homes in the U.K. often negatively compare them to ones built after World War Two, Legal & General says that the modern construction is very different.

Post-war, the key was to house people. Now the materials used must come with quality assessment so the properties can be mortgaged from the outset,” said the spokesman.

Also the quality of build and the features and specifications available are light years away from previous incarnations. New techniques are likely to be higher quality than traditional techniques because they are precision engineered.

Much like the automotive industry, the technology and features available now are unrecognizable to the post-war period.”

ChineseSpanishPowerPlayerstoBuildPrefabFactoriescreditcompaniesEnglandnet-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credits: Companies, England Net.

For more on modular and prefab housing in the U.K., including China National Building Material Company (CNBM), Barcelona Housing Systems and U.K. housing association Your Housing Group (YHG) joining forces to build six prefab factories that will deliver 25,000 energy efficient homes per year, click 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.

December 2016 MHProNews Featured Articles Scheduled

December 1st, 2016 Comments off

december2016featuredarticlesmhpronews-comThe new featured articles for the MHProNews.com home page are scheduled to go live on December 2, 2016, by close of business.

Look for over 3 dozen articles, including several exclusives found only on MHProNews.com.

Topics covered will include communities, events, legal, markets, political, production, inspirational, marketing, people and more. ##

(Image credit: MHProNews.com)

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Soheyla Kovach.

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

Manufactured Home Community Tangled in Legal Issues, Resident AG Complaints

August 12th, 2016 Comments off

Twin CirclesRobinsonTownshipMobileHomePark___Pittsburgh_Post-Gazette-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNewsThe manufactured home community in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania remains in legal limbo between its owners and the final residents remaining on the property, which is moving towards closure.

Channel 11 News shared its investigation of Twin Circle Mobile Home Park with MHProNews, where only a handful of residents remain.  Residents state that they’re awaiting compensation outlined by the state’s Manufactured Home Community Rights Act.

As a general rule under the act, owners are required to pay some $4,000 to $6,000 to relocate residents, with the lower end of $2,500 compensation if the home has already been abandoned.

Most have already moved out of the location. Among the remaining residents include Skip Benish, concerned with relocation, as well as his recent $6,800 worth of renovations he completed on his home.

Benish explained his frustrations, “All new windows, crown molding all around, paint, carpet and sub-flooring. I’m fighting for my rights is what it is.”

More than 20 residents have filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office against the owner of the community, who plans to build a strip-mall on the property. Eileen Yacknin, litigation director at Neighborhood Legal Services Association, has said that “Clearly, this violates the law, in my opinion.”

11 Investigates conducted an investigation recaped in the video below. The report has the all-too-common errrors found in media report, including refering to the homes as “mobile homes (sic),” when informed industry professionals can look at a glance and see from the exteriors that they are in fact manufactured homes.

Nomenclature issues aside, the local media reports highlight the tensions and negative publicity that generally arise in a town when a community closure takes place, and residents and ownership haven’t worked closely together to make the transition as painless as possible.

The Post-Gazette has reported that Gary Kalmeyer, an attorney for park owner Bill Chen, asserts the community’s ownership is working to comply with state law.

MHProNews previously reported on this case, and will continue to monitor the matter for industry professionals. ##

(Photo credit, Post-Gazette)

 

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Frank Griffin, Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Reported by Frank Griffin to Daily Business News – MHProNews

An American August in MHVille – New Feature Articles Alert

August 1st, 2016 Comments off

AmericanAugustMHVilleDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2016The new featured articles for MHProNews  will begin to go live later today, on August 1. Because of the size of this issue, new articles will continue to be added to the featured articles module until completed, which is expected to be August 2, 2016.

A new Cup of Coffee with… interview will be unveiled.

Among the hot topics will be insights on the Trump Organization’s presence in factory built housing industry.

You’ll read from experts in legal, fair housing, insights from MHARR and MHI, communities information, MH Industry focused products and services, solar manufactured homes, a look at the upcoming election, comments by the Democratic and Republican nominees, commentary on those and much more that impacts your profession, business, the nation and our world.


We plan to have everything new “live” (published) on the home page by Aug 3rd, but most of it is available right now.

Featured articles are found below the Daily Business News module, which are the two center sections of the home page under the top navigation header. Stay tuned. ##

(Image credit – MHProNews and MHProNews logo).