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“But I Was Born Free”

July 4th, 2019 Comments off
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Stills from Born Free music video by Kid Rock, posted further below. Collage by MHProNews.

Music gets appropriated for commercials, campaigns, causes, and political events on a routine basis. So why not do that for the interests of manufactured home professionals, investors, and the tens of millions in the affordable home seeking public?

 

Facts, figures and slogans often get swatted around like a ping-pong ball in a professional-level table tennis match to advocate for some new law.

Why not cut-to-the-chase, save time, money, and implement the good laws that are already on the federal law books?

There are unique opportunities for honest gain being forged in the crucible of often troubling circumstances. There are purported ‘black hat’ operations that have manipulated the system and political forces in order to divert existing laws while lining their own pockets. They do so at the expense of our fellow Americans, ethical businesses, and honest investors.

Why not use some jujitsu to spotlight those bad behaviors, while ‘white hat’ businesses, investors, organizations, professionals, advocates, and lawmakers come together to enforce good laws?

Why not hold hearings in Congress to spotlight the various ways that existing laws have been blocked, often by posturing or feigning which masks entirely selfish interests – often within our own industry’s ranks?

Let’s explore that case briefly below.

 

Born Free

I was born free. We believe in free enterprise and respect all honest work. It’s a holiday, yet the groundskeepers caught us by surprise – they are working outside – keeping the lawn, shrubs, and the property pristine. Wow, that’s unexpected, yet it’s amazingly American.

But some are born into vexing scenarios made worse by corrupted versions of capitalism rightly called conquest or crony capitalism. Is it any wonder that millions – seeing such misbehavior – question free enterprise?

However well intended HUD Secretary Ben Carson or his predecessor Julián Castro may be or have been, there is evidence that corporate interests have colluded with officials currently or previously at HUD to thwart existing laws. We’ll explore who and name some names in the days ahead.

But even what we already know from Senate testimony or from the Washington Post should be enough to cause alarm for observant and thoughtful professionals and honorable public officials.

Senator Thom Tillis, in a dialogue with HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “I don’t think that most people recognize how the regulatory burdens hit the poorest among us the hardest.” Tillis revealed that he grew up in what he called a ‘trailer house,’ but was more likely a mobile home or early HUD Code manufactured home. Tillis spoke about the morass of regulations that are “no doubt creating a higher price point.”

 

 

Senator Tillis (NC-R) jokingly said that in his personal case, the increased regulatory costs might have been the difference between a single wide, and a “single wide with a bump out.”  There are likely thousands of professionals in our industry that don’t even know what that means, because single sections with an extension are not so common any more. There was unquestionable more variety of manufactured homes built by more manufacturers 30 to 35 years ago than there are today. That’s not to say that there aren’t improvements, of course there are, as Secretary Carson said in the video above.  But for those who were in the industry in the 1980s, they recall ‘tip outs,’ balcony bedrooms, sunken baths, raised kitchens, and other floorplans that many today have not seen on a factory line in many years.

Tillis used his personal experience as an example to call attention for the need for regulatory stream lining that could benefit millions. That sound suspiciously like the executive order that President Trump issued just days ago. It was very much in keeping with what a Washington, D.C. based trade group has been calling public officials to do for years. Persistence may pay in the foreseeable future.

Secretary Carson, even early in his administration, noted that 22 million were living in manufactured homes and their mobile home predecessors. He said when you look at the progress made in the industry “it’s amazing.”

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

 

Dr. Carson went on to say that a lot of the housing was hard to distinguish from site-built housing, noted that pricing on manufactured homes was lower, but “the regulations are ridiculous.”  He noted that he put a moratorium on those and were inspecting regulations from “top to bottom.” More recently, Secretary Carson said that we can solve the affordable housing crisis, and he pointed to manufactured homes as part of that solution.

Some of those “ridiculous” regulations Carson spoke about in Senate testimony were no doubt about issues related to Danner that MHProNews and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), among others, had spotlighted for years.

Who was directly in charge of implementing HUD regulations?

Pam Danner, J.D., who per sources was inserted into her role at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) by backers within the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  While that claim may or may not be easy to nail down, what follows is already known.

Juliet Eilperin writing in the Washington Post in May 2018 said that it was the efforts of Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of MHARR and his colleagues that got Danner removed, for her purported excesses in regulatory overreach. By contrast, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Senior Vice President (SVP) Lesli Gooch specifically stated that they did not seek Danner’s removal.

That WaPo report was not denied by MHI.

When thousands of industry professionals were howling from coast-to-coast about Danner and overreach, why wasn’t the Arlington, VA based trade group likewise pushing for Danner’s removal?

Once the ‘wheat and chaff’ are separated, what becomes clear is this. MHI postured action, but failed at the most basic and obvious step; i.e.: seeking and obtaining Danner’s removal. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s per the clear implication of MHI’s SVP Gooch’s own words, as reported by the Washington Post. That’s the truth hiding in plain sight.

The deep pockets at MHI – and those behind them in places like Omaha, or the Knoxville metro, and their allies – can buy more of everything than MHARR and/or our publications can.  MHI is the one that claims they have clout at the federal level.  If so, how have they used that clout?

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That reality of their deeper pockets and broader access are precisely why it is logically stating the obvious where the roadblocks in our industry are. They are often internal, and the net impact is that the industry is consolidating instead of growing.  Several of MHI’s own past and present members have said as much.

 

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Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.

 

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

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Who benefits from slow growth or negative growth? Isn’t it the deeper pockets that can then buy more communities, retailers, producers, and suppliers at a discount? Doesn’t that fit the Warren Buffett mantra?

 

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

 

Therefore, it is an obvious time for a new paradigm.

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When MHProNews spotlighted that MHI had reputedly done nothing on reaching out to the CFPB in 2017, MHI – perhaps in there embarrassment – began to move to get something done. When MHARR pushed MHI long enough on the DOE energy rule, MHI finally pivoted. It seems that MHI acts for the interests they claim to stand for best when the spotlight hits their lack of action otherwise. 

 

It is time for new alliances to be created that bridge the gaps that are causing a harmful status quo.  It is outrageous that manufactured home shipments are into 9 months of year-over-year decline.  It is a disgrace that MHI and their outside attorney threatened us for lawfully publishing the item below, when it was they who were making the false claims and promises.

 

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That this decline is avoidable is exemplified by exceptions to the rule, such as our report on Nobility Homes, linked here.

That Buffett’s ‘donations’ have found their way into the hands of MHAction and other groups opposing MHI begs the question, have they been playing the industry’s white hats with the rope-a-dope for years?

 

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

 

While MHI, Prosperity Now and others are pushing for a new bill in Congress that could make things worse. Paradoxically, the claimed goal of that bill could be rapidly achieved simply by implementing existing federal laws. Which begs the question, why not push for implementing good laws that are already on the books?  Who benefits from more delays? Isn’t it the consolidators that want to keep manufactured housing misunderstood and underperforming?

 

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There are several reasons to believe that there is collusion and corruption that purportedly violates antitrust, IRS or other regulations, and possibly laws such as RICO.

 

 

We have new and significant recent features on Manufactured Home Living News. They lay the foundation that makes the case for implementation of existing laws. They also suggest how white hat brands, organizations, honest public officials, and investors could be working with manufactured homeowners, renters, and others to reform the system by implementing existing laws.

It could – indeed should – start with public hearings by Congress and possibly states to investigate and explore what has gone wrong.  No one could be as incompetent as the powers that be in Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington have been, could they? Which suggests that a relatively small group of people could be manipulating the system in ways that cause more homelessness, more poverty, and more grief for millions that would otherwise be avoided.

 

 

More in the days ahead on specifics within HUD that should cause alarm and spark action.

Those of us born in the U.S.A. were born free.  Let’s not lose that freedom to the machinations of a few that are trying to wrongfully enrich themselves to the detriment of the many.

 

 

Roll the stone away. Let the guilty pay. It’s Independence Day.

 

 

Summing Up

The solution to the affordable housing crisis has been hiding in plain sight for years.  There is a case to be made that it is often forces within the industry that have thwarted, allowed, and diverted resources and good current laws from spurring more sustainable growth. That growth would have meant more home ownership for people otherwise trapped in rent. That kind of corruption must be exposed and punished.

Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay, it’s Independence Day.”

Now you may better understand our mantra, “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © Dig into the related and linked reports above and below to round out the picture. Let’s restore the American Dream, starting with an understanding of Independence Day. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. All third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC parent company of MHLivingNews and MHProNews. He is a highly acclaimed industry expert and consultant, a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, and is a 25 plus year award-winning manufactured home industry professional. Kovach earned the Lottinville award in history at the University of Oklahoma.

 

 

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Manufactured Housing Production and Shipments, Official HUD Data, Report for May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

RE Focused Economist Says, ‘Millions of Housing Units’ Needed

June 14th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Mark Fleming, Ph.D serves as the chief economist for First American Financial Corporation.  He’s been popping up more on various business news shows, so the Daily Business News on MHProNews decided to share the flavor of Fleming’s economic and housing insights.

 

It ought to be one of those rally points for manufactured housing professionals who are thirsting for growth.

About Fleming, “Before joining First American, he developed insights and analytical products for CoreLogic, and property valuation models at Fannie Mae. Fleming graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master of Science and a doctorate in agricultural and resource economics and holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Swarthmore College. He lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area,” per his company’s website.

As the posted videos reflect, he’s telling business news sources on both sides of the left-right media divide that ‘millions of housing units’ are needed.

 

 

In that, he says some points that longer time-readers of MHProNews are familiar with.  The National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has said similarly.

 

 

More recently, HUD Secretary Carson has pointed specifically to manufactured homes, along with other forms of prefab and innovative housing techniques.

 

 

So, while Fleming hasn’t been laser focused on manufactured housing, the industry’s professionals and investors must think of themselves as broader ‘housing’ members.  In that context, the needs are tremendous.

Only factory building can achieve that, is what tech gurus – who are increasingly entering the factory-built housing market – have decided.

Why does Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger love housing? Because they know which way the market is going.

In this context, one must ask. How is it possible, with the needs so great, that manufactured housing is still selling at a lower level than 15 years ago?

 

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Logic says there are only a few possibilities.

·        The industry’s ‘big boy’ leaders don’t know what they are doing. While we disagree with them on many things, we don’t buy that option, but it is a logic possibility.

·        The industry’s ‘big boy’ leaders and their puppet association are lazy, and are not willing to do what it takes.  Again, it’s a possibility, but not one that we think fits the facts.

·        The industry’s leaders want the industry to perform at a low level, intentionally. If so, why? A common concern is that underperformance allows big companies to acquire smaller firms at a discounted price.

 

Is there evidence for this?

One might start with the words of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) own statement on camera, arguing for slow growth. 

 

 

What? During an affordable housing crisis?

It was such an outrageous comment that our publisher brought it to the attention of then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, who is also the President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp. Williams told MHProNews that he would ‘talk to Dick.’

The following Louisville Show, Jennison then said – also capture on video – that the industry could achieve 500,000 new homes. That’s arguably true. But what has MHI done to achieve that level of production?

 

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

 

NAMHCO, cited in a report earlier today, broke from MHI, precisely because of a lack of performance.

 

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What Haney’s statement reflects is the lack of credibility and effectiveness of MHI in their claims.

 

Frank and Dave,” controversial in their own right, nevertheless told their readers 2 weeks ago not to look to MHI for support for community owners, using these words.

 

 

In peeling back the layers of the onion in manufactured housing, in hindsight, the insight of Marty Lavin makes sense when he said the following.

 

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Ask yourself objectively. Do these Marty Lavin dictums apply with respect to MHI?

 

More pointed was Lavin – who is an MHI award winner – when he made the following statement.

 

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

 

MHI has purportedly engaged in what Mark Weiss, the President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) who referred to the industry’s post-production sector – which is MHI’s turf – as the “illusion of motion.”

 

“THE ILLUSION OF MOTION VERSUS REAL-WORLD CHALLENGES” – Spotlighted by Manufactured Home Industry Leader

 

That comment sent our publisher laughing at the apt, penetrating insight.  Keep MHI members busy, keep them going to meetings that are profit centers for MHI, per their own IRS Form 990s.  Feed them ‘housing alerts’ that led them to believe that they are making progress…

…but the acid test is the sales, shipment and production of new manufactured homes.  Those numbers don’t lie.

 

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Inept? Lazy? Or head fake with the goal of consolidating the industry into ever fewer hands?

 

 

Let’s not forget the 21st letter, Kevin Clayton video, and Warren Buffett letter, linked below.

 

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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/

 

It makes the most logical case. Clayton, 21st, MHI, and MHI’s outside attorney – asked to address these concerns and allegations – routinely makes no on the record comment. 

Instead, they’ve put George F. (F?) Allen up as their purportedly incentivized attack dog and distraction surrogate.

When asked about claims from his own followers that have said Allen’s being compensated and rewarded by the big boys, Allen has no comment.

Millions of housing units are needed. Publicly traded MHI member companies own IR packets state that the industry is underperforming by historic standards.

Voices in Congress, per our sources, are wising up to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington ploy.

Voices in Congress, are already on the record going after high profile MHI members, including Clayton, 21st, and several large so-called ‘predatory’ community operators.

It’s not a pretty picture as to why the industry is underperforming. But the historical data – and the research by economists like Dr. Mark Fleming and others say that millions of homes are needed.

Tim Williams said it to MHProNews, and we’ve repeated it many times, because it was the truth – that they’ve arguably not followed. Every misleading report needs to be robustly responded to, as he said below.

 

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MHI needs to push for enhanced preemption, a full implementation of the Duty to Serve mandated by law, and put the black hat behavior actors on notice.

Sources say, MHI can’t do it.  They’d lose Clayton and several big boy members, per those sources if they ever did such a thing.

Thus the need to expose the problem and the realities. Then the need for multiple layers of independent investigations, as publicly as possible.

There’s more in the links below.

 

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That’s today’s third episode of News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Over Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Over Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing

June 13th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Facts are stubborn things.”

 

Assuming that the meaning of “new” hasn’t changed recently, “new” means “not done before.” And, if “new” still means “new,” then it also means, by definition, that there is no pre-existing loan performance data for that “new” class of home – because it’s … well … “new.” – Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

 

Wit is the soul of wisdom, goes an old maxim.

With that pull quote above from his full message below, Weiss exposes the apparent contradiction of providing Duty to Serve (DTS) lending for the Clayton Homes/Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backed ‘new class of homes.’

Attentive industry readers will recall that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said that a ‘lack of data’ caused them to not dive deeply into manufactured home lending, especially on home only or ‘chattel’ personal property loans.  Yet they do have data on those loans. They also have the obvious example of several lender sustainably performing personal property loans.  That’s inferred performance.

By contrast, as Weiss said, the GSEs have no data whatsoever on this Clayton/MHI backed new class of homes.

An outraged MHI-only member producer told MHProNews in 2018 his disgust over how the GSEs snubbed the vast majority of manufactured housing by Fannie and Freddie with this phrase: “What are we chopped liver?”

 

“What Are We, Chopped Liver?” MHI Member December 2018 Reactions

 

Another MHI-only member producer told MHProNews about the same time that the new class of homes makes no sense. Per that source, the GSEs already did lending on par with conventional housing for modular homes.  Why establish this new class of HUD code manufactured homes, when modular housing already exists, and the same producers routinely do both? In a sense, it is arguably like doing nothing at all for manufactured housing, unless it is much the same as an on-frame modular unit.

 

Insider Insights from GSEs

The Daily Business News on MHProNews asked a consultant to a GSE, prior to the roll out of their ‘new class of homes,’ program the following.  Had the GSEs considered what the impact would be on the rest of manufactured housing? And if the ‘new class’ of homes was successful, what if it undermined confidence in the balance of all other manufactured housing?

The reply was stunning. Per that consultant, if a negative impact on other manufactured homes occurred, the GSE could always take that into consideration after a year or so of data was collected.

Rephrased, the consultant said the GSE was willing to risk undermining the value and confidence in all manufactured homes, in order to roll out the new Clayton/MHI backed project as they envisioned it.

Outrageous, but there it is.  Other consultants to GSEs told MHProNews equally stunning revelations.

 

But the focus of this report is the newest edition of MHARR ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES.  It is being reproduced below in its entirety.  It will be followed by additional insights and commentary by MHProNews.

 

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“TIME TO INVESTIGATE FANNIE AND FREDDIE’S MISHANDLING OF DTS”

By Mark Weiss 

JUNE 2019

It’s been more than ten years since Congress enacted the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and its “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) mandate.  DTS directs both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on manufactured homes for very low, low and moderate-income families.” Insofar as it expressly authorizes programs for both real estate and personal property (chattel) manufactured housing consumer loans, DTS was – and always has been – aimed at increasing the availability (and lowering the cost) of purchase-money financing for mainstream, affordable manufactured homes by providing securitization support for lenders, which would lower their credit risk, while promoting greater market competition, which would also result in lower borrowing costs for consumers. That laudable objective, however, has not been achieved, and with the industry now in an eight-month sustained production decline, DTS remains a nearly empty shell, leaving the 80% of the manufactured housing consumer finance market that relies on personal property loans totally unserved, while scarce – and badly needed – DTS resources are diverted to programs that do nothing for mainstream manufactured housing consumers, but do benefit a handful of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates. This “hijacking” of DTS, with the knowledge and support of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, deserves a thorough investigation by Congress and full accountability for those involved.

 

Put simply, DTS was never designed to be a corporate welfare program for the industry’s largest conglomerates. But that is exactly what it’s becoming, as a result of its botched implementation by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (with a “wink and a nod” from their federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency – FHFA), and its diversion away from the mainstream, affordable manufactured homes produced by all HUD Code industry manufacturers, in favor of high-dollar, hybrid-type homes that are produced by only one or, at most, just a handful of manufacturers.  As usual, the winners in this fiasco (thus far) are certain well-heeled, well-connected industry conglomerates that play to the pre-existing prejudices of Fannie and Freddie, while the “losers” are the rest of the HUD Code industry and the millions of lower and moderate-income American families that could otherwise be helped by DTS to purchase and own a home of their own.

 

The factual analysis leading to these conclusions is, in actuality, simple, straightforward and fundamentally undisputed.  Start with a basic undisputed fact, as confirmed by federal government data.  That is — as shown by U.S. Census Bureau housing market data — that some 76% of all HUD Code manufactured housing placements in 2017 (the most recent year for which such data is available), were titled as personal property (i.e., chattel). While not necessarily representing a one hundred-percent direct correlation, this data effectively means that something close to three-quarters of the manufactured homes purchased in 2017 were financed as personal property, while only 17% of all manufactured homes that year were titled – and presumably purchased and financed – as real property. This division between personal property-based placement and financing on the one hand, and real estate-based placement and financing on the other, has remained relatively constant in recent years, moreover, with the proportion of personal property placements varying between 76% and 80%, while real estate placements varied between 13% and 17%.  Thus, there can be no actual or legitimate dispute that the vast bulk of the manufactured homes purchased by lower and moderate-income American families, are served by personal property-based chattel financing.

 

Nor is this – or should this — be a surprise to anyone.  While manufactured housing personal property loans generally carry a higher interest rate than real estate-based loans, due, in part, to the absence of land as security for the lender, personal property loans, using the home itself as the sole security for the lender, cost less overall than real estate loans which include the purchase cost of the land underlying the home.  As a result, personal property loans have tended to be favored by lower and moderate-income consumers, including consumers who might otherwise be unable to afford a home of their own. That is, with an average sales price of $48,300.00 without land (in 2017) a single-section manufactured home would cost far less to purchase and finance than either an average site-built home with land (with an average combined sales price of $384,900.00) or a single-section manufactured home with land, which, according to the same data, could add something on the order of $90,000.00 to the structural price of the home itself.  Consequently, even with higher borrowing costs for chattel loans (resulting from higher interest rates), such loans on HUD Code manufactured homes nevertheless represent – and have always represented – the most affordable route to homeownership for any American anywhere in the United States.

 

Given this basic, undisputed data, the most direct route to fulfilling the promise and mandate of DTS – i.e., putting more lower and moderate-income American families into homes that they can truly and legitimately afford – would be for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide market-significant securitization and secondary market support for the manufactured housing personal property consumer lending market, as MHARR has always maintained. This is where the vast majority of manufactured housing purchasers are, and where the vast majority of lower and moderate-income manufactured housing purchasers are. And, not to overstate the point, these are the very people that Fannie and Freddie should be serving and, in fact, were created to serve, and are directed to serve by their respective charters and authorizing legislation.

 

But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have no interest in serving the type of housing consumers served by mainstream manufactured housing. Thus, they have no interest in providing securitization and secondary market support for mainstream, chattel-financed manufactured housing.  If they did have such an interest, and had been serving the mainstream manufactured housing market all along, DTS would not have been necessary and would not have been enacted by Congress.  What need would there be for a remedy – such as DTS — if there was no problem to begin with?  Conversely, the fact that Congress felt the need to enact a remedy shows that there was, in fact, a problem with Fannie and Freddie’s treatment of manufactured housing consumers. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, aided by FHFA and some within the industry, have worked overtime to circumvent that remedy, while they continue to discriminate against lower and moderate-income manufactured American families that seek to purchase a truly affordable, mainstream manufactured home. At the same time, Fannie and Freddie talk about support for the mainstream manufactured housing market while, in fact, doing no such thing.

 

How do we know this?  Again, “facts are stubborn things.”  To start with, the reality is that neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac has yet to implement even a “pilot program” for manufactured home chattel loans, some 11 years after the enactment of DTS.  A May 23, 2019 letter from Fannie Mae Vice President Jonathon Lawless to MHARR thus refers only to a “potential” manufactured housing personal property “pilot” program. And forget any kind of market-significant support for the predominate type of manufactured home consumer lending in the United States. In fact, according to sources, Fannie and Freddie have yet to provide market support for any manufactured home consumer personal property loans under DTS – a point effectively confirmed by Mr. Lawless, whose May 2019 letter states that Fannie Mae’s DTS Plan “has never called for [the] immediate purchase and securitization of these [personal property] loans.”

 

And what are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doing instead?  Rather than providing the type of market support that is desperately needed to expand the availability and affordability of mainstream manufactured homes for lower and moderate-income purchasers – what they should be doing under DTS – Fannie and Freddie instead, are offering support for the types of “manufactured homes” that they want to see and promote; not mainstream, affordable, HUD Code manufactured homes, but “manufactured homes” that are more like the far more costly site-built homes that Fannie and Freddie are accustomed to dealing with. Thus, in a January 14, 2019 article entitled “Delivering on Our Affordable Housing Mission Under Duty to Serve” (and there are many more such examples), Fannie Mae Executive Vice President Jeffrey Hayward refers to “manufactured homes” constructed in accordance with Fannie’s “MH Advantage” program – for manufactured homes titled as real estate (not chattel) – as being “similar to site-built homes.”  And, of course, this is – and remains – Fannie and Freddie’s central criterion in providing support for “manufactured homes” – i.e., they cannot be mainstream (and therefore affordable) manufactured homes but, instead, must be “similar to [the] site-built homes” that Fannie and Freddie are used to dealing with, and thus are within their pre-existing “comfort zone.”

 

It’s the same thing with the so-called “new class” of manufactured homes.  These homes are described (and specified) as being more like site-built homes – or a hybrid between site-built homes and manufactured homes.  As a result, they are projected to cost significantly more than an “average” mainstream manufactured home – up to approximately $220,000.00 as compared with an “average” (2017) price of $71,900.00 for all mainstream manufactured homes (i.e., both single and multi-section) — and are simply not the type of affordable, non-subsidized affordable housing resource that is provided by mainstream manufactured housing; meaning, again, that they would appeal – and be marketed to – the more “upscale” consumers that Fannie and Freddie would prefer to deal with.

 

And just as long as we’re on the subject, what type of loan performance data exits to support the creation of a special program for this supposed “new class” of manufactured home (or “MH Advantage” homes for that matter)?  For more than a decade, Fannie and Freddie have refused to provide any type of DTS support for mainstream manufactured housing personal property loans, citing a lack of “performance data” to justify entry into that market. So, if the availability of “performance data” is thus a prerequisite for market support from Fannie and Freddie under DTS, what type of “performance data” do Fannie or Freddie have for an entirely “new class” of home?

 

Assuming that the meaning of “new” hasn’t changed recently, “new” means “not done before.” And, if “new” still means “new,” then it also means, by definition, that there is no pre-existing loan performance data for that “new” class of home – because it’s … well … “new.” So, for the 80% of the existing, mainstream manufactured housing market financed through chattel loans, no performance data means no DTS support. It means not even a measly “pilot program” after 11 years. But for a “new” class of higher-cost home, being pursued by just a few of the industry’s largest conglomerates (if that many), no performance data means a ticket to instant Fannie and Freddie support – even though there is not one word about a “new class” of manufactured homes or a pilot program for a “new class” of manufactured homes in the DTS implementation plans filed by Fannie and Freddie and approved by FHFA in 2018.  And all of this comes to you courtesy of the same people who nearly crashed the world economy by backstopping trillions of dollars in “subprime” loans on homes that borrowers could not legitimately afford.

 

The reality is that DTS is in the process of being “hijacked” by special interests. It is being diverted from its primary, essential and crucial mission with regard to manufactured housing – to expand the availability of consumer loans for mainstream manufactured housing; to bring more lenders into the market; and to lower the (interest) cost of mainstream manufactured home consumer loans through increased competition and risk reduction for lenders. Fannie and Freddie’s treatment and botched implementation of DTS is an ongoing farce for the industry and an ongoing tragedy for lower and moderate-income Americans who simply wish to purchase a home of their own, but continue to be subjected to flat-out discrimination, in open defiance of Congress and with a knowing, and apparently intentional pass from FHFA. The time has come, therefore, for Congress to re-involve itself in this matter, to conduct a thorough and probing investigation of DTS with respect to manufactured housing, and see to it that the DTS directive is enforced and implemented now, not “honored” in the breach.

 

Mark Weiss

 

MHARR is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views
and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

 

— ## —

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Disclosure

Stating the obvious, let’s nevertheless note as a disclosure that MHARR is a banner advertiser, thus a sponsor of this publication. That noted, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries – Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation – and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) were also banner advertisers/sponsors of this site – which is the industry’s largest and most read manufactured home trade media by far. Our fact-checks of MHI, et al began while they were advertisers. Our fact-checks began years before MHARR became a sponsor.  Therefore, we have a clearly established record of covering matters as we see them.

It must also be noted that while we were doing such fact-checks and analysis, that MHI’s elected and staff leaders were publicly praising MHProNews.

 

 

 

TimWilliams21stMortgagePublicationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNews

HowardWalkerEmergenceOfTonyKovachsPublicationsProfessionalsFilledVacuumDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – has also stated several times in ‘digital print’ that in hindsight, he now sees the disconnects.  For example, there was Warren Buffett’s very public support of candidates who signed into law and worked to protect from any changes the Dodd-Frank legislation that gave birth to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Meanwhile, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, other Berkshire Hathaway brands, and MHI all spent years and millions of dollars ‘opposing,’ lobbying, and fighting to modify. A detailed review of that ‘Rope-a-Dope’ is linked here. That fact-check and analysis includes this following stunning admission by a former MHI SVP who could not have been clearer. The years of efforts that lied ahead were a waste of time and money.

 

JasonBoehlertManufacturedHousingInstituteSeniorVPLogoMHIlogoQuoteMHProNews

WarrenBuffettPhotoPresidentBarackObamaPhotoMemeCartoonManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Satirical cartoons can illustrate meaningful points.

WarrenBuffettPresidentBarackObamaPhotoMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

The Common Threads?

The common thread between DTS and the never-enacted Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act are access to financing. Our publisher stressed that the principle behind Preserving Access – or DTS – are fine. In the case of Preserving Access, while it was a ‘good idea,’ it was also all but guaranteed to fail. There was no practical logic in pursuing it.

What has been occurring with DTS is similar. So Weiss’ points are timely.

An MHI-only member connected source that’s worked with the GSEs has told MHProNews that part of what caused Fannie and Freddie from not implementing DTS in the aftermath of the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) 2008 was the relatively poor performance of 21st Mortgage Cop and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) lending.

Now, given the mainstream housing mortgage/credit meltdown, that ‘relatively poor’ has to be considered in the broader context.  After all, lending did return to conventional housing, despite the scandals that occurred.  Manufactured homes had negligible impact on the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis that trigged the so-called ‘great recession’ that rippled through the world’s economy.

As a former MHI connected executive has said, manufactured home lending and past losses were a “pimple on an elephant’s ass” compared to what happened with conventional housing.

 

“An Elephant Ass,” Understanding GSEs, Duty to Serve, Manufactured Home Lending

 

Let’s recall that the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis was not the first such event.  The S&L crisis was smaller by comparison, but had an estimated $160 billion finance impact.

 

SavingsLoansCrisisWikiDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

Within that context, what’s noteworthy is that per various sources, Berkshire owned lenders de facto helped derail the use of DTS early after its passage and were a source of an excusing DTS now on virtually all but this new class of homes.

21st, Clayton, and Warren Buffett de facto revealed their responsibility for their harmful impact on manufactured home lending which caused thousands of retailers and some producers to go out of business.

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

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

 

That in turn also arguably kept lending from flowing back into the manufactured housing space.

 

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

 

The aftermath and outcomes were many. These incidents contributed to the tidal shift that hit not only manufactured home retailers, but also communities, occupancy, and thus their values were impaired too.

 

Manufactured Home Community Case Study, UMH Properties, Lessons for Independent Community Owners, Investors

 

There is also an element of self-fulfilling prophecy in this matter. A lack of lending naturally harms resale values of manufactured homes, much like it did with conventional housing during the housing/mortgage crisis.

Furthermore, as was reported last year, it was the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that said that manufactured homes demonstrably appreciated in value. Given the various ways that lending to manufactured homes have purportedly been artificially limited, that factoid is a pleasant surprise.

It should be noted that virtually all of what Weiss has recounted occurred prior to the Mark Calabria becoming Director of the FHFA.

 

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

In a previous comment to MHProNews, Weiss made the previous statements above and below about Duty to Serve (DTS).

 

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Additional points that bears mention is that the GSEs have been sponsoring MHI events. How is that not a conflict of interest?

 

2018-10-03_1018ManufacturedHousingInstituteHILogoCavcoFleetwoodPalmHarborFannieMaeFreddieMacLogoDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

Marty Lavin advises, “Follow the Money” and “Pay More Attention to What People Do Than What They Say.” The GSEs are praising manufactured home quality, but then worked with Clayton Homes and MHI to create a so-called ‘new class’ of manufactured homes, per sources.

 

Furthermore, well prior the Calabria era beginning and before the new Congress being seated in 2019, Jeb Hensarling pointed to what he felt was improper lobbying by GSEs. One of several possible references to that is linked via the text-image box below.

 

Update on Fannie Mae Lobbying, and Manufactured Housing Controversy

 

 

Conclusions

There is a quilt-work of items that are causing the slowdown and underperformance of manufactured housing. Financing must rank high on that list, for the reasons noted herein.

But at the core of these concerns ought to be the common threads.

  • Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and Berkshire Hathaway have their finger prints on these matters.
  • Clayton and their related Berkshire lenders has been spotlighted by several Democratic lawmakers, including 2020 presidential hopefuls.

 

Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending

 

  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) held closed door meetings with the GSEs, that none of the parties involved have released meeting minutes on.  They should be part of any Congressional or other investigation.
  • The Seattle Times, and Clayton’s hometown local news media – besides MHProNews – has reported on numerous federal investigations relative to Clayton that purported involve MHI connections.

 

 

 

One of the posted comments on the video above, from ‘Tobz4uhuni ItsMyName’ posted this, with typos in the original:

Clayton aka Vanderbilt is a horrible place. I have been in mine since 07. They placed it on the wrong land and it sets off by 3 acres. They know they did this and refuses to move it and correct the problem. They also have been offered a deed to the piece of land where it sits providing they quit claim the other piece of land that sits 3 acrea off and they refuse to move. Yet these unethical people, predators, illegal subhumans expect for me to pay for this mobile home when it isnt attached to the acre its suppose to. It sits on someone elses land and he will be moving it soon bc he is building a home where the mobile home sits. Clayton can make it right, but refuses. Plus they sell someone whose credit scores are 500 and 525 mobile homes with a price tag of 63k, an interest rate of 10.5% and make only 9 dollars an hr. Make complaints with your attorney generals office, the state of Tennessees attorneys office and the consumer protection bureaus office. These people need to be stopped.”

These may well rise to the level that merit Congressional investigation, but also Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation.  In a recent statement, DoJ’s top antirust person made statements that if applied to Clayton et al could be seen as a warning sign. See the link here, and the related reports, further below.

RememberThisQuoteIrPrettyPicturesMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews

That’s today’s second episode of News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

Secretary Ben Carson’s, Julian Castro’s Manufactured Housing, “Trailer,” “Mobile Home” Revelations, 2020 Battles Ahead

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Rescinds 2017 “Guidance” on Carport-Ready Manufactured Homes, Other Changes Ahead?

May 21st, 2019 Comments off

HUDRecinds2017GuidanceCarportReadyManufacturedHomesOtherChangesAheadMHProNews

In a news release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said the following.

 

MAY 21, 2019

 

 

TO:                 MHARR MANUFACTURERS
                        MHARR STATE AFFILIATES
                        MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)

 FROM: MHARR

RE:                  HUD RESCINDS 2017 “GUIDANCE” ON CARPORT-READY HOMES

In one of its first substantive regulatory reform actions under Trump Administration Executive Orders (EO) 13771 and 13777, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on May 20, 2019 (see, copy attached), that it is rescinding sub-regulatory “guidance” issued in 2017, requiring Alternate Construction (AC) approval for “carport-ready” manufactured homes.

MHARR first raised the issue of HUD’s unilateral designation of certain manufactured home features as “add-ons” pursuant to 24 C.F.R. 3282.7(b) – and thus requiring AC approval – in 2014 meetings and communications with former HUD program administrator, Pamela Danner.  The Association continued to press the issue of de facto rulemaking via sub-regulatory “guidance” memoranda (i.e., agency dictates issued without notice and comment rulemaking proceedings or Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee review as required by federal law) – concerning this and numerous other matters, in its EO 13771/13777 comments to HUD filed on June 7, 2017, further EO 13771/13777 comments submitted to HUD on February 20, 2018, and in an April 25, 2018 communication to Acting HUD General Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dana Wade.

HUD’s action in this matter is specifically based on recommendations of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), approved at its September 2018 in-person meeting.  As reported by MHARR at the time, “the Committee voted to recommend the withdrawal of HUD Field Guidance memoranda requiring Alternate Construction (AC) approval for carports, by effectively classifying carport-ready designs as involving an ‘add-on.’ The Committee also adopted a resolution supporting amendments to various sections of the Procedural and Enforcement Regulations to permit specific ‘add-on’ structures, including garages. Again, each of these changes have been specifically addressed and advocated by MHARR in both written comments and direct interactions with HUD officials.”

Consistent with these MHCC recommendations – and, again, as noted by HUD in its May 20, 2019 Notice – a separate June 12, 2014 HUD memorandum concerning “attached garages” is not being formally rescinded pursuant to this Notice, but will, apparently, be addressed by forthcoming proposed-amended regulations.  Nevertheless, MHARR continues to maintain and assert in direct meetings with HUD officials and related communications that all such sub-regulatory “guidance” memoranda are unenforceable and must be withdrawn.

Moreover – and in addition to the foregoing – the fact that it has taken more than two years for the HUD program, under its current leadership, to implement the very first substantive regulatory reform action since the Trump Administration took office, underscores a growing concern among manufactured housing program stakeholders, as first reported by MHARR following the recent April 30 – May 2, 2019 MHCC meeting, that some within the HUD program may be “slow-walking” long-overdue regulatory and program reforms in order to “wait-out” the current Administration and the tenure of Secretary Carson, who, according to media reports, may be leaving HUD at the conclusion of the President’s current term.

Regardless, MHARR will continue to aggressively pursue this matter with HUD, Congress and other appropriate authorities.

##

The release included an attachment from HUD Office of Manufactured Housing Program (OMHP) acting administrator, Teresa B. Payne.  That official HUD letter is linked here.

MHProNews notes that this follows in the wake of the recent address by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who pledged to continue to work with the manufactured housing industry in practical ways to make more affordable housing available.

 

 

The full text of Carson’s speech is linked above, along with related videos and more.

 

Assistant Secretary Brian Montgomery Removal of Obsolete and Superseded Guidance Documents Letter

Note too this recent MHARR effort, linked above.  In the wake of that, came this decision. Clearly, there advocacy is having some impact, it is more than just photo ops.

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Related Reports:

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MHARR Testimony to Congress Seeks Increased SAA Funding and Corresponding Contractor Reductions

MHCC Addresses Multiple Issues, HUD Secretary Carson Praises Manufactured Homes at Meeting

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George F. Allen’s Unity Call for MHI, MHARR, and National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) Examined

May 4th, 2019 Comments off

 

GeorgeFAllenCowardlyLionUnityCallMHIlogoMHARRlogoNAMHCOLogoManufacturedHousingMHProNews

What’s the largest national trade association in manufactured housing? As longtime former-member George F. Allen should know, it is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), based in Arlington, VA. They have for years claimed that “MHI is the only national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry.” – as prior, repeated MHI critic Allen should know.

 

But what is Allen’s stance about MHI or other industry trade groups now?

When it comes to which trade association should carry the burden of responsibility for the currently troubled state of the manufactured home industry, which trade group should that be?

Based on MHI’s own claim, it should be obvious. Based on periodic attacks on MHI from Allen for years, it ought to be clear to him too.  As the large, umbrella trade group, it is logically MHI.

Thus, for George Allen to point his barbs at anyone other than the source of the problems, begs the question.  What is Allen’s motivation?

Before diving into the details, let’s note as an executive summary that Allen has recently:

  • directed attention away from the obviously responsible source, i.e.: MHI and their masters.
  • Why is Allen merely posturing or talking about stuff like John Oliver’s harmful impact on MHVille via the problematic “Mobile Homes” video?
  • What is Allen doing to correct sliding industry trends, besides holding meetings, shilling for others, or selling literature that lines his own pockets?
  • Why would Allen try to undermine someone and their organization that is laying the foundation for DOING something positive, that aims to return the industry to growth?
  • Why has Allen attacked a pro-industry party that is not paid for their effort to try to help independent communities, retailers, and others to grow the industry, instead of shrinking the industry. Shouldn’t that spark concern from Allen’s still significant, but nevertheless dwindling fan-base among independently owned communities?

That’s what this report, fact-check, and analysis will unpack. As part of this executive summary, let’s note there will be new quotes for thousands of readers from:

  • Kevin Clayton
  • Joe Stegmayer

Plus an in-context review of others from industry leaders that include:

  • Nathan Smith, SSK Communities
  • Tim Williams/21st

These are among those that will be quoted and cited from this report.  Several new quotes, plus a review of past ones that are relevant, will be included in this exclusive in-depth professional’s-focused dive into the murky world of manufactured housing.

While Allen’s role is arguably that of a pawn, it is nevertheless useful in understanding the broader landscape of how the game is played in manufactured housing today.

We’ll begin this fact-check and analysis of Allen’s recent barbs with some background that may be new to some, but useful to all.  Then, we will proceed to spotlight fresh insights into the drop in manufactured housing shipments, and other efforts that seemingly aim to consolidating more of the industry into ever fewer hands.

 

George F. Allen Ought to Know…

This and other third party images are provided under fair use guidelines for media. It should be noted that AFA, the source of this photo, is arguably another MHI surrogate.

Given that Allen once understood that it was MHI’s bailiwick to focus on retail, community, and other post-production issues, who is it that Allen took aim at in a new critique on his “Community-Investor” “EducateMHC” page? Logically, it should have been MHI. But no, please don’t expect such logic from the retired Colonel Allen.

Let’s help Allen discern – but more important, give evidence-based and logical guidance to any of his readers – that the Indianapolis-based retiree has sadly apparently misinformed his readers about or any other industry professionals who trip across him.

Let’s likewise see what Allen, his buddies, and masters reveal in what follows, in their own words.

 

 

What MHI Leaders Have Previously Admitted

MHProNews begins by taking a step back from Allen and looking at what MHI’s own leaders have publicly admitted, often on camera.

Nathan Smith, MHI’s prior chairman and SSK Communities partner admits that the industry – i.e., MHI – had often ‘failed to be proactive.’ Smith also said that he wants all the (independent) communities for himself, with a great laugh. Is that funny to any independent community owners who were underpaid for the true intrinsic value of their properties?

 

 

Given Smith’s own comments and the public reputation of his firm, does Allen take aim at the SSK partner’s operation and its impact on the industry’s image?

Not that we’ve seen lately. Yet the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rated SSK Communities an ‘F’ – and SSK was part of video clip shown by John Oliver video “Mobile Homes.”  Allen postured in an email to his followers that he is concerned about this issue. ICYMI, re: former MHI chairman Nathan Smith led SKK Communities “F” rating, the screen capture was taken previously, but it was double checked on 5.3.2019 and remains the same as of 10:05 EM ET.

 

JohnOliverHBOLastWeekTonightMobileHomesSSKCommunitiesNathanSmithClassActionLawSuitMobileManufacturedHomeMHProNews

 

Smith and SSK Communities gets a silent pass from Allen on his blog since March 3, 2013, when under the headline, “Circling the Drain,” Allen talked about the tepid turnout for an MHI meeting, lamented Don Glisson, Jr.’s surprise departure at that time as MHI chairman, and flatly noted Nathan Smith at SSK was the new chairman.  But where was – or is – the public accountability-check by Allen of Smith? Per sources in the Allen camp, he does comment about Smith and SSK in dark terms, but only to what ‘George’ refers to as his ‘intimates.’

Ouch, that’s not a pretty picture, by let’s move on from that George F (F?) Allen terminology. We’ll note in passing this mainstream media account of one of several such reports about Smith led-SSK.  Note that this video was during Smith’s tenure as MHI chairman.  What image of the Arlington, VA based trade group does this mainstream news video present? Where was Allen’s courage on this issue? Hmmm?

 

 

Tim Williams – another former MHI chairman, and still president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage Corporation – admitted at an MHI session that ‘the horse has left the barn’ on MHI’s miss of the SAFE Act. Longer-time industry pros recall that the SAFE Act was later rolled into Dodd-Frank. None of those problematic steps were stopped by MHI, nor their ultimate power source in Omaha, NE.

How often must the industry allow MHI watch the ‘horse to leave the barn,’ or to have the scores of industry firms and efforts fail, before more bloggers and publishers join in and hold those responsible, accountable?

MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison admitted on stage and on camera the failures by MHI ‘at times’ too, while giving praise for his good, dear friend L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and MHProNews, which he called a “great publication.”

 

 

Where is Allen’s equivalent to these on-point facts and quoted comments? To use military phrasing Allen should know, it was entirely MIA. Missing in action.

Given that Allen was at some of those same meetings, he has or should have seen those same videos, heard the same comments, and witnessed many of those points that MHProNews has.  So who does Allen go after on April 30th, 2019? MHI? Nathan Smith? Berkshire Hathaway brands, including the one led by Tim Williams?

No.

Instead, Allen takes aim at the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

  • Yet MHARR had no role at all in the Oliver video.
  • Nor is MHARR responsible for post-production issues, that’s supposed to be part of MHI’s claim to fame.

 

MHARR has stated clearly for years about their role: MHARR is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.” That’s also near the end of the same column from MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, that Allen oddly took issue with. Allen knows it, but ignores that point.  It is but one of many examples of purported intellectual dishonesty – or gross negligence – by Allen, if he claims to be a seriously dispassionate reporter of facts.

Rephrased, MHARR isn’t the post-production or umbrella association.  Rather, that is MHI – by MHI’s own claims.

So who is responsible for what Allen called in his recent post the “HUD-Code manufactured housing industry for its’ perennial lethargy, and leaderlessness…” – logically, it is MHI, not MHARR.

One could stop there, because what follows are details.  But those details reveal much about Allen and his purported string-pullers.  That in turn matters to hundreds of independent manufactured home communities who still follow him, and thousands of others who may not even know Allen is in the industry too.

Allen has gone from an MHI outsider, to more recently being embraced by the very people who previously rejected him.  That makes the intellectually curious ask, why?  What changed? Who gets what? Who benefits?

 

MHI’s Leaders, and What Allen’s Missing and/or Hiding?

Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison ‘led’ MHI, or former chairmen Tim Williams and Nathan Smith have at times themselves admitted that MHI has failed. So, what’s up with Allen’s arguably flawed premise and thinking in going after MHARR on his blog?  Where was his logic?

Let’s be clear.  Allen has the 1st Amendment right to go after whomever he will, within legal and moral norms.  If he wants to dispute MHARR’s reasoning, or MHProNews, or anyone else – and does so honorably, have at it.  Let’s also note the obvious.  MHARR is a banner advertiser here. That’s obvious.  But what is not obvious to some is what Allen is getting from MHI and what MHI award-winner Marty Lavin has called ‘big boy’ companies. This fisking of Allen’s fisk is our idea, no one else’s. That said, let’s press on.

 

FiskFiskingDefinitionManufacturedHssuingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

So there are several obvious inquiries that a keen mind should ponder. Why is Allen diverting attention from the obviously more responsible party(ies), while focusing on the trade association that is trying to fix what is going wrong in MHVille?

  • What is driving Allen’s attack on MHARR?
  • Are his barbs accurate or not?
  • Let’s examine those topics.  Because they are relevant to virtually all in the industry.

Some of Allen’s comments and logic will be reviewed further below, but first, this necessary and useful segue.  As retail and community shipments have been dropping for months, Allen has demonstrably diverted attention away from the evidence that follows.  BTW, and ICYMI, one of our recent reports on dropping sales in #1 Texas, or other regional states linked here, can be accessed later from the text-image box below. We’ll do a report early next week on the full national data on the troubling decline in new manufactured home shipment and production trends.

 

Warning – Number 1 Manufactured Housing State, Texas – Reports Month Over Month Rise, Year over Year Shipment Decline Continues

 

“That G-d D-mned George Allen”

Among the tips from Allen’s circle to MHProNews came one yesterday while this article was being prepared for publication.  Several comments were made by that source from Allen’s circle.  That source has reportedly made nice with Allen, but he literally cursed Allen for what he is doing to communities.  Per that longtime Allen-follower and prior fan, the blogger and now former community owner Allen is giving “MHI cover” – while “slurring MHARR.”

In order to double-check various claims made by that source, prior tips and research had to be reviewed by MHProNews.  That caused a delay from yesterday to today for publishing this report, while additional research was conducted.  It has led to several valuable, compelling insights.

 

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Among the prior tips on Allen from other members of his circle were claims that he derailed an attempt to organize certain midwestern manufactured home community owners and independents from forming a new trade group.  The plan was to form a new post-production association that would do what MHI claims to do.

Why would Allen – who claims to care about the interests of independent communities – sideline efforts to help independently owned community operators?  Who benefits from that derailment?

Last year, MHProNews ran an article at the link below.

 

Cavco’s Joe Stegmayer, MHI Chairman, George Allen-COBA7, Collusion, Coverup, and Allegations of Selling Out

Our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – at that time provided Allen and his ally, Spencer Roane, with an opportunity to respond.  That’s a norm for this trade platform, unlike Allen’s arguably one-sided blog.  Here on MHProNews a chance to reply in public exists. This screen capture documents the quote text that follows.

 

EmailGeorgeFAllenSpencerRoane2019-05-04_0334Sept52018ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuote

Many of these quotes are from MHI insiders.

What follows is the text of that message.  For new readers here, note that MHProNews often uses bold and brown text to highlight a direct quote, which is the case herein below. Typos are in the original.  The quote at the left in blue, from an MHI member and periodic source, is a wink and a nod to that member’s point.

George and Spencer,

First, unlike some others n MHVille, we offer the opportunity to respond. In this case, it’s to the first yellow highlighted article, linked further below, which mentions you, Spencer, MHI and JoeS. You can clarify, confirm, or whatever you deem fitting on that topic. Joe isn’t among the BCCs, but a few of your followers, no one from MHARR, and five MHI members are.

The NDA questions. We have sources that tell us that MHI has made a “liberal” (common) use of NDAs. Please type your replies beneath each question. They can be as short or long as you wish. Supporting documentation is welcome and encouraged.


1) Have you at any time been asked to sign an NDA with MHI? 

 

2) Have you at any time been asked to sign an NDA with MHI members in the past 4 years? 

 

3) How do you explain or justify your apparent in writing flip-flops on what Marty Lavin has called “the Big Boys” – the powers that be behind MHI?

 

4) By working for those MHI/big boys each of you two with various apparent rewards, cross promotions, and compensation, haven’t you in fact sold out the independents who make up the bulk of your followers?

 

Your normal prompt reply is valued.  Thank you.  Reminder, see the first yellow highlighted article, linked further below.

 

Tony

 

As a disclosure, this writer has access to our publisher’s email, and he does this writer’s email too.

There was no response from this message by Kovach to Allen, although Allen is known to engage in several back-and-forth message exchanges with our publisher.  While it is not proof that Allen has sold out to MHI, his lack of reply is interesting.  It certainly opens the door to reasonably wonder, is Allen acting as a compensated surrogate for MHI and/or some larger firms that are MHI members?

A separate message was also sent by Tony Kovach to MHI’s outside attorney as well as MHI’s senior leadership. See the screen capture below.  It pointedly asked if George F. Allen was working on MHI’s behalf as a surrogate.

 

EmailJohnGreinerGraydonLawMHIElectedAppointedLeadershipJan2019KevinClaytonJoeStegmayerTimWilliamsNathanSmith

 

No denials or confirmations came from those leaders, but several other interesting replies came back from those in the BCCs, which included Allen followers.

That message included the following, as part of a longer message thread. As is common on MHProNews, we’ve turned the quoted text brown and bold, to highlight it for publication.

 

-ITS_followerPersonDoctrineMovementIdeaWikiDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Allen-ite.

But otherwise this section of that message is quoted as sent to George Allen, with senior MHI leaders openly copied, and several state association executives, plus Allen-ites among those BCC’d.  The typos are in the original.

Do you not understand how you praised MHI, after you had publicly blasted or questioned them? Then you kissed up when you CC’d Joe Stegmayer? Then flip-flopped again, from your own blog?  See link above to refresh your memory. As a reminder, see the mainstream story below, to refresh your thinking and recall more.

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/may/26/industry-members-decline-take-sides-rossville/471775/

People are busy, but hindsight brings amazing clarity at times.

Frank Rolfe got MHAction-ed. MHI got their treatment too. In hindsight, perhaps it was a mistake that we tipped off MHI that protests were coming. MHAction was coy, because they just switched locations, and dates, but they still did protest – didn’t they?

How do you think NMHOA, or MHAction would view your, Spencer Roxane’s, or SECO’s view of defending Tom Lackey, after all those media reports?”

At that time of that emailed comment, it was already known that MHAction was getting funding from the Tides Foundation, which in turn was funded by the NoVo Foundation, who’s main donor was Warren Buffett.  The article linked below was published on 2018/10/19.

 

 

As a relevant side note, a Rolfe confident told MHProNews that he believes that some of the MHAction rank-and-file protest members are mentally unbalanced. Rolfe would not formally confirm or deny that he was fearful during some encounters with MHAction members. That said, Rolfe has previously stated that he’s not easily scared. Those are legally significant matters, as MHI’s attorney’s and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis ‘big boys’ likely understand.

While specific levels of coordination between some of those MHAction types and the axis are not entirely clear. But what is clear is that Buffett’s money can be traced to both sides of several issues that impact manufactured housing.  At a minimum that raises concerns and the possibility of collusion, which could involve antitrust, RICO, or possibly other federal laws.

In a message thread from George Allen’s email to several HUD Code manufactured home producers dated January 17, 2019 at 7:49 AM, was sent to Allen’s email list.

Cc: gfa7156 <gfa7156@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Jan 17, 2019 7:49 am

Bob Bender at Commodore Homes sent this reply to an email from Allen that asked this question:

Reason(s) for Slippage in Volume of New HUD-Code Homes being shipped this past Fall?” Let’s note, as a ‘wheat and chaff’ point that the question by Allen is a valid one, especially now, when the industry is into its 7 month of declining new home shipments, a matter of concern to most independents  and investors. Here’s what Commodore’s Bender said in reply.

Bob Bender, Commodore Homes.

George – we have not seen any retraction in our HUD business. I haven’t seen any inventory changes and the overall retail space looks solid.

Certainly there could be some FEMA differences comparing industry year-to-year volume which I know you follow. 

Bob Bender

Sent from Phone

 

Note that Joe Stegmayer, then and now MHI’s chairman, replied to this inquiry by Allen too.

It will be recalled that this occurred weeks after Stegmayer stepped down from his role as president, CEO and chairman at Cavco Industries, following the SEC subpoena.  The most recent update on that Cavco drama, is linked here.  Given that, doesn’t Stegmayer’s tone sound as if he still carried a lot of weight at Cavco?  And doesn’t Stegmayer sound chummy with Allen – for whom MHI’s chairman addressed Allen’s ‘roundtable’ meeting – which gives Allen financial compensation?  Hold those thoughts, because it is relevant for Allen’s purported role as a compensated/rewarded MHI surrogate.

Here was the ‘meat’ of Stegmayer’s reply to Allen, which was CC’d to others, some of whom provided this as a news tip to MHProNews. The typos are in the original.

 

Joe_Stegmayer_Cavco_credit_MHProNews

Joe Stegmayer, MHI Chairman, former Cavco Chairman, president and CEO.

George 

Believe inventories of retailers climbed rather suddenly to above comfort levels. Now being adjusted. 

Our view is consistent with Clayton’s that consumer traffic is solid. would add that it appears that credit availability has improved somewhat. 

Another plus: The inventory of all existing homes for sale is near historically low levels.

Absent national economic calamities we are optimistic.”

 

The “we” from Stegmayer clearly implies Cavco.  But notice that Stegmayer, a former Clayton Homes division president, referenced a reply from Kevin Clayton.  The meat of that statement by Clayton, which was also forwarded to MHProNews as a tip, read as follows.

Kevin Clayton told Allen the following, in a message sent:  Wed, Jan 16, 2019 8:19 am. The typo by Kevin is in the original.

 

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Hindsight can be 20/20. Why wasn’t the Clayton TV and video campaign with Duck Dynasty more successful? Kevin Clayton at right.

Retail inventory correction

Look at RV industry….it is even more severe for them. 

Good news is retail activity remains healthy to work through it.  That’s just one opinion \ view.   

Kevin Clayton

 

In fairness and to be objective, there are non-MHI sources that have said similarly as Clayton did above.  Namely, that retailers over-ordered during periods of long factory backlogs last year.

But doesn’t that dodge several questions? Why isn’t retail as hot now as it was a year ago? FEMA can only account for a small part of that lighter level of factory orders. During an affordable housing crisis, why aren’t sales surging with or without FEMA orders? Consider again Cavco’s Stegmayer’s statement, which makes an apt point.

Another plus: The inventory of all existing homes for sale is near historically low levels.

Absent national economic calamities we are optimistic.”

 

As another segue, that from Stegmayer ought to be a key for the manufactured home industry, its investors, and public/private/media investigators.  If you read what he said carefully, note that logically Stegmayer was on both sides of the fence?  But given the affordable housing crisis, and how high the demand is for conventional/existing housing, he is debatably correct in making a point MHProNews has made for years.  I.e.: why aren’t HUD Code manufactured home sales soaring?

 

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

In 1998, manufactured homes (MH) outsold RVs by some 3 to 2. In 2017, RVs outsold MHs by some 5 to 1. RVs recovered far more quickly from 2008. The facts raise questions. One, is the effectiveness of MHI as the post-production or ‘umbrella’ association in the country. The other question is more sobering. Has Buffett-Berkshire “Moat” strategies kept manufactured home production at historically low levels to allow a few big boy brands to consolidate others at a discounted ‘value’ by MHI insiders?

 

But Allen did not follow that logic, at least not with his audience.

That once more begs several questions.  Wasn’t Allen persona non grata at MHI, just a few years ago?  Was Allen brought back into the ‘MHInsider circle’ – to borrow Darren Krolewski’s publication phrase – to act as a periodic attack dog?  A compensated and rewarded surrogate for MHI and the ‘big boys?’

Doesn’t that then imply that Allen is selling out his core followers, who are the independents ‘mom and pop’ and somewhat larger community owners? Indeed, people like Nathan Smith, Paul Bradley with ROC USA, and others find Allen and his meetings useful as funnels for acquisitions.

Here’s another one of Allen’s reader’s comments, which was likewise forwarded to MHProNews. It was sent in connection with the Bender-Stegmayer-Clayton quotes just noted.  Note these comments from Allen’s reader’s list reportedly includes attorneys and some more sophisticated individuals, even if they don’t trust him. The typo is in the original, and this is part of a longer message.  The ‘they’ in the message below means the industry’s ‘powers that be,’ including Clayton and Cavco. The meat of that news tip sent to MHProNews read as follows:

 

Allen is too busy posturing to understand it. 

It all begs the key questions:

Why are sales low during an affordable housing crisis?

If retail traffic is good, why are sales low? 

The RV industry is an excuse I heard weeks ago, ditto automotive. The reasons? Because there isn’t an affordable RV Crisis. 

They’ve spent dollars promoting, which imho are head fakes. But objectively, There are three broad options.

1) They really don’t know how to convince and connect with the shoppers/buyers.

2) They do know, but aren’t using the best methods. 

3) Some combo of the above. 

Do you see an alternative to those three?

Recall the video. Clayton said Buffet ok with them losing money for 5 years, if the moat grows.

Head fakes are enough to soothe the GFAs, who are peddling snake oil anyway.”

 

Notice that the writer put GFA (George F Allen) in the plural.  Meaning, not only Allen, but other surrogate publishers for MHI, which arguably includes the MHVillage sister publication, the lightly read MHInsider, plus others.

Allen – along with his sidekick and ally, Spencer Roane – were given opportunities to comment on several such in January, and more recently.

In a message last week to MHProNews, Allen-ite Roane uncharacteristically distanced himself from Allen, while both dissing and praising Tony Kovach.  Allen dodged these questions, but Roane’s message to MHProNews included the following. The hot link below to the Jacksonville newspaper is edited in, so that readers who have not yet read that Jacksonville reference can get the full meaning of Roane’s comments.

 

SpencerRoanePentagonPropertiesCreditsPostedDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews“…The Jacksonville newspaper post is about the need for affordable housing.  Hard to argue w/ that.  The only fact-checking appears to be Kovach’s, and that involves MHI membership and Buffet affiliations.  So what?  Other than sharing the interest of many in the industry about overly aggressive community owners/managers, none of this has anything to do w/ me.

Regards, Spencer Roane

 

Unpacking Allen, Roane, Kevin Clayton, and Joe Stegmayer Comments

We’ll begin by noting anew that de facto, Roane both praised and dissed Tony Kovach in the same message, quoted above.  Roane is no public fan of Tony’s. But Roane made several interesting points. Among them are concerns about “overly aggressive community owners/managers” and the links between “MHI membership and Buffet affiliations.” Indeed, MHProNews has heard from such concerns from the community sector’s ‘white hats’ too.

But what Roane didn’t mention was the MHAction activist tie-in to Buffett’s dark money channel funding.

That revelation from the final quarter of last year began to cast a new light on several developments in manufactured housing in recent years. ‘Buffett bucks’ are apparently funding both pro-and-con forces on various issues that face manufactured housing independents.  To the degree that MHI is aware of this, that could place them in a severe conflict-of-interest and other legal problems. Given that their outside attorney has told MHProNews that they monitor what we publish, it could lead to serious issues for MHI, and possibly member companies. ICYMI, see the linked text-image box below.

 

Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You

 

The emailed analysis from an Allen-reader (not a devotee, but one who is in his circle) – references the video interview with Kevin Clayton, posted on the link here.

 

To Understand MHVille Today, One Must Understand the Kevin Clayton Video Interview

KevinClaytonVideoInterviewHowDidWarrenLearnTheseMoatBuildingstrategiesMHIBehavioralExperts

While the above is satirical, it does reflect what Clayton purportedly communicated, see the nearly one hour long video at this link here.

Any investor, investigator or longer-term industry professional who has not carefully digested that video interview with Kevin Clayton and related analysis linked from this column, just can’t possibly grasp manufactured housing’s actual dynamics.

For example, Clayton mentions in that video their use of nonprofits – here think MHI, MHAction, Prosperity Now, Center for Public Integrity (CPI), and others – as part of his discussion of the broader Buffett/Berkshire Moat and related business philosophy and practices.

With the revelations that MHAction, the Urban Institute, CPI or others were given Buffett-Berkshire bucks, it sheds a new clarity on how the game is played, and how the system is arguably rigged.

Rephrased, it can’t be stressed enough that manufactured housing professionals have arguably been duped numerous times by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

Consider as an obvious and public example this point. Buffett supported former president Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton, who pledged no changes to Dodd-Frank. Meanwhile MHI under Nathan Smith and Tim Williams’ leadership was promoting a bill – the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – for years. Yet that bill never had a chance of passage with an Obama or Clinton in office.

 

Arguably, that kind of tangled web is what Allen has been on both sides of: at times in the past, opposing MHI and the manipulations of what he used to call the Big Three C’s, or the ‘aggressive’ community operators.

Note that none of the pawns – including Allen – in this Omaha-Knoxville ploy have to be aware of the role of the other.  Only a few puppet masters need to know.

That said, let’s swerve back to an example of GF Allen’s 180.

OligarchyDefinedGeorgeFAllenGFACommunityInvestorBlogCOBA7DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Another example of Allen’s flip-flop on MHI and their big boy backers is below. But more recently – with apparent benefits from MHI leaders that he has not denied – Allen has ‘sold out’ to those very same interests.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

George Allen, has a modest following today, which once used to be a large following. As a former client of his told MHProNews, with George “It’s AAA, All About Allen.” 

 

He Can’t Have it Both Ways!

This analysis logically implies that Allen is selling out his followers.  Allen has not disputed it. When given a documented chance for him to publicly respond, he said nothing.  Roane, distanced himself from it.

It also can’t be stressed enough that vacant home sites harms the value of an independently owned community. Lower sales volumes of new homes harms the value of essentially most every business in the industry.

Buffett can afford that, and so can a few big boys.  As the industry consolidates, they are acquiring businesses at a discounted value, part of the Buffett ‘value investing’ mantra.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

 

But that spotlight casts a different perspective on Buffett and value investing. Because if he is manipulating the market in order to achieve that reduced value, that could be illegal and/or actionable.  Those actions, per attorneys and legal sources MHProNews has spoken to, could lead to liability from potential suits from potentially millions of manufactured home (MH) owners arguably harmed, as well as businesses who are not earning money they could or should absent such market manipulations.

In fact, a pair of antitrust experts told MHProNews that to them the sexier case to pursue in court would be that of resident/MH homeowners.

Such ploys may also lead to legal woes for MHI, and ‘insider’ members too.

It’s a tangled web.  There are many moving parts.  Allen and others like him are just purported pawns on a board.  They or Allen could be dispensed with or replaced at will.

There is also no need for Allen to grasp how he is being used.  So long as Allen plays his part, he’s useful to the axis and what Marty Lavin has termed ‘the big boys.’

It is in that context that Allen’s attack on MHARR begins to make sense.  Allen has in the past thanked Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO for what Allen learned about the industry from him. Is this how Allen repays favors?

 

Cowardly Lion Claims to Fisk MHARR, But Now Won’t Criticize MHI?

What Allen wrote to oppose Weiss and MAHRR is so convoluted, that we will only look at his first so-called point to show how false much of his narrative is. Here’s a direct quote from Allen’s blog, that claims to analyze Weiss comments, linked here.

LATonyKovachDonWestphalKenRishelGeorgeAllenDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLATonyKovachDonWestphalKenRishelGeorgeAllenDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Left to right, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Don Westphal, Ken Rishel, and George Allen. Louisville 2011. Kovach has since made repeated amends, per SPJ guidance, see this link here. Will Allen do the same?

Here Mark introduces MHARR’s Board of Directors as leaders to ‘take the bull by the horns’ in the interest of improved industry representation – and national advocacy. Yet, not a single individual is named! Why? Ask MHARR; but they simply don’t make their membership rolls public, whereas MHI does. Point? Don’t know ‘bout you, but as a post-production sector businessman, there’s a far better chance of me following the leader I know than the one I don’t! How ‘bout you? This, in my opinion, is major flaw # 1 of this argument.”

 

There are several issues of factual errors by Allen, but let’s oversimply to show how misleading or mistaken Allen is.  First, Weiss is named, and he is MHARR’s senior staff leader. Second, no article – nor any book – has everything in it. Third, MHARR’s current chairman is named on the MHARR website, at this link here. It is John Bostick, of Sunshine Homes.  So Allen is factually and logically — wrong, wrong, wrong.

Our publisher has repeatedly invited Allen, Roane, or MHI connected leaders to debate or discuss such issues in public, in front of an audience of manufactured home professionals, with a moderator and video recorded so that all not in attendance can watch it later.  Allen, Roane, and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis have always passed on that opportunity. Why?

Tony Kovach has said in a semi-private message to Allen that he’s a coward. Thus, the cowardly lion image at the top of this post.

Like a sniper, Allen takes shots, perhaps thinking the noise of his shooting will make his readers think him brave? But what good are shots that miss often unnamed targets? What good are shots at the wrong target?

The reality is quite different from what Allen has portrayed.

There is good evidence that Allen has sold out to MHI and their puppet masters.  Allen may be under one or more NDAs.  But most important to his independently owned community readers, Allen is ignoring the harm done to them, while he is now praising the very people and organization – MHI – he used to criticize.

LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertOur publisher referred to Allen for a quote to close on this analysis as follows.  “Sad and pathetic. Let George Allen man up, and face me on stage, in public, on camera in front of a live audience of industry pros, that includes his community followers.  Or let George wear the arguably apt moniker, ‘cowardly lion’ from this point forward.” – Tony Kovach.

How can Allen call for unity, when NAMHCO and MHARR exist precisely because they don’t trust MHI?

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

Once the rules of engagement and methods used are better understood, then one can often predict what will follow. 

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Allen’s repeatedly flawed analysis of Weiss’ column on MHARR’s website draws to a close like this: “So, the challenge to ‘LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY’ will, once again, fall as they say, on deaf ears!

That is, unless action is taken at the MHCongress, calling for unified action by MHI, MHARR, & now, NAMHCO, during former’s fly-in meeting in Washington, DC. on 10 June 2019!” What? Allen won’t even acknowledge that he’s going to those events, but he’s shilling for MHI for others to go to their fundraising events?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Or as honest Abe Lincoln observed:

 

you-can-fool-all-the-people-some-of-the-time-and-some-of-the-people-all-the-time-but-you-cannot-abraham-lincoln-quoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

You can read Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way from the link below the byline and notices.  You can read a more detailed analysis of Allen at this link here.

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

 

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

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“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

MHCC Addresses Multiple Issues, HUD Secretary Carson Praises Manufactured Homes at Meeting

MHARR Calls on HUD Secretary to End Discriminatory And Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

Manipulating Manufactured Housing Pros – Caterwauling Mudslinger, Just Write a Check, Pay Cash, Use Plastic, and Shut You Up

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secretary Carson Letter Lights Fuse for Explosive Change, Obliquely Addresses Manufactured Housing Action Concerns

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

 

SecCarsonLetterLightsFuseExplosiveChazngeObliquelyAddressesManufacturedHousingActionConcernsMHProNews

 

Last year at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction) in conjunction with other left-leaning groups, protested Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s address to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) at their annual “Congress and Expo” fundraising and networking event.

 

At that time, MHAction issued a press release, photos, and video footage of their efforts to disrupt the talk by Secretary Carson.  The picture above is one of those items, and it’s use or quoting MHAction herein are not to be construed as an endorsement of their views or tactics.

Ben Carson insulted and dismissed us while telling the corporate investors in attendance that they should keep profiting off the housing crisis. Ben Carson’s job is to help solve the housing crisis for people, not profiteers. We came to Las Vegas today to remind Secretary Carson to do his job,” said Patricia Norberg, a manufactured homeowner from Delaware and a grassroots leader with MHAction. “Corporate and private equity investors associated with MHI say ‘jump’ and Carson says ‘how high?’ We’ve had enough.”

MHAction said that low-income senior Jeliner Jordan asked Carson, “If you increase rents and cut the HUD budget, where will I live?” Carson responded by saying “This is a perfect example of what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.”

 

DarkMoneyBasicsWikipediaOpenSecretsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

What perhaps was missing from a clear understanding of the above drama was the fact brought forth by twin reports on Manufactured Home Living News, the first of which documented that MHAction has had dark money funding from Warren Buffett through the NoVo Foundation and the Tides nonprofit.

 

 

The second and more recent report then applied that insight learned to the MHAction supported and inspired video by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”   In an apparent head-fake to many resident groups and industry professionals alike, MHAction – in concert with others – published a white paper that was cited by Oliver in his report.

 

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time. To see the John Oliver errantly named “Mobile Homes” video and related fact-check, click here.

 

That MHAction co-branded white paper in turn was publicized by the Washington Post, others in media, and finally Oliver’s video.   But when one grasps how dark money operates in such matters, and steps back to look with that in mind, it is Buffett money that arguably helped fund an attack on a number of significant MHI members, including his own Clayton Homes and related lenders.

The rationale for Buffett doing so, in brief, is that like taxes or regulations, bigger companies can handle negative media better than smaller firms can.  Negative news for he and his allies is less harmful than it is for independents.  That in turn allows larger firms to gobble up smaller ones at reduced prices.  Here’s how retailer Alan Amy summed it up.

 

 

A View from NMHOA… 

TimSheahanPresidentPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssoclogoNMHOAlogoMHProNews

Separate the “wheat and chaff,” with all people, organizations, and ideas. One must separate the useful from what is not.

As a letter from the prior National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA) president Tim Sheahan quoted below in part reflects, when manufactured home communities were being developed, site fess or ‘lot rents’ were being held in check. Here is how he put it while he was still president of NMHOA, in his comments letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last year.

In 1970, my city of San Marcos had a population of less than 4,000 and was part of the dramatic manufactured housing community development boom of the 1970s, adding over 3,000 pads among 18 manufactured home communities, which led to more than a doubling of the population by the mid 1970s.” wrote Sheahan.

Like many areas of CA, manufactured home purchasers in San Marcos were lured away from metropolitan areas by the promise of a quiet semi-rural retirement lifestyle with low lot rents and nice amenities, which often included clubhouses/community centers, swimming pools and spas, saunas, shuffleboard courts, pool tables and card rooms, community kitchens; and, in some cases, tennis courts, golf courses and fishing ponds. Downsizing to a MH also enabled them to enhance their financial nest eggs for the retirement years. Initially, stiff competition among various developers during the only time a true “free market” situation existed in these communities commonly led to very reasonable starting rents,” stated Sheahan.  That last sentence is a telling and arguably correct point with the law of supply and demand in mind.

He then said, “As the communities filled with “im-mobile” homes, free market forces such as competition were lost and lot rents for captive homeowners skyrocketed in many areas of California.” That point is largely correct, but it fails to note that it was the lack of new community development that de facto eliminated the option for someone to leave a community where they felt like they were being mistreated in favor of a newer one.”

 

Real World Lessons Learned

LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertIn the Oklahoma City and Houston, Texas metro areas, I personally witnessed periods in manufactured housing history where land-lease community owners that were developing new sites, offered to move residents from other area communities in to their property at the property owners’ cost,” said publisher and industry consultant L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Rephrased, as long as there are reasonable alternatives to residents, then the temptation to ‘jack up’ site fees of ‘trapped’ residents is significantly reduced or even eliminated.

Imagine if apartment complexes were no longer being built in the U.S. What would happen? In a free market, as population grows and demand rises, rents would too.  The steady construction of new apartment buildings helps keep existing apartment owners from going too high on rental rates,” explained Kovach.

So, NMHOA’s Tim Sheahan isn’t wrong about the early history, but the solution now isn’t rent control, which Paul Bradley of ROC USA has himself said isn’t an answer,” Kovach said. “Rather, a longer-term solution is to provide more options for community residents, so that the temptation to do what certain MHI member companies have been accused of in recent years is eliminated.”

 

With that Backdrop, The Fuse for Meaningful Solutions is Lit with New Letter

At their annual meeting at the 2019 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) voted to undertake a new initiative to address zoning and placement issues that in their view is not being successfully addressed by the MHI. That perspective is held by others in MHVille too, including a number of MHI members.  At the recent Bryan, TX effective ‘ban’ voted by their city council of even new manufactured housing in various cases, MHI – per MHI members in attendance – did not even send a staffer to protest the ban.

Although MHARR is an independent production association, which compared to MHI claims to be both a producers and post-production association, they’ve taken another step into post-production territory, with their recent vote.

As careful and regular MHProNews readers know, MHARR recently asked HUD to initiate a study of the problems related to placement and zoning issues, tied into the legal concept of enhanced preemption.

In a light-the-fuse letter obtained by MHProNews to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the next step in that process is being taken.

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss said to Secretary Carson and several key Washington, D.C. figures as follows, under the subject: Discriminatory and Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes.

One of the principal challenges faced by the manufactured housing industry and particularly its smaller businesses in providing inherently affordable, non-subsidized housing and homeownership for lower and moderate-income Americans, is the discriminatory exclusion of HUD Code manufactured housing from large areas of the United States under the guise of local zoning regulation.”

Such exclusionary and, in fact, discriminatory zoning mandates, affect not only single-home manufactured housing placements, but also the development and/or expansion of manufactured housing communities which provide much-needed land-lease (i.e., rental) space for manufactured homes.”

Weiss’ letter than reminds Secretary Carson that he himself made a similar point last year.

In a 2018 speech to the Policy Advisory Board of the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, you specifically identified and recognized the harmful impact of exclusionary zoning on the availability of affordable housing and homeownership for all Americans, stating that HUD would act “to identify and incentivize the tearing-down of local regulations that serve as impediments to the developing [of] affordable housing stock. Out-of-date building codes, time consuming approval processes, restrictive or exclusionary zoning ordinances, unnecessary fees or taxes, and excessive land development standards can all contribute to higher housing costs and production delays.” (Emphasis added).”

Weiss followed that up by agreeing in this highly specific fashion, “…indeed, in the case of HUD-regulated manufactured housing, the law provides HUD with powerful tools and authority to override local zoning actions that discriminatorily exclude or severely limit the placement and utilization of HUD Code homes. Specifically, in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, Congress gave HUD the express authority to federally preempt state and local “requirements” of any kind that impair “federal superintendence of the manufactured housing industry” and the accomplishment of the Act’s congressionally-mandated federal purposes, including “facilitat[ing] the availability of affordable manufactured homes.” Indeed, in a November 13, 2003 letter to then-HUD Secretary Mel Martinez (copy attached), key congressional proponents of the 2000 reform law stated that enhancements to the scope of federal preemption set forth in that law “have given HUD the legal authority to preempt local requirements or restrictions which discriminate against the siting of manufactured homes (compared to other single family housing) simply because they are HUD-code homes.”

Rephrased, Weiss stressed the merits of using “Enhanced Preemption” – a point that MHARR, MHLivingNews, and MHProNews have stressed for years as an existing legal remedy to prompt local zoning “NIMBYites” to relent under federal supremacy.

While there are examples of HUD flexing its supremacy since the 2000 law, those cases are scant.  One such letter from HUD to a local jurisdiction is linked here.

Thus, Weiss pressed on by saying, “Despite this enhanced preemption authority, however, HUD has failed to take action to stop the baseless – and expanding – exclusion of safe, decent and affordable HUD-regulated manufactured homes from numerous jurisdictions around the United States.”

“…MHARR met with officials of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) on April 4, 2019 and requested that HUD, as a first step, utilize its resources to research, study and analyze such discriminatory and exclusionary zoning and its local and national impact(s) on the availability of affordable housing and homeownership in light of relevant national housing policies. Such research and analysis could then serve as a roadmap for further HUD action going forward.  Accordingly, we ask that you authorize and advance such a study within the Department,” wrote Weiss.

MHARR’s CEO added, “Quite simply, in order for manufactured housing to reach its full potential as an inherently affordable, non-subsidized housing resource for millions of lower and moderate-income Americans, it cannot, should not, and must not be unfairly and illegitimately excluded from significant areas of the country. In order to stop and reverse this phenomenon, leadership from HUD and by you, personally, as HUD Secretary, is essential and, indeed, indispensable.”

Among those cc’d were:

Hon. Mike Crapo
Hon. Maxine Waters
Hon. Mick Mulvaney

The letter and attachment are linked here.

As important as that letter is in tipping a domino toward more action, were the attachments.  One was a powerful letter dated in 2003, signed by Maxine Waters and others in Congress calling on HUD then to exercise their rights under “enhanced preemption” given to HUD by Congress under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).

That letter from congress is a legally significant document, because it reflected in that time-frame the legislative intent that Congress had.

All of this begs an important question.  Why hasn’t MHI done this years ago?

It is MHI that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing,” while MHARR has historically stated plainly that they represent the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

While there are several ways that HUD can respond, there is now a formal series of steps being taken by MHARR to prompt action.  Given that the Trump Administration has said that they are in the “enforce the law” and “promise keeping” business, it will be interesting to see how Secretary Carson and senior HUD leadership responds to these efforts. To learn more, see the link below, “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way.”

 

A New Paradigm Ahead?

Consider the opening quotes from MHAction, NMHOA, and Secretary Carson at the top. Then ponder how independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes, and residents of manufactured homes, could both begin pushing for implementation of existing federal law.  The common opponent, it would seem, are the big corporate interests that MHAction claims to rail against, but is in fact supported by.  But that point doesn’t seem to be a logical hinderance for the good that could flow to existing residents, independent businesses, new investors, and new housing seekers. MHARR’s effort is timely, and in hindsight, it can be seen as a significant one.

Time will tell, but the stage is being set.  The proverbial fuse has been lit…

That’s this morning’s edition 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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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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Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foundation for Action as Fannie Mae CEO Put on Notice for Robust Personal Property Manufactured Home Lending

April 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

FoundationForActionHughFraterCEOphotoFannieMaeLogoOnNoticeRobustPersonalPropertyManufacturedHomeLendingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Congress, as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), enacted the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS), a remedial mandate which directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on manufactured homes for very low, low and moderate-income families.” (See, 12 U.S.C. 4565(a)). In addition, to ensure that the term “mortgages” is not misconstrued to limit the scope of DTS to manufactured home real estate “mortgage” loans, the same section of HERA expressly provides that “in determining whether an Enterprise has complied” with DTS, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) “may consider loans secured by both real and personal property.” (I.e., home-only “chattel loans”). (See, 12 U.S.C. 4565(d)(3)).”

 

 

So said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in a letter to Hugh R. Frater, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fannie Mae.  As is customary for MHProNews, the quotes from the document shown herein are in bold and brown text, but the phrasing is as in the original, which is linked here as a download.  MHARR’s accompanying press release, is linked below.

 

 

Fannie Mae is one of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).  The letter from MHARR to Fannie Mae makes several important points.  But it should also be understood as a possible predicate for other action.  The view from the Daily Business News on MHProNews on this matter is this.  With a FexEx delivered letter, there is arguably reduced ‘plausible deniability’ for a top man at Fannie Mae.

Rephrased, looking at this from a lay view with a legal lens, they appear to be on notice.

But there is more at play here, because there is a broadside shot at the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington triangle too.

Here is how that is teed up, as MHARR has repeatedly emphasized in DTS implementation comments to FHFA, the Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as in congressional testimony, DTS, without market-significant levels of securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans, cannot and will not achieve its remedial objectives within the manufactured housing market as mandated by law.”

Weiss’ letter for MHARR goes on to say, that the GSE’s failure “continues to unduly restrict and constrain the market for inherently affordable, non-subsidized manufactured homes (which again, in 2018, failed to reach its historical production benchmark of 100,000 homes per year), while forcing consumers to pay higher-cost interest rates for manufactured home chattel loans due to extremely limited competition and the parallel domination of the manufactured home consumer lending market by a small number of existing lenders, which primarily are subsidiaries of the largest industry conglomerates, such as Berkshire-Hathaway-owned Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton).  Fannie Mae obsequiously describes this de facto stranglehold on the manufactured housing consumer lending market as lending that is “somewhat consolidated amongst a small group of prominent chattel lenders.”

 

 

Harm to Consumers and Independent Businesses Caused by Government Sponsored Enterprises

MHARR argues that Fannie Mae – and by inference, Freddie Mac – having failed to follow their Duty to Serve legal mandate harms home owners, prospective buyers, and independent manufactured home industry businesses.

Fannie Mae’s failure to implement DTS in a market-significant manner, with respect to the vast bulk of manufactured home consumer loans, more than ten (10) years after the enactment of that mandate, has caused and continues to cause significant harm to both American consumers of affordable housing and the manufactured housing industry. In particular, this failure has disproportionately impacted – and continues to have its greatest negative impact – on smaller, independent manufactured housing businesses, which, unlike the industry’s largest conglomerates, do not have the luxury or advantage of controlling captive consumer financing subsidiaries or affiliates.”

Readers may recall an applicable quote from Weiss, shown below.

 

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Meaningless Meetings, the “Illusion of Motion”

The “illusion of motion” is a phrase used from a recent analysis by MHARR that is linked in the quoted phrase above.

It should be noted that Fannie and Freddie are both paying the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to co-sponsor their events.  That raises ethical and conflict of interest questions.  But it also raises questions such as those that follow.

 

  • If MHI has so much clout, as they claim to their members, industry professionals, and prospective members, why is there so little progress toward full DTS implementation?
  • Is Fannie and Freddie paying MHI not to make waves for them, while they slow walk implementation?
  • Cui bono? Who benefits from slow walking the full implementation of DTS?

 

It must be recalled the point that Weiss makes above, namely that the: “extremely limited competition and the parallel domination of the manufactured home consumer lending market by a small number of existing lenders, which primarily are subsidiaries of the largest industry conglomerates, such as Berkshire-Hathaway-owned Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton).”

In science, logic, or journalism, one looks at the evidence and applies certain logical ‘tests.’  One of the possible conclusions one can come to is that Fannie, Freddie, MHI and their ‘big boy’ firms have worked to limit lending, to the benefit of Berkshire Hathaway owned finance firms.

By contrast, sources at Credit Human and Triad Financial Services have worked to advance lending by the GSEs, because it would be good for the industry. As a high-level source told MHProNews, it isn’t more profitable for their firm to get the GSEs to do robust chattel and other lending on all manufactured homes, not just the openly Clayton-backed ‘new class of homes.’

Rephrased, it would be misleading to say that everyone in MHI is essentially slow-walking or foiling GSE lending.  There are those working for ‘big boy’ companies that privately oppose the alleged rigging of the system against the interests of consumers and independent companies.

Time will tell what Fannie Mae – or for that matter, Freddie Mac – will do.  We have sources with ties to MHI that say that they expect some modest personal property or chattel lending activity sometime this summer.  But what MHARR is pushing for – as are some others in MHVille – is market significant lending.

The higher rates are often the focus of attacks on the industry by groups such as MHAction, or in that viral video by John Oliver misnamed “Mobile Homes” are often linked back to the lack of lending options that keep rates lower.

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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.

Note that MHProNews continues to periodically reach out to the GSEs or the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis leaders or spokespeople to correct or confirm concerns like those raised.  They’ve maintained their constitutional right to remain silent, which is to be respected, but that also leaves these concerns unchallenged to serious researchers and thinkers.

 

See the related reports, further below the byline, offers, and notices.

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

 

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To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

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

Related Reports:

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Wells, Chase, Citi Mortgage Lending Plunges, Plus Manufactured Home Stock Updates

 

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

The “Need For Quality Affordable Housing Has Never Been Greater,” Says LT

Profiting & Correcting – Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls and Swindles

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

April 9th, 2019 Comments off

EconomicRacismAngryResidentsStudentsCivicLeadersFightPlanBanAffordableManufacturedHomesIndustryProfessionalsSoundOffDaiyBusinessNewsMHProNewsKBTS3BryanTx

The proposed action by the City of Bryan is an unvarnished and discriminatory attack against lower and moderate-income citizens who rely on manufactured homes as affordable, non-subsidized housing.  The proposal is seriously misguided at best, as noted by Tony Kovach and Lance Inderman, and stands in direct conflict with the legitimate goals and objectives of federal law, which supports the unfettered availability of manufactured housing for ALL Americans.  The City would be well-advised to be extremely cautious about taking any such ill-advised step.”

 

Mark Weiss, JD,

President & CEO

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

 

 

The local NBC affiliate, KAGS news video, posted below, tee’s up for newcomers to this topic the painful and politically charged controversy.

 

 

Attorney and MHARR leader Mark Weiss’ words about the importance of not overstepping the federal government’s authority under the provision of “enhanced preemptiontakes on a new meaning and urgency when read in the light of the written statements of the residents of Bryan, TX.

 

 

KBTX 3 from Bryan provided the video above which likewise helps frame the events unfolding there.  One civic leader who called the Daily Business News on MHProNews yesterday said that the city’s planning and zoning (P&Z) and some municipal officials were “lying to the people” of Bryan about the proposed plan to ban inherently affordable manufactured homes.  While he didn’t elaborate, long-time MHProNews readers are aware of cases in various parts of the country where special interests encouraged local leaders to help them profit from thinly-veiled or hidden agendas.

 

Frustrated, Angry, Pleading Residents of Bryan Sound-Off to Protect Their Right to Affordable Manufactured Homes

What follows are a series of quotes from letters and messages by residents to city officials in Bryan.  They were provided by a civic leader to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, and each comment is in response to their municipality’s planned ban on manufactured housing in areas of the city that are currently allowed.

Among those residents of Bryan, Texas protesting a planned ban on manufactured homes is a former American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) member. The AICP is a designation from the American Planning Association’s professional institute.

Robin Rabinowitz wrote to the City of Bryan to say the following.

 

RobinRabinowitzBryanCollegeStationTX-CityPlannerMasterUrbanPlanningAICPManufacturedHomeBan

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Dimple Susebery wrote to say she is “…totally against…” the proposed ban.  Another frustrated resident and local businessman made his case as follows.

 

HowardHillManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerBryanTXProposedBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Ms. G. Wade wrote the city, with a gut-wrenching plea that finished with, “...please take the time to think of the people who will end up with nothing.”

 

MsGWadeCastleHeightsBryanTXProposedMobileManufacturedHomeBanPeopleWillEndUpWithNothingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

 

I’m a black male,” said Jonathan Jackson in his typed message to municipal officials. Jackson said, “…we pay taxes, what’s up with our rights…” Jackson said he doesn’t earn a lot of money, who are you [i.e.: city officials] to tell us we can’t buy a mobile home?

 

JonathanJacksonBryanMobileManufacturedHomeBanPlanBlackMaleWhoAreYouToTellUsWeCantGetMobileHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Charles Nelson and Hendrix Nelson said it was a right and a need for some to choose the affordable manufactured housing option.

 

CharlesNelsonHendrixNelsonBryanmobilemanufacturedhomebanDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Missy King, President of the Bryan-College Station Regional Association of Realtors, said that the city would be diminishing the supply of affordable housing if this plan is passed. King said that there were numerous unintended consequences such a move could yield.

 

BryanCollegeStationMissyKingProposedMobileManufacturedHomeBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

A self-described investor in manufactured homes – who’s letter had the typed name “Mark Smith” – was essentially alone in arguing for the ban among the messages provided to MHProNews.  Smith’s comments are apparently self-serving ones, as he says he is only for manufactured homes being placed in manufactured home communities – which a local source said he owns at least one. Smith’s letter says not even new manufactured homes should be allowed on the hundreds of sites in the city presently vacant, lots where federally preemptive HUD Code manufactured homes would be welcomed under current law if this city ordinance is defeated.  His message can be read along with all others provided to MHProNews, at this link here.

Robert Patten in an apparent email to city officials said, “We pay for it [our property, our manufactured home], we should always own it. I’m for the American way. God bless the USA.”

RobertPattenWePayForItThisIsUSAGodBlessUSABryanTXMObileManufacturedHomeBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

In another message, Patten wrote city officials to say he felt that their constitutionally protected rights were being violated by the city’s planned policy.  That raises a point that too few ponder, because public officials must take an oath of office, that routinely includes the pledge to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

 

RobertPattenConstitutionalArgumentPropertyRightsBryanTXPlanBanMobileManufacturedHOmesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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Elaine Washington blasted the city fathers for not building very good conventional housing, while defending her family’s right to own a manufactured home on their own land.

 

ElaineWashingtonBryanTXMobileManufacturedHomebanOppositionDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

 

Economic Racism?

A local source that looked at records of those who owned a HUD Code manufactured home or pre-HUD Code mobile home in Bryan said that well over half appeared to be a minority, based upon their surnames.

Several members of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) sounded off to MHProNews off the record. Lance Inderman, as Mark Weiss’ quote above indicated, sounded off on-the-record to the City of Bryan, as well as to the various nonprofits, media, and other public officials to whom Kovach’s letter was emailed.

 

Inderman wrote, “To Bryan City Officials and All Others in this thread.

I’m a former long time serving board member and chairman of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) and a partner in Jessup Manufactured Housing and Platinum Cottages who both build manufactured homes here in Texas. We have a retailer who sells our homes in Bryan, so we are definitely an interested party.

That disclaimer noted, as a lover of free enterprise and limited government, I would largely concur with what Tony has written. 

Thank you, 

Lance Inderman.”

 

Inderman is part of the self-proclaimed “MH Militia.”  A photo of the “militia” below was taken in Tunica, MS recently at the industry trade show there.

 

LanceIndermanDonnieBrewerIndermanFamilyMobileHomeMilitiaMHMilitaMemberPhotoTunicaMS3272019MHProNews600

 

 

Letter Cited MHARR, Federal, NAR, Other Sources

As Weiss’ comments indicated, MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach sent a detailed letter to Bryan’s mayor, city attorney, and city council members. The 10-page document addressed to Bryan was sent via email, and included CCs and BCCs to several:

 

  • nonprofits,
  • manufactured home industry members from firms of all sizes,
  • industry associations that ought to be involved,
  • federal and state officials,
  • along with mainstream media,
  • attorneys, and others.

 

The letters, messages and pull-quotes from Bryan residents shown above were sent to MHProNews by a Bryan civic leader who heard about Kovach’s letter.

Apparent Hispanic, African American, and Anglo ethnic group members were among those the weighed in via email and/or by phone to MHProNews about their frustrations there.

Among those who called or emailed MHProNews, some took the time to express their thanks to Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach for their help in battling for the rights of the city’s residents.

Some of those who contacted this trade media platform indicated they had heard about the 10-page letter from Kovach to the City of Bryan that Weiss and Inderman referenced, but had not yet seen it. They asked for copies to be emailed to them.

A Hispanic caller said he planned to be at the council meeting Tuesday night, and he wanted that 10-page letter for potential use with city officials. Tony Kovach stated in his email to that resident the following:

 

If you look carefully at the attached, it debunks their economic arguments, and also makes the legal cases for why what the City of Bryan is doing is – IMHO – illegal.  It violates federal law.”

 

That document from Kovach is linked here. It is laced with third-party and legal references.  It explains why what some city leaders in Bryan hope to achieve could backfire, as Seattle and other cities that didn’t protect affordable homes and manufactured housing had painfully discovered.

ICYMI, or have not yet seen the sobering story “Seattle is Dying,” that viral video and related report can be accessed at the hot-linked text-image box below.  In a nutshell, a lack of affordable housing was forcing growing numbers into tents, cars, or cardboard boxes. Residential and commercial properties had their sidewalks lined up with those homeless. Despair, drugs, addiction, and crime are among the vicious cycle of tragic outcomes of not having sufficient numbers and price-points affordable homes.

 

 

Beyond referencing the point that city leaders were essentially deciding between conventional homes sitting side-by-side with either manufactured homes or tents and boxes of the homeless, Tony Kovach also made two legal arguments based upon federal law. One cited “enhanced preemption,” and linked a report on the federal preemption topic from the MHARR website.

Another legal argument made in the letter to Bryan was the principle of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

Among the off-the-record discussions by phone and via messages from sources in Texas were statements that to the effect that if the city leaders in Bryan errantly pass their proposed manufactured home ban, that legal action should follow. Indeed, some of the linked non-profits already have a track record of such suits, successful ones.

 

Bryan City Officials

While Bryan’s city officials have not formally acknowledged they have the 10-page document from Kovach, a similar shorter summary was faxed by MHProNews to various city officials days ago, and fax confirmations noted that those transmissions were received. Furthermore, some of those who called or emailed MHProNews said that they learned about the Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach emails from city sources.

So, there is no plausible doubt that the City of Bryan has the messages from Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach.

The Kovach letter to Bryan city officials noted that a student activist group he addressed in a separate memo – the Young Dems of BCS – are also busily trying to stop the ban against manufactured homes. See more about the Young Dems in the downloadable item linked here.

 

Bryan City Council Meets Tonight

Sources on the ground in Bryan tell MHProNews that they will report back on what occurs Tuesday night at the council meeting. Stay tuned.

As thousands of regular MHProNews readers know, prior outreaches to two other cities in recent months that included MHARR’s Mark Weiss and Tony Kovach resulted in both of those cities saying they were stopping their planned restrictions on manufactured homes. One city formally thanked MHProNews and MHARR for their input.

See those examples of successfully halted scenarios in the related reports, below the byline, offers, and notices.

The front-lines for the vexing zoning wars in the U.S. today are centered in Bryan, TX. That’s this morning’s edition 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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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.

Dramatic Reversal, City Passes Urgency Ordinance Effectively Banning Manufactured Homes, Front & Back Stories

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

Rumble over Anti-MH Law-State Association, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and MHARR

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

 

“Time to Enforce the Law on Federal Preemption”

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Kemp, Taking out the Trash Talk about Manufactured Homes

April 5th, 2019 Comments off

AlKempManufacturedHomeParkOwnersAllianceBritishColumbiaTakingOutTrashTalkAboutManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Long before Al Kemp and MHProNews became virtually acquainted, the Canadian was dedicated to tackling the problematic image that programing such as the “Trailer Park Boys” has fostered.

 

The TP Boys, as Kemp refers to them – doubtlessly, tongue in cheek – are just part of the reason that some don’t consider manufactured homes in Canada. That same vexing issue occurs here in the U.S. too.

 

 

Those irreverent TP Boys are a factor, but regrettably, they are not the only one.

At least on their side of the border, Kemp – who is the executive director of the Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of British Columbia – takes on that ‘trailer house’ and ‘trailer park’ issue on.

 

TrailerHouseTrailerParkInaccurateOffensiveAlKempExecutiveDirectorManufacturedHomeParkOwnersAllianceBritishColumbiaCanadaQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There is much more at this link here.

 

So has Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), whenever MHProNews has requested a comment on issues ranging from Disney’s misuse of the term, to Keith Olbermann’s slam of manufactured housing by his misuse of the ‘trailer’ slur.

 

 

Why hasn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) weighed in on such issues?

MHProNews has asked MHI repeatedly, they won’t engage on such topics.  Maybe the fine folks in Arlington, VA will explain why they don’t defend the good name of the industry and its homeowners?  Or perhaps they think their relatively unwatched videos was enough to get the job done?

The Daily Business News on MHProNews will allow that question to hang for now.

There are third party surveys, besides common sense and anecdotal evidence, that suggests that the ‘trailer park’ and ‘trailer trash’ stigmas are part of what is keeping manufactured housing at historically low levels.

A new report on MHLivingNews addresses that topic, see that in the article linked below.

 

Debunking the Trailer Trash Stigma for Affordable, Modern Manufactured Housing for Residents, Home Shoppers

 

In a perfect world, Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage was correct when he said that there are good reasons to tackle that every time the problem raises its ugly head.  The NAACP, and the Jewish ADL both made it quite unacceptable to demean their ethnic groups with hateful racial slurs.  The same thing must arguably occur for manufactured home owners and professionals.

 

RevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword_001

Anecodtale evidence suggests that the wrong terminology impacts price. But it also impacts people’s emotions, see the poet who rejected the use of the t-word with regard to her home, by clicking the image above.

 

Failure to address the issue only leads to more of the same.

MHLivingNews and MHProNews can’t correct it alone. But it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.  We know from feedback from clients and industry professionals that content on Manufactured Home Living News – per retailers and communities – has helped them close sales.

That’s good.  By why aren’t the big boys doing more to promote a proper understanding of the industry?  So frankly, far more is possible.  We’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness.  Why not light a candle in your market(s)? To learn more, see the link here and  here.

That’s another episode from the manufactured home industry’s “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

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“’Trailer Trash’? Watch Who You’re Insulting When You Throw Around Those Words” – Buffalo News

“Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” James Carville, Clinton Strategist

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

January 24th, 2019 Comments off

MHILogoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoCEOPresidentRichardDickJennisonPledge500000NewManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Why not half-a-million [new manufactured home shipments]?
We can get there.” –

     Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI),
Assurance made while addressing attendees of prior Louisville Manufactured Housing Show. Recorded on video by MHProNews.

 

The key question, then, for the industry, its representatives and its consumers, is why is the HUD Code industry — both over the longer-term and currently – not doing better?  In a climate of significant economic growth, job creation (with unemployment at an 18-year low) and wage growth (with an average hourly wage of $22.95 per hour, an all-time high) on the one hand, and increasingly unaffordable prices and interest rates for other types of homes and other types of consumer home loans on the other – and with HUD Code manufacturers today producing their best homes ever at the most affordable prices ever (both inherently and relative to other types of housing) – why is the industry not producing and selling hundreds-of-thousands of homes each and every year?

 – Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR),
in his latest MHARR Issues and Perspectives, entitled “The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges.”

 

 

Imagine for a few moments a casual outside observer who is mildly aware of the U.S. affordable housing crisis. Picture that observer reading those two quoted comments. They might believe that the presidents of each national manufactured housing trade association both believe that half a million – or perhaps more – new HUD Code manufactured home shipments is achievable.

Indeed Jennison and Weiss both have said so publicly.

The question should then logically turn to the last phrase uttered by Weiss. Given a robust economy, and several other cited factors, why isn’t manufactured housing already doing 500,000 or more new home shipments annually? Why is the industry only hoping to hit a mere 100,000 in 2018’s final tally?

Weiss’ query is a variation of the valid question that the Urban Institute posed as their headline last year.

Here’s how the Urban Institute’s four experienced researchers phrased it, “Manufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis. So why are so few being made?”

Three different nonprofit organizations. ‘Leaders’ from all three have publicly said, there should be more sales.

So what’s going wrong?

Weiss seeks to answer that question in his thesis behind the “illusion of motion” theme.

Motion – or, more accurately, activity – in and of itself, is not necessarily synonymous with, or equivalent to, real progress, or, in fact, any progress at all,” stated Weiss.

Recent reports emerging from elsewhere within the universe of organizations representing the manufactured housing industry paint a uniformly rosy picture of almost non-stop engagement, dialogue, meetings, conferences, photo-opportunities (presumably to prove the reality of the supposed engagement, dialogue, meetings and conferences) and other related confabs, particularly at the national level,” wrote Weiss.

 

At almost the same time as Weiss’ analysis and commentary were being published by MHARR at this link here, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) was sending out their latest emailed ‘news and updates.’ The MHI item opened with a photo of MHI Executive Vice President (EVP), Lesli Gooch, another MHI Member, and the newly appointed head of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. It featured this picture, shown below.

 

CodyPierceMHIFinancialServicesDivisionCFPBBureauofConsumerFinancialProtectionKathleenKraingerLesliGoochMHIEVPGovtAffairsChiefLobbyistMHProNews

Are years of these head and shoulder photos with some public official literal head fakes? As the old Wendy’s commercial asked, “where is the beefWhere are the measurable results? 

 

MHARR also sent out a email yesterday with their comments, which appeared on MHProNews, at this link here.

Meanwhile, where on the MHI website does MHI’s photo opportunity and latest missive from 1.23.2019 appear?

At least according to a search of the MHI website, using the MHI search tool, nowhere. See the screen capture a day after their email was sent, shown below.

 

MHIMetwithNewCFPBDirectorDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewMHProNews

 

 

“Feel Good,” and the “Illusion of Motion”

Why doesn’t MHI’s own ‘feel good,’ ‘all is progressing well’ mantra appear on MHI’s own website? Given that MHARR wants their thoughts to appear as widely as possible, and gives the rights to reproduce it with their emails, why by contrast does MHI restrict that right to reproduce their messages to only those who parrot their Arlington, VA based trade group’s party line?

 

MHINewsUpdatesCopyrightMarkWeissMHARRIsusesPerspectivesRightToReproduceDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Why does MHI themselves fail to show their own narrative publicly on their own website? Do they not want their words to be later referenced, and thus create a measure of accountability for having said them?

These are the types of reasonable questions that award-winning investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson style suggests should be asked, as one debunks ‘real news’ from ‘fake news.’

Attkisson says, follow the evidence, and follow the money. That’s reminiscent of what MHI award-winner Marty Lavin, JD said, who has added, ‘pay more attention to what people do that what they say.’ Meaning, do the words spoken later line up with the deeds of those who said them?

Four years have elapsed since Richard the ‘Dick’ Jennison said 500,000 new home shipments could be achieved. Why then is the manufactured housing industry still mired at roughly 100,000 new HUD Code manufactured home (MH) shipments? Who is accountable for that self-evident post-production failure?

Which firms – does low new factory-built home production help? Who does low new MH production harm?

Thayer_Long_outgoing_MHI_Executive_Directo photo credit_MHProNews

Thayer Long, former MHI President.

It should be noted that about 4 years have gone by since MHI mysteriously removed their previous blanket permission to MHProNews to republish anything MHI emailed or otherwise produced. That practice of MHProNews republishing MHI content was initiated by former MHI President, Thayer Long.

For a time, during both Long’s and Jennison’s tenures, MHI paid MHProNews to promote their events, and share their information.

What happened since then? Where is the logic of hiding or restricting MHI content? What is there to hide in MHI ‘news and updates’ or ‘housing alerts’ when they are emailed out, given that others can forward the content anyway?

Perhaps related is this. Why does MHI hire an outside law firm – the same law firm with an office in former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith’s hometown that their general counsel Rick Robinson comes from before joining MHI – to threaten in writing MHProNews for reproducing for fact-checking purposes MHI’s logo and other materials? Doesn’t that outside attorney know about the broad right of news media to reproduce for fact-checks and analysis granted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the courts? Don’t Graydon attorneys watch CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News all showing each other’s news clips and logos?

 

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstiutteMHIattorneyGraydonHeadLawFirmCupofCoffeeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Which begs this question. Why did MHI even bother with their arguably faux threat from lawyers? Which, by the way, is only one in a series of such threats over the course of several years from attorneys acting purportedly on behalf of MHI. Note that those threats from attorneys aimed at this trade media began while MHProNews’ parent company was still a member of that Arlington, VA based trade group.

While MHProNews was still a member of MHI, during an analysis of MHI claims, this publication juxtaposed MHI’s former VP Jason Boehlert’s own words, with that of the promises being made by Jennison. Or contrasted Boehlert’s written quote with then MHI Chairman Tim Williams, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (Omaha, NE) owned 21st Mortgage Corp (Knoxville, TN metro, near Berkshire owned Clayton Homes).

Isn’t it reasonable to see if MHI’s VP and chairman are being consistent?

Isn’t it equally reasonable to see if Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett and Tim Williams are consistent?

In fact, they were inconsistent on Preserving Access. But perhaps the most famous inconsistency – at least to this sustainable pro-growth publication’s better informed readers – is documented at this link here.

 

VicePresidentMikePenceWifeKarenHandOverHeartPledgeColts49ersGameWashingtonTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Warren Buffett publicly supported the opposite of what Tim Williams did in this slide. Notice. One may or may not agree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission, while still questioning how it came to be that Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. To see all of William’s informative slides, click the graphic above. http://www.MHProNews.com/industry-news/industry-in-focus/is-tim-williams-21st-mortgage-ceo-mhi-chair-at-odds-with-berkshire-hathaway-chairman-warren-buffett

TimWilliamsCreditLinkedIn21stMortCorpCEOManufacturedHousingIndustryMHIChairmanWarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairman

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

 

MHI’s president Jennison – during the same talk spotlighted in the opening quotation above promised the industry the passage of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Jennison promised that passage, while he knew he was being video taped by MHProNews.

Oddly, Jason Boehlert said differently. To be polite for the moment, they were inconsistent.

 

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews later publicized those inconsistencies.

2015 was the last year that MHProNews was ‘allowed’ to host the educational events at Louisville. Praised for years by Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) leaders, why was MHProNews suddenly cut off?

Is MHARR’s Mark Weiss thesis correct? Is there an illusion of motion being created by MHI and flatterers of theirs in an echo chamber of ‘feel good’ – but nevertheless fake – MHI news?

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsWeiss said, “As President Ronald Reagan famously said, though, “facts are stubborn things.”  And the irrefutable facts that are emerging from behind the veil of “group-think” (defined as “a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome”), unfortunately, show that the happy-talk is just that – talk — a veneer designed to create an “illusion of motion” regarding the critical issues that helped tank industry progress and prosperity a decade ago and continue to needlessly restrain and undermine its recovery, growth and development years later, even as the need for affordable, non-subsidized homeownership reaches new heights every day.”

MHI sent out an email at almost the same time that confirmed the pattern that rival MHARR’s president had just published. How could Weiss have known that? Or is it rather because of years observing a pattern of that same “illusion of motion” activity?

Weiss cites the late President Reagan saying, “facts are stubborn things.”

MHProNews has for some time similarly said, “Facts are nettlesome things.”

 

CheckFactsFollowMoneyJournalistSharylAttkissonFakeNewsMHVilleTakeAwaysDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

 

Each point to a parallel reality that MHI award-winner Marty Lavin’s or Sharyl Attkisson’s reasoning point toward. Pay more attention to what people do than to what they say, plus ‘follow the evidence,’ ‘follow the facts,’ and ‘follow the money.’

Why are there other MH industry trade media – that metaphorically kisses MHI and the Berkshire Hathaway – Clayton Homes – 21st Mortgage asses – while only MHARR or MHProNews consistently follow facts, evidence, and money?

It was an MHI-only member producer last fall that tipped MHProNews about the coming drop-off in new home shipments. Other sources within MHI confirmed it for the Daily Business News on MHProNews. Then, the new manufactured home shipment data – collected by IBTS on behalf of HUD – weeks later confirmed it.

Why didn’t MHI signal what they surely must have known was coming? Instead, the produced more feel good, cheerleading ‘news and updates,’ a pricey video that touted how great they are, and apparently promoted similarly weaponized MHI ‘educational events.’

Meanwhile, part-time MHI apologist and sycophant George F. (F?) Allen gives MHI cover by calling for a “boycott” of MHProNews? Did Allen – and the state association executive he claimed concurred with this call for a boycott – realize that such collusion to rig a market is an element of antitrust law?

 

BoycottAntiTrustLawDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEwsantiTrustGroupBoycottMHProNews

 

Did the apparently pro-MHI senders of thinly-veiled threats sent by U.S. Mail to MHProNews which used the hashtag #NettlesomeThings realize that such a misuse of the U.S. Mail can be a predicate crime in a federal RICO case?

 

RICO-RacketeringINfluencedCorruptOrganizationsMailWireFraudDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

 

Follow the Facts, Money, Evidence, and Reason

There are only a few logical possibilities. Let’s examine them, starting in the light of new home production data, that both MHI’s president and MHARR’s president have publicly suggested could be 500,000 shipments – or more.

First, recall that in the early 1990s, HUD Code manufactured home shipments were rapidly able to ramp up. They doubled in a roughly 3 year period. So there is no technical reason why that it can’t be done again.

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

Manufactured Home Production Decline Accelerates in November 2018

 

 

The story of Rollohome likewise reflects an ability to go from zero to 60,000 new homes shipped by a single production center in only a 2-year period, from startup.

In fact, given the hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into the U.S. from the repatriation provisions of the 2017 tax cuts, there is ample sources of capital to expand.

 

$500billionHalfTrilliondollarsRepatriations2018RepatriatedFromTaxCuts2017DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Legacy Housing’s recent successful IPO likewise reflects the reality that capital can be attracted into the manufactured housing production and retail sectors.

So there is capital available.

There is also strong demand for affordable housing. As MHProNews has often since referenced, but is oddly missing from the MHI website, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) – among numerous third party organizations in 2018 – said that manufactured housing quality is high, as MHARR’s Weiss has said. NAR also noted the need and logical “case” for using more manufactured homes.

Why are such details missing from MHI’s website? Why do they posture activities – the “illusion of motion” – which year-after-year yields little-to-no discernible improvement?

This “good news” [from MHI and their toadies] all the time meme, in turn, is replicated, repeated and touted by those who, for whatever reason, have determined that it is to their advantage to do so. Indeed, an entire new publication has appeared with the apparent mission of wet-nursing this meme. Meanwhile, others touting and promoting the new meme, urge industry-wide “boycotts” – the intellectual equivalent of book-burning — of anyone who dares question the legitimacy of the meme, or the possible motives of some of its proponents,” said Weiss on 1.23.2019.

As MHI/NCC member Frank Rolfe observed – before he was apparently pressured or politely nudged into silence – if it is good news, MHI won’t react to. If it is bad news, MHI won’t react to that either. Here’s how Rolfe says it, misusing the lingo, but is nevertheless arguably correct.

 

 

Since then, MHVillage’s co-President Darren Krolewski, launched the publication that Weiss is apparently referencing. That publication features George F (F?) Allen, among other MHI cheerleaders. The ‘big boy’ and “MH Insider” companies – or perhaps those caught up in the “illusion of motion” – have their ads in it.

But what’s missing are readers in anything like the numbers found here on MHProNews. The proof was suggested at Louisville or Tunica last year, as the photo below attests.

 

MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

George F (F?) Allen is one of the contributors to the MHInsider. Really? The photo above is from the last day of the Tunica Show, and the other racks looked the same.

 

There are independents who no doubt buy into the MHIillusion of motionBS.

But there are also those who know stink when they smell it.  That’s why some MHI insiders are sources for MHProNews. It must be noted that several state associations are weaponized, but 2 others broke away rejecting MHI’s failed leadership. Other state executives are among our quiet sources, while others as Allen made clear, are all-in on the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, for whatever reasons.

What is MHI’s response to such claims? Silence, or rather, a call for a boycott by their stooge F (F?) Allen. A boycott of whom and why? Obviously of those who like MHARR or this trade media dare state what years of evidence has made obvious to those who have the courage to speak truth to the powers that be.

 

There are only a few logical possibilities.

The new HUD Code manufactured home shipment numbers are what they are. The ‘Dick’ Jennison, who is paid bonuses per MHI’s form 990 (bonuses for achieving what?) can’t walk back what he said on stage 4 years ago in a video recorded statement made in front of dozens of industry professionals.

We are publicly holding the powers that be and their puppets accountable.

So, here’s what common sense should tell an objective thinker.

 

  • What we at MHProNews have come to call the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies either — a) know how to grow the industry’s new home shipment levels, b) or they don’t know, or c) something in between a) and b).
  • If that axis knows how to grow results, why are the results demonstrably lacking? Isn’t the ultimate measurement found in new HUD Code manufactured home shipment and production reports?
  • If that Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies don’t know how to grow results, why do they keep posturing their expertise?
  • Or are Clayton and the Berkshire brands in MHVille with select allies waiting to unveil and consistently proclaim and defend the truth of modern manufactured homes, at a point in time of their own choosing? Perhaps when the axis doesn’t think they can’t consolidate more of the industry into their strategic/economic Moat?

 

As the years tick by, the “illusion of motion” when compared to the data reflects the concerns MHARR and MHProNews have uniquely spotlighted. All others are logically duped by the deception, or are perhaps afraid to challenge the deceivers, or have not yet awakened to the reality.

What we know with certainty is this. From organizations large to small, friends and foes of the axis, plus those in the middle, are all readers here on MHProNews.

The most common words shared are what MHI/NCC member Bryan Gallagher said in an on-the-record recent statement, linked here, “Thanks for your [MHProNews] efforts on behalf of the [manufactured home] industry.”

 

 

A Man Has to Know

Clint Eastwood’s character Dirty Harry famously said in a movie, “A man has to know his own limitations.” So true.

This writer acknowledged on several occasions having been partially oblivious to what Weiss aptly calls, “the Illusion of Motion.” Magic tricks seem to work, but only until the trick – the method behind the illusion – is revealed. The same is true for confidence or “con man” schemes, which if they seek to defraud another, are a possible crime.

Paraphrasing the brilliant author, G.K. Chesterton, what’s worth doing, is worth doing badly, until it is done well. Gilbert Keith (G.K. Chesterton) also said that the perfect is sometimes the enemy of the good.

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Many of these quotes are from MHI insiders.

We frankly acknowledge that we are far from perfect in our editing here, but are grateful for the MHI only members’ observation in the quote at the left. Especially so in the light of Chesterton’s points. FMHA’s Jim Ayotte observed that one can only act based upon information that is known at the time.

We juggle many balls for ethical, sustainable growth-focused clients, plus publish more daily news than anyone in our industry’s history. We strive to accurately convey reality. In response to that, MHI removed this publication’s parent operation from their membership. More recently, MHI allied MHVillage launched MHInsider. Interesting?

MHI and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies have built an echo chamber that parrot their latest talking points. It apparently doesn’t matter if it is consistent, contradictory or not. Which explains why MHI hides the own records of their own emailed statements. Otherwise some motivated truth seeker could do more easily what has been done herein by saving and researching their actions, inactions, and patterns of behavior. Where did their leadership take MHVille? M

To 100,000 (+/-) new home shipments vs. the 500,000 that the Dick Jennison pledged on stage at Louisville 4 years ago.

From a lay person’s view of the law, one might think that MHI is potentially guilty of a ‘deceptive trade practices.’ MHI promoted and promised one thing, while apparently either failing or actively doing another.

Low levels of production debatably foster the consolidation of the industry’s independents into ever fewer hands, and at discounted prices. Because if sales levels were higher, business values would be worth more.

Keep in mind, there are several federal investigators on various aspects of these matters. MHProNews knows this independent of the Seattle Times, or the local Knoxville news video posted below.

 

 

 

Metaphorically Taking the 5th

There are reasons why the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies won’t directly explain or publicly debate these concerns raised by MHARR or MHProNews. Instead, their surrogates try to kill or silence the messengers, as the call for a boycott and related market rigging reflects.

Clayton et al have been slowly consolidating the industry into their own hands and into those of allied companies. That includes buying out MHARR members, and also apparently pressuring MHProNews advertisers into no longer advertising, though our sponsors routinely said they were happy with the results.

But Legacy Housing demonstrated that it’s safe and pays to support this pro-growth trade media.

 

CaseyMackLegacyHousingManufacturedTinyHomesKudosMHProNews

 

The truth becomes evident, once the patterns of action and the evidence is carefully examined. The need for a new post-production association is but one step in the path towards resolving the arguably artificial causes of our industry’s malaise.

At Louisville, get ready to be an industry citizen journalist. More on that just before the Louisville Show opens.

 

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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.

 

Watch for it, get ready to question the MHI staff, or others in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis. Sign up for the industry’s most read publication’s headline news emails, to the bottom right, below. Understanding is where the cure for what ails MHVille begins, and next steps are already quietly underway.  Watch for significant developments, already on our radar, to be reported in the days ahead.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

 

 

Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

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2019 Trade Shows, Next Battleground of the Manufactured Housing Revolution?

 

“THE ILLUSION OF MOTION VERSUS REAL-WORLD CHALLENGES” – Spotlighted by Manufactured Home Industry Leader