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“Trailer Parks,” Presidential Candidate, Prior HUD Secretary Julian Castro on MH Community Operators, Residents Not Knowing Their Rights

May 20th, 2019 No comments

 

JulianCastroHUDSecretary2020DemPresidentialCandidateTrailerParkNationNoMobileHomesManufacturedHousingMHProNews1

If you don’t think that manufactured housing could become a 2020 campaign issue, as part of the broader affordable housing debate or otherwise, then the video below is just one of several reasons why it could be.  Perhaps even why it should be.

 

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Credit, Wikipedia. Note that MHProNews coverage of a candidate at this stage should not be construed as an endorsement. However, MHProNews will later discern and recommend specific candidates in each of the major parties that we think is the best candidate from that party for our industry and consumer’s interests.

Don’t forget what the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver viral hit “Mobile Homes” video launched – and revealed.

For example, as an upcoming report will reflect, the word heard from statehouses to Washington, D.C. is that the HBO satirical assault on specific manufactured home firms is sparking political debate.

That storm cloud could spell problems for manufactured home industry independents. And with HUD Code shipments already down, for 7 straight months.  It begs the question, will the Oliver video have an impact sales too? What is certain is that ignoring the political warning signs that could become business impacts is not an option for savvy professionals and investors.

In that context, at a minimum, this first video below is a reminder that affordable housing is an ongoing issue. Manufactured homes have a role to play in that scenario. Prior HUD Secretary Julian Castro acknowledged that in the video in his own words.

 

 

Castro did not put down manufactured homes, even though he could have done so in this agenda-driven video interview. At the same time, Castro raised issues that are not so different than the ones John Oliver’s errantly namedMobile Homes video raised.

 

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You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Share correct terminology with others, because it matters.

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The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.

 

Castro’s Favors to MHVille?

It may sound odd from a pro-industry publication, but former Secretary Castro may have done the industry a dark favor, by speaking out frankly on topics that Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” has made an issue too.  ICYMI, or need a refresher on the background to the Oliver video, see the report linked below.

 

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

 

What will the manufactured home industry’s independents and other leaders do to fix the harmful stereotypes and vexing problems?

In the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) favor, and to their ‘credit,’ they obtained the Castro video below, while he was HUD Secretary.  It should be married up with the OZY Media video, above, compared and contrasted.

 

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Note that MHProNews coverage of a candidate at this stage of the 2020 race should not be construed as an endorsement. However, MHProNews will later discern and recommend specific candidates in each of the major parties that we think is the best candidate from that party for our industry and consumer’s interests. If significant independent candidates enter the 2020 White House race – such as Howard Schultz – we likewise reserve the right to discern and potentially endorse an independent in the race for 2020. Rephrased, we expect to have a candidate among Democrats that we will say is the apparent best from that party for the interests of the MH industry and consumers perspective. We expect one candidate from the GOP, and possibly one from independents and/or minor parties. That will maximize manufactured housing’s independents and MH homeowners potential influence on the 2020 race.

That said, why didn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) successfully and sufficiently engage back then with Secretary Castro to get him to use correct terminology in a video like this?  That’s but one of several possible questions.  Frankly, the terminology is arguably less Castro’s miss than MHI’s.  Why?

Recall, it is MHI that claims to represent all segments of factory-built housing.  They have taken on the mantle of the industry’s post-production national trade association.  That makes it their job.  They should do their job properly, change their claims, or get out of the way.

MHI also claim to be promoting the industry and regulatory conditions in their IRS Form 990 filings. Those IRS forms are 990s are signed by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison under penalties of perjury.

The Castro video was obtained years ago.  Is that more than enough time to post it on the MHI website?

 

JulianCastroHUDSecretary2020DemocraticHopefulMHIVideoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoMHISiteSearch5.20.2019MHProNews

The HUD Secretary Ben Carson speech has been missing from the MHI website, but so too is this one from HUD Secretary Castro. Doesn’t this once more prove the point of equally controversial Frank Rolfe?

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Rolfe is a prominent – and controversial – MHI member.

 

This is the tip of a proverbial iceberg. Will enough MHVille professionals learn from the 2009 fiasco?

 

 

For a more complete understanding of the issues at play, and for a new report that goes in depth on a public site that you can share with others, see the link here and below the byline and notices.  During an affordable housing crisis, MHI is seemingly asleep at the switch as manufactured home shipments have dropped for 7 straight months. These are reality checks – stark wake up calls.

 

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As a pro-ethical growth, pro-industry, pro-consumer trade publisher that is the runaway #1 in manufactured housing, it seems apparent after years of mild to modest challenges that question MHI’s leadership, that more direct and serious efforts are arguably needed. See the related reports below for more insights and details.

 

That’s this Monday Morning’s second look at reality check of manufactured housing “Industry 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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Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

Multibillion Dollar Opportunities Knock in Solving Affordable Housing Crisis

Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues

May 18th, 2019 No comments

 

AndyGedoPhotoManageAmericaPartnerLinkedInDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Andy Gedo’s LinkedIn profile says he is a “Partner at ManageAmerica.” They are on online property management platform, that cites manufactured housing as one of their specialties. They are active at Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) events, and per sources, an MHI member.

 

To set the stage for the discussion that follows, let’s note that Gedo – who entered into a public online discussion this week with our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach on LinkedIn regarding Clayton Homes – previously posed a question to George F. Allen.

Gedo asked Allen a question about one of Allen’s posts, “George, please provide the details of your proforma $12,000 annual expense budget for a 200 site community.  That amount doesn’t even cover a Manager’s salary for such a community.  What am I missing?”  It was a perfectly reasonably question.

Allen’s response?  There was none.  To which Tony Kovach, after liking Gedo’s question, posted this: “George, Andy Gedo has asked a relevant question.  Where is your reply, sir?  How can you claim to educate, when you won’t answer questions?  Isn’t that part of the educational process, Q&As?” For more on Allen, Joe Stegmayer, MHI and related, click here.

That post and exchange reveals several things, because Tony Kovach previously asked Allen a question about another post. Allen’s reply? None.

The first reasonable takeaway is that respectful discussion – which can include direct questions, even pointed questions – are a potentially useful facet of social media.

With that backdrop, Gedo, who’s firm’s website says started in 1999, asked about a post made by our publisher earlier this week.  Here is the link to the that LinkedIn post, and the screen capture below is a reflection of the linked article that Gedo to, which sets the stage for the online discussion.

 

KevinClaytonAnswersCNBCsMonopolyQuestionLinkedInPostManufacturedHousingMHProNews

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Here’s Gedo’s comment/reaction to that public social media post. “Come on Tony, her question wasn’t whether Clayton/Berkshire intends to monopolize the entire homebuilding industry, but rather whether they intend “own every aspect” of it — to vertically integrate, not own the entire thing.”   The “her” Gedo was referring to is CNBC’s Diana Olick, who covers real estate news for the business focused, left-of-center news website.

Here’s Tony’s reply, with the typos like ‘distinction’ in original.

Its a distiction without a difference Andy.  Perhaps you’ve missed what HousingWire, Bloomberg LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertor others have spotlighted?  Warren Buffett said he had 3 percent of brokerage in an annual letter, and added “Only “97 percent to go.” Google it.  That said, I respect your question.  Try explaining these facts, linked below.  Kevin, Tim, and their attorneys have declined.  Why not try to explain it for them?

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

We routinely invite Clayton, 21st, and MHI to respond, or dispute our concerns. Why do they duck that, if there is nothing to hide?  So back to your question. CNBC is perhaps the first in mainstream media for a while that asked that question that way. It lacked a follow up, but at least they deserve credit for asking about the growing concerns not just here, but in other mainstream media that use the word “monopoly” when it comes to Clayton and Berkshire.  Those other media are found linked here.

http://mhpronews.com/blogs/tonykovach/ultimate-proven-contrarian-investing-ethical-vs-unethical-legal-vs-illegal-manufactured-housing-industry-strategies/

AndyGedoLinkedInManufacturedHomeCommunitiesPhotoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsGedo rapidly posted on LinkedIn the following retort. As MHProNews has often done for several years, we’ve turned the quoted text brown and bold to make it pop, but the comments are otherwise unedited in any material fashion.

Tony, the CNBC interviewer’s question was:  “Your parent company, Berkshire Hathaway owns a real estate brokerage, it owns an insulation company, it owns a Benjamin Moore… and it owns [Clayton Homes, which has bought 9 site-built homebuilders].  Is this their master plan, to own every aspect of the U.S. housing market?”   Kevin Clayton gives an honest and revealing answer that explains why Berkshire believes that owning both manufactured and conventional builders will enable them to realize efficiencies by “blurring the lines” between the two.  Both the question and the answer are about vertical integration, not monopolistic practices.   You are still entitled to your opinion about whether Clayton wields monopoly power, but it isn’t addressed in this interview, and that is obvious to anyone who bothers to watch it with an unbiased eye.”

Gedo was clearly posing a thoughtful defense for Clayton Homes via his comments.  That’s fair, and MHProNews editorially respects that, and encourages others to do the same.

Tony praised Gedo for his effort.

Andy, kudos on giving it a good shot, sir! Again, it is a distinction without a difference. Kevin’s reply is quoted at length in the linked report:

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/antitrust-heats-up-with-supreme-court-ruling-monopolization-legal-experts-weigh-in-clayton-related-comment-connection/

We don’t duck the facts, we check ’em.

Kevin didn’t deny the trend toward monopoly. What he did was say it was a 100 year plan, and yes, it includes ‘blurring the lines.’”

Our publisher then pivoted back to Gedo’s original question, which said in part: “…her [CNBC’s Oleck] question wasn’t whether Clayton/Berkshire intends to monopolize the entire homebuilding industry…” With that part of Gedo’s question in mind, Kovach said he added this in his publicly posted reply.

Italics, bold and brown – as before – are added for publication here to make it ‘pop,’ but the text by Tony is as in the original post.

ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhoto

Look, you or anyone can ignore what The Nation, OpenMarkets, the Atlantic, Guru Focus, or the Seattle Times published. It isn’t as if it is just MHProNews, is it?

Which begs the question. Why aren’t others in the industry’s trade media raising this issue? Why are so many – perhaps out of fear, going along to get along, etc. – not saying publicly what they discuss privately? Even George Allen, before he was re-embraced by Arlington, raised the issue of “oligarchy” and the problem of consolidation. That’s a polite phrase for alleged monopolistic practices. Please look at the links shared, and respond to those. Then, get your friends in Arlington and Knoxville to reply directly. It’d be the hottest read in MH. Feedback welcome. Thx.”

The Seattle Times in a May 18, 2018 article touched on the issue of ongoing federal investigations of Clayton Homes.

But Tony went further, adding follow up questions for Gedo.

Andy, now let me ask you a few questions, please. I think your firm is an MHI member, right? How do you explain the fact that MHI doesn’t have the Ben Carson speech on their website?

Why doesn’t MHI respond to attacks by MHAction? Or the John Oliver video?

Frank Rolfe, an MHI member, pointed out some years back that MHI fails to either promote good third party news, or defend against third party attacks. We’ve followed the pattern since then. There is evidence for Frank’s concerns.

Tim Williams, while MHI Chairman, said there is a good case to make to defend against every attack. So, why hasn’t MHI done so? Who benefits from 7 months of dropping year-over-year shipments? Consolidators?”

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoMHISiteSearchMHProNews

The same was true early this morning. Do you think they will update it during this weekend? Add the Carson speech next week? Ever? If not, why not?

 

The Value of Andy Gedo’s Comments

Now, there could be many possible reasons why Gedo didn’t respond further, as of 6:53 AM ET.  We encourage him or others interested in the discussion to do so.  Again, that LinkedIn post and related question thread is linked here.

It must be noted that Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, other Berkshire Hathaway brands, and numbers of individuals associated with the Arlington, VA based MHI monitor and/or engage there. Why didn’t they weigh into that discussion?

That’s just part of the value of the discussion that Gedo launched.

There could be several reasons why MHI has not yet posted the useful and encouraging Secretary Ben Carson New Orleans speech, or the positive National Association of Realtors (NAR) research by Scholastica Cororaton, or the comments MHI used to publicize – but stopped doing a few years ago – about Eric Belsky about manufactured housing as of 6:59 AM ET.

But that begs the question.  Why are they failing to do what Tim Williams, Frank Rolfe, and others have said is an obvious, useful or logical need?  The possibly reply to that is what Tony Kovach posted “Who benefits from 7 months of dropping year-over-year shipments? Consolidators?”  Kovach noted that even George Allen used to point to the same types of problems, until he was ‘re-embraced’ by MHI leaders, like Kevin Clayton or Joe Stegmayer.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

To see more disconnects between Allen and his flip-flops, then and now, click here. ‘Even a stopped clock is right twice daily.’ See the John Oliver Mobile Homes fact check here.

 

There will be a special report tomorrow morning that will be a ‘taking it to the next level’ report. Watch for it.

In the meantime, two prior quotes will be useful to end on here, after making the following observation.  Thousands of manufactured home industry – along with hundreds of other professionals interested in or researching the industry – logon daily, not for mere opinions. They can go elsewhere for more colorful if routine opinions, but rather, they come here for fact checks, analysis, and answers to the questions that no other trade publisher in the industry is addressing.

The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) broke away from MHI, precisely because they were not effective at their stated claims.

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is an independent producer’s association.  For obvious disclosures sake, they are also a sponsor at this site. That said, they don’t control our content – nor do our parent company’s other clients or sponsors. We control our content, based on what seems to be relevant to the industry’s needs, timely issues, topics, and related factory-built housing industry interests.

Given a 7-month downturn of HUD Code manufactured home shipments during an affordable housing crisis, the industry is perched for a new round of consolidation – that is a virtual given.  Especially so, if there is no turn around.  Why has Clayton or MHI ducked that vexing issue?  Why has Clayton’s parent company – Berkshire Hathaway – not used their own BH Media Group to publish articles on manufactured housing that counter the negative media accounts?

But those obvious disconnects beg the questions: why has Buffett/Berkshire apparently used ‘dark money’ channels to de facto help fund MHAction?  Or why fund the Center for Public Integrity, which did the first Clayton Homes/Seattle Times expose?  Why support Prosperity Now, which opposed MHI backed Preserving Access?

To understand the full scope of the arguably deceptive web of traps that have been laid for unwitting manufactured home independents and investors in certain publicly traded firms, click here for more details and analysis.

If mere ‘opinion’ was what readers got here, this platform wouldn’t be the industry’s runaway largest audience by far reading reports like this. For more details, click the below.

 

B2B Statistics, Trends 2019 – April 2019 Snapshot of Manufactured Home Professional Readers

In a small industry, to have over 12,000 logons daily with well in April is an astonishing market penetration. In 12 months, over 16,818,375 pages have been viewed here on MHProNews. To grasp that number, picture a stack of over 525,574  32-page magazines piled high. That blows away anything in manufactured housing. To learn more, click the linked text-image box above.

Do draw this towards a close this Saturday, those who have the time and want to truly understand what is occurring in their industry, there is no other manufactured housing trade media analysis that has even dared scrutinize the facts like those linked here which Gedo, Clayton, or MHI have not responded to publicly. What are they skittish over?

Why are others in the industry trade media afraid to check those facts which quote Kevin Clayton, Warren Buffett, and Tim Williams, word for word?

Apparently so. No investor or professional can understand manufactured housing without understanding the ‘elephant in the room.’ That’s Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, and also Knoxville metro-based Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF).

Andy Gedo is to be commended for making professional yet pointed questions. We welcome those. They clarify that what is occurring is more than opinion. We welcome him continuing the discussion, if he so chooses.

The startling issue is why others manufactured housing trade publishing or bloggers have ignored what the Nation, The Atlantic, GuruFocus, Forbes, The Hustle, the Seattle Times, or the Jacksonville Florida Times Union have reported that point to similar concerns that MHProNews and/or MHARR, or NAMHCO have raised. It’s not like we are crazed rogues, rather, we cover topics that others have – only we’ve done so with more focus, details, and depth. We’ve invited the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies to weigh in. Silence. At least Andy Gedo tried.

Note that those linked mainstream media reports above sources span the left-right political/media divides? So, Andy Gedo and others – with all due respect – the facts are what they are.

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Dr. Ben Carson, HUD Secretary, official photo. See his full speech in New Orleans, linked here, along with videos, and more. Note: we claim zero influence with Sec Carson, but it is interesting to note that his comments dovetailed with several points found in MHProNews, and in Tony Kovach comments letters to HUD.

When HUD Secretary Ben Carson tells MHI members to their faces that it is time to end the secret of manufactured housing, that should be a wakeup call to the industry and its many investors,” said industry expert, publisher, and former MHI member L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. “MHI members have to ask why the Arlington based trade group have not touted to the whole world Secretary Carson’s entire speech?  Why hasn’t Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway, or the BH Media Group done so? Why not use their media contacts and self-proclaimed ‘clout’ to publicize this good news for most manufactured housing industry professionals and possible consumers? Kevin Clayton and Tim Williams – they are educated, and intelligent professionals.  Are we to believe that they are hiding the good news about manufactured homes? If so, why?  Who benefits from hiding the truths about manufactured homes? Perhaps as or more important, how many millions are being harmed?  How much does this cost manufactured housing independents every year?”

Such pertinent, ‘evergreen’ questions are not found anywhere else presently in MHVille’s trade media.  Why not?  Rather, there is an almost echo-chamber like effect, which sings various pages out of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington hymnal.  But if that song book is resulting in loss of shipments year-over-year, and more consolidations, why sing along?

Perhaps that is why our readers are voting with their browsers, tablets, smartphones, and time here on MHProNews and MHLivingNews because this is where they find news, analysis, fact-checks and commentary that holds together and makes troubling sense.

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The next step in untying the Gordian knots of manufactured housing will be unveiled tomorrow morning. Watch for it.

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

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Right is right even if no one is right. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is wrong. Objectivity, an issue that Andy Gedo correctly raised, is valuable. That takes time and discernment.

That’s today chapter for manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “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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NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

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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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Antitrust Heats Up With Supreme Court Ruling, Monopolization Legal Experts Weigh In, Clayton-Related Comment Connection

 

Tariffs “…Will Effect Demand,” says Kevin Clayton, Answers CNBC’s Monopoly Question – Video – plus Manufactured Housing Market Updates

 

Inside Scoop on the Manufactured Housing Industry in Memes

Ultimate, Proven Contrarian Investing – Ethical vs. Unethical, Legal vs Illegal Manufactured Housing Industry Strategies

Ultimate, Proven Contrarian Investing – Ethical vs. Unethical, Legal vs Illegal Manufactured Housing Industry Strategies

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues, May Updates

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIT Answers – What’s the Minimum Needed by Family of Four for Housing, Food in Each State in U.S.?

May 16th, 2019 No comments

 

MITAnswersWhatMinimumNeededFamily4FourForHousingFoodEachStateUSManufacturedHousingMHProNews

MIT is the famous and widely respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  They recently provided an update to what they call their “living wage calculator.”

 

The data shown is from CNBC based upon their use of MIT’s methodology.

 

MITMassachusettsInstituteTechnologyCambridgeMassWikipediaMHProNews

 

For those who look and say, ‘that’s too low,’ keep the following in mind.

The MIT Living Wage Calculator “…determines the minimum amount necessary to meet basic needs without dipping into poverty or relying on outside help.”  It doesn’t include restaurants meals, vacation or money left for savings and investment.

MIT explains that “It is a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family’s likely minimum food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs. The living wage draws on these cost elements and the rough effects of income and payroll taxes…”

  • For two adult families where both adults are in the labor force, both adults are assumed to be employed full-time.
  • Full-time work is assumed to be year-round, 40 hours per week for 52 weeks, per adult.

The Daily Business News on MHProNews make the obvious point at the end of this infographic.

 

MITLivingWageCalculatorMassInstituteTechCNBCHousingFoodEachStateManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

The data, as noted, is for the minimum needed, vs the average or mean cost of housing in those same states. The figures shown routinely work for manufactured home sellers.  They routinely don’t work for conventional new home sellers but work somewhat better for existing home sellers.  MHProNews has made this point below for years.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson said it like this.

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonAffordableHousingManufacturedHomesQuotesManufacturedHousingConferenceMHProNews

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonAffordableHousingSupplyDemandCostSavingsFHFAAppreciationSustainableOwnership5000renters200000OwnersQuotesMHProNews

To see Secretary Carson’s entire address, click here.

There’s a good case to make that Secretary Carson is right.

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

So why is manufactured housing struggling?  Among the reasons is a point made by controversial Frank Rolfe, who was nevertheless correct about the following.

 

Carson’s comments are not on the MHI website again today. Frank, when you are right, you are right.

What’s MHI thinking? Or are they working to suppress performance while posturing efforts? Here’s another longtime MHI member, George F. Allen, who said this.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

To see more disconnects between Allen and his flip-flops, then and now, click here.

The evidence for factors that could cause a surge in manufactured home performance are all around, for those willing to look at facts.

The road blocks for the industry routinely grace back to what Rolfe directly, and Allen obliquely pointed to – it arguably does includes MHI, which is dominated by Omaha-Knoxville and the ‘big boys.’

YouGetMoreOfWhatYouEncourageLessofWhatYouDiscourageMartyLavin

WhenWrittenInChineseCrisisComposedTwoCharactersOneDangerOtherOpportunityJohnFKennedyQuoteMHProNews

Learn more at the links below the byline and notices. That’s the promise, potential, and the problem in tonight’s manufactured housing “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.

Related Reports:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Census, HUD Official Residential Construction Report for April 2019, Dare to Compare to Manufactured Housing Data

May 16th, 2019 No comments

 

CensusHUDOfficialResidentialConstructionReportApril2019DareCompareManufacturedHousingDataMHProNews

Our publisher was laughing this morning after he read an email.  When asked what the joke was, he replied by showing a pro-Manufactured Housing Institute trade media outlet that was announcing their ‘State of the Industry’ upcoming report.  “The state of the industry can be summed up by statistics,” said L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, as the laughter faded, replaced by a sober look, “which reflects the dismal reality that during an affordable housing crisis, manufactured housing is selling fewer homes today than 15 years ago, when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway entered the manufactured home industry by buying Clayton Homes.  Coincidence?

 

He added two question.  “Do you think that trade publisher will look at the underlying issues or evidence that have contributed to the industry’s decline?  Or do you think they will be doing more cheerleading, as more slow-motion consolidation takes place?”

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

 

Time will tell what the pro-MHI echo chamber might produce next. We’ll plan to report on what their latest spin on reality might be.

That said, HUD’s and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Residential Construction report for April, 2019 is out this morning.  Following their data-driven report, there will be a recap of HUD’s new manufactured home shipment data.

 

 

 

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)               U.S. Census Bureau

 

May 16, 2019

 

HUD AND CENSUS BUREAU REPORT RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY IN APRIL 2019

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for April 2019.

NewResidentialConstructionApril2019BuildingPermitsSingleFamilyHousingStartsCompletionsHUD-USCensusBureauManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

Building Permits

 

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,296,000. This is 0.6 percent (±2.6 percent)* above the revised March rate of 1,288,000, but is 5.0 percent (±1.4 percent) below the April 2018 rate of 1,364,000.  Single‐family authorizations in April were at a rate of 782,000; this is 4.2 percent (±1.2 percent) below the revised March figure of 816,000.  Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 467,000 in

April.

 

Housing Starts

 

Privately owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,235,000.  This is 5.7 percent (±13.0 percent)* above the revised March estimate of 1,168,000, but is 2.5 percent (±10.4 percent)* below the April 2018 rate of 1,267,000.  Single‐family housing starts in April were at a rate of 854,000; this is 6.2 percent (±13.7 percent)* above the revised March figure of 804,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 359,000.

 

Housing Completions

 

Privately owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,312,000.  This is 1.4 percent (±15.5 percent)* below the revised March estimate of 1,331,000, but is 5.5 percent (±11.9 percent)* above the April 2018 rate of 1,244,000.  Single‐family housing completions in April were at a rate of 918,000; this is 4.1 percent (±13.4 percent)* below the revised March rate of 957,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 381,000. The February report is scheduled for release on March 26, 2019.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES

 

In interpreting changes in the statistics in this release, note that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular. It may take three months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, six months for total starts, and six months for total completions. The statistics in this release are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage. Estimated relative standard errors of the most recent data are shown in the tables. Whenever a statement such as “2.5 percent (±3.2 percent) above” appears in the text, this indicates the range (-0.7 to +5.7 percent) in which the actual percentage change is likely to have occurred. All ranges given for percentage changes are 90 percent confidence intervals and account only for sampling variability. If a range does not contain zero, the change is statistically significant. If it does contain zero, the change is not statistically significant; that is, it is uncertain whether there was an increase or decrease. The same policies apply to the confidence intervals for percentage changes shown in the tables. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised 3 percent or less.

 

* The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. In such cases, there is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.

 

###

MHIlogoMonopolisticHousingInstituteLogoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMarch2019ProductionShipmentReport

The data above sums up what MHI’s own flatly stated report, without presenting a solution to the problems that their own slogan indicates lies in their purvey.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoPhotoOnlyTradeOrganizationrepresentingallsegmentsfactorybuilthousing2019-05-14_0808

MHARRR’s analysis of HUD Data revealed that 8 of the 10 of the top ten states in manufactured housing shipments are behind in year-over-year totals.

 

MHARRshipmentProductionMarch2019ManufacturedHousingReportMHProNews

While MHI in their monthly shipment report doesn’t deny the decline, neither are they addressing the underlying causes, nor have they proposed a remedy via their messages to the industry. Why not?

But somehow, MHI managed to claim in their late 2018 self-promotional video that they had ‘momentum’ – which is true, if they meant reverse momentum. Or momentum in the sense that more consolidation is underway.

MHARRshipmentProductionMarch2019ManufacturedHousingReportMHProNews

While MHARR’s mission is to represent producers in regulatory concerns at the federal level, due to the severity of the concerns, they’ve stepped up and are initiating projects aimed at addressing zoning, placement, and finance related challenges. See the related reports, further below the byline, offers, and notices.

 

That’s our second look today at “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:

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

 

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Joe Stegmayer, George F. Allen, Manufactured Housing Institute Slogans, Slump, Slurs, Solutions

May 14th, 2019 No comments

 

JoeStegmayerPhotoCavcoIndustriesLogoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoChairmanGeorgeFAllenPhotoSlogansSlumpSlursSolutionsMHProNews

Photo at left is a still from a YouTube video, posted further below.

The manufactured housing industry is now 7 months into a slump – a downturn. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis?  Is it incompetence?  Or something else?

 

While controversial himself in mainstream media reports for a variety of reasons, prominent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member Frank Rolfe is on record for calling out prior MHI Chairman Nathan Smith and the association for “hypocrisy.”

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

Rolfe also accused MHI of failing to promote good news, while failing to defend against bad news.

FrankRolfeMHFundRVHorizonsMobileHomeUniversityDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryResearchReportsDataAnalysisMHProNews595

The phrase ‘the industry’ is often a euphemism for MHI. While the two are obviously distinct, given that MHI is the industry’s umbrella association and larger than its rivals, there are reasons that phrase is used.

 

Despite his own controversies, did Rolfe make valid points in the quotes cited above?

Let’s look.

A recap of Nathan Smith, partner in SSK Communities, and their media and legal woes are linked below. It includes numerous mainstream media video reports, which underscored Rolfe’s first point.

 

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, Manufactured Housing Institute Leader, Profitably Correcting the Record

 

The recent, useful – and largely favorable comments to the manufactured home industry in general – made by HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a speech last week  are of this morning at the date and time shown still not posted on MHI’s website. Why not? It is arguably good news for the industry at large. It was made at MHI’s own event.  Secretary Carson is in charge of the agency that has the primary federal oversight for manufactured housing.

Where is the MHI logic in not having a favorable talk spotlighted on their own website?  Again, this evidence makes a point Rolfe claimed about good news not being shared by MHI.

 

HUDSecBenCarsonMHILogowebsiteManufactuerdHousingInstituteLogo2019-05-14_0617MHProNews

 

This oddity begs questions. For example, is it only Rolfe at MHI who has expressed concerns about MHI? Hardly.

Kenny Lipschutz – whose firm is a MHI/National Communities Council (MHI/NCC) member – said the following in an interview with MHProNews.

 

KennyLipschutzHomeFirstCertifiedCommunitiesMHINCCmemberPuzzlesWhyMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Tom Fath is a partner in his family’s manufactured home community business. The sell new and pre-owned manufactured homes.  Their operations are reportedly doing well. Which makes Fath’s comments all the more striking.

 

TomFathCreatedAnIndustryUnderAssaultQuoteWeSucceedWhenCustomersAreHappyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

This comment was a response to a critique of MHI and their ‘advertorial’ campaign. Fath was arguing that facts and consumer benefits should be stressed, rather than claims that actually undermined the industry’s credibility.

 

Is Fath alone? No.

Current and former MHI members have privately and publicly called out the trade group for being ineffective, for favoritism, for being an oligarchy, or of de facto working to consolidate the industry.

In 2017, state communities associations broke from MHI, saying the planned to form their own trade organization. They have since done so. Their founder explained their break from MHI as follows.

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

So, there are significant examples of MHI members – past and present – plus other industry business leaders – that have in word and deed voiced published concerns about the state of the industry in general, and often named MHI in particular.

 

 

One More Level

MHI’s current and 2 prior executive committee members, have all faced various troubling legal or problematic business practice allegations.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

Satirical logo by MHProNews, provided under fair use guidelines.

 

George F. Allen, along with Spencer Roane and Tom Lackey of SECO have had their own mainstream media woes.

 

TylerJettChatanoogaTimesFreePressManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Allen and Roane have ‘taught’ selling contract for title at SECO or elsewhere, a practice that the New York Attorney General’s office and others have taken action against. https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/may/26/industry-members-decline-take-sides-rossville/471775/

 

Allen has been an MHI critic in the past, as these pull quotes from his website remind industry professionals.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

George F.  Allen, has a modest following today, which once used to be a larger following. Once Allen was re-embraced by MHI’s leaders = purportedly to be a surrogate for them to blunt growing industry concerns and criticisms = Allen has muted his prior blasts, and has arguably turned instead at sliming MHI’s critics. 

 

But Allen, who was persona non grata just a few years ago at MHI, has more recently cozied up to and has been re-embraced by the Arlington, VA based association. Joe Stegmayer appeared again at Allen’s annual event in 2018.

 

 

Joe Stegmayer – as MHI’s Chairman – lends to the under-informed a certain credibility to Allen.  Allen in turn has purportedly attacked privately and publicly this publication for holding the industry’s power players to account. But instead of accepting the opportunity to disprove or debate the issues raised, Allen has resorted to slurs and a call to boycott MHProNews.

Allen’s call for a boycott is noteworthy, because it can be an element in antitrust law.  Allen has also used demonstrably flawed claims in a purported effort to slime the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which is trying to address underlying issues, and thereby help the industry return to growth. Attacking a trade group that is honestly and honorably seeking growth during an affordable housing crisis and while the industry is in a slump ought to be common sense.  Thus, Allen’s attacks on MHARR merits its own scrutiny. See that report, via the hot-linked text/image box linked below.  But once more, it also sparks further questions and concerns.

 

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

 

There are evidence-based examples of how MHI leaders have directly and indirectly rewarded Allen and SECO, which he is associated with.

Now MH Village’s co-president, Darren Krolewski – who previously praised MHProNews for taking on the tougher issues – more recently has launched their own trade publication, which is of course their right.

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

MHVillage’s Krolewski dubbed their new publication MHInsider, the first three letters of which spell MHI. They are in fact a prominent supporter of MHI. They have given Allen and SECO a lift via their own platform. Attempt to find an article in MHInsider that is critical of MHI or Clayton Homes. There are better odds of winning the lottery than finding a critique of any MHI or Berkshire Hathaway MH industry company leader, or of those who are the ‘big boys’ at the Arlington, VA based trade group.

Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Howard Walker arguably had a different view on what should be done about good and bad news than what MHInsider- or the flip-flopping George F.(F?) Allen – has taken. The late Walker, JD and longtime vice chairman and a right hand man to Sam Zell, ELS’ chairman, said this.

HowardWalkerPhotoELSViceChairmanManufacturedHomeCOmmunitiesManufacturedHousingInstituteExecCommitteeMemberQuoteTransparencyMHProNews

Thoughtful words, worth pondering. See the story, linked here.

 

While it was before the more recent fact checks, it was after other examples of concerns and issues being raised by MHProNews not found elsewhere in the industry’s trade media. So not unlike the prior comment of praise by Krolewski, Walker said the following for publication.

HowardWalkerJDELSViceChairmanPhotoManufacturedHouisngInstituteMHIExecuitiveCommitteeBoardMemberDailyBUisnessNewsMHProNews

The words of the late Howard Walker, JD, longtime ELS Vice Chairman, shared for publication with MHProNews.

 

MHProNews has previously cited the need for good business ethics, quoting the following as an example.

HumanitiesValueBuisnessCriticismDissentWhenGoingAlongGetAlongWhereWhistleblowersDiscouragedBadThingsHappenBusinssesImplodeMarthaCNussbaumPhotoQuote

Design by MHProNews.

 

This publication has also promoted the notion of getting to the root issues of the industry’s challenges, citing Zig Ziglar as follows.

ProblemSolvingZigZiglarFirstStepRecognizetheProblemExistsNextIsProblemOurResponsiblityProblemSolvingVeryImportantDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

When the industry hit the start of its now 7-month slump, what have MHI’s leaders offered? Let’s look at some examples of ‘slogans vs. solutions.’

Last fall, when the corporate leaders of the trade group arguably knew that the downturn was underway, MHI produced a video promoting the association. The stills that follow are from that video and are provided under fair use guidelines for media.

 

MHIMembersChangingPerceptionOfManufacturedHousingMHILogoClaytonHomesLogoBerkshireHathawayLogoMHProNews

LeveragingCreationNewClassManufacturedHomesMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The first slogan was a claim of changing the perception of the industry.  If it was for the better, then why aren’t sales growing?

The next MHI claims is one of momentum.  This was clearly not true, unless they meant momentum in reverse?  Instead, what the ‘new class of homes’ project arguably has done is divert lending that ought to be going to all manufactured homes under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 away from all manufactured homes, to only a few ‘select’ homes.  Here’s how MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, phrased it.

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

MHI also claimed in their video to be promoting the industry. That may be true in a technical, fig leaf, or posturing sort of sense. But the lack of growth in manufactured housing shipments itself undermines the credibility of the Arlington, VA based trade group’s claim.

Nevertheless, to prove their point, MHI cited statistics that were wildly arguably misleading at best, or demonstrably deceptive at worst.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIVideoStillMHIPromotionalClaims

MHARRshipmentProductionMarch2019ManufacturedHousingReportMHProNews

While MHI in their monthly shipment report doesn’t deny the decline, neither are they addressing the underlying causes, nor have they proposed a remedy via their messages to the industry. Why not?

 

When, MHProNews called out the deception, and offered MHI and their leaders an opportunity to respond, MHI hired an outside attorney who issued a series of letter threatening this publication and specifically mentioned our showing these still video images. Some of the claims that MHI’s outside attorney made are dealt with in a report linked below.

 

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

 

So instead of offering solutions, MHI has offered slogans. Instead of addressing legitimate concerns, they have threatened this publication that their own leaders have previously praised as being pro-industry.  Perhaps more to the point, as the quote below reveals, their leaders ought to know that they have to address bad news, as Rolfe suggested in the quote cited above.  If they know they should, but fail to do so, what does that say about the trade group?  What concerns does that raise?

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOthenMHIChairmanGoodArgumentsRefuteEveryStatisticsRespondEveryStoryPBSDIckErnstDailyBusinessNewsmHPronews

 

Such facts puts MHI in an awkward spot, perhaps because MHProNews has cited investor relations reports by publicly trade MHI member companies that also point out the obvious truth that the industry is underperforming.

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?

 

MHLivingNews, NAMHCO, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform for years, even a former MHI president on his exit message have raised concerns about the failures of MHI.

FormerManufacturedHousingInstitutePresidentChrisStinebertManufacturedHomeOwnersUrbanInstituteYouMHLivingNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/former-manufactured-housing-institute-president-manufactured-home-owners-urban-institute-and-you/

 

What has MHI done in a practical way to address the issues? At their recent Congress and Expo, they offered this slogan – “Let’s Keep Building.”

Slogans coupled with an action plan are fine. But where is MHI’s action plan? After all, they claim themselves to represent the interests of all segments of the industry, per the following from their website this morning. The commentary in the blue boxes are by MHProNews.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoPhotoOnlyTradeOrganizationrepresentingallsegmentsfactorybuilthousing2019-05-14_0808

 

It should be noted that not all in the industry are sliding.  The article below is but one example of a firm that is bucking the trend.  That clearly implies that others can too.

 

 

Which begs the question, what the devil is going in with MHI’s so-called leadership?  What are the ‘powers that be’ behind MHI actually doing?

 

 

What’s Going On?

The largest corporate force behind MHI are the Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway owned brands. A survey of troubling mainstream media reports about their behavior is linked below.

 

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – Investor Lessons Learned

 

Before several of these episodes occurred, became known, or were coming into focus, Clayton, 21st, and MHI supported the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. In hindsight, was the entire bill a ruse? A head fake designed to consolidate the industry into ever fewer hands?

 

That’s what a more detailed report, fact-checks, and analysis linked below examines.

 

Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

 

 

There are already several federal investigations reportedly underway with respect to Clayton Homes, and their related lenders.  Former Clayton division president Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries are under an SEC subpoena, to name but a few of the publicly known federal investigations.

 

 

But sources tell MHProNews, that other investigations – federal and others – are also underway.

The fact-checks by MHLivingNews of the recent Last Week Tonight with John Oliver revealed that each firm the satirical, sharp hit on “Mobile Homes” made was on a MHI member connected firm.

 

Warren Buffett has been documented to have financially supported via so-called ‘dark money’ channels the organizations that attacked his own brands, and MHI firms.

 

 

It is with that backdrop that publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach takes a deeper dive into what in hindsight was arguably the true goal of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Tony Kovach raises the questions, have more than just antitrust laws been broken? Are possible fraud and RICO concerns valid?

That ‘deeper dive’ report is linked here.

It is far more pleasant being a cheer leader when one has something honest and honorable to cheer. But to fail to call out real problems is to betray readers who are looking for solutions, not slogans, slurs, slimes, or dodges.

SnearMudThrowingTacticsUsedWorkToDuckDodgeDebatePixabayMastheadCommentaryMHPronews

While surrogate writers for the powers that be – like Allen – purportedly use diversionary, smear or slime tactics vs. engaging in an actual – robust discussion or debate – MHProNews continues to follow the evidence, follow the money, and does fact checks to uncover what the underlying issues actually point toward.

 

DuckDodgeDismissDistractDetractDefameFromIssueTacticsByThoseWithNoGoodAnswersMHProNews-768x609

RickRobinsonSrVPGenCounselManufacturedHousingInstituteHUDSecBenCarsonMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Robinson is a good speaker, good writer and likeable person, says MHProNews publisher, L. A. “Tony” Kovach. The questions that they duck and dodge will only continue until they are properly addressed in a transparent way, he opines.

LATonyKovachHenryFordQuotesPrettyPicturesAchieveGoalsDailyBusinessNewsProNews

Therefore, while Joe Stegmayer and George F. (F?) Allen are playing footsie – or MHInsider and the bulk of the others in the manufactured home industry’s trade media other than MHLivingNews or MHProNews ignore the vexing issues – or slime those such as MHARR for raising logical concerns and for offering solutions – our pro-growth platforms will continue to promote the good news about manufactured housing, while holding to account those who are behaving in problematic ways.

That’s today’s third look at “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

ManufacturedHousingProNewsMHProNewsConfidentialTipsDocumentsNews

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

NOTICE: You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here. You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. Connect on LinkedIn here.

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

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

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.

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

2) To pro-vide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

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

Related Reports:

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

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

 

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

What Does Doing Your Job Looks Like in Manufactured Housing?

May 9th, 2019 No comments

 

WhatDoesDoingYourJobLooksLikeinManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

There is nothing wrong with photo opportunities and videos. MHProNews and MHLivingNews have used them too. But photo ops and videos ought to compliment a broader vision, not replace it.

 

There are thousands of videos about manufactured housing online.  There are untold numbers of still images.  But the ones that are negative often outweigh the views of those that present manufactured housing in a positive light.  That in a nutshell summarizes the plight of the industry’s image challenge.

sam-landy-ceo-umh-posted-manufactured-housing-industry-communities-retailing-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNews-

Sam Landy, UMH President and CEO.

Sam Landy, JD, President and CEO of UMH Properties (UMH) told MHProNews that marketing is ultimately the responsibility of each individual company.  That is an obvious truism.  It would be nice if a trade group stepped up to do or compliment that effort, but in the current state of industry affairs, that certainly isn’t occurring effectively.  Yes, MHI makes videos or posts photos on Facebook numerous times each week.  But the 7 months of declining shipment numbers tell the tale.

The report last night about Bryan, TX tells another part of the sad tale of the low state of affairs in manufactured housing.  The Arlington, VA based trade group says about itself that: “The Manufactured Housing Institute is the only national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry.” Rephrased, they are saying that they address both production and post-production related issues. Hmmm, let’s see.

By contrast, here is what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform says about itself, “MHARR is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.”

Recast, they are saying that they are a production-issues oriented trade group. Really?  Let’s see.

In the past few days, MHARR has tackled these two issues, published at the links below.

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

New, Revised, and Proposed Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Manufactured Homes

By contrast, what has MHI published on their website?

Where is the fine Secretary Ben Carson speech delivered at their own Congress and Expo?  As the report linked below reveals, they emailed a few words from it.  But as of this morning at 9:10 AM ET, their own search tool says the same thing as the screen capture below.  That’s largely a post-production speech.  Secretary Carson’s address praises manufactured housing.  Why isn’t MHI promoting it?

Manufactured Housing’s Professional Credibility

 

An online search this morning reveals the Secretary Carson address on MHLivingNews’ site, but not on MHI’s website either.

 

BenCarsonNewOrleansProMHSpeechCongressExpoSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2019-05-08_2041

This was rechecked today at the time shown, so that’s the latest. Will MHI – out of embarrassment, the desire to do what is right, or for any reason post this pro-industry address on their own website? If so, when? If not, why not?

MHARR is stretching beyond their production issue mandate, to see how they can use targeted efforts to address post-production issues.

Bear in mind that the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAHMCO) broke from MHI, precisely as a vote of no-confidence in MHI addressing issues such as the Duty to Serve manufactured housing.

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

But in the world of manufactured home trade media, we are not aware of any that have raised such fundamental and obvious points.  Rather, they have touted MHI – as if they are doing their jobs.

That’s their right to publish what they wish – within the norms of the law and morality – which we respect their right to be wrong in the manner that they ‘inform’ their readers.

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That’s this morning’s first look at “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

 

Gannett Media Exposés, MH Community Owner Moves Sparks Outrage – IEDs of Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing – White Hats, Black Hats, Investing, Consumers, MH Independents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing’s Professional Credibility

May 8th, 2019 No comments

 

ManufacturedHousingProfessionalCredibiltyMeansSalesDeclinesGrowthDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To understand the relatively low level of manufactured home production, one needs to consider a variety of factors. Let’s oversimplify. Before looking at credibility, let’s consider what it takes to sell a home.

 

 

  • Placement. That includes zoning or other barriers, and how to overcome challenges.
  • Financing. It must be accessible, sustainable, and reasonable. That’s needed for any big ticket item.
  • Demand. To have demand for any product or service, one must have sufficient credibility and acceptance.

 

There are scores of other details, but those are near the bull’s eye. Now, let’s step back and examine some specific cases.

 

1)    When cities in Indiana, California, and Texas moved to ban or restrict the placement of manufactured homes, where was the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)? This publication and writer asked them/their affiliates to get involved. Sadly, the record reflects that MHI were silent no shows – why?

 

  • While MHI members where there to protest the city’s efforts to limit/ban the placement of manufactured homes, MHI’s own members told MHProNews that they saw no MHI staff and were aware of no MHI engagement with the City of Bryan.

 

  • Furthermore, MHProNews spoke to a city official yesterday. That official said he was aware of no outreach by MHI, but was aware of the contact made by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which addressed the city to oppose their ban measure.

 

That’s a snapshot over the battle regarding zoning and placement.

 

 

Financing:

2) The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) worked with Congress to get the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac included as a mandate in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008. Why did Berkshire Hathaway brands – per a number of sources – repeatedly take steps to foil the full and proper implementation of both laws, why? When MHI meet with the GSEs, they met behind closed doors, and they and the GSEs declined providing the minutes, why? When a program was finally rolled out, it was only for select, more expensive ‘new class’ of homes pushed by Clayton Homes and MHI, why? Is it because Clayton now has conventional housing developments and home sites?

Those are examples of the battle over financing.

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

 

3) When bad news comes from the media, MHI offers excuses to select members that effectively says, ‘let’s let this blow over.’ When what looks like good news comes, they may or may not advise members, but where are the list of pages on MHI website that tout third party research that all the world can see? Why is supposed good news on a survey hidden behind a login, while Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction) gives away their attack material for free?

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoHUDSecretaryBenCarsonNewOrleansCongressExpo2019FactCheckMHProNews2019-05-08_2052

  • Yesterday, MHI rapidly put out a photo op to their members and state affiliates touting HUD Secretary Ben Carson at their fund raiser/networking event, held this year in New Orleans. But why isn’t that good news about manufactured housing posted on MHI’s website?

BenCarsonNewOrleansProMHSpeechCongressExpoSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2019-05-08_2041

 

Why are so many bad news stories tied directly to often prominent MHI members?

 

HBOJohnOliverLastWeekTonightMobileHomesVideoManufacturedHomeCommunitiesFactCheckMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNewsDBN

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hbos-john-oliver-on-last-week-tonight-mobile-homes-video-manufactured-home-communities-fact-check/

 

The good news is hidden from public view.  By contrast, the bad news caused by the John Oliver “Mobile Homes” video – which every problematic story that video publicized was an MHI member firm.  There is a money trail and evidence that suggests that Warren Buffett has provided financial support to those who in turn attack or embarrass the industry.  Who thinks and behaves like this and claims to be trying to grow the industry?

 

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

 

Doesn’t that fit what MHI member Frank Rolfe said?  Or what MHI award winner Marty Lavin said?

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

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

 

That’s the battle over image, education, and proper understanding.

These are simple, yet vexing realities. As recently as earlier today, MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer and their outside attorney once more declined refuting, correcting, or responding to the evidence, allegations, and patterns of action/inaction that leads to routine dead ends.

So, who benefits from low sales volumes? Who is harmed?

The second question is easier to answer. The smaller the operation, the more that low volume sales harms them. This writer did an article in 2014 entitled “The High Cost of Low Volume Sales.” Within weeks, we had to run the report, “The Bank Vault Door Closes,” because US Bank closed their manufactured housing program, citing in part, low sales volumes.

Who benefited from that?

Slogans or photo opportunities sent mainly to manufactured home (MH) industry professionals, and not to the general public, might make an industry reader think something is happening. Isn’t that propaganda?  Manipulation? Head fakes?

Freedom isn’t free. Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, the battle for various forms of freedom has been on.

HowardWalkerPhotoELSViceChairmanManufacturedHomeCOmmunitiesManufacturedHousingInstituteExecCommitteeMemberQuoteTransparencyMHProNews

Thoughtful words, worth pondering. 

The reason America’s constitutional founders protect freedom of speech and the press is because accurate information access is part of the means of maximizing freedom.

Information has been weaponized. That’s not just true in our industry, it happens in other aspects of modern lift. That’s why the term fake news exists.

 

Watchdogs? Attack-Dogs? The Smear, and Manufactured Housing

 

Arlington, VA based MHI and their primary masters from Omaha and Knoxville arguably ought to be able to win every battle, if they wanted to do so. The law is routinely on our industry’s side. Berkshire Hathaway owns some 31 newspapers. They have plenty of money that they could use to really promote successfully, instead of posture with videos, Facebook, or advertorials that clearly don’t significantly move the needle. Because if it did, the industry would be soaring, not snoring.

 

March2019MHARRManufacturedHousingAssocRegReformTop10states8StatesInDeclineMHProNews

 

In America, sadly, one can sue over almost anything.  MHI has for some years had inside or outside attorneys threaten MHProNews. Why don’t they use those outside attorneys to threat cities that block the placement of manufactured homes instead?

There have purportedly been other threats we’ve reported previously from straw men (or women) being put up to harass us on behalf of the Arlington based group.  Why don’t those folks just do their jobs?  We’d far rather report that they were doing their jobs, than that they were failing to do their jobs. But based on the last few years, at some point, the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies might file suit against us, even though we’ve repeatedly given them the opportunity to debunk – live or in writing – any of the concerns or allegations raised here on MHProNews or on MHLivingNews.  We’ll see what happens, and they will see too.

But this is simple. Are they doing their jobs at MHI and several of their affiliated state association’s properly or not?

Given the quality of our MH industry’s homes, the good laws we have on the books, it seems that a good case can be made that the industry’s so-called leaders are allowing the industry to consolidate.

 

Multibillion Dollar Opportunities Knock in Solving Affordable Housing Crisis

 

Who does that benefit? The big boys.

Who does that harm? The independents.

 

Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

 

MHI has arguably deceived, failed, and/or in protection-racket-style manner bullied numbers of its independents and several of the state associations to suffer as a result. Ditto their Omaha-Knoxville masters and surrogates.

 

Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

 

NAMHCO and MHARR exist because they had no confidence in MHI. A group met in Tunica to explore a new trade group to do what MHI claims to do.

Why does MHI lack credibility? Just look at the industry from the outside in to answer that question.

 

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If there is a logical or factual inaccuracy in any of the linked reports or this report, please let me know personally, via the link above.

Or, if you have your own examples of how this plot has impacted you or your firm, please use the same link, and say “Comments” or “News Tips” in the subject line.

That’s tonight’s #NettlesomeThings wrap up report. We will continue to hold the powers that be accountable, but we plan to do more. Stay tuned. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, analysis.)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

May 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

DecliningManufacturedHomeShipmentsMoreSeriousThanRetailersCommunitiesBeingToldDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The new data for March 2019 is in. This May 2019 HUD Code production data update is arguably more serious than any other bloggers or trade media in manufactured housing dare publish.

 

This Daily Business News on MHProNews report will reflect the latest toplines. But it will also shed light on how this 7 month trend arguably more serious than alternative theories promoted by numerous ‘association mush’ sycophants that are emanating from several corners of MHVille.

Let’s bullet some of the reasons why this new data further below is arguably worse than what many are saying.

 

  • First and foremost, there is an affordable housing crisis. FEMA, inventory adjustments, and other excuses that Joe Stegmayer, Kevin Clayton or others who regurgitate their words without analysis have shared are arguably just that, excuses.  Stegmayer contradicts himself on that very point, as the link above reflects, because encountering declining new manufactured home shipments during a growing affordable housing crisis is arguably a klaxon that should signal ‘all hands-on deck’ to get to the root issues.
  • Thousands of manufactured homes that are going into manufactured home communities are rental units. As MHProNews exclusively reported, taken in aggregate, there are producers – both MHI, MHARR members or non-aligned producers of HUD Code manufactured homes – that have told the Daily Business News on MHProNews the following for years.  If rentals going into manufactured home land-lease communities were factored out, the true level of new home sales has been largely flat or are declining in numbers of states.
  • Given the arguably growing number of negative reports in the media that can be traced back to the influence of Warren Buffett dark-money recipient non-profits, such as Manufactured Housing Action (or MHAction) is an issue that MHProNews alone has raised publicly.
  • Bad news stories coming out of Iowa, California, Colorado, New York or other states are routinely connected to MHI “big boy” community or other members.

Let’s be clear.  There are retailers, communities, and producers who can sincerely report improving results in new home sales. But that doesn’t change the fact that the overall trends are down.

What follows are details from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), released earlier today.  It should be noted that MHARR makes their reports, used as is with proper credits, available for others to publish. Which begs the question. Why does MHInsider, George F. Allen, MHR, or others fail to publish these kinds of reports?

More after their report, which follows.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Contact: MHARR

(202) 783-4087

 

HUD CODE PRODUCTION DECLINE CONTINUES

 

Washington, D.C., May 6, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), year-over-year HUD Code manufactured home production declined once again in March 2019. Just-released statistics indicate that HUD Code manufacturers produced 7,590 homes in March 2019, down 14% from the 8,830 homes produced in March 2018. Cumulative industry production for 2019 now totals 22,359 homes, a decline of 12.4% from the 25,531 HUD Code homes produced over the same period in 2018.

This ongoing significant production decline, following a long period of only modest industry growth after its modern-era production low in 2009, underscores the importance and validity of the decision by the MHARR Board of Directors to begin aggressively tackling (by mid-May) three major issues – zoning exclusion, placement discrimination, and the failure of the Government Sponsored Enterprises, to date, to provide market-significant securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home personal property loans. These three major issues, individually and in combination, have worked to inhibit and stifle the growth of the manufactured housing market after the industry’s outstanding homes leave the factory, and deny millions of Americans the affordable, non-subsidized homeownership that manufactured housing can uniquely provide.

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRTop10ShipmentStatesManufacturedHomesMarch2019v2018BTW, the video posted below is the source for the feature image above. It is a reminder of what several publicly traded companies investor reports reflect. Namely, that they are a source of about 1/3 of all new HUD Code manufactured home orders.  In the case of many land-lease communities, those properties are often buying rental housing to fill vacant sites, instead of filling vacant sites with sold or spec-for-sale manufactured homes.

 

 

 

It will also be recalled that some weeks ago, the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA) Executive Director Amy Bliss told MHR that she was worried about a possible downturn.  But that was in the wake of MHI – who Bliss is arguably a routine surrogate for – was touting “momentum” in the MHI self-promotion video.  Given that MHI could or should have advance data on these trends, one can argue that MHI deliberately misled their own members.  To ‘soften’ what the powers-that-be knew was coming, did Bliss float her comments? 

 

 

MHI’s outside attorney had the chutzpah to threaten MHProNews for reporting the following using their own graphics and stills. 

 

LeveragingMomentumCreationNewClassofManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

MHI1085mediaplacementAudience84MillionMHIVideoStillMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Warren Buffett was right about good journalists asking the questions others have not. Why aren’t others in the industry asking these questions? Why is MHI telling exaggerations at best, arguably demonstrable falsehoods at worse, to their own members and the industry at large?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryShipmentsCavcoIndustriesCVCOMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHI’s own member companies make the point, in their own words, that the industry is preforming under its historic norms.

March2019MHARRManufacturedHousingAssocRegReformTop10states8StatesInDeclineMHProNews

See the related reports, below the bylines, free email headline news signup, other offers, and notices. 

Others are peddling spin, propaganda, deception, lies – whatever one may want to call it. Perhaps that’s why MHProNews traffic has roughly doubled in about a year

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That’s this Monday evening edition from the #1 most-read “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger Video Interview at Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting on GSEs Lending for Affordable Manufactured Housing and Clayton Homes

May 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

WarrenBuffettCharlieMungerVideoInterviewBerkshireHathawayAnnualMeetingGSELendingAffordableHousingClaytonHomes

For those that are new or want a refresher, the exclusive report by the Daily Business News on MHProNews of the Clayton Homes related 2018 data from Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway is found at the report linked from the text-image box below.

 

 

2018 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report, Clayton Homes, Shaw Data Revealed, Facts Others Lack

 

This weekend has witnessed the so-called “Woodstock of Capitalism,” the 2019 edition of the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, NE. An estimated 40,000 plus were expected to attend.

Yahoo provided coverage of the event, and the video below is from that source.  Per Yahoo, “Buffett said it would be “very good for America” if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did more to help finance manufactured homes, such as those made by Berkshire-owned Clayton Homes.”

 

 

There is a lot to unpack from this 4 minutes, 2 second long video.

As close, thoughtful, and longtime readers of our pro-industry trade media platforms already know, there have been allegations for years of market manipulation by Clayton Homes within the manufactured housing industry and finance space.  One such report, based upon a letter from Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage Corp, the words of Buffett himself from that same year, and a nearly 1-hour long video with Kevin Clayton, are all found at the link above.

What is discerned from this weekend’s statement by Buffett and Munger ought to be viewed through that lens, and what follows.

Furthermore, there are sources inside the GSEs, and from a Berkshire brand led by CEO Tim Williams at 21st that indicated that for some time, the powers-that-be from Omaha-Knoxville metros worked first to foil, and more recently, to redirect lending from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac away from the bulk of manufactured housing.

 

For such reasons, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has been engaged in a tough, protracted battle to encourage the full implementation of the law, not just a partial one.

 

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

With all due respect to Buffet, as the next link reveals, there have been times that what he said did not line up.

More recently, HBO’s Last Night Tonight with John Oliver viral video errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes” reflected the revelation that it was Buffett’s brands and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) connected companies that were causing the industry blowback in mainstream media reports.  Our publisher in a letter published in 5 markets in Florida, including Jacksonville called on the public to hold those responsible for purported misdeeds, not the industry at large.

Warren Buffett must be construed in the light of not only his words, but also of the deed of the brands they own.  Furthermore, as Buffett and Berkshire has been wont to fund both sides of certain battles, that raises fresh concerns, as the report linked here documents.

Those points and the linked evidence and logic from those articles should be kept in mind by investors, advocates, researchers, policy wonks, politicos  — plus, of course, the industry’s home owners and professionals.

That said, will Buffett’s comments this past weekend could potentially be used to encourage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lend on all manufactured homes, or just on select ones, as the Clayton-MHI backed ‘new class of homes’ effort promotes? Time will tell.  But as with all things connected to Buffett, it bears a nuanced consideration. See the related reports, further below.

That’s this post-dawn Monday morning episode of professional life in MHVille, exclusively from the #1 most-read “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “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.

NOTICE: You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here. You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. Connect on LinkedIn here.

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

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

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.

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2) To pro-vide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

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

Related Reports:

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

 

Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

News Tip, Document – Is Clayton Homes Engaged in False Down Payments? Deceptive Trade Practices?

CFPB and 21st, Second Shoe Drops? Flooring w/21st Mortgage Corp? Insider Tips

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

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

 

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

SubmitNewsTipsCommentsLettersToEditorMHProNews

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.

 

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.

 

sitting-with-si-robertson-duck-dynasty-kevin-clayton-homes-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-

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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