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MHARR, MHI and GSE Reform, Background to Danny Ghorbani’s release and George Allen’s Planned “Story”

March 18th, 2014 4 comments

mhpronews-mharr-mhi-associations-graphic-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-managementOn Sunday, March 16 at 4:47 PM ET, a news release was received from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on the topic of the highly-charged issue of a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE, “Fannie and Freddie”) reform plan.

Some 3 Hours and 43 minutes later, at 8:30 PM on the same day, the first message came in from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) on the same topic. MHI’s full release on the topic of GSE reform is linked here, while the link to MHARR’s full release on the topic is found here.

In his message, MHARR’s President, Danny Ghorbani, claimed their “…calculated risk by MHARR that has now…” quoting their headline …achieves major victory.

While most industry professionals who follow these events would agree that this is certainly promising for consumers and the industry, the GSE reform legislation has a long way to go before it is becomes law. This is a one step along a longer path, as Ghorbani’s own statement from MHARR later acknowledges.

That fact begs the question, what makes this a bigger success than HR 1779 or S 1828, both of which are well underway?

It also raises the question, what was the “calculated risk” that Ghorbani’s message refers to in his release? Where is the “risk” in MHARR sending a position paper to the Senate Banking Committee?

Could it be that the “risk” Ghorbani refers to is that MHARR has not publicly supporting HR 1779 and S 1828? Isn’t it risky for their member-manufacturers and customers to not cover all possible legislative and lobbying bases, as MHI’s team has been doing on the finance and other issues?

MHARR claims MHI had a Single Focus

MHARR CEO Ghorbani’s message included this paragraph,

At a time when much of the industry was pursuing a singular focus on unsuccessful legislative modifications to the loan originator compensation and high-cost loan provisions of the Dodd-Frank finance reform law — and was unwilling to join MHARR in an  initiative on the much farther-reaching issue of GSE reform — the MHARR Board of Directors chose to advance the inclusion of all types of manufactured home loans and definitive action to end the discrimination that has dogged the industry’s consumer financing for decades, as part of the GSE reform process in Congress.”

As the numerous items that follow below demonstrate, the first part of this statement cited above is demonstrably in error. Namely:

At a time when much of the industry was pursuing a singular focus on unsuccessful legislative modifications to the loan originator compensation and high-cost loan provisions of the Dodd-Frank finance reform law –…”

Furthermore, as this Congressional legislative session is not yet over, none of these efforts – GSE Reform or Dodd-Frank reform – can be called a failure or a success.

So why is there a need for MHARR’s CEO to paint MHI’s efforts as a ‘failure,’ when the GSE effort is not as far along as HR 1779 or S. 1828?

Some MHARR officials and allied industry commentator in the dark?

Messages and calls from MHARR members, those aligned with MHARR and others outside of that camp to MHProNews seem to be unaware – or in some cases, won’t acknowledge – the fact that MHI has demonstrably been engaged on this topic of GSE reform for years, along with a variety of other issues in Washington. DC. Some examples will be shown in a down-loadable attachment, later below.

Agenda of Making MHI look bad, as a way of Making Ghorbani and Allen look more important?

broadside-darius-danny-ghorbani-president-mharr-george-allen-allen-letter-community-i ... actured-housing-institute-manufactured-housing-association-for-regulatory-reformOn Monday, after allegedly communicating with Danny Ghorbani, President and CEO at MHARR, George Allen sent an email to Rick Robinson, Vice President and General Counsel at MHI.

Robinson forwarded that email to Senior Vice President Jason Boehlert for response.

Allegedly, this email exchange has been shared with Ghorbani, Jim Visser, Ken Rishel and others linked to MHI and MHARR; and seems to accuse MHI of grabbing credit for work done by MHARR.

While sensational, the problem with this accusation by Allen against MHI, is that it flies in the face of the facts. But doesn’t this fit Allen’s self-description on his own blog of his activities? The word Allen used about himself, “agitate” includes the following definition from Google: “1) make (someone) troubled or nervous.”

The Google definition of agitator, is also insightful:

1. a person who urges others to protest or rebel.

synonyms: troublemaker, rabble-rouser, agent provocateur, demagogue, incendiary;

The Facts Say Differently

While some in the mix seem to take the position, ‘Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up,’ a simple Google search demonstrates to the truth seeker that MHI has issued numerous updates on their activities in the GSE Reform arena.

A search of the articles published in the MHI News module demonstrates the same, and for those who attended the 2014 MHI Winter Meeting and Legislative Session, a briefing was given to attendee/members that coveted all of MHI’s lobbying and legislative initiatives, including GSE reform.

Clearly, MHI’s engagement on the GSE issue is a matter of public record and is no secret.

As MHProNews has documented in a series of articles, linked at the end of this report, George Allen has in his own words:

  • describes himself as one who agitates,

  • has gone from opposing Danny Ghorbani and calling him a flawed writer and leader, to now lauding him as a leader others should follow. The difference between recent and prior statements by Allen on Ghorbani?   Is it the MHARR paid ad and factories who Allen himself says are now paying Allen?

  • Allen has blasted MHI off and on for some two years for not buying him out when Allen wanted to retire.

Don’t such flip flops, contradictions, slanted ‘coverage’ and motivations beg a reasonable person to question the motivations and accuracy of Allen’s commentaries?

The Emails Between Allen and MHI – “We Provide, You Decide” ©

The exchange below is in a first-to-last message time sequence. They are word-for-word as the respective parties sent them, save the removal of the ‘signature (contact/disclaimers/resource)’ info at the end of each email and what amounts to ads from each of the respective emails. The typos in George Allen’s emails are in the original. The first message, as shown below, is to Rick Robinson at MHI.

Start of George Allen to Jason Boehlert at MHI Email Exchange

From: <gfa7156@aol.com<mailto:gfa7156@aol.com>>

Date: March 16, 2014 at 5:43:35 PM EDT

To: <info@mfghome.org<mailto:info@mfghome.org>>

Cc: <rrobinson@mfghome.org<mailto:rrobinson@mfghome.org>>

Subject: Re: MHI Housing Alert –  Senate Banking Committee Leaders Unveil GSE

Reform Plan – MHI Successfully Stakes out Ground for Manufactured Housing and

Personal Property Loans

Rick

When did MHI switch its’ primary legislative focus from Dodd-Frank regulatory
reform to GSE Reform? Didn’t seem to be that much of a priority during the
annual Legislative Conference last month in Arlington, VA. Here quoting directly
from this afternoon’s HOUSING ALERT from MHI:


“MHI Successfully Stakes Out Ground for Manufactured Housing and Personal
Property Loans” and “As advocated for by MHI, the legislative draft released by
the Committee includes language that would provide manufaturd home loans secured
by personal property with key access to a newly envisioned secondary market
mechanism.”

As exciting and hopeful as this news is, I’m wondering whether we’re indeed
reading/learning of a pure MHI effort to this much desired result, OR is there
more to this now quickly unfolding story, i.e. Is there someone else more
intimatly involved ‘in the mix’ who is NOT getting credit, in this email alert,
for drafting the language and lobbying for this legislative draft?

Frankly, I sense a story here….

GFA

George Allen


—–Original Message—–

From: Jason Boehlert <jBoehlert@mfghome.org>

To: GFA7156 <GFA7156@aol.com>

Cc: Richard Jennison <rjennison@mfghome.org>; Rick Robinson <rrobinson@mfghome.org>

Sent: Mon, Mar 17, 2014 11:32 am

Subject: RE: MHI Housing Alert – Senate Banking Committee Leaders Unveil GSE

Reform Plan – MHI Successfully Stakes out Ground for Manufactured Housing and

Personal Property Loans

George,

Thank you very much for your email.  However, I am unclear what you mean by “Is
there someone else more intimatly(sic) involved ‘in the mix’ who is NOT getting
credit, in this email alert, for drafting the language and lobbying for this
legislative draft?” We do not comment on the activities or actions of other
national organizations—that is not our role. Nor do we believe it serves the
interests of the industry or our members to do so.


Since MHI represents every facet of the industry—including builders, community
owners, lenders, supplier, retailers—our policy priorities are reflective of the
totality of our membership.  Dodd-Frank is a priority.  As are housing
finance/GSE reform, energy efficiency, tax, HUD Code and environmental issues
and we would never focus on one issue so persistently that it would be to the
detriment of the others. I know you did not attend, but GSE reform was
reaffirmed as an association policy priority during our legislative conference
and winter meeting and was discussed at length during the meeting of our
newly-formed government relations committee. The new government relations
committee has multiple representatives from each MHI division.


Expanding secondary market access for manufactured home loans, including those
secured by personal property has been a long-standing priority of MHI—dating
back to at least the duty-to-serve requirements that were included in the
Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) in 2008.  We have, and continue to,
work with FHA, FHFA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, HUD, and the House
Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees to improve the availability of
financing options in the manufactured housing market, both from a residential
and commercial standpoint.

MHI represents every significant manufactured home lender in the industry and we
work hard to see that the totality of their interests—which are not limited to
Dodd-Frank/CFPB rule makings—are served.  Our efforts on GSE reform extend well
beyond the Senate Banking Committee’s recent legislative draft. If you are
suggesting that we have not been an active player in this regard, you are
mistaken. GSE reform has been an issue that has received very close attention
from our internal and external lobbying teams on an ongoing basis for several
years.

A sampling of our most recent activities include (but certainly not limited to):

· working with drafters of the underlying Corker-Warner bill (S.
1217)—which serves as the blueprint for the Senate Banking Committee bill—to
garner their approval for modifications of their measure that would expand
access for personal property loans

· communicating—both our internal and external lobbying teams—on an
ongoing basis with Democratic and Republican senior staff to the Senate Banking
Committee to include specific manufactured home/personal property language

·         providing key industry lending data to Senate staff to underscore the
need for specific statutory language

· facilitating an industry lender roundtable for Senate Banking
Committee staff—this panel of lenders, which represented the vast majority of
personal property manufactured home lending—provided the key information and
feedback needed by  committee staff to include manufactured home lending
provisions (which took place at our recent legislative conference)

· working to develop a consensus coalition position with consumer group
that are also seeking to expand personal property lending options for
manufactured housing

·  outreach to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)—the
administration’s voice on GSE reform—to support legislative provisions expanding
manufactured home lending opportunities

· engaging an external lobbying firm whose principals include the most
recent Democratic Staff Director to the Senate Banking Committee (working
directly for Chairman Tim Johnson) and provided significant access to committee
staff drafting the legislation

As I hope you are aware, MHI’s involvement has not only been limited to the

Senate Bill. Our work also includes:

· facilitating the first-of-its-kind lending conference, sponsored by
then Rep. Joe Donnelly, in Elkhart, Indiana (which I believe you attended)

· improving the FHA Title I &II programs and opening Ginnie Mae to new
issuers (a work in progress)

· coordinating more than 1,000 comments in opposition to FHFA’s
duty-to-serve rule, which would ignore secondary market access for personal
property loans

· working to provide equal access for all mortgages in the House version
of GSE reform –the Path Act (which also includes specific MH relief from the
Dodd-Frank Act)

· testifying before Congress on three separate occasions over the past
three years on the need for secondary market access for manufactured home loans
secured by personal property—this does not include testimony provided prior to
2010 on the need to improve the FHA Title I & II programs for manufactured
housing

· more than 300 meetings conducted over the past three years with
Members of Congress specifically on the lack of credit access provided by the
GSEs for manufactured housing

· working directly with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop new
lending options for manufactured housing

I can only speak to the involvement of MHI, which has been continuous and
ongoing and substantial. Looking at the history, I think it is fair to say MHI
and its members have been leaders in working to expand manufactured housing
financing options for quite some time.

Best,
Jason


Jason Boehlert
Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs

________________________________________

From: gfa7156@aol.com [gfa7156@aol.com]

Sent: Monday, March 17, 2014 1:20 PM

To: Jason Boehlert

Cc: news@journalmfdhousing.com; ken@rishel.net; Rick Robinson

Subject: Re: MHI Housing Alert –  Senate Banking Committee Leaders Unveil GSE

Reform Plan – MHI Successfully Stakes out Ground for Manufactured Housing and

Personal Property Loans

Jason

You, in behalf of MHI did NOT answer the lead question in my email
correspondence dated 3/16/2014, to wit; “When  did MHI switch its’ primary
legislative focus from Dodd-Frank regulatory reform to GSE Reform?” You can
blather all you want about ‘A sampling of our most recent activities include
(but certainly not  limited to)’ to  cloud the issue – which I’m getting to –
but the fact remains, throughout the Fall of 2014 MHI had tunnel vision relative
to effecting Dodd-Frank regulatory reform.


The tenor of your sentence,”We do not comment on the activities or actions of
other national organizations – that is not our role. Nor do we believe it serves
the interests of the industry or our members to do so.” tells me you well
understand what I was referring to in the above-referenced email  message, i.e.
Quoting MHARR’s Press Release dated 3/16/2014:  “…MHARR today lauded the
inclusion of specific  MHARR-proposed language in the bi-partisan GSE housing
finance reform bill (S.1217)…(containing) “langaguage submitted to the Senate
Banking Committee in Septermber and October 2013….” There lies the crux of
this whole issue of giving credit where credit is due!


Being as new as you are to MHI’s staff, you can be forgiven for not knowing how
often in the past, MHARR and MHI have ‘worked together’ to effect federal
legislation, e.g. Manufactured Housing Impovement Act of 2000 is but one
example. And how both national advocacy bodies have, in the past, ‘commented
(appropriately &/or positively) on the activities or actions of other national
organization’ YES, that should be one of the rolls taken on by MHI even if it’s
not as commonplace today as it has been at times in the past.


Furthermore; speaking as a 35 year entrepreneur businessman in the manufactured
housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class, and 20+ year
direct, dues-paying member of MHI, I disagree with you! Interadvocacy body
cooperation/praise (as should have been in this instance!) does serve the
greater interests of the industry, and certainly its’ members!


I think it entirely appropriate, that sometime this week, MHI take steps to
right the  misunderstanding couched in the subtitle & text:HOUSING ALERT, i.e.
“…MHI Successfully Stakes out Ground for Manufactured Housing and Personal
Property Loans”, before someone else does it for you….


Need someone to do this  public relations magic for you? I can recommend
someone, if asked.

GFA
George Allen

—–Original Message—–

From: Jason Boehlert <jBoehlert@mfghome.org>

To: gfa7156 <gfa7156@aol.com>

Cc: news <news@journalmfdhousing.com>; ken <ken@rishel.net>; Rick Robinson <rrobinson@mfghome.org>; Richard Jennison <rjennison@mfghome.org>

Sent: Mon, Mar 17, 2014 3:05 pm

Subject: RE: MHI Housing Alert – Senate Banking Committee Leaders Unveil GSE Reform Plan – MHI Successfully Stakes out Ground for Manufactured Housing and Personal Property Loans

George,

I am sorry to hear you found my response to your original inquiry,
unsatisfactory. I believe I answered in an honest and thorough fashion. But, to
try and further clear things up:

1) MHI is a multifaceted trade association.  This requires us to multitask and
pursue multiple policy priorities at the same time. Our focus is not solely
limited to Dodd-Frank. It also includes GSE reform, HUD-MHCC issues, tax, energy
and environmental policies.  This does not require us to shift our focus, but to
add to it–and GSE reform has been a focus of MHI now for several years.

2) I do not work for MHARR. Therefore, I have no real knowledge of their
lobbying activities. As such, it would be wholly inappropriate for me to comment
on MHARR’s activities. Just as it would be wholly inappropriate for MHARR to
comment, with any real knowledge on MHI’s policy activities.

3) Had you been able to attend MHI’s legislative conference, you have
undoubtedly learned that MHI’s GSE reform activities have been substantial and
ongoing.  MHI’s GSE efforts have been significant and have unequivocally led to
this positive outcome.  I am sorry you are unable to see yesterday’s news as a
positive development for the entire industry.


However, if you feel additional clarification is needed please feel free to
contact MHI’s CEO Dick Jennison at 703.558.0678.

Jason

———-

From: <gfa7156@aol.com>

Date: March 17, 2014 at 3:47:48 PM EDT

To: <jBoehlert@mfghome.org>

Cc: <news@journalmfdhousing.com>, <ken@rishel.net>, <rrobinson@mfghome.org>

Subject: Re: MHI Housing Alert –  Senate Banking Committee Leaders Unveil GSE Reform Plan – MHI Successfully Stakes out Ground for Manufactured Housing and Personal Property Loans

Jason

You can dance around the issue all you want, but truth be told, GSE reform was not a primary focus for MHI during the last half of 2014. I am an MHI member read what little is sent my way these days.

Amazing. You & MHI claim no prior knowledge of the source of the language used in this bi-partisan GSE housing finance reform bill (S.1217), yet are bold to state: “MHI will continue in its’ role as the leading advocate for the manufactured housing industry to ensure that manufactured home finance opportunities are expended to the greatest extent possible in forthcoming housing finance reform measures.” By the way, in this sentence, did you intend for the word choice to be ‘expended’, rather than ‘expanded’ or some other appropriate non-dissipating word?

Of course I see yesterday’s developments to be of value to the entire HUD-Code manufactured housing industry. And I see MHI’s HOUSING ALERT, in the manner in which it was written, to be unequivocal grandstanding, when it’d have been highly appropriate, and much appreciated by ‘the entire HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’, if credit had been given where credit was truly do!

Thank You for fleshing out my story for this week, if nothing more newsworthy doesn’t come along.

GFA.

George Allen

—- end of emailed messages on this thread —-

An impartial reading of George Allen’s messages suggests is a either a lack of objective research into the ongoing efforts and engagement by MHI on the subject of GSE reform, or perhaps an effort to “agitate” (Allen’s word about himself) against MHI, and/or some other motivations.  Allen clearly implies his intent to write about this topic, which is certainly his right, but after reading this exchange, does an objective person believe that Allen will right about it in a fair and balanced fashion?  Or will Allen use this once more to “agitate” against MHI?

As noted previously,

  • a simple Google search revealed numerous links dating back several years regarding MHI engagement on the topic of GSE reform. Please see below.

  • A search on the MHProNews website proves the same point of MHI engagement on GSE reform that Jason’s replies state.  So does a review of MHI’s typically weekly reports, that go out to members like Allen, and as did the update briefings during their 2014 Winter Meeting and Legislative session that all referenced efforts by that national trade association on GSE reform.

Why Does Allen seek to Manufacture a new Controversy?

It should be noted that MHARR has indeed made GSE reform an issue they have pursued.

But what is lacking from MHARR’s President and CEO, Danny Ghorbani is the same credit to MHI’s efforts, that Allen allegedly seeks on Ghorbani’s behalf from MHI as a tip of the hat to MHARR.

Thus Allen and Ghorbani seem to want from MHI what they are unwilling to give themselves. On MHI’s part, Boehlert’s responses to Allen are polite and professional.

Prior to issuing this report, MHProNews reached out once more for comment to Messrs. Allen and Ghorbani. For those anxious to share their views to their select group of readers, they have opted not to state reasonable replies to our questions for the record to the largest professional audience in the industry.  Why are they ducking replies?

A copy of the questions sent to MHARR’s President and Vice-President are below, as are the questions sent to George Allen.

A download of the search results from Google on this date for “Manufactured Housing Institute” = “GSE Reform” produced the results shown in the attachment linked here, which also reflects search results found on MHProNews, both of which pre-date by months or years the MHARR initiative ballyhooed by Danny Ghorbani.

The initiatives in the Senate both MHARR and MHI reference provide reasons for hope for all in the industry.

By contrast, this apparent manufactured controversy detracts from what ought to be one of many joint steps forward by MHARR, MHI and state associations, who all should be working in concert on issues vital to the manufactured housing industry.

Inflammatory messages may help a pair of ‘leaders’ posture themselves as tough, but do such missives advance or harm the manufactured housing industry’s agenda, and the interests of their own followers?

Industry voices cited in the articles found in the links below question if Danny Ghorbani – with or without the aid of George Allen – can effectively deal with regulators and politicos, without major changes in his modus operandi…or will real leadership by MHARR’s CEO come from Ghorbani’s successor, should Ghorbani depart or retire? ##


Appendix

Questions provided to George Allen for response by MHProNews:

1) Will you publish the unedited reply from Jason this upcoming weekend on your blog, or will you continue on your allegedly pro-Danny Ghorbani/MHARR, anti-MHI public stance?

2) As a self-proclaimed MH Communities owner advocate, how do you defend Danny Ghorbani’s embrace of Ishbel Dickens and her anti-MHC owners organization, when Dickens has reportedly said in public that community owners are “the enemy…”?

3) You’ve described on your blog your activities in part as an “agitator. ”  You’ve described Danny Ghorbani as a “leader.” Yet in the past, you decried Ghorbani for very similar stands to his current one, and after your own analysis, described in the article and links from the post here,

http://MHProNews.com/blogs/tonykovach/mharr-after-danny-ghorbani-and-more-manufactured-housing-issues/

you concluded Danny was mistaken in his writing that you then cited.  Where you wrong then? How do you answer your own rejection of Danny’s views  then, what has he practically accomplished since then which has caused you to change your stance? How much has payments for ads or other money received from MHARR factories influenced  your new found admiration for Danny?

4) Why do you not show remarks opposing your views on your blog?

5) We’ve invited you and Danny to debate MH Industry related topics; why have you not done so?

6) As an industry commentator, did you know that GSE reform was on the MHI legislative agenda?

7) You are fine with asking questions, so why do you not provide the courtesy of replying to questions when you are asked?

Questions provided to Danny Ghorbani and M. Mark Weiss at MHARR

1) We’ve asked many times, and ask again, what are the achievements of your last last 5 years at MHARR?

2) Why is it necessary to undermine MHI to make yourself look better?

3) Specifically what did you do – apart from MHI – that makes this advancement in GSE Reform your sole victory?

4) And how is this bill – not yet a law – more of a victory than HR 1779 or S 1828?

Previous Reports, Posts and Articles on this or Related Topics

Some Related Story Links:

Downloads and Attachments:

Commentary on MHARR ad from a cross section of MHPros in the Industry are found here.

Danny Ghorbani, George Allen, Michael Power, et al: False, Misleading Statements and Tortuous Interference?

March 11th, 2014 1 comment

broadside-darius-danny-ghorbani-president-mharr-george-allen-allen-letter-community-i ... actured-housing-institute-manufactured-housing-association-for-regulatory-reformSources have told MHProNews that Danny Ghorbani, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has once more allegedly made threatening statements directed at our publisher, as Ghorbani’s response to articles and commentaries published that analyze Ghorbani’s written/public statements. Why?


“Our industry needs financing and is facing a number of regulatory challenges, as most Manufactured Housing Industry professionals know.” said L. A. “Tony” Kovach in a statement in his role as the managing member of Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company of MHProNews and its sister operation consulting and contract services affiliates.


In an industry seeking solutions, a few industry members have, using the words of George Allen, “…even agitate decision-makers and trade politicos responsible for the industry’s 15 year malaise...” which when one reads enough of the alleged semi-coded verbiage, is taken to mean Allen’s professional agitation of members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the National Communities Council (NCC) or other affiliated trade association organizations.


In a recent pro-Ghorbani blog post, Allen begins by saying, “Finally a Leader! But Who Will Follow?” What makesgeorge-allen-manufactured-housing-community-investor-blog--left-danny-ghorbani-mharr-right-posted-mhpronews-com-daily-business-news- Ghorbani a leader in George Allen’s eyes? Allen points to a ‘paid ad’ from Ghorbani with a ‘bold agenda.’ Since when does taking out paid advertising make an association executive or a business person a leader?

Where is the track record that Messrs. Allen or Ghorbani can point to that would demonstrate either has the capability to advance such an agenda?

Where are the financial, political or other relationships needed that would allow them to do now, what neither Ghorbani or Allen has not done in the past dozen years?

For those who followed Allen’s writings over the years, it bears noting that in the past Allen blasted Ghorbani on numerous occasions, while extolling some of the same organizations (corporate and association) Allen now lambasts.

As an example, Allen begins the excerpt below by quoting from the July 2011 Journal of Manufactured and Modular Housing, when Allen stated that Danny Ghorbani made the following remark:


In MHARR’s view, retailers and community – based entities face a clear choice – continued dysfunction and decline, or a change to a new national level industry representation structure to lead the industry back to real prosperity.”


Note the similarity between this call to action by Ghorbani then, to what the MHARR CEO says in his ‘paid ad’ now? The ‘paid ad’ is a downloadable attachment on the end of this article. It makes for good reading, but as one MHIndustry leader stated some days ago, “the devil is in the details.”


But back 3 years ago Allen’s reply to Ghorbani’s assertion then began with the retort, “Huh?” Allen then wrote:


…First, lumping MHRetailers and landlease community owners/operators together is a big mistake. They’re significantly different business models, hailing from different major segments of the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class duo; MHRetailers are akin to the MHIndustry; and landlease community folk to real estate development and investment.”


Continued dysfunction and decline? Dysfunction? Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, & How? – the ‘Four Ws & H of basic trade and secular journalism’. No really illuminating answers provided in this paragraph or column! And decline? Sure, especially among MHRetailers; again, 90 percent of them are gone, some bought – out by HUD Code home manufacturers, others now contractors, but most ‘out of business’. And LLCommunity folk? In terms of national physical occupancy, yes, we’re slipping. BUT, show me a LLCommunity owner who didn’t overpay for his/her property acquisition (i.e. Didn’t ‘buy on the come’, as in ‘rent increases to come’ – that never did!), and or has paid down their mortgage, and I’ll show you a generally healthy business model that’s frequently selling, even self – financing new and resale homes on – site, to ‘get the rent meter’ a – running and to keep it running….”


…So, with such flawed writing, and lack of justified logic, in the referenced summary paragraph and column, we’re to run off willy nilly to ‘create or change to a new national level industry representation structure’? I think not – at least not until a far better case is made for considering doing so! And enhancing association executive job security should not be part of making that particular case.”

So there you have it, in Allen’s own words, an ad-paid Allen in 2014 disagreeing with Allen in 2011.

Now Allen is praising the same Ghorbani as a “leader” for sharing similar thoughts in a ‘paid ad,’ when in 2011, Allen was calling Ghorbani a ‘flawed writer’ who used ‘unjustified logic.’

What’s the difference between Allen and Ghorbani then and now? One industry observer told MHProNews,

The common ground is found in the Arab Maxim, “My enemies enemy is my friend.” Suggesting, a marriage of convince between the two, complete with Allen admittedly accepting “paid adverting” from a Ghorbani-led MHARR.”

Some allege that Allen’s self-admitted agitating actions are precisely how Allen, in his so-called “COBA7 affiliates” or Ghorbani, through MHARR members dues, rail against MHI or those they opt to target: MHI, their ‘big company’ members or perceived allies (including, but not limited to, little company MHProNews), as a means of justifying receiving income from others.


Note that Allen went on a similar path in his Community-Investor blog and his paid Allen Report newsletter, in attacking MHI, as was documented by MHProNews previously, when again using Allen’s own words, he blasted MHI essentially for not buying him out. That full report, with numerous quotes from Allen’s writings, is linked here.


Contrast Allen 3 years ago tilting against MHARR, and saying in part:(In our case, ‘our conflict’ allows federal legislators to ‘divide & conquer us’, so to speak, when it comes to our effectively confronting onerous legislation – like what’s on the Congressional horizon at present!)...” meaning, Allen in 2011 decried the disunity in DC between MHARR and MHI as being harmful to the industry. In that statement, Allen echoes the sentiments shared by a recent Industry Voices OpEd, linked here. Yet Allen, we are told, has allegedly chastised that writer.

But who is the one who has flip-flopped, and why?

Selling Red Herrings?

“These agitating voices point their fingers at MHI – us, or others – and allegedly and essentially say, ‘look how they fail to protect you. And don’t forget to send us your cash, check or credit card ok’s so we can keep telling you how bad those others are.’…


But IMHO and as others also allege, one of many problems is they fail to provide a balanced report, or they take some information out of context or get it completely wrong. Furthermore, why don’t they show any results of their own? Yet they boldly ask others to send them a check. Does it sound like someone is selling red herrings?” Kovach quipped.


Google defines a red herring:

red her·ring
noun

1. a dried smoked herring, which is turned red by the smoke.
2.something, esp. a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.
“the book is fast-paced, exciting, and full of red herrings”

Ghorbani’s “Oops” over the Pam Danner, HUD Career Administrator Appointment?

Part of the recent controversy is about the appointment of Pam Danner as HUD’s Career Administrator for their Manufactured Housing program. A non-association source with ties to the federal government sent MHProNews this comment about Ghorbani’s message to Danner and HUD.

“…Congress changed the law. It’s in the current budget act that HUD can now hire the Administrator as a career position.  This is typical of the way Danny misrepresents things.   He gets away with it because most of the people who read his letter bombs don’t know any better.”

That statement was verified by another party who told MHProNews that the budget act passed last December 2013 contained the Congressional change, making the HUD MH position a career vs. non-career appointment. Ghorbani’s MHARR release on the subject is linked here. Why does it not reflect that fact?

It should also be noted that sources at MHI tell us that their staff and finance members have meet with key players in the Senate on GSE reform. Sources tell us that a report on that is expected at the “proper time.”

So the MHARR messages that imply that MHI is not “at the table” are not only inaccurate, MHI has personally engaged with seasoned finance and government relations professionals, while what MHARR has done is send a memo drafted by those who have little or no experience in financial matters.

Which approach might benefit the MH industry most?

“If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny, wouldn’t it?” Kovach asked, adding “Will Danny look up the new law, realize the error and apologize to Pam Danner, HUD, MHI and all in the industry for yet another fact error before launching into his attack? Will he apologize to MHI for saying that they’ve not been at the table, when in fact they were the only ones from the industry present in a Senate Banking meeting? When will Danny learn to ask questions first, and get the facts before sounding off? Or doesn’t his pattern reflect badly on himself and MHARR?”

The Right to do Wrong?

“Its America. People have the right to sell information or a service; I guess, even the right to sell a service that provides few if any measurable results…” Kovach commented.

But doesn’t this go beyond just burning money on so-called information or services that turn out to allegedly be self-dollar-bill-burning-up-flickr-creative-commons-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronewsserving vehicles that benefit those who use their bully pulpits, yet produce no measurable results? Doesn’t this in fact cost the industry’s business people their hard earned dollars too? Doesn’t a lack of unity on key issues cost retailers, communities, manufacturers, suppliers and others?  Isn’t that what Allen himself argued in 2011?”

This is why the Rand OpEd is so important.” Kovach continued. “It is a wake up call for all involved.”

“We have repeatedly offered to Danny Ghorbani, M. Mark Weiss – MHARR’s legal counsel – and the MHARR Chairman the opportunity to respond, answer questions or clear up the record on any point. As of this time, they have not done so, at least not directly to us.” Kovach said. “In fact, we have a reply from M. Mark Weiss which was followed up by a written demand that their reply not be published. Why did he reply on MHARR’s behalf at all, if they give an answer they don’t want us to publish?”

“We have evidence that they have instead replied to others, contacted one or more operations our parent operation has a contractual relationship with and have made emailed and other statements that support this allegation.” Kovach said in his role as managing member of a limited liability company.  Are they attempting to influence others who have contracts with our parent company?”

Mr. Ghorbani is said to have contacted industry publishers and commentators, to run the ad which George F. Allen has said on his blog was ‘paid advertising.’

The MHARR ad came out before and after a series of public comments by Ghorbani as MHARR CEO that allegedly were aimed at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and at various times, MHProNews. This has been done by Ghorbani, Allen, and recently, a known ally of Allen’s, Michael Power on LinkedIn (see screen capture, attached below).

Sources say Ghorbani has contacted individuals with connections to operations which have contractual relationships with Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews and its related consulting and contract services operations.

“We have covered the tactics of these various individuals before.” Kovach stated. “In Allen’s own words, in a recent blog post, he called himself an ‘agitator.’ This arguably is interestingly accurate. Please see the report we did on him previously,” linked here. It should be noted that some observers opined that for some months after the linked report was published, Allen became quieter in his agitation.

“Unlike Ken Rishel, who published my letter in response to what we saw as a questionable commentary in his emailed PDF newsletter, George Allen has not published a letter in response to a post to which Allen invited Industry Commentary.” Kovach said. “That letter to Allen and his readers are also a download at the end of this column…”

What are these fellows hiding from their followers and paid supporters?”

When asked about the renewed threat of legal action, which MHARR’s CEO and their Vice-President has been documented to having made against Tony Kovach and MHProNews previously, Kovach replied. “Would it be a surprise to anyone if we have sought legal counsel on matters related to these topics?” said Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC’s managing member.

A number of legal references were provided for general public understanding, shown below, while specific legal advice on these related issues are being held at this time.

MHProNews was given the following reference from the dictionary.findlaw.com website:

False Statement

false statement n

: a statement that is known or believed by its maker to be incorrect or untrue and is made esp. with intent to deceive or mislead [submitted a false statement to obtain the loan] ;also
: the federal crime of concealing a material fact, making a false statement, or using documents known to be falsified see also exculpatory no doctrine compare perjury –

http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/false-statement.html

And from legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com:

Joint and Several Liability

A designation of liability by which members of a group are either individually or mutually responsible to a party in whose favor a judgment has been awarded.

Joint and several liability is a form of liability that is used in civil cases where two or more people are found liable for damages. The winning plaintiff in such a case may collect the entire judgment from any one of the parties, or from any and all of the parties in various amounts until the judgment is paid in full. In other words, if any of the defendants do not have enough money or assets to pay an equal share of the award, the other defendants must make up the difference.

Defendants in a civil suit can be held jointly and severally liable only if their concurrent acts brought about the harm to the plaintiff. The acts of the defendants do not have to be simultaneous: they must simply contribute to the same event. For example, assume that an electrician negligently installs an electrical line. Years later, another electrician inspects the line and approves it. When the plaintiff is subsequently injured by a short circuit in the line, the plaintiff may sue both electricians and hold them jointly and severally liable.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Jointly+and+severally+liable
And from biztaxlaw.about.com:

Piercing the Corporate Veil

Definition:

The phrase piercing the corporate veil is used to describe the action of a court to hold corporate shareholders personally liable for the debts and liabilities of a corporation.

Corporations are separate entities from their shareholders and in normal circumstances, if a corporation is sued, the individual shareholders and officers cannot be brought into the lawsuit. But there are cases in which the corporation’s officers and shareholders could be sued for negligence or for debts; the action of bringing in these shareholders to be sued is called “piercing the corporate veil” or “lifting the corporate veil.”

Two instances in which the corporate veil might be pierced by the court, allowing shareholders to be sued:

In the case of fraud, in which the corporation was found to be a sham that was set up for the purpose of carrying on fraudulent deals or for fraudulent purposes.

In the case of egregious and willful activity by corporate shareholders or officers which put corporate gain over public good.

http://biztaxlaw.about.com/od/glossaryp/g/piercecorpveil.htm

MHProNews was also given the following reference from the law.Cornell.edu website:

TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE

Tortious interference is a common law tort allowing a claim for damages against a defendant who wrongfully interferes with the plaintiff’s contractual or business relationships.

And from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference

Tortious interference with contract rights can occur where the tortfeasor convinces a party to breach the contract against the plaintiff, or where the tortfeasor disrupts the ability of one party to perform his obligations under the contract, thereby preventing the plaintiff from receiving the performance promised. The classic example of this tort occurs when one party induces another party to breach a contract with a third party, in circumstances where the first party has no privilege to act as it does and acts with knowledge of the existence of the contract. Such conduct is termed tortious inducement of breach of contract.”


Giving Space between MHARR members and their CEO?

“On the one hand,” Kovach continued, “we have repeatedly made the point in private to certain people associated with MHARR member companies that we respect them and other independent business people in our industry. We have at times editorially sided with some of MHARR’s positions, such as the fire sprinkler issue, vs. the position that MHI took on the same topic…”

When Fairmont Homes provided the RV MH Hall of Fame with a display model, we showcased that effort. The point is we have proven our balanced reporting and commentary, have made it clear we have no animus towards MHARR members and routinely offer Ghorbani or those with him at MHARR to respond on our pages. If they fail to do so, that is their sole responsibility, as it is their free will choice…”

“What we don’t agree with are the alleged tactics of their CEO and some of their alleged allies of convenience. As a pro-MH Industry trade publisher we have cited others in articles we will link who have voiced their concerns about Danny Ghorbani too…”

“To rephrase, we have tried to show the daylight between MHARR members and Ghorbani…”

“What the Rand OpEd has done is suggest the clear ties of MHARR’s member dues to Danny and his published and/or emailed missives. Mr. Rand also deserves credit for pointing out the obvious fact that MHI is advancing the ball via both regulatory relief and legislative action. He also asked the question, is MHARR still relevant if they are not needed to help MHI get the job done in DC?” Kovach said. “Fair questions!”

“We have to evaluate the potential damages, time and hassle factor of the various threats and misstatements made by Ghorbani, Allen, Power or others. MHI or members of MHI may or may not opt to do so on their part as well. Clearly, if they (MHARR’s CEO and/or VP) act, then we will be left with little choice but to counter-claim…”

MHARR’s 2013 990

“The MHARR 990 is not a simple document, and we would encourage industry pros who decide to read it for themselves and get a proper understanding of how to discern it. This is public record, which we asked repeatedly that Danny and Mark to produce for us, as the law provides. They did not, so we obtained it in other ways…”

What the 2013 MHARR 990 shows in part is that Danny Ghorbani was paid $290,500 in 2013, and was the sole employee of MHARR. It also shows dues revenues of some $477,360. This begs several questions…”

  • If Mark Weiss gets paid just shy of 100k, and one figures in travel, office, phones, internet and other expenses, what is left from the MHARR budget?

  • What is the relationship between Mark Weiss, who shows his title as Vice-President of MHARR, when he is not listed as an employee of MHARR on the form 990?

  • Given a budget with little-to-no apparent wiggle room, how do they actually hope to influence federal policy and legislators? Mainly by email or written statements? Through paid ads? How is that going to work for the Industry?

  • When their CEO can’t work in common with others within our industry, when their response to a disagreement is to threaten to sue, as they did with us, how can they hope to accomplish their mission that the 990 filing says is to .”..improve relations…”?

The MHARR 990 for 2013 is attached as a download below.

“Beyond writing emails, publishing comments and emailed communiques like those dozens linked here, what can they point to in the last 5 years of substance that they have accomplished? When Danny rails against HUD, or rails against other FEDs, or rails against MHI…what has it achieved? What is the result of all the demands, position papers and tough talk? Where is their annual MHARR score card of accomplishments, that some other associations freely provide?”

We’ve asked Danny Ghorbani and M. Mark Weiss at MHARR for their accomplishments in their own words. If they won’t give one, why not? Wouldn’t they want to sound off on the largest trade media platform how great their work has been?”

By contrast, MHProNews‘ publisher has made trips to Washington DC and did follow ups which resulted in Congressman Adam Kinzinger signing onto HR 1779 and more recently with Senator Marco Rubio co-sponsoring S. 1828. What has Ghorbani, Allen or their alleged allies-of-convenience shown the industry that they can point to in the way of practical results?

“This is America. MHARR members can pay who they want, as much as they want, and those employee(s) and/or contractors of MHARR can do as little or as much as they want for their pay. Allen can make a living ‘agitating’ as he himself describes it, against MHI. They all have that right…” Kovach stated.

“But they should also realize that they are responsible for the actions or inactions of their president, and Allen is responsible for his deeds, or lack thereof…”

But what ought to be on the minds of the MHARR board is this. What if the MHARR president has crossed one or more lines? What if their president – personally or in concert with others – puts them into potentially costly, or no win legal battles? What if their president’s words costs them retail or community customers who buy homes from MHARR plants?”

And does MHARR’s CEO or his alleged ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ allies want commentary, documents and insights from federal officials and industry members from across the spectrum that demonstrates the pattern of activity in ever clearer detail to be revealed?

Danny himself provided us in the past with some information that would not be considered good news among some key MHARR members…” Kovach says.

Airing Dirty Laundry?

Some have asked, why should we air this ‘dirty laundry’ in public? My reply is simple. These others are allegedly the ones that put out the false or inaccurate statements, which FEDs and industry members receive. Doesn’t someone have to set the record straight? Isn’t that what a real trade journal does, analyze and comment?” Kovach queried.

MHI has opted to ignore MHARR for the last two years, the prior MHI president – Thayer Long – did sound off about MHARR in ways that the current administration at MHI has decided to avoid.

The powers that be at MHI tell MHProNews off the record that they want to stay focused on advancing HR 1779, S 1828, on engagement with CFPB, HUD and other regulators. They feel they have to stay focused on GSE reform in a fashion that truly can make a difference. They tell MHProNews privately they don’t have time for Danny Ghorbani’s or George Allen’s emailed, published and posted missives.

Manufactured Housing – We are not Alone

Kovach also pointed to the exclusive article from David Stevens, CEO and Presdient of the Mortgage Bankers Association, “Some voices want to unfairly characterize MHI as being asleep at the switch on Dodd-Frank, SAFE Act or other items…”

The truth is that far larger lobbying groups than our MH Industry were unable to stop some of the regulatory burdens administrated by the CFPB. Look at community bankers, for example, some of whom are closing due to regulatory burdens they say can’t be met. MH is not alone…”

Then combine that with insights from Bill Matchneer – previously with HUD and the CFPB – and his “Inside the Beltway” look at our industry’s issues. We have painted the picture of why we are where we are, not opinions, but facts from professionals across the spectrum who know. Don’t the facts, once seen and understood, belie the false allegations of those who ‘agitate’ and stir the pot, allegedly to get paid for stirring the pot?”


Or as a commentator quoted in Manufactured Housing’s Pogo, said:


Isn’t it amazing how many thousands of peoples’ lives in this industry have been upended by the unwillingness of so few people to get along?” – See more at: http://mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/tonykovach/manufactured-housings-pogo/#sthash.TunAPqoS.dpuf

The End Game or Solution?

One of the off-the-record statements that came into MHProNews from a sensitive source, said as follows about Rand’s OpEd:

“I would think if enough Retailers were to start quoting the writers last paragraph in public venues on multiple occasions, the independent manufacturers would start looking at Danny’s strategy a little differently.

As a manufacturer I would be very concerned if this is the strategy that a majority of Retailers suggest utilizing to stop this controversy.” ##

(Image credits: FlickrCreativeCommons, Wikicommons, LinkedIn and MHProNews)

Downloads and Attachments:

Commentary on MHARR ad from a cross section of MHPros in the Industry are found here.

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