Posts Tagged ‘Tom Lackey’

State AG Files Suit Against, Manufactured Home Community, Rent to Own, Lease Purchase Option Warning

January 14th, 2019 Comments off



The Town of Fallsburg organized a forum in response to growing complaints about FoxCroft Village, where Paula Frumkin, president of the community’s homeowners association, was one of the residents who spoke on Jan. 23, 2018.


The situation deteriorated since then, she said, per the Record Online.

We have more empty homes than we’ve ever had,” Frumkin said earlier this month. “None of them are being fixed up. Nothing is being done.”



In mid-December 2018, then-New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the owners of FoxCroft Village.  The legal action aims “to compel them to fix the water system; properly dispose of garbage; fix septic systems; repair roads and public lights; abate outstanding Town of Fallsburg and state Health Department violations; and secure a valid permit to operate from the state Health Department,” said the Record Online.

FoxCroft Village reportedly has some 321 home sites.  About 200 are resident-owned homes, with the balance rented to the residents via rent-to-own contracts, according to the NY AG’s lawsuit.




The community’s operating permit expired in December 2017.  It has been unable to obtain a new one due to the conditions there, the AG’s lawsuit states.

The lawsuit sets a deadline of Feb. 15, 2019 to achieve compliance, plus seeks restitution for all the aggrieved residents.

George Levin and Gayla Sue Levin of the state of Florida are defendants, along with L & F Enterprises, Inc., and Foxcroft Village, LLC.

FoxCroft Property Manager Mike Mergendahl declined to comment on the pending legal matter.

It is evident that respondents are unwilling to perform the maintenance, repairs, and system replacements necessary to address Foxcroft’s failing water and septic systems and other dangerous conditions throughout the park,” the state’s legal complaint says.

George Levin reportedly denounced the lawsuit in an email, saying it relies on misinformation. Levin criticized Assistant Attorney General Stephen Barry, who has been representing the state in the case.




No one from the State’s AG Office has ever visited Foxcroft to verify what has been done or is being done on a daily basis,” Levin wrote in the message.

Levin said that Barry’s basis for the lawsuit is Fallsburg’s meeting from last year, which was “called for the sole purpose of disparaging Foxcroft” because of a “running vendetta” by Town Supervisor Steven Vegliante against park management.

There was no water service on Dec. 26, as of the report dated Jan 6th.  It is the second year in a row that the community lost water service around Christmas, according to Lisa Stephens-Hotalen, a 16-year resident. Hotalen lives across the street from Frumkin.

There’s so much water leaking near their homes that it reportedly pools up in one portion of her lawn when Hotalen presses her foot into the grass. It was the only part of her yard that wasn’t covered in snow.

The lawsuit claims that FoxCroft has experienced “park-wide intermittently functioning water distribution and failing septic systems” since the summer of 2017 and that residents reported brown water coming from their taps.

Residents have also been under a boil-water order since Dec. 23, 2017. The Town of Fallsburg cited FoxCroft for a code violation for the water system on Jan. 14, 2018. Since then, the community has faced a maximum fine of $1,500 per day it remains in violation, according to the NY AG’s lawsuit.

Levin said a new water system has been installed and Sullivan County’s health department approved of the installation.

Vegliante confirmed that FoxCroft’s owners have begun to replace the water system.

It’s been unbelievably frustrating,” he said of the past year. “People deserve a safe place to live, and finally they’re [the owners] starting to resolve some of the issues.”

Officials noted that noted that “We’re doing everything we can not to condemn it,” meaning the community, and hope that the state AG’s suit will spur completion of the pending work.

Code Enforcement Officer Mollie Messenger declined comment on alleged violations, citing active litigation, referring questions to the town of Fallsburg’s attorney, Bruce Perlmutter. Fallsburg is set to go to trial with FoxCroft in town court near the end of January.  The parties could not agree on the total amount that should be paid in fines for the code violations.


‘Rent To Own’ Woes…


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The New York attorney general’s lawsuit also takes aim at the approximately 100 rent-to-own contracts FoxCroft has with some residents, calling the agreements “deceptive” and in violation of state law, which are subject to fines per contract.

FoxCroft’s documents reportedly tag rent-to-own payments as ‘loan payments’ pursuant to a mortgage.  But L & F Enterprises, Inc., is not a lender.  They hold the title to each home until it’s completely paid for by the resident. Those residents are subject to summary eviction for non-payment at any time before that time, the AG’s lawsuit states.

This is a noteworthy issue to every community in the nation that is doing, or is considering doing, rent to own, lease purchase options, or other contracts of this kind.

Some industry professionals, such as George F. (F?) Allen, Spencer Roane, and the so-called SECO conference have promoted this kind of ‘seller financing’ for years.  They claim it is legal, purportedly checked out by an attorney who advised Roane.

But if the New York AG believes they are problematic, and since it seems to violate the notion of a “disguised credit transaction” – which can be problematic under Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guidance – do Allen, Roane and SECO leaders really think they can successfully defend a similar state or federal claim against their process?  Do their ‘students’ and followers want to take these types of risks?



Back in New York, Levin denies that FoxCroft has such contracts. But he said that FoxCroft does internally finance the sale of its homes to residents.




The Daily Business News on MHProNews will continue to monitor such cases.  While we are not attorneys, and don’t give legal advice, it is prudent to consider legal actions like this case in New York as the most recent in a string of warnings to those who literally buy the advice of those – like Allen, Roane, and SECO – who sell such apparently problematic, and potentially risky “education.”




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Related Reports:

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

Exploring Corporate, Association, Individual, Investor, and Governmental Corruption Involving Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing Institute on Urban Institute, Bloomberg, National Association of Realtors Reports Praising Manufactured Homes






SECO Woes – Southeast Community Owners Symposium – Tom Lackey, Industry Pros, & MH Consumer Legal Clouds

August 3rd, 2018 Comments off

To be forewarned can lead to being more prepared, more cautious, and prudent. The collage is made up of elements from SECO, with text graphics by MHProNews.

From time to time, a variation on the question is asked, ‘What happened to the reports about Tom Lackey, Stoney Pointe manufactured home (MH) community, missing titles, owner-carry, SECO and all those consumers who lost their homes?’



The short answer?

Based on the latest reports to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, this is not likely a dead or forgotten travail,

Rather, its more likely the quiet before the next storm.

Why? Because there are several ways that this tragic series of incidents are very much brewing. Let’s run through some of the elements.


First, for those not familiar with the matter or who need a refresher, click the link below, or other related reports through this, and at the end of this post.


Spencer Roane w/Southeast Community Owners (SECO), Praises Tom Lackey, Accused of Rent-to-Own Manufactured Home Sales Improprieties


Second, there have been multiple outreaches by media related to this case. They have reportedly contacted Lackey, and numerous others in the industry. Some of those outreaches by media have been referred to, or directly contacted the publisher of MHProNews. Rephrased, we don’t think there are possible problems, we’ve got strong reasons to believe this is ongoing. It could surface perhaps more forcefully in round two than the earlier round of troubling media reports.


Third, there has been legally-related outreaches to MHProNews on several industry issues – including Tom Lackey/SECO/Stoney Pionte – referred to our publisher.


Fourth. Based upon those third-party inputs and outreaches – plus tips from industry readers with ties to SECO – this provides a brief update on what appears to be underway about the allegations swirling around this troubling series of incidents at Stoney Pointe, and their related ‘finance’ operation in northern Georgia.


We’ll begin by reminding readers that allegations are just that; Lackey and those connected to SECO are deemed innocent in the eyes of the law, until proven guilty by a plea arrangement or conviction.

That said:


There are indications that multiple agencies are investigating, as well as “plaintiffs attorneys.” 

1) The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance is reportedly investigating. Such matters can take time, as interviews are done, and a case is built. It could be months before something official is heard.

Per industry sources, officials in GA are keenly interested in the contract for title/rent to own related problems. Rephrased, there are indications that not just Lackey will be caught up in this matter legally. Rather, others connected to SECO are = per sources – being scrutinized too.


2) Tom Lackey has reportedly told a small circle of SECO connected contacts that he is suspending his contract for title/rent to own business. Consider that in the context of the above and what follows. Coincidence?



Caution is urged to all of those who have been connected to SECO’s ‘education’ on seller financing. You may want to seek legal counsel.


3) SECO has yet to remove Lackey from their planning team. Amazing, but true. There are two well know Vietnam veterans involved in MHVille who are connected to SECO. Vets – which this publication respects and thanks for their service – exhibit at times an interesting type of loyalty. Industry sources close to the matter have mentioned that in this context, as loyalty to Lackey. As noted previously, linked reports can be read later for increased depth on this topic.

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies


4) There are reportedly at least two levels of legal investigations underway. One is from public officials. The other is from reportedly multiple attorneys interested in filing suits over claims related to the consumers allegedly wronged in this matter.


5) SECO promoters, including MHVillage, continue to promote the next event without any warnings or notices to their past or prospective attendees. Is there possible liability for those involved?  Better ask the private attorneys, public officials, or get your own attorney to explain what the potential risks and ramifications are reportedly connected to this ‘vexing mess.’


There are those in MHVille who continue to be silent, or even defend Lackey and SECO’s ties to this multi-layered, problematic series of concerns.

While some have thoughtfully informed MHProNews, does the silence of others say to communities and other industry professionals that nothing is wrong? Are they being made aware of the possible ramifications? Are SECO board members, or even those who have previously registered to attend, aware that they could be witnesses? Or worse, possible targets?


Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email

How would mainstream media view the industry’s promoters and attendees, in the wake of those who allegedly lost their ‘investments’ with Lackey’s operations?

What has been done to past SECO attendees – including those who have done/are doing ‘seller financing’ and/or ‘contract for title’ ala Lackey – to mitigate their risks?

There is no immediately evident clues from SECO or MHVillage promotions on any of those very real concerns and questions. Why haven’t other industry bloggers or publishers raised these issues, to give potentially hundreds of industry pros fair warning?


For Balance on SECO


Click to learn more about this upcoming wholesale event, which is not related to the story posted.

Some long-time SECO believers have messaged and/or spoken with MHProNews.

Among those SECO believers are those who stress the ‘good things’ being taught and promoted at SECO.

Some provided photos and video of before and after pictures to reflect how communities could be improved.

The Daily Business News on MHProNews has not at any time advocated tossing baby’s out with the proverbial bath water.

This publication has long said that most of the industry’s professionals strive to do what’s right, day by day.  MHLivingNews and MHProNews have made it clear that most of the industry’s consumers are happy.  That’s proven by both third party research, and our own interviews.


Happy MH Owners? Good Professional Actors? Overlooked, “Honorable People”


Affordable Housing Focus Group – Comparing Housing Options – Conventional Houses, Condo, Rentals, and Manufactured Homes – Up for Growth, National Association of Realtor, Studies


As the publisher of the MH Industry’s top two leading trade media, the record shows that we’ve very carefully noted – especially in recent months – the need for a “wheat and chaff” discernment approach about sources, groups, etc. No one is perfect. Mistakes that are corrected are arguably what honorable adults in business strive to do.

That said, let this stand as a reminder that ‘education’ at SECO may – per sources – have in some fashion contributed to what occurred.


Recaps and Lessons 

Certainly – per our sources in media, legal, SECO connected, and the broader MH industry – there is a likely of more ‘bad news’ to come from outside media and legal issues.

With media and with most legal matters, there are calms before and between the storms. The indications that MHProNews has at this time is that this may be such a period of calm. To be forewarned, is to be forearmed.  We publish these stories, one, because they are real, and two as morality tales in the hopes of keeping good people out of the kind of trouble that the report below reminds us can occur.

Criminal Charges Filed Against Manufactured Home Community Owner


We also publish the far more enjoyable to write about ‘good news’ stories that others miss or understate.

Ryan Kirk–Investor & Entrepreneur-Gets Positive Media via Airbase Estates Mobile/Manufactured Home Makeovers, Exclusives, Videos

Let anyone connected with SECO carefully consider what their contact might mean to a plaintiff’s attorney, or legal authorities in GA, to the media, consumers, and beyond.

What image of the industry and its members does this series of controversies project?

Finally, the related reports below are reminders why it is wise to be transparent. And why – as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, doing what’s right is always the right thing to do. Ponder that as the first of today’s “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © Where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

As with any industry, there are problems.  But done properly by honorable professionals, manufactured housing is the proven solution for the affordable housing crisis.

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

$1.2 Billion Settlement Proves FEDs Are Serious; Communities, Industry Head$ Up

June 14th, 2018 Comments off


For those who wonder if the Trump Administration is serious about enforcing laws, a $1.2 billion dollar settlement should put that question to rest.


U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson…announced a historic agreement with the nation’s largest public housing authority to correct dangerous lead-based paint and other health and safety hazards,” HUD said in a release to the Daily Business News.  

HUD, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a Consent Decree with New York City and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to resolve widespread issues of lead, mold, pest infestations and other inadequate housing conditions.  Read the Federal Complaint and the Consent Decree filed today in federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.”

Note that some of these listed items are similar to concerns raised by the Chattanooga Times Free Press with respect to allegations about Tom Lackey, still shown today as a SECO board member.

Spencer Roane w/Southeast Community Owners (SECO), Praises Tom Lackey, Accused of Rent-to-Own Manufactured Home Sales Improprieties

See those related links, above and below.

Informed sources are telling MHProNews that state and local officials are investigating the complaints surrounding the issues reported above and below.

Officials are not able to comment on the specifics.

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

The HUD statement is focused on resident health issues. Isn’t that a flare for those who engage in questionable behavior by selling pre-owned homes to consumers with similar, known, problematic issues?

More from HUD, Secretary Carson

The following is an extended quote from HUD to the Daily Business News regarding the consent decrees.

 —- Continuation of HUD statement to MHProNews, start of extended quote. —-


“More than 400,000 residents live in NYCHA properties, exceeding the number of residents living in the next ten largest public housing authorities combined.  In addition to the agreement announced today, New York State placed NYCHA under a state of emergency order in April and is committing up to $550 million to assist the public housing authority in resolving health and safety issues.


Dr. Ben Carson, HUD Secretary, official photo.

This historic agreement marks a new era for New York City’s public housing, one that puts families and their children first,” said HUD Secretary Carson.  “New York City and New York State are making an unprecedented commitment to put NYCHA on a new path.  The cooperation of Federal, State and city officials will vastly improve the living conditions for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who call NYCHA home.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated: “NYCHA’s failure to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing is simply unacceptable, and illegal. Children must be protected from toxic lead paint, apartments must be free of mold and pest infestations, and developments must provide adequate heat in winter and elevator service. NYCHA has put its residents at risk. Today’s unprecedented settlement will improve life for the 400,000 residents who call NYCHA home, while ensuring accountability, reform, and oversight at this troubled institution.”

HUD’s Principal Deputy Inspector General Helen M. Albert said: “We are proud of the integral work that the OIG staff performed which led to today’s settlement. This represents a consequential partnership with the U.S. Attorney and others to ensure that those who reside in NYCHA housing will do so in safe and sanitary conditions.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said: “Instead of protecting children from lead poisoning, NYCHA systematically violated EPA and HUD lead paint safety regulations and covered up its noncompliance. Today’s landmark settlement puts a stop to that. It is not only a great example of what EPA and HUD can achieve by working together, but it also sends a strong message to housing authorities, landlords, and renovators – violating the law and endangering public health will not be tolerated. This agreement will dramatically improve the living conditions of New York City’s most vulnerable residents.”

In addition to annual public housing capital funding from HUD, New York City will provide the following financial investment to support NYCHA under this agreement:

  • $1 billion in capital funding over the first four years of the agreement;
  • $200 million in capital funding each year after the initial four-year period;
  • Additional operating and capital funds through 2027; and
  • The City will continue its current practice of not seeking payments from NYCHA for ‘payments in lieu of taxes’ and police services.

Working with the court-appointed Monitor, NYCHA will also institute a number of institutional changes at the agency.  These changes include the creation of a new Compliance Department to ensure NYCHA meets all federal, state and local regulatory requirements and ensures the integrity of physical inspections.  NYCHA will also create a new Environmental Health and Safety Department to address lead-based paint hazards, mold, heating, pests, elevators, air quality and other physical conditions that affect residents’ health or safety. In addition, NYCHA will create a Quality Assurance Unit to verify the completion and quality of maintenance work.

The Consent Decree resolves the Federal government’s civil complaint against NYCHA.  As a result of the agreement, HUD will lift it’s ‘zero threshold’ for NYCHA and allow the agency to resume spending its existing public housing capital funding without seeking prior HUD approval.  This year alone, HUD is providing NYCHA nearly $1.5 billion to further assist the agency to meet its capital needs and to operate its programs.

—- End of extended quoted from HUD statement. —-

With respect to the Lackey/SECO controversy, and its significance to MHVille. It should be noted that some SECO members and COBA7 “Allanites” have contacted MHProNews to point out that most communities don’t engage in such problematic behavior.

We’d note that those statements are true, and fit with what MHProNews has reported and stated editorially.

Happy MH Owners? Good Professional Actors? Overlooked, “Honorable People”

We’ve been encouraging for some time the separation of the “chaff and wheat” approach.  No one is perfect. But at the same time, the industry ought to defend its image by enforcing a reasonable, fair-to-all code of conduct.

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

It is precisely the fact that a few are not being corrected or admonished that’s tarnishing the reputation of good community operators.

That later point has been emphasized by other MHProNews readers. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix



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George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

June 6th, 2018 Comments off


Finally, in 2018, a rallying cry, an apt theme, a worthy goal, for the manufactured housing industry! Here it is: Make Manufactured Housing Great Again!”

So said Vietnam veteran, MH Industry blogger, and retired Marine Lt. Col. George F. Allen, on 6.4.2018.

Perhaps he’s forgetting that ‘his’ theme was a headline and featured image he and a number of his readers likely saw here on the Daily Business News approaching two years ago. Note the date on the screen capture.


It should be noted that the Daily Buisness News periodically references this article, and the featured image has been shown several times since it was first published. Thus, Allen has likely picked up that Make Manufactured Housing Great Again phrase right here.



As an upcoming MHProNews report will demonstrate, there are:

  • multi-billion-dollars-a-year in missed new manufactured home sales opportunities,
  • as well as ethical reasons

why Allen’s recent blog-post is worthy of a few minutes consideration.

While some of what Allen wrote will debatably be shown as problematic, plagiaristic, etc., there are also a range of useful, timely, and important issues he has once again brought to light.

So, a careful reading of each part of this analysis is warranted. If you’re in a hurry, let’s politely suggest that you read this later, as a skim will likely cause misreading of this report.

Because even though he’s arguably ‘stepped in it’ here or there, the moving-toward-retirement Allen has provided a fresh glimpse at important issues. Thus, we’ll correct-the-record in the fisking of his post where needed, but the focus will be why his latest topic matters, though perhaps not always as he intended.

This analysis will also point out Allen’s reply to the controversy which erupted after mainstream media reporter Tyler Jett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted Allen, and his COBA7/SECO buddy, Spencer Roane, defended embattled SECO board member, Thomas Lackey.

Lackey’s community business stands accused by several consumers, media, plus local officials, of allegedly “selling” homes “contract for title” that he did not own.

So, top to bottom, this will be a careful fact check, and analysis of issues that Allen raised and purports to address.

As Allen and Roane get stage-time, promotion, and support from some state associations, plus an industry museum, this analysis will be important for more than land-lease community operators.  Allen and Company’s actions impact retailers, producers, associations, and thus all sectors in manufactured housing.

Each section of this analysis relates to the ethics, image, and profit issue raised in the report linked below.

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

With that prolouge, let’s follow several more lines from Allen’s latest missive.


“Yes, You’re…Right!” Says Allen

 Continuing that ‘borrowed’ theme of “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again,” publisher and COBA7 leader Allen said this.

Yes, you’re reading that right! It ‘says it all’,” opined Allen, “hinting at our turn of the century loss of easy access to chattel capital, to the reality that quality, energy efficient, attractive HUD-Code manufactured housing can be, & is, the practical answer to the ‘affordable housing’ crisis!”

There too, Allen borrows a theme from another article first published by MHLivingNews years ago.  The linked articles can be accessed later, and are provided to document facts Allen neglected, or are otherwise related.

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”

The refrain of “manufactured housing as the solution to the affordable housing crisis that is hiding in plain sight” is one which several mainstream media outlets have since picked up, using it in a positive way.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

Editorially, we note that even when MHProNews dives into a seemingly negative issue, it is with the intent to heal, not harm.  Borrowing a principle from my better half’s profession, an untreated disease can kill a person.  A proverbial cancer in a business can kill a firm too.  Or if the plague spreads extensively enough, ‘cancer’ can be the death of a marginal or vulnerable industry.  The proper response to phyiscal or professional illness isn’t turning a blind eye, but rather, to treat the causes of the issue.

Next comes Allen’s literal punch line, allegedly aimed at this publication.

Plus, is the manufactured housing trade press up to the task of promoting this end, or still mired in backstabbing & innuendo?”

George, we’re not only “up for that challenge,” we’re happy to stand on our record of doing positive promotion and problem solving, not just talking about it.

As the above links demonstrated, it’s Allen who provided a selfy-style photo fit to sit next to the textbook definition of Chutzpah.


Some of Allen’s followers have periodically forwarded examples of his alleged “back stabbing,” so the quoted phrase arguably are more posturing for his audience than an actual challenge.

But for the second week in a row, what his opinion piece never does is directly address the serious allegations of wrongdoing raised by the Times Free Press, or the Daily Business News.   What’s George’s Answer to the Times Free Press, and other allegations? 

Allen’s answer is no answer.  Instead, he arguably practices the Ds of duck, dodge, detract, distract, and defame.

Spencer Roane w/Southeast Community Owners (SECO), Praises Tom Lackey, Accused of Rent-to-Own Manufactured Home Sales Improprieties

The absence of any denials or correction from Allen leaves him reduced to name calling, finger pointing at others, and a series of interesting distractions. Said themes are perhaps an attempt to take his readers minds off the woes Allen, Roane, and Lackey have voluntarily stepped into, see the above linked article for more details.


Chutzpah and Hypocrisy or MAGA on Display? Decoding Allen 

The above is arguably vintage Allen, according to veteran “Allen decoders,” which includes readers of his who are readers here. It’s his own readers who tipped us about some of his recent emailed messages, and posts.

Allen has “the chutzpah” to misappropriate themes first published by each of our trade media sites, while attempting to point fingers? Was that something he learned or taught in one of the Bible lessons he’s been known to share? If so, Oy-vez! 

But in fairness, again, besides metaphorically inedible chaff (e.g.: some of his quotes above), Allen provides some fine wheat too, which will be examined further below. Both the chaff and the wheat are useful to understand, because he’s public.

He, Roane, and Lackey are part of the forging of the problematic image of our largely noble industry.

So, let’s dig deeper into the thoughts of Allen, an RV MH Hall of Fame inductee.


Allen’s Bold Red Herrings…

The timing of Allen’s chest-thumping and finger-pointing are both noteworthy. He admits in his own post that his star has been sinking, because he admits to declining attendance at his round-table, and in his readership.

While admitting declines, he then lashes out with verbal challenges he posed to his long-time peers, and supporters. On several levels, they are stunning. 

Seemingly ignoring any suggestion that his or SECO’s Spencer Roane protection of scandal-challenged Tom Lackey – spotlighted by a mainstream media reporter Tyler Jett – was in any way flawed, he ignores those scandals and controversies, while lashing out at his peers and followers.

Allen – who his friends remind this writer knows and likes magic tricks – arguably attempts a series of verbal slights-of-hand.


Allen Lashes Out At Land Lease Community Owners, and Other Operations

Paraphrasing an unnamed source, Allen said:

I cringe every time I hear someone talk of these [land lease manufactured home] communities as being ‘cash cows’ – ready for the milking; real estate brokers casually talk of how easy it is to upgrade; and, others advocate ‘fix & flip’ strategies. Every time someone overpays for one of these communities, the writing is on the wall, warning the rest of us will suffer the consequences.”

While there are elements of tasteless wheat present in that quote, how many of his followers realize that it’s Allen, Roane, and Lackey who are putting the reputation of good communities or honest retailers at risk?

Haven’t the apparently unrepentant trio made themselves the poster children for yet another series of problematic reports that make our industry look bad? Haven’t they done so at the precise time manufactured homes (MH) are needed by millions?

Chutzpah firmly in hand, Allen plows ahead.

Your experience with neighboring communities that went downhill, reputation and appearance-wise, during 30 years of passing from one owner to another, is a sad but accurate testament to what happens when owners/operators don’t understand the cost of maintaining, let alone upgrading such properties; don’t have the funds to do so; or just don’t care,” the reportedly now-former MH Community owner Allen wrote.



Isn’t Allen describing the kind of problematic property that Tom Lackey is accused of running? If so, why isn’t he just calling him out, and calling for his ouster from the SECO planning committee? Why are MHInsider, and MHR promting this trio of trouble?

Allen continues, “There’s nary a land lease community owner reading these words who hasn’t experienced similar scenarios, whether they’ve suffered the consequences of being a neighbor to such malaise or profiteering – or, sorry to say, are guilty of it themselves! Yes, this is where the image improvement, affordable housing, and desirable lifestyle cycle begins and ends. Where do your properties fit into this perennial cycle?”

So, what are you doing; what are you willing to do, as a land lease community owner, to MAKE MANUFACTURED HOUSING GREAT AGAIN!?” said Allen.

Doesn’t he boldly ignore his, Roane’s, and Lackey’s hypocrisy? Isn’t the retired colonel finger-pointing in almost every direction – save the face in his mirror – odd, given he fails to hold himself or his colleagues to similar ethical standards?

Can you spell “Chutzpah,” George?  Are you colonel up to the challenge of debating all of this publicly, on video?


Here Comes Red Meat. Allen’s Shots at MHI, and a Swing-and-a-Miss at MHARR

In addressing the issue raised by MHARR about the lack of an effective post-production sector association, Allen says the following.

For example; it’s a given, HUD-Code housing manufacturers, the Big Three C firms in particular – who controlling 70%+/- national market share, are in the driver’s seat at the Manufactured Housing Institute they fund.”

On technical points, the soon—to-be-retiring Allen may not have noticed that the Skyline Champion deal closed Monday, so it’s no longer the 3Cs.

Skyline Champion Corporation Created as Skyline and Champion Home Builders Announce Closing of Business Combination, Exclusive Details

Nor did he notice the graphic below, which based upon their respective corporate data, reflects the fact that the big three now have 80 (+/-) percent of new HUD Code manufactured home production market share.


Allen’s points are interesting, and in a few moments, it will point to the challenge revealed in the trend spotlighted in the MHProNews graphic, above.

Factual errors aside, Allen’s next point is wheat.

Weak Link? The post-production sector,” wrote Allen – with post-production sector = code words for MHI. “In fairness, this industry observer can only opine on one of several sectors, that comprised of land lease community owners/operators nationwide. And yes, in my opinion, that sector continues to ‘go begging’ for attention and support, via advocacy and representation, within and outside Washington, DC. Not much [to] point [to] here, to repeat the ills and shortfalls of [MHI/NCC] leadership to date…”

What’s interesting, is that Allen has privately and in writing admitted his COBA7 isn’t an association, and doesn’t do the work of an association.


From a prior George Allen blog post.  The insights above are one of several reasons one can’t ignore the man, because he does make some arguably valid points – the wheat must be separated from the chaff.

The following is an extended, and interesting, extended quote from his June 4, 2018 blog. Typos are in the original (disclaimer/note: in our blizzard of publishing and other industry related work, we have typos too).

Referring to the same MHARR Press Release, five tasks are recommended for attention to MHI and or, as MHARR puts it, “a new independent, collective, national post-production association.”. Heavily edited, they include:

  • Aggressively engage in all aspects of manufactured housing consumer finance 1) including secondary market support for – and securitization of – all types of manufactured home loans…”, & 2) establish secondary market for home sales.
  • Effectively oppose local regulatory and zoning barriers to all forms of affordable housing, and the development of land lease communities.
  • Ensure reasonable, cost-effective housing installation and placement criteria promoting balance between regulation and affordability. Frost Free Foundations!
  • Promote professional property management within land lease communities, as well as strong, effective representation and advocacy on the national level.
  • Commit to and engage in national brand advertising, to stimulate and maintain growth and prosperity throughout the manufactured housing industry.

No question but that they’re many other measures to achieve this end, but it’s a start. Perhaps the overarching goal, among all manufactured housing-related trade sectors should simply, to

Make Manufactured Housing Great Again!

There are several points worth pondering in the above, which was inspired by MHARR’s June report, linked here.


Final Swipes, Allen’s Own Admissions, and Contradictory Praise 

Allen admits he’s no longer as diligent in writing, and is no longer as read as he once was. It’s a note of humility.

He praises other trade publications, including one where his own work appears. Go figure. It’s worth noting that he praised MHInsider, which in turn has recently promoted Allen again.  MHInsider did so, even after he, Roane, and Lackey have attracted a wave of negative media.  Those are the ‘insiders’ – their self-description – go figure.

But the oddity from the AllenWorld vantage point is that those periodicals are tilted strongly toward MHI, which Allen bashed moments before. If you want consistency in thought, is that Allen?

Then without naming the publications or the publisher he borrowed his blog post theme of – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again” – namely, MHProNews and MHLivingNews, he takes the following vague shot.

Quoting that part verbatim, without editing or filling in via [brackets] intended or implied words, he says of this publication team;

One online ezine, reportedly widely known – in this industry observer’s opinion – risks discrediting, as it brick bats those whose words and actions don’t mirror or support the editorial stance, and industry agenda, espoused by said ezine. One way to evaluate practitioners of such a fifth estate, is to number, identify, and critique the writing quality its’ stable of writers.”

It’s another classic Allenism, which only Allenites and Allen decoders can understand.  Keep in mind the “decoding Allen” tip from a former Allen client, found in the article linked below. “With George, it’s AAA.  All About Allen.”

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

Apparently, it is OK for Allen to critique the industry, which he clearly — and arguably, correctly —  believes that critique is necessary to advance the cause of manufactured housing.

Let’s underscore that point of his, because a good critique, and analysis are needed to make the manufactured housing industry great again.

Put differently, Allen is right to say that there are several festering issues that are harming the industry’s advancement.

But what some of Allen’s own followers tell MHProNews is this. It’s essential to have standards to base a critique on. It’s about principles, not mere posturing.  Lip service is posturing for an audience. Thus our topic on ethics, linked below.


NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

Allen and this writer agree on some issues, such as the troubling patterns, and arguably abject failures of MHI to represent the interests of the industry at large.

Despite numerous efforts by this writer over the years to bridge the gap with Allen, and get him off mere platitudes and to consistently focus on issues that matter, the reality is it hasn’t worked yet.


Allen’s Several Gifts to the MH Industry

All that said, the debatably plagiarizing, narcissistic Allen has done, and/or has attempted to do, the industry several favors.

Before diving in, in fairness to the veteran, one should ask the following questions. Why is Allen so wounded? What demons does he battle?

One possible example might be how he was allegedly betrayed by the Manufactured Housing Institute/National Communities Council (MHI/NCC). How so?

Per sources, a few years ago, MHI/NCC entered into discussions with Allen to buy out his annual roundtable event, his publishing, and training. After several discussions, there was ultimately no deal made.  But as part of the buyout discussions, MHI required Allen to enter into a non-disclosure agreement, and he revealed ‘everything’ to them during those discussions.

In turn, after failing to buy out Allen, MHI’s NCC division went into direct competition with a member/company.  What MHI/NCC did by going into competition with their own dues-paying member was outrageous on its face, isn’t it?

As MHI has thus far refused to provide MHProNews with their bylaws and other non-profit documentation, it is uncertain if they violated Allen’s rights in that sense. That said, objectively and ethically speaking, it seems like a clear conflict-of-interest for MHI to compete with a smaller, dues paying member company.


Nor is Allen alone in that regard, again per past and/or present MHI member statements.

In as much as Allen too has called out, and finally quit MHI and the NCC – the later of which he and others helped co-found – he’s also done the industry a favor.

Tossing aside the chaff, here’s a summary of the wheat.


Summary of the Good Wheat

Mistakes or allegations aside, “Allen and Roane” by example did the following for MHVille.

1)   Allen and Roane have shown the industry that motivated professionals can gather a group of hundreds of industry peers together.  SECO is a nonprofit, COBA7 – per sources – is not.  But they had the potential foundation for a genuine association.

2)   With the correct elements, a number of which MHARR has listed (see linked related resources, further below), a new post-production sector can be forged. Will there be one or more post-production trade associations? That remains to be seen.

3)   Allen has shown by painful example what MHI/NCC behavior looks like. What MHI/NCC did to Allen is copy several of his topics and services, and then proceed to give ‘them away with’ MHI/NCC memberships. That’s arguably unethical by MHI/NCC, and possibly illegal and/or legally actionable.

4)   Isn’t what MHI/NCC alleged to have done to Allen a variation on what MHI award winner Marty Lavin says the association has done for years?

5)   Putting that 4th point differently, Marty Lavin recently said that MHI works only for the interests of “the big boys.” The allegations, inferences – and by deductive reasoning – Allen and Lavin have made the following clear. If you aren’t a big boy operation, at MHI, your firm is a potential meal of a big boy.

Allen, Lavin, MHARR, we, and others have not necessarily been on the same page as to approaches. But all see the problems that have flowed from the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Frank Rolfe has sadly gone silent on this, allegedly enticed by Berkshire Hathaway ad dollars, and other benefits, per sources. But Rolfe was arguably correct in calling out MHI’s hypocrisy. He was debatably correct on saying that the industry’s greatest challenges are from within, i.e.: failures at MHI.

It’s on that point about MHI being a key part of the industry’s problem that:

  • Allen,
  • Lavin,
  • MHARR,
  • Rolfe,
  • Roane,
  • the AZ and NV associations – which are forming a new national communities/post-production trade association,
  • and MHProNews, thanks to those who’ve made this industry leading site possible,

…all have agreed upon.  It’s this.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

MHI’s antics tilt toward the interests of a few big companies, arguably at the expense of smaller companies.

7 Surprising Keys to Unlock Manufactured Housing Industry Sales Success

It’s sad that Allen has allegedly been wronged by an association he served for so many years. Perhaps there are good reasons for Allen’s bitterness, which may explain why he lashes out at voices – including ours – that share similar concerns.

It’s not our job to condemn anyone.  But it is the job of media – including trade media – to hold “the powers that be” accountable. Speaking “truth to power” isn’t easy or fun. It’s not to be done lightly.

  • To the extent Allen and others have raised the red flag about MHI, they are to be commended.
  • To the degree that Allen and others have arguably been wronged by MHI, they deserve justice.
  • To the degree that Allen, Roane, Lackey, and MHI have wronged others, they ought to make amends.

Again, in as much as various organizations or persons are failing to address the root issues that hold back the industry, for manufactured home professionals reading this, your share of the additional billions of dollars a year in sales are arguably being lost.

We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, fisking, fact checks, analysis, commentary.)

(Third party images, content, are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

HUD’s New Man, Officials Statements, with Insider Info Beyond the Media Releases

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?


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Spencer Roane w/Southeast Community Owners (SECO), Praises Tom Lackey, Accused of Rent-to-Own Manufactured Home Sales Improprieties

May 15th, 2018 Comments off


 We bought a trailer [1] that wasn’t really ours. I mean, it really hurt me.
My nerves have been tore up. I’ve been crying

Tonya Evans, a customer of Tom Lackey’s Stoney Pointe MH Community business.


Spencer Roane is an RV MH Hall of Fame Inductee, and is one of a group of manufactured home land-lease community owners who has organized the Southeast Community Owners (SECO) symposium. 

Among the features of the annual SECO gathering? 

Talks by Roane on a controversial use of a lease-to-own (rent-to-own) program that he has previously said can be used to “finance” the sale of manufactured homes.

Roane was asked by the Daily Business News about Tom Lackey, who stands accused of ‘selling’ pre-owned manufactured homes rent-to-own. More on Roane’s reaction and comments to the troubling accusations, later below.

But first, what exactly is creating such a troubling mainstream media stir? 


1) Terminology used is in the original, and isn’t the legally correct term. The homes in this sad story appear to be HUD Code manufactured homes, based upon photos, perhaps dating to the 1980s or 1990s.



Charges of “Selling” Homes “Rent to Own,” Without Titles

According to accusations reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Lackey and his business did not own the homes that he “sold” rent-to-own.

18 residents learned their homes would be auctioned off for back taxes.

Tonya Evans and her family had a jolt when “…about five weeks ago, county workers showed up and taped a yellow seizure notice to their house. They did the same with 17 other mobiles homes [1]  at Stoney Pointe and Blue Ridge Estates, located around the block on Schmitt Road. Nobody had paid property taxes for years,” per Times Free Press staff writer Tyler Jett.

Lackey reportedly did not return calls and messages from the Times Free Press.

Nor did Tom Lackey reply to a number of direct and indirect queries from the Daily Business News, that invited him to share his version of the highly-emotionally – and legally charged – allegations.  But oblique comments about Lackey were offered by a colleague, Spencer Roane.


Spencer Roane’s Comments on Tom Lackey


A SECO attendee who said they’re aware of the dynamics involved in this matter told MHProNews that ‘Spencer Roane has gone out of his way to protect Tom Lackey.’ 

Tom has been a member of our SECO planning group for several years. I couldn’t ask for a more professional, conscientious, or capable member of our team,” Roane said in a message to the Daily Business News.

Roane was asked about Lackey.  Roane was also asked about their often publicized to industry members ‘rent to own’ or ‘lease purchase option’ process.

I am somewhat familiar w/this situation [i.e; Lackey/Stoney Pointe] but am not comfortable commenting on it, except to say that lease-option contracts are [a] complicated, legally enforceable means of transferring ownership of MHs in some states,” Roane said.  

Roane added, “I’ve bcc’ed Tom on this msg. He will contact you if he wants to discuss it.” 

The SECO website shows Lackey on their planning team.


Editorially, MHProNews believes that the majority of the industry’s professionals are honorable people. Every industry or profession has so-called ‘bad actors.’ Manufactured housing is no exception. But unlike many other industries, manufactured housing is routinely portrayed in a negative fashion in media reports. When allegations are false, they should be disputed. When allegations are true, ignoring them doesn’t help the industry, its home owners and leaves a problematic impression for potential buyers. An industry that policies itself may more often avoid such problems, and thus could avoid onerous legislation or regulations that can result from the ‘bad actions’ of a few. About the case of Tom Lackey and Stoney Pointe, all that is known at this time is as shown and linked. Lackey would not accept the Daily Business News’ offer to have him and/or his attorney explain their version of the events described in the Times Free Press.  To learn more about our view of the industry, its professional and overall happy home owners, click the related report below.” We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Happy MH Owners? Good Professional Actors? Overlooked, “Honorable People”

Apparently, Lackey did not want to explain his view on what took place with Tonya Evans, her family, and 17 other households that live in his community. Should he and/or his attorney offer a comment, we can update this report.



George Allen, photo credit,

Blogger, COBA7 owner, and RV MH Hall of Famer retired Col. George Allen – who has been played a role in the SECO program – declined comment on the troubling story.   

I’m somewhat familiar with the matter. No comment from here,”  Allen said to the Daily Business News via email.  

As Allen’s COBA7 followers and others know, Allen has promoted Roane’s rent-to-own program and SECO for several years.  


What Local Authorities Said

Dealer rules and regulations are very clear,” said Danny Sane, the tax commissioner of Whitfield County. “You’re not supposed to be able to sell a car or a mobile home without the title in your name.”

Sane called the bill of sale ‘worthless,’ per the Times Free Press.

Walker County Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker said, Mr. Lackey must go through the proper proceedings before he can legally rent, or sell the mobile home [1],” Walker said in an email to the Times Free Press. Their report indicated that Lackey never obtained those titles to the manufactured homes they were ‘selling’ when he purchased the community in 2014.


Evans Paid Cash 

While most of Lackey’s customers were presumably ‘buying’ rent-to-own, Evans and her husband reportedly paid cash for their home.

Now, they’ve packed up and moved on, saying they had been defeated. 

What impact, if any, this has on Stoney Pointe, Lackey, SECO, COBA7 attendees and their followers is not easy to predict.  But some consequences wouldn’t be surprising.  And what will those various residents who thought they would become owners do?

The Times Free Press has signaled that this is going to be an ongoing investigation by their publication.


Will the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) step in and comment on this troubling case? On rent-to-own a.k.a. ‘lease purchase option’ so-called ‘sales’?


A source familiar with the matter from Georgia had this off-the-record comment, “…this is common among Community Owner’s because states don’t have appropriate abandoned housing laws, these guys buy a community and can’t move a home because it has ten years back taxes to pay for because customer died 8 years ago and family want moved the home. Doesn’t mean it’s right though. Georgia has a new Abandoned housing law that goes in effect July 1st that will help avoid this in the future.”

In the era of Google and internet-driven news searches, this is likely to be an ongoing image issue for many other community operators, and arguably the industry at large.  

It is part of what MHI award-winner Marty Lavin, JD,  has called tongue-in-cheek the industry’s “other image campaign.”

Lavin was travelling, and was not able to comment on the specific concerns in this case.  But he has previously noted the principles that people should pay more attention to what people do than what they say, and to follow the money.

  • Will the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) weigh in on the troubling issue?
  • Will MHI defend the reputation of those who strive day-by-day to serve their customers properly? 
  • Will Lackey respond to our numerous attempts to get him to comment on his version of these incidents? 
  • The Chattanooga Times Free Press news report is linked here. ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

(Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.) 


[1] The terminology shown is in the original, and isn’t the proper legal name for the kind of home being described. To learn more about terminology and general industry facts, click here. MHProNews encourages mainstream media, and all others too, to use the proper terminology for each type of home. 

Update, on the record comments from GMHA (5.15.2018 at 11:43 AM ET):


Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

We [GMHA] recognized the state had an issue and so we utilized the legislative process to rectify the problem. We know this [new] law is sound. We used the Alabama law for precedence and invited the states magistrate judges, tax commissioners, and bankers to the table. We worked together for two years until we had 100% agreement,” said Jay Hamilton, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) to MHProNews.

The Daily Business News pressed the GMHA, in a follow up, about Tom Lackey, Stoney Pointe, and the details of this specific matter.  In their follow up reply, Hamilton said via a text message the following.

The GMHA can’t comment on the specifics of such matters,” the GMHA executive director said.

But in general, when a potentially problematic issue exists with a member, there is a code of conduct and process the GMHA follows.”

The association is always focused on resolving underlying issues, and doing so in a manner that respects consumers and members alike,” Hamilton said to MHProNews.

Related Reports:

Governor Signs new “Mobile Home” Act

NPR’s Syringa Mobile Home Park Story, Revisited by Community Owner


Community Co-Owner/Manager View On Richard Jennison and the Manufactured Housing Institute StatePoint Advertorial


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