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Whistleblower! Ex-Clayton Homes Team Member on TV Denounces Manufactured Housing Giant’s Practices

December 5th, 2018 No comments

 

WhistlblowerExClaytonHomesTeamMemberOnTVDenouncesManufacturedHousingGiantsPracticesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Foreword: a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member messaged our publisher, “You seem to have conceptual IQ [and] that is more important than spelling ability.”

 

That there are divisions in manufactured housing ought to be self-evident. That’s true for any industry or large group. But among the many questions that ought to be asked, are those divisions in manufactured housing (MH) bad?

Are some distinctions within the MH Industry useful — or even good?

Within companies there are different points of view too.  The larger the organization, the more points of view will exist.

It goes without saying that Clayton denies recurring allegations that have surfaced in 2018, that have been visible for some years in mainstream media. Before we get into the Clayton whistleblower mainstream TV news video, this topic is serious enough where it merits a giant step back for perspective.

 

MH Divisions

It goes without saying that neither MHI, nor the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), are entirely monolithic organizations. Because there are some dual members of both national trade groups, there have at times been some in MHVille that mistakenly believe that the two are one in the same.

Hardly. A close look at the track records of the two trade groups make it abundantly clear that there are real differences in style, goals, and more.

There are those in manufactured housing who believe there should only be one national trade group.  To that point – we ask, if that is logical – then why are there so many trade groups in:

  • Mainstream housing: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Association of Realtors (NAR), Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and on down the list or remodeling, finance, and more.
  • Automotive – According to Wikipedia, there are some 29 pages of associations in the automotive field. Just starting with A: Auto Care Association. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. American Automobile Association. American Highway Users Alliance. American Hot Hod Association. American Motor League. Association of Global Automakers.
  • How about RVs? There are producers, dealers, owners, suppliers, and a plethora of trade groups that represent the varied interests of Recreation Vehicles (RVs). FYI – for those who aren’t into RVing, an RV is not just a motorized vehicle, towable RVs are a huge part of the RV business. Some of those towable RVs are de facto a competitor to manufactured housing.  FEMA orders for RVs vs. MH are but one example.

So, if there are so many trade associations in other industries, why are there so few manufactured housing national trade groups?

That is arguably a problem for the manufactured housing industry.  There are inherent conflicts of interest in having manufactured home (MH):

  • Communities
  • Producers
  • Suppliers
  • Lenders and Financial Services
  • Retailers
  • Transporting and Installation
  • Professional Services and more

all in one trade association.

The proof is found in the results vs. the claims of MHI.  For all the bluster and what one ex-MHI member called their ‘Razzle Dazzle’ at appealing getaway spots, the declining sales of HUD Code manufactured housing for two straight months is all the evidence needed that MHI is at its core ineffective at best.  The report hot-linked via the box below can be read later for greater depth of understanding of this issue.

 

“Pants on Fire” – Latest New Manufactured Housing Shipment Report

 

As fabled author Adam Smith said in the Wealth of Nations,People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Merely readingantitrust guidelines at an MHI meeting doesn’t automatically mean that monopolistic activity isn’t at play. When a high-profile congressional representative (see further below) and others in Congress raised that very concern about monopoly, why haven’t others in manufactured housing trade media done the same, save MHProNews?

 

The Elephant in the Room 

It was almost funny when some years ago when a now-former MHI leader said at one of their meetings that the ‘elephant in the room’ was Danny Ghorbani and MHARR. That’s a tip of the hat to the outsized-shadow they’ve cast, but the obvious actual elephant in the room is Clayton Homes, and the array of Berkshire Hathaway brands working in manufactured housing.

There is one kind of value to having Berkshire in manufactured housing, but it arguably already existed with Sam Zell of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) fame and is limited to this next point.

Warren Buffett has given his seal of approval on the common sense value of manufactured housing.

But beyond that, there has been years of “consolidation” of manufactured housing production, retail, lending, supply, and more in our industry ever since Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway entered our industry.

Our HUD Code manufactured home industry’s sales have overall declined – not rose – since Clayton and Oakwood were acquired by Berkshire.

 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

See related report, linked here.

 

There are a variety of reasons why the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued that there must be one or more new post-production trade groups. We’ll refer readers to MHARR’s report, when they declined expanding to compete with MHI, because they believe that the industry should be more like housing, automotive or other industries with a myriad of representative bodies.  That is a natural way of blocking conflicts of interest that are arguably evident at MHI.

 

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

 

It should be noted that the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) was achieved when MHARR, MHI and state association came together on areas of mutual interest.  But that is different than unity under one umbrella, which has demonstrably resulted in far lower shipment levels than existed in the late 1990s.

Kevin Clayton has been in the mainstream news several times in recent weeks, since the MHProNews exclusive in the hot-linked box below was published.

GIGO, Esther Sullivan, Clayton Homes, Boston Globe, GSMOL on ‘Manufactured Insecurity-Mobile Home Parks and Americans’ Tenuous Right to Place’

 

But the reality is that what could have been done in 2011 to promote the industry and growth – according to Kevin’s own statement in a friendly video interview – has been allowed to drag on until 2018.  For whatever reasons, there is no denying that what MHI and Clayton have done in the last two years has had no appreciable change in the modest growth the industry has had, especially when compared to the strong growth of the RV industry.

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

RVsshipmentsTrailedMH1998WinnebagoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

So while

  • MHI’s Lesli Gooch has defended Clayton/Berkshire against charges of monopolizing the industry in a response to Doug Ryan at Prosperity Now, or
  • Clayton Homes has denied to local, regional, and national media the varied allegations against them,

there is also no denying that the claims keep popping up. In fact, when MHProNews offers MHI or Knoxville’s brands the opportunity to respond to reports like this, they’ve passed.  Why, if they had a good defense, would they miss out on the opportunity?

It is arguably absurd that the elected leadership of MHI’s current and prior 2 chairman have had serious negative media coverage, and yet have been allowed to continue as chair.  What image does that give the outside world about manufactured housing, or MHI?

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIBoardofDirectors1242018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It is also absurd that that all three of the current and prior chairs have clear and deep ties to Berkshire Hathaway.  The real elephant in the room is Clayton and the Berkshire brands. If they want to claim leadership of the industry – and MHI and Clayton repeatedly do so – then the results of the industry logically fall at their feet.

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Louisiana is one of the top ten states for manufactured home shipments in recent years, per data collected by HUD and reported by MHARR. Clayton Homes has a serious presence in the state. Yet, sales are declining. Why???

And those results have been towards ever more consolidation of the industry in the hands of a few, including Clayton Homes and their sister companies involved in manufactured housing.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

One more point must be made. When the allegations of racism and other claims of financing malfeasance were lodged against Clayton and their related lenders – 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – first surfaced, MHProNews and MHLivingNews leapt to their defense. Why?  Because we knew of no such examples, and asking some industry pros, they said similarly.

Lies, Advocacy Journalism and Statistics – Seattle Times/BuzzFeed Attacks, Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes Defends – charges of Racism and Discrimination – Critical Analysis

 

But as the claims have continued, and other facts emerged, we looked deeper.  Our understanding of the issues has matured, in part with input from others in manufactured housing.  Unlike MHI or Clayton, which rarely wants to admit in public an error, our publisher has said ‘mea culpa’ several times, as we have pivoted to our clarified understanding.

 

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesMarketShareManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews-e1528746976415

With that tee up, we now show the video from the Clayton headquarters – the Knoxville metro’s own TV news media – is shown below.

 

 

Former Clayton Team Member Blows the Whistle on TV on Clayton Homes Business Practices

With that backdrop is this ongoing controversy about Clayton Homes and concerns over racism and unjust lending practices.

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Maxine Waters is among those who signed the letter that this local Knoxville TV news media report reflects.

ClaytonHomesSubsidiariesDiscriminateLowModerateIncomeMinorityBuyersHighCostLoansLeaveMaxineWatersCA-DClaytonlogo21stMortgageLogoVanderbiltMortgageLogo

One of several reasons to provide this to 2018 Knoxville TV news report to industry members at this time is that Waters will likely become the next chairperson for the important House Financial Services Committee.

 

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U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Mike Capuano (D-MA). Image credit, Twitter, Wikipedia.

 

Waters has called Clayton and Berkshire ‘near monopolies.’ That charge may take on new meaning in 2019. The Democrats have an anti-monopoly plank in their revised platform.

 

As the Daily Business News on MHProNews has previously documented, there are voices across the left-right divide that are seeing the challenges to small and independent businesses from monopolies.

Monopolies and growing consolidation over time causes ripples in costs to consumers, and for employment opportunities and thus wages too.

Some will act out of habit and ‘stroke the check’ to renew their MHI membership.

Others will feel compelled for reasons that sources say are akin to RICO related concerns.

For those who don’t want to be part of feeding the hand that bites them, this is a good time to step back and decide to cancel membership in Berkshire dominated MHI, and explore other options.

To learn more, see the related reports, and click on the hot-linked boxes further below.

Finally, it should be noted that Berkshire vice-chairman, and longtime Warren Buffet partner, Charlie Munger has said on camera that he doesn’t doubt that some wrongdoing has occurred.

 

 

While denying the thrust of the anti-Clayton claims, Warren Buffett has said similarly to what Munger has said.

It’s a complex puzzle.  But MHProNews is committed to providing the facts that unravel the fog in a way that no others in MH trade media will give you.  That way, you can make more informed decisions to operate your business.

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies, and opportunities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Related Reports: Click the Boxes Below to Read More…

Center for Public Integrity – Stunning Clayton Homes-Warren Buffett-Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Home Lending Truth Outs

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing – MHVille, It’s Not a Matter Open to Interpretation

Housing Choice, Where Modular, Manufactured, Tiny, Conventional Housing Crisis, MHI and MHARR Intersect

Crisis of Misinformation, Fact Checks, and Manufactured Housing

New York Times-David Leonhardt-“The Monopolization of America,” Manufactured Housing Slant

#$2Trillion U.S. GDP Growth via Affordable Housing Plan Few Discuss – Introducing #YimbyVictory2020

 

 

 

 

New Featured Articles Scheduled to Go-Live by 11 PM May 2

May 1st, 2015 Comments off

15-minutes-daily-feed-the-mind-improve-results-shutterstock-ipadcredit-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-(3)Due to an extended Inside MH Road Show, the prior week at the MHI Congress and Expo, pending special announcements and other factors, the new Featured Articles (FAs) on MHProNews are scheduled to go live by approximately 11 PM May 2nd.

Until then, you’ll find recent articles on MHLivingNews.com, such as:

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/tyson-blattner-purdue-university-grad-student-on-manufactured-home-living-inside-mh-video-interview/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/who-knows-manufactured-home-reality-the-best/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/olga-pecanac-olgas-place-westville-indiana-inside-mh-road-show-video-interview/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/take-another-manufactured-home-tour-inside-mh-road-show-model-video/

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/evan-atkinson-walnut-model-home-tour-inside-mh-video-road-show/

During our recent road show, we captured over 40 video interviews, three manufacturers and multiple retailers and communities, plus dozens of MH home owners and community residents. These videos will help inform the public to better understand and appreciate our homes and industry, directly from those who know it best.

Since all leaders are readers, odds are good that you are or aspire to leadership in your organization and the MH Industry. Our team thanks you for your understanding and dedication to advancing the cause of manufactured housing. ##

(Graphic Credit: Shutterstock/MHProNews.com)

Accessing Washington’s Political Power Brokers? Open your Vault.

October 30th, 2014 Comments off

campaign-finance-2-michael-francis-daily-business-news-mhpronews-2With the mid-term elections just a halfway point to the 2016 Presidential Election, the topic of donations to candidates once again has us in disbelief in the obvious padding of campaign war chests from Goliath donors.

Foster’s Daily Democrat  are among those telling MHProNews  that it’s no secret that poorly funded candidates tend to lose and well-funded candidates often win. $100 million dollars spent in a Senate race in North Carolina can buy a victory with an avalanche of TV, radio, internet and social media ads, glossy resumes and promises in your mailbox while volunteers knock at your door.

A CNN  investigation reported that since lobbyists can no longer give elected officials junkets to exotic lands, the candidates are inviting the lobbyists to lavish parties. Come for free, CNN reported, but the suggested donation to the Senator or Congressperson is $2500.

In the most expensive gubernatorial race this cycle, Florida heads the list, with an estimated $77 million spent to air over 137,000 ads. Florida is followed by Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Michigan.

According to the reporting of OpenSecrets, an organization tracking political donations and spending, overall ad spending has broken $1 billion in federal elections and state governors’ races, with the total number of ads exceeding 2.2 million.

Top outside groups

According to OpenSecrets, Team Blue (Democrat) managed to force its way into the top echelon of big-spending outside groups – but Republican-leaning groups still occupy the majority of the slots at the top of the list of big spenders.

The outside group with the highest outlays this cycle is Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC closely affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); it has spent $42.6 million. But Senate Majority falls to second on the list when super PAC American Crossroads and politically active nonprofit Crossroads GPS — the tandem of outside groups associated with Karl Rove — are considered together. These two – legally separate organizations, each of which have reported less spending than Senate Majority PAC — work closely; when their efforts are combined, their total spending comes to $46.8 million, giving them the title of top-spending outside organization this cycle. In 2010, this same pair was the top-spending organization, reporting a total of $38.2 million.

The remaining six members of the top 10 outside spending groups are conservative (including American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS). The Chamber of Commerce has disclosed spending $33.5 million this cycle and the National Rifle Association has spent $27.2 million, according to reports filed with the FEC.

Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC that emerged from a network of dark money groups connected to the libertarian political financiers David and Charles Koch, received its first donation just four months ago, but rocketed to eighth on the list of top-spending outside groups, with $18.9 million. David and Charles Koch each gave $2 million to the group.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he number one donor of disclosed outside money is hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, followed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has given $20 million to super PACs, of which 98 percent went to liberal or Democratic recipients.

But despite those top two donors, conservative donors dominate the top 20 — 15 of them are conservative. The three other liberal donors are: Fred Eychaner ($7.9 million), George Soros ($3.5 million) and hedge-funder James Simons (and his wife Marilyn), who have given $3 million.

The top conservative donor to outside groups is Paul Singer, of hedge fund Elliott Management, who has given $9.3 campaign-finance-2-michael-francis-daily-business-news-mhpronews-million. Last cycle’s top donor — both to outside groups and overall — was Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, who with his physician wife Miriam gave $92 million. This cycle, the Adelsons have given $5 million.

Other prominent conservative donors include Linda and Vince McMahon, who have given $2.6 million, and Robert McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans football team who together have given $3 million.

Topping the list of organizations contributing money to outside groups is the National Education Association, which has given a whopping $22.4 million to outside groups. Following the NEA are a slew of other labor unions — the Carpenters & Joiners Union ($11.2 million), the AFL-CIO ($7.6 million) and AFSCME ($6 million). These unions gave almost exclusively to liberal outside groups.

Whether we break it down by Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, a SuperPAC, a labor organization, a Special Interest Group, or just a person with a net worth more than some countries, they all want the same thing. Unfettered access to elected officials at the highest levels: The Senate, The House of Representatives, and most of all, the White House.

You decide if that donation can sway a decision on a crucial piece legislation that hurts the American public but helps those with the keys to the vault. ##

(Photo credits: Shutterstock)

michael-francis-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-(Submitted by Michael Francis to Daily Business News – MHProNews.)

(Editor’s Note: MH related election commentary at this link.)