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Tic Toc – July 4th, Tim Williams 21st Mortgage, John Greiner, JD, Graydon Law – Message Review

July 5th, 2019 Comments off

TicTockJuly4thTimWilliams21stMortgageCorpJohnGreinerJDGraydonLawMessageReviewDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Part of the ‘secret’ for legal victories can be consistency, procedures, and documentation.

 

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOMHProNews

Tim Williams, prior MHI chairman, president and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp, photo credit, MHProNews.com

There is little doubt that Tim Williams, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage Corporation and his company has vastly more experience in legal matters than our far more modest operation does.

It should similarly stand to reason that the outside attorney for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), John “Jack” C. Greiner with Graydon Law would likewise have more experience in legal matters than little ole us. Per Graydon’s website, “Jack is a commercial litigator with an emphasis on communications and media law. He is one of the region’s leading advocates for governmental transparency.” Transparency, how interesting. That’s one we’ll all have to place in our memory file. Jack, should nonprofits, corporations, and their officers be transparent too?

That said, it would not be surprising if they would agree with the first sentence at the top. Juries and judges look for consistency, evidence, facts, and common sense.  The court system – judges and juries – also keep an eye out in cases for inexplicable, odd, or behavior that is in conflict with their stated claims. It’s been many years since we’ve been involved in any litigation, over a decade in fact. Though it is rarely fun, we recall the lessons, and have routinely been successful on the rare occasions it was necessary.

The truth backed by evidence is an often powerful thing. My hunch is that the other side has carefully researched that claim, and knows it to be accurate.  

 

Consistency?

In 2017, 2018, and 2019 were some of the years when messages and letters were sent to the management of MHProNews by attorneys for MHI, as well as by purported surrogates for the Arlington, VA based trade group. Those messages were threats, legal or not, and arguably attempts at intimidation.

Part of our consistent response has been to call out those actions publicly but also to invite them to reply to our many fact-checks, related analysis, and reports. In early 2017 and previously, responses from Berkshire Hathaway brands and/or MHI were swift, as numerous articles and letters published over the years reflects. Williams was among several MHI leaders who publicly praised this publication publicly and in writing.

 

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It was apparently only as reasonable answers to reasonable questions posed by MHProNews became elusive for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis that they stopped replying directly.  But they often used indirect means to communicate, including those noted above. 

Those patterns of behavior could prove relevant in several ways the days ahead.

 

Shifting Sands in Washington and Beyond

The dynamics in Washington, D.C. are shifting rather significantly in recent months. There are some things, as Warren Buffett correctly observed, that just take time.

·        Antitrust drums are heating up on both sides of the left-right political aisle.

·        More in Congress are talking and writing about the Duty to Serve, and why it hasn’t been fully implemented with respect to manufactured housing.

·        Affordable housing, homelessness, zoning, regulatory barriers, and even enhanced preemption are being discussed by more people in and out of the industry.

Slow, steady progress is apparently being made.

Those are all topics that are largely found in manufactured housing trade media only on MHProNews and MHLivingNews. Why? The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has been on several of those topics for years, to their credit.

But by contrast, MHI sycophants are mute or deflect from those topics. Why?

MHI themselves tout their latest photo op, their latest lightly viewed videos, or the newest bill that they support. Those are all apparent razzle dazzle, but where is the beef?

Where are the bottom line results as measured by new manufactured home shipments?  Given the MHI claim that they are the umbrella trade group that should ‘lead’ the industry, what direction has that MHI leadership actually taken MHVille at large?

The facts speak loudly.

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Tic Toc, Tic Toc… 

Moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years go by. Some things only gain clarity from the passage of time and consistent observations. As Warren Buffett aptly said, the rear view mirror is clearer than the windshield. This is a point of agreement between our publication and Mr. Buffett.

 

InBusinessWorldRearViewMirroIsAlwaysClearerThantheWindshieldWarrenBuffettMHProNews

 

It was about 5 years ago that we brought to the industry’s attention the full length video version of this now better-known 18 second video clip.

  

 

That comment by MHI’s president made no sense at the time, but in hindsight it was arguably a piece of a puzzle. 

Because it was an odd and embarrassing MHI comment, not long after, during a time when Tim Williams at 21st was still in rapid-reply mode with MHProNews, and while this writer was still an MHI member, MHProNews asked Williams/21st – then MHI’s chairman – to have MHI’s Jennison clean that comment up publicly.

Williams agreed.

Jennison, no doubt with Williams’ prompting, did so on video camera and in front of dozens of industry professionals.  MHI’s president pledged both that the industry could achieve 500,000 new HUD Code manufactured home shipments as well as promised the passage of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. 

 

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

 

Neither one has come to pass. Both are part of the MHI Orwellian ‘memory hole.’ 

Words can be cheap at MHI, it seems?  

JohnCGreinerAttorneyPhotoGraydonlawLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsWith the industry now into its ninth month of year-over-year downturn, MHProNews sent the following to Tim Williams/21st, John Greiner, and one of Greiner’s colleagues at Graydon Law. Greiner is MHI’s outside attorney assigned, said Greiner, to monitor our website.  MHI members, that’s where part of your dues are going to, why not rather to suing cities like Bryan, TX for failure to abide by enhanced preemption

That logical but rhetorical question aside, the meat of that message’s contents is shown below, between the dashed lines.

 

 

Subject: Tim, a formal request for you/MHI

Tim,

1)    Let me hereby request copies of any and all audio or other recordings, notes, emails or any records in any format relative to our discussion in Las Vegas during the dinner we shared with your colleagues from Berkshire Hathaway brands in the context of that year’s Congress and Expo.

2)    You and/or your colleagues are also hereby invited to respond to any of our recent or other reports.  See the below. Please email those for our mutual accuracy in handling said comments.

Thank you. 

Tony

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/but-i-was-born-free/

Other articles are linked from the forward below. Thank you. 

tk

 

The screen capture that documents that email is found below.

 

TimWilliams21stMortgageCorpJohnCJackGrienerGraydonLawManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIOutsideattorneyMHProNews

 

We will report back on what response, if any, is obtained. 

Until then, let this be kept in mind by investors, professionals, researchers, public officials, attorneys, investigators and others.

·        There is an affordable housing crisis.  Yet with numerous positive reports that debunk the myths and misconceptions often held by the public, somehow, magically, the industry is shirking in new home shipments? Why are MHI staff given bonuses instead of being terminated for lack of performance?

·        HUD Secretary Ben Carson has valiantly laid out a thoughtful case for manufactured housing.

·        On MHI’s own website, examples of those important topics are difficult or impossible to find, and Carson’s fine speeches are not to be found.

·        Manufactured housing is now into 9 months of year-over-year declining shipments.

 

By contrast, on MHARR’s website, topics like “enhanced preemption” are easy to find several articles. An MHI state affiliate successfully obtained a letter from HUD invoking enhanced preemption, so why not MHI? Yet MHARR is a fraction of the size of MHI, and has been online only a fraction of the time that MHI has.

Which association is doing their stated job better?

To George F. Allen’s [past] credit, his blog does raise some of these same issues and concerns.  But he has contradicted himself in arguing in recent months for MHI, the Berkshire brands, and larger community operators that behaved in problematic ways – per Allen.  Rephrased, Allen – without public explanation, other than what sources say is a compensated flip-flop – has gone from criticizing Clayton, 21st, MHI and others, to now being their cheer leader.

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Frank Rolfe swore off commenting about MHI further publicly, but he and Dave Reynolds recently took this swipe at MHI. They are MHI members, taking a shot at their own trade group. http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/frank-rolfe-dave-reynolds-both-finger-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-failures-in-writing-again/

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More on this below.

Allen, more recently has called for a boycott of this publication, a possible antitrust violation, and has urged his readers to only read other trade media in manufactured housing that he has personally approved.  Ironically, one of those publications – Kurt Kelley’s – has praised our work, and said that they are leaving our call for accountability to us.  Interesting, isn’t it?

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Indeed, Kelley has contributed to MHProNews numerous times over the years, and has commented on political topics too. He published an article by Berkshire Hathaway unit manager Joanne Stevens, which without mentioning MHI, was clearly slamming them for what her article in MHR saw as a failure of industry preparation for obvious attacks on the industry.

 

Some things take time.  With a shifting political climate in America, it may only be a question of time before topics and issues found only on MHProNews, MHLivingNews or on the MHARR websites may become more common headlines and topics elsewhere in Washington, and then the mainstream media.

 

Unorthodox 

This writer freely admits that some of what we have done in trade publishing has been unconventional by MHIndustry standards. It was also never my or our publications’ ambition to stumble into troubling facts via news tips about the underlying causes for so many of our industry’s woes. But once discovered, where we supposed to ignore them?  Turn a blind eye as others do?  Cower in fear over every threat? 

If the industry is to regain its former glory and surpass it while independents still have an opportunity, it will only happen when enough honest professionals and other people of good will stand up and force the issues.

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April data reflects month 8th of the downturn, with nary a whimper from MHI or the big boys. Why?

That said, what has harmfully impacted thousands of independents in manufactured housing has arguably been largely avoidable, and it has harmed the interests of millions of our fellow Americans. Unconventional situations can’t always be addressed in the normal ways.

 

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There are several factors that should be understood to explain the rises and falls in the sales, production, and shipments of new factory-built homes during the varied mobile home and manufactured home eras. One should not be overly simplistic. That said, the historic trend is far higher than it has been since Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders. Political and other factors enter into the mix as well.

Keep in mind, we’ve spotlighted examples of these topics for years, beyond having the most extensive coverage of industry stocks, business and other news. A first look at our June 2019 traffic suggests a record month for readership. Our thanks to readers like your, our business development clients, and our sponsors who make this possible.

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MHProNews’ parent operation demonstrated to MHI over the course of years options for lending, and ways to improve image at a low cost. For years, even though our parent operation as an MHI member showed the way to grow business, MHI leaders ignored those options. Why? Could it be that slow growth or negative growth allowed more consolidation and at a cheaper price for big boy companies

 

Given the choice, thoughtful professionals can discern fluff and cheerleading from logic, fact-checks, and evidence. Perhaps that’s why we are the industry’s most read, and the others that cheerlead for MHI merely lag behind. The manufactured housing industry is arguably engaged in an undeclared war, and has been since 2003.  The big boys have decided to conquer MHVille, and the remaining independents have to recognize and decide to sell out, fold, or resist. The odds favor the big boys, but when the 13 colonies declared their Independence the odds favored the Brits of that era. This too is doable. This undeclared war is winnable. 

ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhoto

When the 13 colonies declared their independence from Britain, they were taking on the most powerful army and navy in the world. The odds were against the rebels. But after a long struggle, the U.S. became independent. Freedom is never free. It always comes at a cost. But the price is lower, and the cause of freedom far nobler, than the cost of bondage and servitude.

We Provide, You Decide.” © Dig into the related and linked reports above and below to round out the picture. Let’s restore the American Dream, starting with an understanding of Independence Day. ## (News, analysis, fact-checks, and commentary. All third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Reports:

Click on the hot-linked text-image boxes below to learn more.

“But I Was Born Free”

 

 

 

Nobility Homes Bucks National Trends, Reported Serious Growth, plus Manufactured Home Stock Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insights on Manufactured Housing From Obama White House Federal Archives

June 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

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There is an affordable housing crisis, as HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been stressing for some time.

 

To fully grasp the value of a bipartisan approach to addressing what has arguably been going wrong with the most proven form of affordable housing in America – manufactured homes – it is relevant to look back.  Snapshots and details from prior handling of manufactured homes paint a picture that professionals, advocates, legislators, and others can consider.

During the Obama Administration, there is a federal archive, dubbed: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov.

From that, the following information has been harvested from the “ExpectMore.gov” pages.

In section 1.3 of the information quoted at length, below, is this: “The [Manufactured Housing Improvement] Act provides that the Federal construction and safety standards for manufactured homes pre-empt all state and local building codes. Therefore, no other Federal, state or local program has any authority in this area.”

That may bear repeating. So let’s do so.

The [Manufactured Housing Improvement] Act provides that the Federal construction and safety standards for manufactured homes pre-empt all state and local building codes. Therefore, no other Federal, state or local program has any authority in this area.”

In that context, consider what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) published in their recent letter to HUD Secretary Carson, found as a download from the link below.

 

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Photo of Commodore Homes model, MHARR logo, are provided under fair use guidelines. See article and letter to Secretary Carson, linked here. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-calls-on-hud-secretary-to-end-discriminatory-and-exclusionary-zoning-of-hud-regulated-manufactured-homes/

 

But there is much more in this assessment from the Obama Archive that merits consideration.  Numbers of concerns that the public at large has held for years are debunked by the federal findings published below.

One of the topics addressed is resale values.  The FHFA and the National Association of Realtors both published research in 2018 that reflect the appreciation of manufactured homes. Note too that this appreciation is occurring despite the lack of a full and proper implementation of the Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

The report that follows is summed up as follows, per that same source.

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Having set the table, let’s dive into Obama Administration archive era federal report.

 

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 – Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score
1.1 Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: Yes. By establishing and enforcing uniform Federal construction and safety standards, the program’s purpose is to protect the residents of manufactured homes from personal injury, property damage and insurance costs; to advance the quality, durability, safety and affordability of manufactured homes; and to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes and increase homeownership for all Americans.

Evidence: The purposes of program are set forth in the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 as Amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (The Act).

YES 20%
1.2 Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Prior to the Act, manufactured housing historically had lacked the quality, durability and safety of site-built homes. With the enforcement of uniform Federal safety and construction standards, the quality and safety of manufactured homes has significantly improved. Standardized oversight and inspection of design and construction has also reduced the cost and administration to manufacturers that have a common set of standards.

Evidence: Committee hearing testimony from 1974 documented the numerous safety and quality problems with pre-HUD code homes. Studies by the National Fire Protection Association and HUD showing that civilian fire deaths in HUD units built from 1980 to 1996 were 64% lower than for pre-HUD units. Similar reductions for injuries and property damage were also found. HUD standards also reduced complaints of formaldehyde exposure from 1500 to nearly zero in 1984. Newly published HUD report on Hurricane Charley documenting improved performance of manufactured homes built to the wind standards published in 1994 following Hurricane Andrew.

YES 20%
1.3 Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The Act provides that the Federal construction and safety standards for manufactured homes pre-empt all state and local building codes. Therefore, no other Federal, state or local program has any authority in this area. The Act also provides that individual states may apply to participate in the enforcement of the program as State Administrative Agencies (SAAs).

Evidence: The preemptive nature of the Act and the regulations requiring HUD approval before a state may participate in the enforcement of the Act.

YES 20%
1.4 Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program’s effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The program allows HUD to establish national standards for the construction and safety of manufactured homes, and further allows HUD to act in multiple ways to enforce those standards. HUD can receive information indicating that a serious defect or imminent safety hazard may exist in a class of manufactured homes from the monitoring contractor, an SAA or through a consumer complaint. HUD can then act by investigating the information and issuing a preliminary determination, as can its 38 state SAA partners. In the 12 states without an SAA, only HUD may take such action. A potential flaw in the design of the program is the difficulty ensuring that the In Plant Inspection Agents (IPIAs) who are employed by the production plants remain sufficiently independent and report all violations.

Evidence: No recommendations to fundamentally restructure the program have been made during its 29-year existence; however, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 gave HUD additional authority to design installation standards and a dispute resolution program.

YES 20%
1.5 Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program’s purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: The program has the ability to target program activities and resources to the agencies and program partners demonstrating the greatest problems. For example, a manufacturer and its in-plant primary inspection agency (IPIA) that demonstrates a higher than average number of failures to conform after a HUD-sponsored audit, or an increased number of failures to conform would be subject to “follow-up” audits. ” As part of these audits, an IPIA operating in a plant, receives a second or third auditing visit from the Department’s contractor to ensure the IPIA and the manufacturer have put in place the necessary correction noted in the Department’s first audit.

Evidence: The monthly report provided by the program’s monitoring contractor lists every follow-up and post-production follow-up audit conducted during the previous month. In 2004, there were XX follow-up audits representing approximately xx% of the HUD’s audit resources.

YES 20%
Section 1 – Program Purpose & Design Score 100%

 

Section 2 – Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score
2.1 Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The program has two long-term performance measures reflecting the statutory mandates. For protection of consumers and ensuring the safety of manufactured houses, HUD will measure (and aim to reduce) the number of fire deaths in manufactured homes. In addition, to measure the quality of manufactured housing, HUD will measure the re-sale value of manufactured homes. Another long-term measure HUD has adopted is ensuring new Installation and Dispute Resolution programs are adopted.

Evidence: The number of fire deaths is an excellent outcome measure that tells an important story about the safety of manufactured homes. In addition, it can serve as a proxy for how well other standards are being met. Trends in the re-sale value of homes will also provide some indication of the quality and durability of the homes although other factors may influence this number as well.

YES 11%
2.2 Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Fire death and re-sale value data will be collected every 5-10 years, and ambitious targets have been set for both. For ensuring establishment of the two new programs, the target is to ensure the provision of installation and dispute resolution services by certified firms and individuals in HUD-administered states by 2008.

Evidence: HUD plans to work with the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org) to get data every 10 years on the number of fire deaths. HUD aims to reduce the number of fire deaths by 50 percent over next 10 years. Re-sale value of manufactured homes will be collected from industry data.

YES 11%
2.3 Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program’s long-term goals?

Explanation: HUD’s annual measures support the program’s long-term goals is to assist the Department in reaching its Strategic Goal to Embrace High Standards of Ethics, Management and Accountability to Ensure Program Compliance by enhancing monitoring and enforcement. HUD is working to develop efficiency measures for their program. They must work to identify administrative costs needed to perform follow-up audits, correct homes, or pursue enforcement cases.

Evidence: Three annual measures are or will be reported: 1. The annual performance measure for protecting consumers is the number of investigations and enforcement cases pursued each year. 2. HUD also measures the number of homes corrected as a result of federal investigations and enforcement actions. 3. HUD recently decided to count the number of plants requiring follow-up audits to measure how well its inspection processes work.

YES 11%
2.4 Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: HUD sets ambitious targets for each of its three annual measures. They aim to improve performance between 5 and 10 percent each year for each measure.

Evidence: HUD aims to increase the number of enforcement cases and homes corrected as a result of those cases by at least ten percent each year from the baseline of 34 enforcement cases in 2003. The baselines for number of homes corrected and number of plants requiring audits are still being developed.

YES 11%
2.5 Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: In protecting consumers through investigations and enforcement, the program relies on a variety of cooperating parties. Many of the Department’s investigations and enforcement actions stem from the initial investigations undertaken by the 38 state administrative agencies who have cooperative agreements with the federal program, the 17 in-plant primary inspection agencies (IPIAs), and 7 design approval primary inspection agencies (DAPIAs). States and their appointed agencies have worked with HUD program staff to ensure that states develop installation and dispute resolution program regulations to allow the maximum number of states to administer their own programs. HUD will continue to work with stakeholders on new measures adopted.

Evidence: The Department also works in cooperation with the other federal agencies to identify potential non-compliance, and in initiating investigations and enforcement by the Department. HUD also partners with the National Fire Protection Association. To ensure establishment of the two new programs in all states, federal program staff have worked with the following states in the state efforts to put in place the necessary elements to administer state installation and/or dispute resolution programs by January 2006: DE, GA, ID, IA, IN, KS, LA, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN, WA, and WI. HUD has also shared information with the two national industry groups, the 0Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), assisting them in their efforts to encourage and assist states to establish state-based manufactured housing installation and dispute resolution programs.

YES 11%
2.6 Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Prior to undertaking most construction and safety standards revisions of a substantial nature, the Department undertakes independent research to support the program improvements. The program has relied on a variety of independent evaluations to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the program area. However, most evaluations to date have focused on specific aspects of safety standards rather than the program as a whole. HUD next plans to work with PD&R to develop a comprehensive study that examines the entire program offices’ effectiveness.

Evidence: Examples of recent research include a March 2005 report from the Institute for Building Technology and Safety entitled “An Assessment of Damage to Manufactured Homes Caused by Hurricane Charley.” Fire research also supported the Smoke Alarm Rule in 2002, the final rule for formaldehyde emissions published in 1984, the upgraded wind requirements in the final rule published in 1994, and the upgraded energy requirements final rule published in 1993. Independent evaluation of fire losses in manufactured homes identified trends supporting the actions taken in the final rule. In 1998-1999 the Department commissioned the National Institute of Standards and Technology to evaluate the adequacy and reliability of the current requirements for smoke alarms, which had been in the federal manufactured home construction and safety standards since 1976.

YES 11%
2.7 Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program’s budget?

Explanation: The level of appropriations is key to the Department’s oversight and auditing of the design approval primary inspection agencies. With reduced appropriation, the federal manufactured housing program would reduce its oversight of these three groups, providing increased opportunity for poor performance by manufacturers, and an increased number of failures to conform in completed homes.

Evidence: The Office of Manufactured Housing Programs outlines its budget justifications as required by OMB, with a Performance Measurement Table and the Performance Indicator outlined in the Annual Performance Plan. Appropriated funds are provided in that format. The 2005 Congressional Justification is provided as required by the Department. In the FY 2005 justification, the cost categories totaled the requested amount for the appropriation of $13 million and are broken out into the following categories: Payments to states; Salaries; Contract for monitoring primary inspection agencies and states; Contract for consensus committee administering organization; Other contracts; Contract for installation inspection and enforcement; and Contract for dispute resolution enforcement.

YES 11%
2.8 Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The Office of Manufactured Housing and Standards conducts annual, monthly, and weekly meetings that identify deficiencies and ensure achievement of long-term goals.

Evidence: The Office of Manufactured Housing and Standards conducts an annual strategic planning meeting, followed by monthly meetings with staff and the contractor responsible for sustaining compliance of homes to the construction and safety standards; monthly meetings with staff and the Administering Organization contractor responsible for maximizing cooperation with the MHCC; weekly meetings with the FHA Commissioner on FHA matters; and planned monthly meetings with staff and the contractor responsible for overseeing the federal installation program in 2006.

YES 11%
2.RG1 Are all regulations issued by the program/agency necessary to meet the stated goals of the program, and do all regulations clearly indicate how the rules contribute to achievement of the goals?

Explanation: All regulations currently being drafted and published as proposed rules are tied to goals established by the 2000 Act, in addition to the statutory goal of establishing the installation and dispute resolution programs.

Evidence: The first proposed rule necessary to establish one of the two mandated programs was published on April 26, 2005. The other proposed rules include a draft proposed rule to establish the Installation Program and the Dispute Resolution Program. Another proposed rule for which the public comment period has ended and the Department is preparing a final rule, is a proposed rule to revise the federal construction and safety standards. In addition to those mandated by statute, there are regulatory actions proposed by the MHCC which the program office is required by statute to act. These include a rule to define and allow on-site completion of manufactured homes. Other regulatory actions include a proposed rule to correct inequities created in a regulation revising the payment of fees to states, and a rule in draft to increase the fee amount from $39.

YES 11%
Section 2 – Strategic Planning Score 100%

 

Section 3 – Program Management
Number Question Answer Score
3.1 Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The agency collects performance information and uses it to improve performance. The program office relies on staff and contractor oversight of the performance of the in-plant primary inspection agencies (IPIAs), design approval primary inspection agencies (DAPIAs), and state administrative agencies (SAAs) through annual performance reviews. Inspectors spend approximately 300 days each year in manufacturing plants overseeing the monitoring work of the IPIAs, receiving for record and random review 18,000 design pages of manufactured homes, and undertaking 22 reviews of state administrative agency performance. They submit checklist assessments to HUD annually. Based on this information, the program office identifies program weaknesses and requires increased HUD monitoring, or plans of corrective action. Information on follow-up audits and homes completed is also gathered from these actors.

Evidence: Based on audits or visits to plants, the program office may shift resources to increasing monitoring of poorly performing partners. IPIAs may receive follow-up audits, DAPIAs may receive increased monitoring, and SAAs may receive on-site visits. The program’s contractor has collected this information for over 20 years, providing valuable baseline information for the performance of program partners. For example, an increased number of audit findings in plants in Florida (in which the State of Florida serves as the IPIA) caused the federal program to order a higher than usual number of follow-up audits on the Florida production lines. This combined with a static number of failures to conform during the follow-up audits keyed the federal program to target technical assistance and intervene early.

YES 9%
3.2 Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: The program managers and partners are accountable for achieving performance goals. The Manufactured Housing Program Administrator reports to the Assistant Secretary for Housing and the Secretary, and in the Office of General Counsel, the Assistant General Counsel for the Division of Compliance. For program partners, the performance of IPIAs, DAPIAs and SAAs are reviewed annually, based on regular audits throughout the year.

Evidence: All state administrative agencies (SAAs) and primary inspection agencies (PIAs) are held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results through oversight of their own work within manufacturing plants throughout the year, which is summarized in an annual review of performance. These third parties are paid directly from the manufacturers, with their costs, schedules, and performance controlled by market forces for the private PIAs, and by state regulation for the state PIAs. The work of the program contractor, conducting the PIA audits on behalf of the federal program, is monitored by program office staff, ensuring the work is completed within budget, on schedule and meets performance results.

YES 9%
3.3 Are funds (Federal and partners’) obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: Funds are obligated in a timely manner. For investigations and enforcement the funds are expended through the cost of salaries, and payments to the states – a primary partner in identifying cases for investigation and enforcement. For establishment of the two new programs the primary program expense is for salaries, cost of the Administering Organization for the MHCC, and upcoming costs of procurements for establishing the programs. Each year all funds are obligated (if not yet expended) prior to the end of the fiscal year

Evidence: The annual appropriations Act provides authority to collect user fees for an amount up to but not exceeding the appropriated amount. The FY 2005 appropriation was for no more than $13 million. The regulations mandate the formula by which the incoming fees are shared with the state administrative agencies (SAAs). Congressional budget requests outline seven categories of how the funds are to be targeted. Fees are tallied and transferred to the expenditure account on a monthly basis, limiting all expenditures to current funds on-hand. Fee income and expenditure is recorded by HUD’s budget office. Contractor costs are monitored by the GTR and DCAA audits. The payments to states are made based on formula, and state program costs are monitored within the appropriate state as mandated by state law or regulation.

YES 9%
3.4 Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The program cannot receive credit for this because it is still developing an efficiency measure. However, procedures to use competitive sourcing and contracting are authorized in the language of the 1974 statute, and have assisted the program in achieving efficiencies in program execution. Additional authorities to contract for services were part of the 2000 Act. Competitive sourcing and procurement of monitoring services assist in protecting consumers through investigations and enforcement (See 3.1 response).

Evidence: The Manufactured Housing Program has accomplished the above with what is currently a workforce of 10 professional and 3 administrative staff, and only one fee increase in over 15 years. In addition, since 2000, total program income has fallen (due to a fall in production and related income) 30 percent. This has required the program to reduce on-site, design and state monitoring by 60 percent. These resource commitments are to be compared to the total number of manufactured homes in the U.S., over 8 million.

NO 0%
3.5 Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The fundamental basis of the Federal Manufactured Housing Program is collaboration and coordination with state and private programs. While responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and durability of manufactured homes, the foundation of the program is for the federal office to oversee the work of manufacturers through partnerships with states and private organizations overseeing or investigating the quality of the manufacturers’ work.

Evidence: For enforcement and investigation the federal program relies on the efforts of ten state primary inspection agencies (PIAs), six private primary inspection agencies, and 38 state administrative agencies (SAAs), as outlined in the program regulations. The program office also collects information from FHA, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fire Administration to identify specific cases for further investigation and enforcement, or to analyze trends in safety in manufactured homes. A recent example of effective collaboration with CPSC, was a CPSC product recall requiring notification of homeowners and correction of a defective gas water heater valve, a process required in 24 CFR Part 3282.404. In this case, CPSC recalled approximately 35,000 gas water heaters nationwide manufactured by the firm “State Water Heaters.”

YES 9%
3.6 Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The Manufactured Housing Program displays strong financial practices. The monitoring contractor accounts for the collection of all manufactured housing fees, calculates payments due to the SAAs, and produces the paperwork necessary to authorize these payments. This not for profit organization is chosen in a competitive procurement process. The contractor’s financial management has been audited in accordance with the OMB Circular A-129 requirements. Over 29 years, the same or a related organization with the same management leadership, has fully accounted for HUD’s accurate payments to its state partners.

Evidence: The program has never been over budget. The Federal Manufactured Housing Program has never been identified by the Office of Inspector General or GAO as requiring an audit for oversight, nor have its contractors. There have been no Congressional investigations or hearings. The primary contractor working with this program has completed independent audits consistently returned with no action items.

YES 9%
3.7 Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The Administrator now holds a monthly enforcement meeting with program and OGC staff, and with the assistance of monitoring contractor staff, identifies potential enforcement cases.

Evidence: The most recent deficiencies were identified in 2002 when the recently appointed Administrator noted no existing process to generate investigations or enforcement actions. This led to setting a performance goal in this area. The Administrator initiated a monthly meeting with selected program staff and staff of the Office of the Office of General Counsel to identify potential enforcement cases for investigation. The appointment of the Administrator also facilitated smoother action in carrying out the steps necessary to reach the long-term goal of establishing the two new programs mandated by the 2000 Act.

YES 9%
3.RG1 Did the program seek and take into account the views of all affected parties (e.g., consumers; large and small businesses; State, local and tribal governments; beneficiaries; and the general public) when developing significant regulations?

Explanation: The Department is undertaking a large amount of regulatory development to complete the statutory mandates of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. This includes the preparation and publication of proposed rules for the Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, the Manufactured Housing Installation Program Regulations, and the Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution Program. In several instances, the 2000 Act mandates coordination with the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC). In other instances, the Department has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, soliciting public comment prior to drafting the proposed rule, and has solicited comment from the PIAs and SAAs.

Evidence: In the instance of the Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, the statute mandated that the proposal come from the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, comprised of 21 persons representing Users, Producers and General Interest. HUD also discusses with PIAs and SAAs the other proposed rules currently under consideration by the Department and the MHCC, for their information and feedback prior to proposed rule publication.

YES 9%
3.RG2 Did the program prepare adequate regulatory impact analyses if required by Executive Order 12866, regulatory flexibility analyses if required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and SBREFA, and cost-benefit analyses if required under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; and did those analyses comply with OMB guidelines?

Explanation: All rules are reviewed internally at HUD by designated offices, and externally at the appropriate agencies for their cost impact, regulatory impact, regulatory flexibility, and small business impact. Of the draft or completed proposed rules, only the Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards has completed OMB review. The program office received limited comments from OMB, all of which were incorporated into the proposed rule. No comments were received from any other agency (See response to 4.1).

Evidence: Previous program rules published within the past five years have also complied, including the Smoke Detector Rule and the proposed revisions to the Construction and Safety Standards. The cost-benefit impact of this rule was estimated to be between $9 and $11 million, with approximately 30 lives saved.

YES 9%
3.RG3 Does the program systematically review its current regulations to ensure consistency among all regulations in accomplishing program goals?

Explanation: The program office has introduced, and worked with the MHCC in its proposed revisions to regulations to ensure consistency among all regulations, when drafting new or revised regulations. The MHCC is charged by statute to propose revisions to the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards at least once every two years, requiring a regular review of the design and construction regulations.

Evidence: The MHCC is developing proposed revisions to Subpart I of 24 CFR Part 3282, “Consumer Complaint Handling and Remedial Actions” and program and counsel staff have worked extensively with the MHCC in the development of these potential revisions and to identify current regulations in 24 CFR Part 3280 and 3282 which need revision as a result of changes to Subpart I in 3282. The program office proposed revisions to 24 CFR Part 3282.15 “On-Site Completion of Homes” to simplify the process of installing homes at the site, and 24 CFR Part 3284, “Manufactured Housing Program Fee”, and has identified specific sections of Parts 3280 and 3282 which need revision.

YES 9%
3.RG4 Are the regulations designed to achieve program goals, to the extent practicable, by maximizing the net benefits of its regulatory activity?

Explanation: The proposed regulations mandated by the 2000 Act are designed to achieve the program goals stated in Response 1.1 (Program Purpose), and are designed to reflect current practices in the private sector for home inspection and approval. However, cost-benefit analyses have not been completed for two key rules – Installation and Dispute Resolution standards.

Evidence: The proposed regulations are the result of actions mandated by the statute such as the proposed rules for the Model Installation Standards, the Dispute Resolution Program, or the Installation Program, actions to assist the program in reaching its goals such as Part 3282.15 “On-Site Completion of Homes” or the clarification and simplification of the “Consumer Complaint Handling and Remedial Actions” being developed by the Department and the MHCC.

NO 0%
Section 3 – Program Management Score 82%

 

Section 4 – Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score
4.1 Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The target and timeframe for investigations and enforcement is an increase of investigations and enforcement cases by 100 percent from 2003 to 2008. Data for other key long-term outcomes on fire deaths and resale value has yet to be collected. Fire deaths correspondes to the long-term goal of ensuring housing is safe, while re-sale value provides a proxy for the durability of the home.

Evidence: HUD is within the proposed timeframe to meet targets for enforcements and number of homes corrected. HUD plans to work with stakeholders to gather data to show progress towad its other long term measures that it is working to collect baseline data for, including fire deaths and resale value of manufactured homes.

SMALL EXTENT 6%
4.2 Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The program reports its performance in the The FY 2002, 2003, and 2004 Performance and Accountability Reports and has largely met its target for the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The program has made progress on investigations and enforcement by reaching its annual targets for the number of enforcement cases, and by beginning to track the number of homeowners positively impacted by the investigations and actions. HUD is still gathering data to show progress in reducing the number of follow-up audits.

Evidence: The Performance and Accountability Reports describe the progress of the program office in its efforts to reach the statutory goals outlined in each fiscal year’s Annual Performance Plan. The Program Office and OGC’s Office of Compliance maintain a tracking system indicating the number of enforcement cases opened and closed in each calendar year.

LARGE EXTENT 12%
4.3 Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: While the program does not currently have an efficiency measure, it can demonstrate some improved efficiencies and cost effectiveness. For example, the number of program staff from FY 2003 to FY 2005 has decreased as has the real dollar value the program commits to its monitoring contractor; however the program has been able to continue establishing the two new programs and increase the number of enforcement cases.

Evidence: To sustain compliance of manufactured homes to the federal standard the program currently operates with a staff capacity of ten professional and three clerical staff. Recent staff reductions have resulted in somewhat lower program accomplishments, but the program continues to meet most long-term targets. The primary goal of the program with the reduced staff is the sustained compliance of manufactured homes to the federal standard while making progress to meet the two long-term targets by 2008.

SMALL EXTENT 6%
4.4 Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: While comparisons are difficult, other agencies also protect consumers through investigations and enforcement. For example, two other federal programs with similar legal foundations are the National Highway Transportation Safety Program, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Other similar programs include State or local codes and corresponding regulatory programs for factory-built housing, designed and built according to state or local code, such as modular housing. Another program with a similar purpose and goal would be a code and regulatory program for site-built housing. These are designed and constructed to state or locally enforced standards and are constructed on-site. The fee charged by any state or oversight agency for every transportable “modular” unit, built in a factory varies according to state or local requirements. In 2002 at the time the federal manufactured housing fee was $21.00 per transportable unit, state modular housing fees in 29 states averaged $51.00 per transportable unit.

Evidence: HUD’s manufactured housing is most efficient and cost effective as compared to the two benchmarking industries. The regulatory fees and number and cost of construction inspections are low. Design approvals take less time, and the preemptive nature of the program removes the cost of a single builder constructing in more than one jurisdiction being required to be knowledgeable of more than one building code. The quality gap that previously existed between manufactured housing and modular and site-built has reduced significantly. [Still awaiting data to support this claim.] The remaining gap in quality is determined primarily by market forces and consumer needs, rather than the ability of the industry to provide higher quality housing.

LARGE EXTENT 12%
4.5 Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: These evaluations include the recently released study on the performance of manufactured homes during the multiple-hurricane period in Florida in the summer of 2004: “An Assessment of Damage to Manufactured Homes Caused by Hurricane Charley” – March 2005. Each evaluation confirmed the effectiveness of the federal program in continuing to achieve the required level of safety and standards conformance with the current level of staff and resources. HUD plans to work with HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research to design an evaluation of its program office’s effectiveness.

Evidence: One of the primary measurements of effectiveness and results is in the sustained compliance of manufactured homes to the federal standards. The most recent is in the just-released study entitled, “An Assessment of Damage to Manufactured Homes Caused by Hurricane Charley” – March 2005, conducted by an integrated team of staff from HUD’s manufactured housing office, and its contractor, and an independent contractor experienced in post-disaster housing damage assessments. The report concluded that manufactured homes produced after July 13, 1994 when the Department’s current wind load requirements were implemented, performed significantly better than pre-1994 homes at a statistically significant high level of confidence. Further, pre-HUD Code homes were much more severely damaged than newer (post 1976) HUD Code units at a high confidence level. The State of Florida Installer Licensing Program also issued a report in August 2004 after Hurricane Charley, and in September 2004 after Hurricane Ivan. Both Florida reports noted the performance of homes and installation systems, and the “admirable” performance of manufactured homes built since HUD’s 1994 stricter construction requirements in high wind zone areas.

LARGE EXTENT 12%
4.RG1 Were programmatic goals (and benefits) achieved at the least incremental societal cost and did the program maximize net benefits?

Explanation: Three primary indicators best measure how programmatic goals have been achieved at least societal cost. One is the comparison of the federal government’s overall added cost to the product, with the federal fee measuring less than one quarter of one percent of the overall cost of the average manufactured home unit ($39 compared to $45,000 average cost of a house). HUD has also completed several specific cost analyses if new or revised construction and safety standards that show societal benefits.

Evidence: The program analyzed past enforcement actions, which showed that 90 percent of the enforcement actions undertaken by the program and its counsel over the past three years have been actions of settlement, and not pursued to judgment. These actions have resulted in corrections being made to all existing homes and designs, to the greatest benefit of those at risk. For the additional smoke alarm requirements added through the Final Rule published March 19, 2002, the average cost impact was estimated to be $40 per unit, and estimated to result in 30 lives saved annually. The number of complaints related to problems with formaldehyde exposure after improving the standard decreased from 1,500 to approximately five complaints per year.

YES 10%
Section 4 – Program Results/Accountability Score 58%

 

This report is found on the webpage, linked here.

This should be viewed in the context of the broader related reports, linked below the bylines and notices.

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

 

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Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

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

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

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonSpeechManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingActiveIngredientMedicationStrongerAmericaMHLivingNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hud-secretary-ben-carson-speech-on-manufactured-homes-manufactured-housingactive-ingredientmedicationfor-a-stronger-america/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries, MHI Chairman, Insights from Innovative Housing Showcase

June 11th, 2019 Comments off

 

JoeStegmayerCavcoIndustriesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIChairmanInsightsInnovativeHousingShowcaseMHProNews

With enough patience, facts and patterns in dispute often reveal themselves more clearly to those with an open mind who are honestly seeking clarity. By definition, the closed-minded can’t be reasoned with.

 

This report will have two primary components.  The first will be from the recent and positive Innovative Housing Showcase, held at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Joe Stegmayer, former Chairman, President, and CEO of Cavco Industries was prominent there.  The second will look again at a leadership and related questions that keep arising at Cavco.

 

MHI Chairman Stegmayer At Recent Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington, D.C.

Five U.S. congressmen and several other senior government officials took tours, said Joseph Stegmayer, Cavco’s former chairman and CEO,” said Phoenix metro’s AC Central, a Gannett media publication that is part of the USA Today network.

This is one of the best unsubsidized ways to promote affordable housing,” Stegmayer said of manufacturing housing, per that same source.  He said that factory-built homes can be made at about half the cost of comparable dwellings built on site.

Some other facts, per AZ Central:

·        Cavco exhibited a 1,050 square foot home with two bedrooms and two baths that was built at one of its two factories in Virginia that retails for about $64,000.  What they didn’t specify was that it was the lone single sectional on display in the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Skyline Champion displayed two multi-sectional models.

·        Cavco was one of 19 exhibitors at the National Mall and teamed with UMH Properties, a real estate investment trust or REIT that owns and operates manufactured-home communities around the nation.

This was the only news report found on line as of the date and time shown about the publicly traded firm’s (CVCO) involvement in the project. We’ll return to that factoid later.

 

CavcoIndustriesInnovativeHousingShowcaseAZCentralArizonaRepublicUSATodayGannettNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

In the MHI branded video below, Stegmayer says: “Manufactured Housing is so much of an untold story. It has come a long way in a short number of years. And now were providing homes that rival anything built on site at half the cost. And so, to meet the affordable housing crisis in this country, and there truly is a need for affordable housing, manufactured housing can go a long way to doing that.”

 

 

Stagmayer continued by saying, “We can provide a home for millions of people who otherwise can not afford a home and would be renting for the rest of their lives. Here [he’s standing in a manufactured home] they can buy a home, build equity, just like any other home owner. And, ah, stay in that home for years or resell it and move up to a larger home if someday they get a larger family.”

A lot of flexibility in manufactured housing.  A lot of sustainability,” Stegmayer said during his portion of the video. Let’s note in fairness that these are very similar points that MHLivingNews, MHProNews and scores of others have made about our industry. Our publisher has noted that the firms involved in the Innovative Housing Showcase are to be applauded. On the thrust of several of these points by Stegmayer, we’d editorially concur.

But what follows in that same video is both true and troubling.  It gets near a central issue that is hampering manufactured home industry growth.

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

 

Secretary Ben Carson, as the head of HUD, made this National Mall opportunity available in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Dr. Carson explains that they encouraged local municipalities to look at manufactured homes and look at their regulations.  Carson said there may have been reasons in the past for some regulations, but no longer.  Why hasn’t the HUD Secretary mentioned “enhanced preemption?”  Is it possible that he’s not been briefed on that point by HUD staff? 

But more questions arise from this MHI branded video and recent mainstream media reports.

Looking again at MHI’s chairman’s comment, it isn’t as if the manufactured home industry has suddenly appeared out of nowhere and has an “untold story,” as Stegmayer framed it.  Indeed, Arlington, VA based MHI – a location not far from the National Mall – claims to have told that story to millions of people.  See their claim to that effect illustrated in their own still from an MHI video, below.

If so, the public literally are not buying what MHI is selling, based on recent new manufactured home production and shipment trends.

Look at the stills from the late 2018 MHI self-touting video and compare it to the fact that manufactured housing has had 8 months of consecutive year-over-year decreases in shipment levels.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHINewClassofHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Most people think of momentum as forward motion.  Does it mean something different to MHI?  Momentum for more consolidation? Still from MHI Video, logos added by MHProNews.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIVideoStillMHIPromotionalClaims

That downturn is now into month number 8.

 

Further, manufactured homes are not an untold story at all.

As the AZ Central story reflected, starting with the headline, a HUD Code manufactured home is errantly termed a ‘mobile home.’  Over the years, has Cavco or MHI failed to brief that media outlet, which issues periodic reports on hometown firm Cavco, about the proper terminology to be used?  If not, then they are not following the logic of their own prior chairman, who said this.

TimWilliams21stMortgageCorpGoodArgumentsQuoteRespondEveryStoryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

The story most told is a painfully familiar one to anyone who tracks news coverage about ‘mobile homes’ and ‘manufactured homes.’  The bulk of the reports are negative, as the screen capture below indicates.

MobileHomesNewsGoogleSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

While the evidence is anecdotal, it is also not disputed by live audience of manufactured home industry professionals when they are asked:

·        does the public here more bad news or good news about manufactured homes? 

·        Is the impression conveyed in third party reports largely positive one, or largely negative?

·        Manufactured home industry professionals almost universally agree that the image is a problematic one.

That being so, it is not an untold story. Rather, it is a told story that is all-too-often being mistakenly framed.

Where is MHI’s effective response to that largely undisputed fact?  Because it is obvious that their claim of millions exposed to their advertorials – if true – has not worked. The shipment numbers and other research proves that point.  Further, only 8 percent of home shoppers, per Zillow, considered a manufactured home in research that firm did.  Many of those who considered a manufactured home never bought one. Put yourself briefly in the shoes of a possible manufactured home customer. If they simply googled news about ‘mobile homes’ or ‘manufactured homes,’ wouldn’t that explain why – given that much reporting is negative – that the public literally isn’t buying one?

 

Zillow2016HomeBuyersSurveyManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Only 8 percent of housing shoppers considered a mobile or manufactured home, and many of those did not buy one

 

What do those third party research facts say about the effectiveness of the industry?  So Stegmayer’s own words about the “untold story” – seen through that lens – is troubling at best.  The screen capture from the date and time shown is but one example. 

 

MobileHomesNewsGoogleSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Furthermore, there is no evidence that HUD Secretary Carson has been advised about enhanced preemption.  MHProNews has asked officials at HUD to respond to that concern.  They have no comment on that now.

Why not?  Doesn’t their failure to comment on such a straightforward question itself raise concerns that perhaps Secretary Carson has not been brief about enhanced preemption?

Stegmayer has had face time with Secretary Carson on numerous occasions in the last year or so.  Did Cavco’s former president, and the man who is still MHI’s chairman, not raise the issue of “enhanced preemption?”  If not, why not?

HUDBenCarsonJoeStegmayerCavcoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

These are questions that Cavco’s shareholders – among others – ought to be asking.

If the report by AZ Central is accurate, and only 5 congressional representatives bothered to come and see what MHI dubbed Homes on the Hill.  That too suggests something was missed by MHI, doesn’t it?  There are 535 members of the U.S. House (435) and Senate (100). Numbers of those in Congress get contributions from MHI’s PAC.  So why did such a small group of representatives come over a 5 day event?

The MHI “Homes on the Hill” videos are a fine idea. 

·        The videos are well done in a technical sense.

·        But where is the promotion for those videos? 

·        Why is it that the MHI video posted above that was published on Jun 2, 2019, after a week online, has only 732 views, per YouTube, as of 4:49 PM ET on 6.9.2019? Ponder the point that John Oliver’s viral hit on numbers of MHI members errantly named “Mobile Homes” has had over 6 million hits on YouTube in about 2 months. That’s the graphic comparison that industry professionals, investors, and advocates must ponder.  Stegmayer’s choice of words ‘the untold story’ is not supported by facts.  The story about manufactured homes has been told millions of times.  It simply hasn’t cut through the negative noise. 

Where has that negative noise about manufactured housing originated from?  The sources are varied. That said, there is a money trail in the millions that clearly points to donations by Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway – parent to Clayton Homes, their sister Berkshire lenders, and a powerhouse at MHI – that have flowed via the Tides nonprofit to groups such as MHAction or Prosperity Now that have in turn attacked manufactured housing operations.  Rephrased, Buffett’s been backing both pro-and-con voices about manufactured homes.  The voices that undermine the industry’s story seem to win the media war routinely. Why?

None of the Berkshire brands or MHI has denied the evidence presented. That leaves the evidence presented unchallenged.  The collage below illustrates the point just made.

 

MHActionLogoWarrenBuffettGeorgeSorosPhotoTidesFoundationLogoDailyBusinessNewManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProsNews

 

Now, against that backdrop, let’s pivot back to Cavco’s November 8, 2018 news release.

 

Stegmayer, Cavco, and the SEC/Shareholder Legal Clouds 

As the numbers of shareholders suits against Cavco Industries continues to grow, an interesting point keeps arising relative to Joe Stegmayer, their former Chairman, President, and CEO. Let’s mention that he was also a former Clayton Homes division president.

Part of the announcement on November 8, 2019 that sent Cavco shares plunging related to Stegmayer was that the multi-year leader of the publicly traded firm (CVCO) would step down into a more supportive, non-executive role.

But several indications from sources previously reported within Cavco, plus more recent hints by George Allen and others in his orbit, suggest that Stegmayer still exercises a leadership role that some believe is more like that of the shadow president than some supportive ‘non-executive’ role.

Quoting from their November 8th press release, “Mr. Stegmayer stepped down from his position as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company after an internal investigation, conducted by independent legal counsel, identified certain violations of Company policy related to securities trading activities conducted by Mr. Stegmayer. The Board’s decision to transition Mr. Stegmayer to a non-executive role allows the Company to retain his deep industry and operational experience.

The Cavco press release further stated that, The Company also announced that it had received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement (“SEC”) requesting certain documents relating to, among other items, trading of the stock of another public company. Subsequent to sending the Company a subpoena, the SEC sent a subpoena for documents and testimony to Joseph Stegmayer, regarding similar issues. The Company has initiated an independent investigation and intends to cooperate fully with the SEC’s investigation.

In a typical ‘all in the company family’ motif, the release said: Joseph Stegmayer, former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented that “Dan Urness is a great choice to lead Cavco. He is a strong leader, with the ability to connect with customers, partners and teammates. His institutional knowledge of our Company and significant industry experience will ensure a smooth leadership transition. I look forward to continuing to serve the Company in my new role.”

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

The satirical logo is used in part to poke with a lighter touch at a serious topic. As some have framed it, there are white hat companies at MHI, and black hat companies.  Certainly the black hats must find the white hats useful.

Stegmayer has remained Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), despite the legal flap, its costs to Cavco, and the hit on CVCO’s stock valuation.

 

YahooFinanceCavcoIndustriesCVCO1YearTrendDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Cavco (CVCO) is one of the stocks tracked in our evening/nightly market report, along with a snapshot of headlines, and news that move investors. For Friday’s report, click here.

 

These are questions that may be of interest to shareholder’s plaintiff’s attorneys.

 

Cavco Industries Investigated Anew for Violations of Federal Securities Laws, plus Manufactured Home Industry Stock Updates

 

But there are broader industry questions that ought to be explored, perhaps in concert with Congressional and other state/federal inquiries.

Readers will be reminded that some 5 years ago, Stegmayer was talking on camera about the industry returning to 250,000 shipments.  That video is found in the report in the text/image box above. Stegmayer did say that return to 250,000 could accomplished in a year.  But he clearly suggested that it was doable in the foreseeable future.  What happened to that 250,000 new home shipment aim since then? 

Why is a new manufactured home shipment goal unmentioned by MHI more recently? 

Or ponder the fact that after the embarrassing reply the MHI President and CEO Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison gave to MHProNews on camera that same year – that the industry should grow slowly – the next year, after being privately chastened by Tim Williams, per sources, Jennison said that the industry could return to 500,000 new manufactured home shipments.  We professionally concur that that half-million or more new home production goal is achievable.  Others in the industry believe so too. The points Secretary Carson has cited in various interviews and his speech in New Orleans all point to the great potential of the industry in this affordable housing crisis.

 

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

 

All of which begs the question, how effective has MHI been at representing “all segments of manufactured housing?” 

As the decade de facto post-production association, after decades in that role, has MHI still not figured out what keeps people from buying a manufactured home? Why aren’t they routinely addressing those prospective home buyers concerns?  Lightening rod Frank Rolfe, a well known MHI member, made the point simply.

 

Rolfe and Dave Reynolds effectively doubled down on that recently, when they said the following.

MHI has had two different public relations people, for a combined total of several years now. Do those ‘experts’ in media relations not have a message or method for advancing the acceptance of the industry? Do they not yet have a message that resonates with the millions in the public that would buy what our manufactured home industry offers, if they simply understood it properly?

When AZ Central reports that only 5 congressmen came to see what MHI dubbed “Homes on the Hill,” what was MHI’s public relations effort doing? 

The industry is only at ¼th of the production it was in 1998. Where is MHI’s recovery plan?

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

 

This pro-growth industry-leading trade media will continue to monitor and report on these and other related issues.

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Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”

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

8 Months of Declining Year-Over-Year HUD Code Manufactured Home Production – When Will Manufactured Housing Institute Act?

 

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

Bonuses, Bonuses! Manufactured Housing Struggles During Affordable Housing Crisis, While Top MHI Staffers Get Bonuses

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

June 8th, 2019 Comments off

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonJulianCastroManufacturedHousingTrailerHouseMobileHomeRevelations2020BattlesAheadMHProNews

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., has demonstrably done much since taking his oath of office to advance a proper understanding of manufactured homes.

 

In fairness, his predecessor Julian Castro, made a video that praised manufactured housing too.

 

 

While the next video interview with then Secretary Castro unfavorably used “trailer” terminology, the former mayor of San Antonio and current 2020 Democratic presidential nomination hopeful, nevertheless stressed the need for manufactured homes as an affordable housing option. Castro also stressed the need for resident protections, years before Last Week Tonight with Joy Oliver’s viral video misnamed “Mobile Homes” did.

 

 

Thus, videos and interviews by Dr. Carson as a HUD Secretary highlighting manufactured homes are not totally unique. There have been years of bipartisan efforts involving manufactured homes in this decade and previous ones too.

 

 

That is as it should be as affordable housing has been and remains a crisis.

 

 

It is also arguably part of HUD’s mandate that such pro-manufactured home statements and efforts fulfill.

Manufactured housing is the private sector solution to this problem, as Secretary Carson has underscored in various ways since taking on his new role. The evidence suggests he has been doing more to promote manufactured homes and other private sector innovative housing options than any HUD Secretary in the 21st century.

 

 

One can say he has built upon the foundation laid by his predecessor.  Indeed, the two echo the case made by a bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers who cited the facts that point to manufactured homes being an important part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis.  The recent event on the National Mall, reflected in 2 of the videos above, was positive and could be potentially useful for the industry to clarify outdated misconceptions.

 

 

But all of that begs several questions for the inquiring mind. For example:

How is it that during an ongoing affordable housing crisis, given all the useful facts and evidence, that the market share of manufactured homes has declined in the overall percentage of new housing starts?

 

AveragePriceExisitngNewMobileHomeManufacturdHomeByYearSince1960GraphicNARManufacturedHomeDataResearchMHProNews

Insightful data, per NAR. From the July 2018 update of the Realtor University report available from this link here as a download, along with other third party studies on manufactured homes.

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

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

 

How is it that the use of the pejorative and inaccurate term “trailer” has grown in recent years, instead of diminished?

 

ManufacturedHomeDescriptionForemostInsuranceGroupResearchDailyBusinessNewsMHLivingNews

NFPAManufacturedHomeIsNotaMotorHomeOrTrailerAlthoughItisOftenCalledMobileHomeItIsNotThatEitherNFPADailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This is not a perfect definition by the NFPA, but it is clarifying and accurate.

 

What most think of as “mobile homes” has not been built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976. It was on that date, now some 43 years ago, that the mobile home era ended and the federally regulated HUD Code “manufactured home” era dawned.  These are construction, safety, and energy standard differences, not just marketing nomenclature.

Terminology2HarvardFreddieMacNeighborworksManufacturedHomeDefintionMobileHomeTraileModularPanelizedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews432

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

 

Mobile homes served a useful and important purpose prior to the HUD Code. Millions of pre-HUD code mobile homes are still serving as some of the nation’s most affordable homes, often with updates added since they were first built.

 

UltimateManufacturedHomeHousingInfographicNotMobileHomeTrailerHouseFactoryBuiltHomeIndustryDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews-600

Recent post-Oklahoma, Alabama tornado fact-check, videos, and related reports, linked here.

 

Indeed, the HUD Code manufactured home industry has over two decades or positive, third-party research to back up the claim that it is the most proven form of permanent affordable housing used in the United States today.

 

 

Which again begs questions. With so much useful data and evidence, why has manufactured housing been the solution for the affordable housing crisis that is hiding in plain sight?

 

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Earlier this year, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s (MHARR) Mark Weiss, JD, used an interesting phrase to capture what he and his colleagues believe is an “Illusion of Motion” at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). It was a new way to illustrate prior claims that MHI has been failing the industry’s post-production efforts.

The “Illusion of Motion” built upon a research study from MHARR President and CEO Weiss in November of 2017. That MHARR study demonstrated a need for a new body to represent communities, retailers, lenders, and others who are “post-production” operations. Producers, in this context, are those who build HUD Code manufactured homes, which MHARR itself is, as they state that they represents the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

Post-production topics are those issues that arise after a home leaves the factory.

Those post-production issues would include, but are not be limited to, zoning, placement, and financing issues.

Is MHARR alone in such concerns? Hardly.

Some manufactured home community associations broke from MHI, saying something similar. Neal Haney, who in 2018 co-founded the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), said before their trade group was formalized why they broke from MHI in the first place.

 

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

Publicly traded UMH President and CEO and MHI member said the following.

 

SamLandyQuotePeopleNeedQualityHomeReasonablePriceWeMHIndustryProvideThatOnlyEconomicDistortionsCausedByGovtMadeOurIndustry

 

Another MHI community sector member was more specific, pointing to financing related issues.

 

KennyLipschutzHomeFirstCertifiedCommunitiesMHINCCmemberPuzzlesWhyMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

Numerous third party media reports underscored Rolfe’s claim. See several of those mainstream media video reports, linked here.

 

But to Landy’s and Lipshutz’s points, wasn’t it Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which includes MHI dominating forces such as Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, that supported presidential candidates that in turn backed the legislation that was the source of complaints like those cited above? 

Or why hasn’t Berkshire Hathaway used their dozens of BH Media Group and other media resources to clear up the mysteries about manufactured homes?

 

WarrenBuffettBillClintonHillaryClintonBarackObamaKevinClaytonNathanSmithPhotosDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews600

 

Or ponder what MHI member Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds of controversial RV Horizons – said this as part of a longer statement issued on June 1, 2019.

 

FrankRolfeDaveReynoldsRVHorizonsMobileHomeUQuoteSlammingManufacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

 

Mysterious Disconnects and Apparent Ineffectiveness, Why?

This pro-industry trade publication, our sister operations such as consulting, and our the general public focused Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) were MHI members for some 7 years. MHProNews and MHLivingNews were praised by several MHI elected and staff leaders, as what follows demonstrates.

 

TimWilliamsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsGoodCommunicationsResourcesILogonLatestNewsBigAssetExplainWhyIndustryVoices-768x339

Part of several messages for publication by Tim Williams that praised the pro-industry work of MHProNews, and our sister site. We at times take a light-hearted, or even satirical approach, to illustrate the issues. See an example of that in the video, below.

 

 

HowardWalkerJDELSViceChairmanPhotoManufacturedHouisngInstituteMHIExecuitiveCommitteeBoardMemberDailyBUisnessNewsMHProNews

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

Disclosures

By way of disclosure, ours is a for-profit organization, that has been supported at various times by MHARR, MHI, and companies which are members of each trade group.  Our editorial stance is demonstrably based upon a simple premise. That the manufactured housing industry is much needed, misunderstood, and should be performing far better during an affordable housing crisis.

We’ve supported and led the way on educational initiatives, such as fact, evidence, and third-party commentary focused MHLivingNews. As pro-consumer, pro-free enterprise trade media, and as industry experts/consultants/service providers, we have long believed that manufactured homes are a nonpartisan or bipartisan solution for the need for affordable housing.

The homes our industry produces routinely serve the nation with no-taxpayer subsidies.

At various times, we’ve questioned the efforts of a variety of trade groups, based upon the evidence known at that time. So those MHI surrogates that allege differently are demonstrably mistaken. It’s our follow-the-evidence, facts, common sense, patterns, and the money-trail that has made and kept us the runaway most-read trade media in our industry’s history.  The top people and management in MHI companies, MHARR member firms, or among non-association aligned companies of all sizes have told us that they are regular readers.

 

BarryColeMHInsuranceRVMHHallofFameCongratsManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

That’s not said to brag, but rather to clarify that we’re not crackpots on the sidelines spouting nonsensical conspiracy theories. We cite sources accurately, provide evidence, follow-the-money trail, and give those we question in our fact-checks the opportunity to respond. As recently as a few days ago, MHI’s and Berkshire’s manufactured home corporate leaders were given an opportunity to explain concerns like those noted herein.

Their response?  No comment.

Given that MHI leaders themselves have praised us publicly, that begs more questions.

Why on various occasions have their general counsel, or outside attorneys for MHI, threatened us in writing over evidence-based reports?  Note that after several years of that, they’ve never taken legal action; perhaps wisely so. Because how would they justify a suit against an operation that they’ve praised? Or how do they attack a trade media source whose goal is to see the industry grow to its potential?  Wouldn’t a suit open them up to a counter-suit, that could lead via discovery to them being forced to disclose information that they’ve withheld when requested in recent years?

The evidence suggests that the powers that be in MHVille praised us up until our fact-checks and analysis apparently made them too uncomfortable.  But instead of disproving or explaining away the concerns raised here, they stopped responding, and used other tactics instead.  Besides legal and other threats, they apparently lined up surrogates.  One of them is the one that follows.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

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

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

The word heard is that MHI-connected leaders made a bargain with Allen to get him to praise them and attempt to diminish our trade media. Allen has called for a boycott of this publication, in writing.  Among the problems with that approach has been that Allen himself has blasted MHI, Clayton Homes, and others for the same kinds of concerns that we or MHARR, among others, have raised. To our knowledge, Allen has never explained his flip-flops on his blog or other musings.  By contrast, Allen’s record of criticism of those he now embraces is evidenced by the pull quotes as shown.  Rephrased, Allen makes a poor surrogate, as he’s made similar allegations himself, prior to his recent flip-flop.

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

Like MHARR – indeed, citing MHARR, Allen called for a new post-production association. Oddly, Allen more recently has attacked MHARR, whose position has been consistent, while Allen’s has arguably vacillated based upon MHI’s support, or not. But Allen is but one of many who have made allegations of monopolistic practices in manufactured housing. 

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED (renamed Prosperity Now), and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 

AustinFrerickOpenMarketsAntiTrustAntiMonopolyClaytonHomesWarrenBuffettPredatoryLenderMinoritiesMoreDailyBusinessNewsManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

Austin Frerick with the Open Markets nonprofit is among a range of writers that span the left-right media divide which have criticized Buffett’s tactics as monopolistic.

HowClaytonHomesMakesMoneyAustinFrerickTwitterOpenMarketsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

Let’s note here that success in an industry – honestly earned – is not what we’re called out. Antitrust laws are not designed to punish success, as a former DOJ antitrust professional recently said. However, various kinds of bad behavior may be violations of antitrust or other laws. That’s what our concerns are aimed at. Evidence and allegations of violations of the law.

 

Does Monopolistic Machinations Explain Why MHI Is Ineffective? Or Why Manufactured Housing Has Retreated Since Berkshire Bought Clayton Homes?

Which begs perhaps the most salient points at this time in the wake of what is properly understood as a positive week by Secretary Carson’s Innovative Housing Showcase.

For all of the positive and apt points that Dr. Carson has raised, why has he never mentioned “enhanced preemption?”

–      Is it possible that HUD staff – that certainly must be aware of that provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) – has not told him about the enhanced preemption of manufactured housing passed by Congress in a bipartisan way, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton?

–      Is it possible that MHARR’s letter addressed to Secretary Carson on enhanced preemption was not provided to him?

–      Is it possible that MHI has not raised and pressed this issue of enhanced preemption, in their several meetings with HUD staff?

Noting that MHARR and MHProNews are among those who’ve promoted enhanced preemption in digital print for years, more on those questions later.

But for now, let’s point to our recent report on that in the linked text-image box below, and then press on to what is shaping up as a serious issue in the approaching 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

 

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Other 2020 Democratic Candidates, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

There is an affordable housing crisis in this country,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren in the video below. “That’s why we are here. A safe, stable, affordable home is the foundation for almost everything else in our lives.”

That statement by Senator Warren is every bit as accurate as the ones by HUD Secretary Carson who has said similarly, in his own words.

Note that at the time that Senator Warren made this comment in the MHAction video below, MHProNews was not yet aware of the financial connections between Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), and numerous other interests that are directly engaged in the manufactured housing industry. Buffett bucks fund the Tides nonprofit, which in turn funds MHAction. Restated, it isn’t just progressive billionaire icon George Soros who is supporting some of these groups.  Warren Buffett has been too. Buffett and Berkshire have arguably been funding both sides of the fight over key issues in manufactured housing.

 

 

That noted, Senator Warren – sometimes in concert with congressional representatives – has fired off several letters to firms that routinely have ties to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Copies of those letters can be found as a download in the report linked below.

 

Manufactured Home Communities’ Dodd-Frank Moment Looms, Senator Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Several Manufactured Housing Institute Community Members

 

Warren and other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have raised the issue of Clayton Homes, and their fellow Berkshire Hathaway owned manufactured housing industry lenders, in a letter to the CFPB. See that in the report linked from the text-image graphic below.

 

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

 

Anti-monopolistic actions are taking a more important role on the national stage, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have reportedly launched antitrust probes. Clayton has been accused of racism by Democratic leaders too.

 

President Donald J. Trump, a variety of Democratic and Republican leaders, have raised several concerns over consolidation, tipping the scales of free speech online, antitrust, and monopolistic behavior in the last 2 years.

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

 

While there is known to be such probes regarding the FAANG stocks, and so-called Big Tech, our sources tell us that Berkshire Hathaway’s activities has also been brought to DoJ’s antitrust division’s attention.

The Seattle Times similarly reported in 2018 that several federal investigations are underway in Washington involving Clayton and their related lenders.  Knoxville, TN metro based Clayton and their related lending units were spotlighted by their hometown media, in the May 22, 2018 video report below.  So there is smoke, does it suggest a fire?

 


 

Several Mainstream Media Reports cited Concerns Over Monopolistic Practices, and Often Name Buffett, Berkshire, and Clayton Homes

·        The New York Times had an interesting article on the historic trends, and named several industries being monopolized.

·        The Atlantic, without specifying how the monopolization was being accomplished, noted that the independent retailers in manufactured housing were being rapidly eliminated/consolidated, that report is linked here.

·        GuruFocus said “Warren Buffett Can’t Escape Unethical Strategic Moats,” their specific points are linked here.

·        The Nation called it “The Dirty Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Billions…” and specifies Clayton Homes among those using the strategic moat in ‘dirty’ ways.

·        The Jacksonville Florida Times Union summarized the connection between the John Oliver viral hit video dubbed “Mobile Homes,” MHI, Clayton Homes, and their related lenders. That op-ed was first fact-checked by an editor, before it was published not only in the one newspaper it was submitted, but at least in 5 Florida newspapers.

While these and other mainstream media sources that span the left-right spectrum have pointed to ethical and other concerns with respect to Warren Buffett’s ‘strategic Moat,’ it is Manufactured Home Living News and this platform have to date documented specific examples. Attorneys which have reviewed the report linked below say is compelling evidence of antitrust violations by MHI’s most prominent member, Clayton Homes and their affiliated lender, 21st Mortgage.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, one of two such documents from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

Finally, there have been long-standing concerns raised for years by this trade publisher – MHProNews – and by MHARR regarding the need to fully implement the Duty to Serve by the GSEs.

 

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

 

Since 2003, during an affordable housing crisis, the total number of manufactured homes being produced per year has declined.  So too has the percentage of new manufactured housing units.  The factors noted and linked from this report are among the contributing challenges that have arguably caused this to be so.

Publicly traded MHI member, Skyline Champion (SKY), is but one of several sources that point to the industry’s underperformance.  Do factors like those outlined and linked from this report help shed light as to why the industry is underperforming?  As but one of several internal and external barometers, RVs have soared in the last 2o years, while manufactured housing is but a shadow of what it was 2 decades ago in total sales.  Yet RVs are a luxury item, and housing is a necessity, the later point being made by voices across the political divide, such as Senator Warren and Secretary Carson, have pointed out.

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Graphic by Skyline Champion, commentary by MHProNews.

 

But what federal officials may not have completely honed in upon is that during that contraction, Clayton has grown their market share, as the next two pie charts reflect.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2011DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

Note the acceleration of Clayton’s consolidation, after the letter below by 21st was issued? That’s what some legal minds have called ‘smoking gun’ evidence of antitrust behavior.  Other evidence linked here reflects that the claims by Tim Williams were a mix of the truth and untrue. Rephrased, this was plausible cover for alleged antitrust law behavior.

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticPloyConcernManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. To see the full report, click here.

 

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesMarketShareManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews-e1528746976415

 

 

Coincidence? Or is it because Buffett’s bucks have – via third-party documented ‘dark money’ channels, has funded both the opposition to the industry by MHAction and other activist groups, as well as purportedly dominating MHI.

 

 

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

 

This raises several issues that bear federal agencies, media and other investigations, and congressional oversight.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

Because there is a pattern and evidence that reflects the very real possibility that market manipulations and ‘predatory behavior’ by a small number of MHI member companies has cost the industry billions of dollars a year in potential sales.

 

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

 

Is that an accident, mere coincidence?  Or is it indicative of something more sinister that often causes millennials and others to question capitalism, when it is specific and problematic corporate behavior that should be scrutinized, not the entire free enterprise system.

As tent cities grow in various parts of our nation, of course there will be an outcry by people against such troubling developments.

 

Tent Cities, Homelessness, Crime, Disease, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

While Secretary Carson and his predecessor have both praised manufactured homes, the inexplicable failure to use “enhanced preemption” or the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” legal principles to address these issues reflect some breakdown between the need and solutions that are already law.

It is mind boggling that MHI has no mention of enhanced preemption on their website, as of the date of the report linked below.  By contrast, MHARR, MHLivingNews, MHProNews and others have numerous articles and years of reports that point to that the need to enforce the law on federal preemption.

 

Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

Summing Up

Affordable housing, related lending, and a failure to properly promote manufactured housing are cited by people in and out of MHI as real problems.  This publication has stressed that not all MHI members should be viewed as black hats.  But that ‘black hat’ behavior has occurred from several prominent MHI member-firms is difficult if not impossible to intelligently dispute.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

Nathan Smith, Joe Stegmayer, Tim Williams, have all had various allegations lodged against them, as has Clayton Homes. Follow the links to learn more, which explains the satirical logo’s point.

 

Small Businesses, Consumers Are Being Harmed

These purported ploys in turn have cost small businesses collectively billions of dollars in the value of their enterprises. In response to declining shipments during an affordable housing crisis, which clearly harm smaller, more marginal businesses more than larger ones.  Bigger players with black hat behavior fuels bad news. The black hats may be using white hat companies in the same association to dress up their overall image.

MHI routinely has a reference to their antitrust statement – linked here – at the start of their individual business meeting sessions.  But that doesn’t change the reality that the industry is being consolidated into ever fewer hands.

To see if this is mere happenstance or something sinister if not illegal, federal, state, other interests, and advocates must do more to investigate beyond what has been done in articles like this and the linked reports herein and further below.

Secretary Carson has been doing a lot for manufactured housing publicly. But a counternarrative is also at play, which videos like John Oliver’s dwarf the good news that Secretary Carson is attempting to foster.  To date, the MHI ‘Homes on the Hill’ videos posted on this page have had about 2,000 total views between the 5 videos.  That’s helpful.  But John Oliver’s viral attack on manufactured housing has had over 6 million views.  That’s the factual reality.

Both major parties are making affordable housing and antitrust issues.

–      Will one party or both grab the bull by the horns, and investigate Berkshire Hathaway publicly?

–      Will one or both political parties call Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, and Tim Williams in to testify under oath about the evidence and allegations linked here?

–      Will federal and other investigators formally and publicly examine claims since the item linked above of further market manipulations, such as the ones reported at this link here?

–      Will the Feds and others allow Berkshire’s money and reputation to back them off? Or will they listen to voices that include MHI members who have said for years there is something wrong at the Arlington, VA based ‘umbrella’ trade group?

 

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

The comment above was said with respect to another recent topic, but relates to this issue too.

Ponder the following 4 items from current-former MHI members.  On the issue of DTS, ponder the photo of MHI’s sponsors, and then MHARR’s comment about DTS.

 

TheHUDCodeforManufacturedHomesisADiscriminationCodeMartyLavinJDMHIAwardWinnerMHRetailFinanceExpertCommunitiesOwnerPhotoQuoteMHProNews

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

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

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

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

 

 

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Marty Lavin advises, “Follow the Money” and “Pay More Attention to What People Do Than What They Say.” The GSEs are praising manufactured home quality, but then backed Clayton in supporting a ‘new class’ of manufactured homes, with key MHI member input, that is aimed at funneling that lending, per informed sources.

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The Trump Administration officials shown above could well find themselves the target of MHAction, or other similar activist group’s claims, that they are acting on behalf of the MHI’s largest companies. Indeed, MHI has implied as much in their ‘photo op’ messages to their own members. Are we to think that MHAction doesn’t already have these photos? MHAction and their affiliated groups have arguably already laid the foundation for that in their prior protests of Secretary Carson, and large MHI members, as the video with Senator Warren above illustrates. To be clear, MHProNews is not accusing these officials of any wrongdoing, but rather, we are hereby pointing out the on issues such as DTS, Enhanced Preemption, or Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, failure to fully and properly address those as federal law already requires could leave well meaning photo ops to be twisted into something that those officials never imagined. To learn more, click here.

 

Let’s dot the i on the above by saying anew that in pointing the finger at the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, that is not to be misconstrued as saying that all of those in said organizations are all tainted.  Among our sources are those in Clayton Homes, 21st, and MHI, to name but a few.  There are good people working in these organizations who are as troubled by what is occurring to the industry as we and others are.

 

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Millions of Americans are trapped in rentals, largely unaware of the good news that Secretary Carson has said during his tenure at HUD, or what scores of others in manufactured housing have been saying for years. Will MHI take these helpful videos that Secretary Carson made possible, and robustly promote them?  Or will they be a mere fig leaf? The latest head-fake to members, another illusion of motion, while the industry continues to consolidate?  Meanwhile,  millions search for affordable housing, when the solution is hiding in plain sight?

VicePresidentMikePenceWifeKarenHandOverHeartPledgeColts49ersGameWashingtonTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notice. One can agree or not with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission, while still questioning how it came to be that Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. To see all of William’s informative slides, click the graphic above. http://www.MHProNews.com/industry-news/industry-in-focus/is-tim-williams-21st-mortgage-ceo-mhi-chair-at-odds-with-berkshire-hathaway-chairman-warren-buffett What is undisputable is that for years, MHI pursued a bill that their own SVP of Government Relations said had essentially no chance of passage. Where was the logic? Or was it a ‘rope-a-dope‘ ploy?

 

But there is a rationale case to be made that forces within the industry have intentionally limited the industry, with the purported aim of consolidating businesses at a discount in a fashion that might slip by antitrust regulatory scrutiny.

 

Enforce Existing Law

But as or more important is that the solution requires no new legislation.  The solution is already federal law.  It need but be enforced. But there is evidence that the powers that be in the industry don’t want to solve the problem now.  They want to consolidate more of the industry. Meanwhile, the suffering of millions of people and thousands of independent business professionals continues.

 

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Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. MHProNews and our sister site continue to chop away at the core issues that are close to the heart of what is arguably keeping manufactured housing from achieving its potential.

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Sometimes the truth is hiding in plain sight. Follow the facts, evidence, and the money.

 

Thus a public federal investigation, led by Congress, but with parallel efforts in the federal agencies, needs to be handled as publicly as possible. Why? Because the harm being done to the manufactured home industry is harming the public, plus independents who are arguably a victim too.

Renters, manufactured home owners, and voters need to understand that this is consolidating Machiavellian ploy is harming their interests.  The industry’s honest professionals should not be punished, it is the alleged bad actors who need to be held to account.

If we as a nation do so, then Secretary Carson’s solution for America may come to pass. The fabled doctor’s prescription, if put to work, could prove useful to millions and would save taxpayers billions too.  It would also create countless new jobs, and spark new investment opportunities.

ValuePenguinFearManufacturedHomesSolutionAffordableHousingCrisis

https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis If MHI were serious about growing the industry, why have they not spotlighted articles like the one linked above?

 

The reports linked herein plus those below the byline and notices include articles that document how a natural economic boom could take place, raising the net worth of individuals who could leave the world of renting and become owners of affordable housing’s most obvious and proven solution. Modern manufactured homes are a proven solution. There is much work to be done to make that prescription and potential a reality.

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

To learn more, see the reports linked above and below. More on this simple yet-profound topic tomorrow and in the days ahead. No politics, just 311 words that boil down to two words. Enhanced preemption. “We Provide, You Decide” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

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

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https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/we-as-a-nation-can-solve-the-affordable-housing-crisis-says-secretary-ben-carson-spotlighting-manufactured-homes-other-emerging-housing-technologies/

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hud-secretary-ben-carson-speech-on-manufactured-homes-manufactured-housingactive-ingredientmedicationfor-a-stronger-america/

 

 

 

 

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

 

Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President, Controversial Points of Agreement with Marty Lavin, George Allen on Communities

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”

June 7th, 2019 Comments off
MembersPointtoPositivesPromblematicManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoSaysGetFactsOnZoningDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Still from video posted further below.

Among the sources for the report that follows are MHEC, MHI, and their members.

 

Let’s begin by pondering MHI’s page on zoning, which has no date on their article/post.  That is being provided in its entirety below under fair use guidelines for media under this fact check and analysis.  The MHI statement mentioning Huntsville, Texas suggests it was possibly posted in 2016. But a link to that page elsewhere on the MHI website has a date of Oct 31, 2017.  With that understanding, let’s dive in to their verbatim text under their subheading shown on a page linked here.

 

CollageMHIPageGetFactsonZoningManufacturedHousingInstituteMHProNews

Unfair Zoning Laws Can Restrict Manufactured Home Placement

There is an affordable housing crisis in the U.S. and some communities are making a bad situation worse.

There is a growing trend of municipalities trying to use zoning and other land use regulations to restrict or eliminate manufactured housing in their jurisdictions. These actions could reduce the supply of critically-needed affordable housing for working families across the country and may be discriminatory under the Fair Housing Act.

The attempts at cities discriminating against manufactured housing are wide ranging. Some cities now restrict community owners from replacing units when someone moves, others are looking at banning them altogether, and some are segregating them at locations far out from local amenities such as schools, transportation, doctors and jobs.

Local city and county government’s use a variety of land use planning devices to restrict the use of manufactured homes as an available source of affordable housing. Interestingly, these devises are often in conflict with the entity’s comprehensive plan. These cases often involve zones within a community where manufactured housing fits the character and ascetics of the zone.

 

Outright Bans
This past year, Huntsville, Texas, passed an outright ban on the placement of manufactured homes in the community, including on private property. This change in the law came despite the presence of manufactured homes and multi-family homes in the community. After an outcry from residents living in manufactured homes, the council overturned the ban.

 

Lot Size

Rural Harrison County, Kentucky is attempting to pass a requirement that manufactured homes may only be placed on lots of 10 acres or more.  These types of ordinances are found in other communities and can range from 1 to 10 acres.

Lot size is not just a rural issue. In a community in South Carolina, the Georgetown council required minimum lot size in a zone predominated by older mobile homes whereby the practical effect would be to require the accumulation of several lots to build any new home. As this case involves a zone containing a majority of African American residents, HUD is investigating for possible Fair Housing violations.

 

Layering of Multiple Ordinances
When a Mississippi Supreme Court decision disallowed Pearl’s method of excluding manufactured housing, the city undertook changes to multiple land use planning devices (density, occupancy, setbacks) which allowed the placement of a home in a land-lease community, but made it illegal for anyone to occupy the home.

 

Density
Changes to density and setback requirements cause land-lease communities to provide homes on every other lot.

 

Restriction to Manufactured Home Communities (Parks) only
An affront to private property rights is where a government restricts the placement of manufactured homes to manufactured home parks only. An ordinance in Kentucky like this was passed in London, and following a lawsuit, reversed.

 

Age
A trend in western states (Kansas and Arizona for instance) is the adoption of ordinances where there is an age restriction on manufactured homes, disallowing the placement of a home more than 5- or 10- years old. These local laws basically place expiration dates on homes, and artificially kill resale values.

 

Non-conforming Uses
The Village of Lodi, Ohio, changed its interpretation of non-conforming use such that when a home would be removed from a land-lease community, the entire park would become a non-conforming use. The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the interpretation.

 

No Reason Whatsoever
The most frustrating cases come when a city or county denies the placement of a home for no reason whatsoever. In Washington Township, Ohio, it took a court order to force a zoning panel to issue a permit for the replacement of an older manufactured home with a new one.

 

— End of MHI Zoning post —

 

The above by MHI on zoning is fine, as far as it goes.  A helpful next step would be to add videos to that page, like their new one below.  Let’s see if they do that?

 

 

The Two Biggest Missed Items

But perhaps the two most important things missing from MHI’s zoning page are two absent, key words. “Enhanced Preemption.”  MHI members have agreed with that concern.  Even those pleased with the recent event are not able to explain how MHI could have failed to properly promote this in advance or during the event with the general public.  Harder still for backers to explain is why MHI doesn’t promote enhanced preemption. 

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

 

That’s legally powerful two-word phrase – “enhanced preemption” are found nowhere on the MHI website.

 

EnhancedPreemption672019PostInnovationHousingShowcaseManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIlogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

By contrast, Manufactured Housing Executive Council (MHEC) members, some MHI members, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), MHLivingNews, and MHProNews have all put “enhanced preemption” forth as important legal tools to deal with the zoning-placement issue that contributes to the affordable housing crisis.

 

EnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform4-26-2019ManufacturedHomesMHProNews

 

Their miss is so problematic that MHARR has launched an initiative to deal with that inexplicable oversight. 

 

 

Calling on MHI to Do Their Job on Enhanced Preemption

We’re hereby once more calling on MHI to start promoting Enhanced Preemption if they are serious about dealing with the zoning-placement issues.  Photos opportunities with administration and other leaders that don’t include “enhanced preemption” among the top items to not only ask for but obtain makes a mockery of their claim of “clout.”

GotClout-questionmark-GetItHere-MHI-ManufacturedHousingInstitute-postedMHProNews-com-

Clout isn’t measured by photo opportunities, but by bottom line results. In our industry, that must including dramatically rising manufactured home production and sales. Instead, we have see 8 months of year-over-year decreases.

Photos, graphics, videos, copy, and slogans are all fine so long as they advance the solutions that actually result in more sales.  But instead, it is shrinking sales during an affordable housing crisis that has been witnessed instead.

Emotions must be kept in check by the reality of shipments and the lack of full implementation of “enhanced preemption,” other aspects of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000, and the full implementation of the Duty to Serve not just a sliver of manufactured home production, but all manufactured homes. 

HUD Secretary Carson, in advance and during the Innovative Housing Showcase, was on several cable network and other mainstream news shows.  A video posted in the last related report linked further below by itself has about 20 times more views than all of MHI’s promotional videos on this same topic combined.

The industry needs more than claims and emotional ‘feel good’ items.  There is a need for action with measurable results.

Time will tell if they take the opportunities that Secretary Carson, two MHI members, MHARR, and others have made possible to actually improve the sales of manufactured homes.

That’s today’s second installment of manufactured home Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

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8 Months of Declining Year-Over-Year HUD Code Manufactured Home Production – When Will Manufactured Housing Institute Act?

 

Key to Unlocking Door for More Manufactured Home Sales, Professor Lisa Tyler’s Valuable Research

Tent Cities, Homelessness, Crime, Disease, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours Innovative Housing Showcase on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 

 

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

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

June 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

ManufacturedHomeIndustryProfessionalsHUDSecretaryBenCarsonNeedGetBehindTheseTwoWordsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are times that simplicity is useful. Consider these facts.

 

·        There is an affordable housing crisis.

·        HUD Secretary Ben Carson and thousands of others say that local zoning and placement (barrier) issues are harming the nation.

·        Conventional builders (National Association of Home Builders, factory builders, others) say that zoning, regulatory, and placement issues are harming the nation and affordable housing.

·        But the simple application of two words that are already law could solve much of this almost immediately.

 

What are those two almost magical words?

Enhanced preemption.

Under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, there is a provision that ‘enhanced’ federal preemption. That provision has been used on occasion, but not routinely.

If HUD Secretary Ben Carson ordered the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) to fully implement enhanced preemption on HUD Code manufactured housing, local barriers that so complicate the issue of manufactured housing could melt away.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is already behind this concept.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) was part of the coalition that made enhanced preemption part of federal law.

 

 

There are state association executives that already know about this provision of the current manufactured housing law, believe in it, and want to put that provision to work.

There are HUD Code producers that of course know about enhanced preemption.

Implementing those Two Words = Enhanced Preemption = under the MHIA of 2000 could change the fortunes of potentially millions of Americans over time.  It would boom the production side of the industry.  Others could enter the industry and tap into the millions of affordable housing opportunities that those two words would unlock.

 

 

To learn more, see the reports linked above and below.  More on this simple yet-profound topic tomorrow and in the days ahead. No politics, just 311 words that boil down to two words.  Enhanced preemption. “We Provide, You Decide” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

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

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Secretary Carson Letter Lights Fuse for Explosive Change, Obliquely Addresses Manufactured Housing Action Concerns

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

DarkMoneyBasicsWikipediaOpenSecretsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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

 

 

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

 

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

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

 

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

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

 

 

A View from NMHOA… 

TimSheahanPresidentPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssoclogoNMHOAlogoMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

 

Real World Lessons Learned

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among those cc’d were:

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

The letter and attachment are linked here.

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

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

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

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

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

 

A New Paradigm Ahead?

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

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

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

 

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Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bipartisan Praise for Manufactured Housing, What’s Next

April 26th, 2019 Comments off

 

BiPartisanPraiseForManufacturedHousingWhatsNextDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeProNews

Wheat and chaff. Let’s give credit where it is due. These two video clips were obtained by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). That’s good. They represent bipartisan praise for manufactured homes as an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis. That’s good too.

 

One might wonder why these videos aren’t on YouTube, or why they aren’t being prominently promoted. After all, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro is now a Democratic contender for their party’s nomination for president in 2020. Secretary Ben Carson, MD, is a former 2020 presidential contender. Both men are respected by their respective political party’s.

 

 

But these video statements – freely made by the top person of the federal agency that has primary oversight over federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes are useful.

 

 

So too was the bipartisan statement made at the state level by a committee that studied manufactured homes. See that report, linked below.

 

 

 

The positive facts about manufactured housing are well known in industry circles. Some third-party, academic-style research in 2018 likewise amounted to praise of the industry. Perhaps the most notable was the research done recently was by the National Association of Realtors, Certified Business Economist (CBE), Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton. So why has MHI not posted that on their website?

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoScholasticaCororatonNARSearchMHProNews

 

As this and other fact-checks reveals, there’s an increasingly evident pattern of failures to properly promote manufactured housing that one can discern at MHI. They question becomes, why? They know about the Cororaton’s useful NAR research. The Arlington, VA based trade group also knows about those two videos, and numbers of others like them.

A trade group sharing such informational/educational material that corrects or clarifies facts about our industry’s housing products and services with industry members is fine. But it isn’t enough.

 

It’s the general public that needs convincing.

 

It is also local public officials that need to be made aware of letters like the one linked here from HUD to a local jurisdiction, reminding them that they could not supersede federal authority.

MHProNews research has identified numerous third-party reports that are useful for referencing the proven value of federally preemptive HUD Code manufactured housing.  That research dates back for over 20 years.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) website has a clearly stated aim to achieve industry growth. They have identified specific issues that are holding the industry’s retailers, communities, and developers back from achieving far higher levels of new HUD Code home sales.  A search of their website reveals several references to Enhanced Preemption. See composite screen capture below, from earlier today.  They are a production, not post-production, trade association representing independent builders of federally regulated manufactured homes.

 

 

EnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform4-26-2019ManufacturedHomesMHProNews

 

So why is it that MHI as an ‘umbrella’ association that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing” – which clearly includes post-production interests – has no mention at all of enhanced preemption.  This search was repeated today, which had the same result as on the previous date shown.

 

EnhancedPreemptionMHIWebsiteSearch

Both sources with MHI, and MHI’s outside counsel, have stated that they monitor our website. MHI leaders have been asked directly about this issue. No changes. Given the issues the industry faces on zoning and placement, why are they allowing one of the best arguments to go unused?

 

When NIMBY and other factors are causing the industry to face pushback, solution oriented professionals must ask, what are the steps that can be taken to address these issues?

HUDCodeManufacturedHomesHUDPDR2001InfillmanufacturedhousingMHProNews

Certainly, part of it is educational.  Local jurisdictions that are taking an anti-affordable housing, or anti-manufactured home stance need to be made aware of the economic harm that their posture causes.  The negative aspect of that is where “Seattle is Dying” and related reports come in.

 

 

That is also where “Fear” comes in, because that report originally published here, and update on MHLivingNews at the linked text-image box below lays out the economic benefits from fostering more affordable housing, all by references to third-party research.

 

 

The above are association work, or the work of a business/investor willing to tackle that locally, knowing the upside profit potential from having done so.

Finally, it could also – at least in theory – be the grounds for a civil rights case by impacted citizens.  In such a scenario, such as exists in Bryan, TX, recovery of legal fees plus damages could be a potential outcome.

 

CommunityGuideFactoryBuiltHousingTypicalSiteBuiltFactoryBuiltManufacturedHOusingModularHomesMHProNews

This was part of third-party, university level research. It is one of several such reports over the years. Why are these reports not prominently on the MHI website?http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CommunityGuideToFactoryBuiltHousingHUDPDRManufacturedHousingModularHomeMHProNews2001.pdf

CommunityGuideFactoryBuiltHousingInfillDevelopingModularHousingManufacturedHomes2001HUDPDRMHProNews

This was part of third-party, university level research. It is one of several such reports over the years. Why are these reports not prominently on the MHI website?http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CommunityGuideToFactoryBuiltHousingHUDPDRManufacturedHousingModularHomeMHProNews2001.pdf

MHI in an oblique response to our repeatedly raised concerns has taken to showing photos of their staff or elected leaders with public officials.  What good are those examples of access actually doing the industry?  Are they not in fact a striking case of MHI failing to use that access in furtherance of the interests of independents who want to see new HUD Code manufactured home sales growth?

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoSupportersofMHIElevatedTopAdminPositionsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews574

What practical impact have these prior photo ops actually resulted in, other than photos that MHI uses to impress people with their access? Why not use that access to get HUD to make enhanced preemption a routinely enforced reality?

 

What’s next from MHI? When will they do their self-proclaimed job?  When will they use their self-proclaimed clout?  Photo opportunities alone are meaningless, perhaps even embarrassing, if they don’t ultimately result in timely solutions to issues such as the full implementation of Duty to Serve, or correcting the zoning/placement issues that exist from coast-to-coast.

MHIGotCloutWheresTheBeefMHProNews

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

 

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Insider Tip – “Selling Access” to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Manufactured Housing Institute’s Latest Razzle Dazzle

April 18th, 2019 Comments off
InsiderTipSellingAccesstoHUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingInstituteLOGOLatestRazzleDazzleMHProNews600

If the shoe fits…satirical MHI logo provided under fair use guidelines.

The definition given by Dictionary of the noun razzle-dazzle reads in part as follow, with the bold added for emphasis: “Informal. showiness, brilliance, or virtuosity in technique or effect, often without concomitant substance or worth; flashy theatricality: The razzledazzle of the essay’s metaphors cannot disguise its shallowness of thought.”

 

The Urban Dictionary defines the term ‘dog and pony show’ in similar terms. “Man do the ignorant apathetic masses eat up this dog and pony show.”

Dog and pony show” is a colloquial term which has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends,” said Wikipedia.

 

So razzle dazzle, or dog and pony show are designed to catch the eye and impress, even if there is no substance or practical usefulness to it. With that backdrop is this following insider tip. The words in brackets are added for clarity, our common MHProNews bold and brown are added to make a direct quote pop, but the comments – typos and all are in the original – are from an insider with knowledge of the developments in the manufactured housing industry’s version of ‘the Swamp.’

On the BC [Ben Carson] matter, though, you are absolutely right, as they use these stuff for dog and pony show, but never ask these people [at the Manufactured Housing Institute] to get something tangeable done for the industry and consumers…waste of the industry’s hard-earned clout.”

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHICongressExpo2019BenCarsonPhotoOpSpeechDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

From an MHI email to their members earlier this week. Such an address by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, MD, could be useful or not.  Will Secretary Carson do something substantive, that will help the industry, consumers, and HUD? Or is this just another photo op? Time will tell.

 

GotClout-questionmark-GetItHere-MHI-ManufacturedHousingInstitute-postedMHProNews-com-

The Daily Business News with MHProNews was previously tipped some time back about the red herring use of photo ops with political figure by Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and members of Congress, federal or state officials.  Photo ops are morally neutral, the specifics of how it is used is the question. In MHI’s case, per insiders, they are literal ‘head fake’ attempts to impress the rank and file industry member with their access – what MHI touts as clout – but without actually producing any useful results.

This new allegation would suggest that MHI is selling access to photo opportunities to Secretary Carson, because it costs hundreds of dollars to attend MHI’s Congress and Expo.

People love selfies and photos with celebrities and famous people. The desire for a photo with a notable person can include public officials. The photo of Nathan Smith with Vice-President Joe Biden, or the signed photo from Barack Obama serves to make the point.

 

 

One reason that presidential or other campaigns make coffee shop, restaurant, factory, or other stops is precisely to give ‘real people’ the opportunity to have a photo made with them. It is a practice done by people of both major parties. Those photos become free ads for a politico on social media, emails, texts or other more traditional ways to commemorate that moment. MHProNews team members are not immune to that phenomenon; we have photos with notables and officials too. We have not opted to publish such photos recently of a given team member with some well-known political personality. Doing so could be misinterpreted.

 

 

It’s a Profit Center

An upcoming analysis of the MHI 990s make it clear that meetings and events like their ‘Congress and Expo’ are profit centers. They earn significantly more from such an event than the cost to put it on.

In essence, per another source with insider knowledge, what the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is doing is “selling access” for “photo opportunities” with HUD Secretary Ben Carson in this case, or with other figures in various instances. Professionals got photos last year with Secretary Carson or others and more will doubtlessly do so this year. That’s not necessarily a slam on Carson or HUD. It is what it is.

Both MHI and HUD will be given an opportunity to respond to these concerns.

 

Where is the Practical Use of MHI Access and Clout?

The quote at top is a key to understanding the emergence of the puzzling picture that is manufactured housing today. If MHI has such “clout,” when they have photos with several key people in the Trump Administration, or with Democrats or the GOP in Congress, why aren’t they using it to gain real results? Why is MHI proudly pushing a speech and photo opportunities?

Why aren’t they asking and OBTAINING Secretary Carson’s potentially powerful position for HUD’s intervention in areas like

Or why haven’t they shown results in obtaining:

  • Eliminating the 10/10 rule on FHA Title I loans?
  • A broad use of the Duty to Serve lending by the GSEs for all manufactured homes, not just for the Clayton Homes promoted ‘new class of homes?’

The list of possible ‘asks’ by MHI and their ‘big boy’ masters could go on.  One might note what MHARR said to Fannie Mae’s new CEO, when they made the point that failing to implement DTS (or by inference, other such policies) adds to the profitability of Berkshire Hathaway owned brands in manufactured housing.  It gives Clayton and their sister companies an outsized influence.  It makes the point that MHI award-winner Marty Lavin previously made, doesn’t it?

 

Wasted MHI Clout? 

If MHI has such clout, as they have claimed for years in graphics like the above, why didn’t the stop the hit against their own prominent members in the John Oliver viral “Mobile Homes” video?

If MHI has such clout, why is the primary media narrative arguably against the industry’s homes and communities, rather than for it?

MHI can no longer as easily escape with the ‘head fake’ photo “razzle dazzle” or “dog and pony show” techniques any longer, so long as MHProNews and/or any others spotlight what they are and have been doing for years.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoSupportersofMHIElevatedTopAdminPositionsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews574

What have these prior photo ops actually resulted in, other than photos?

Rhetorical or visual red herrings are a deceptive ruse arguably designed to deceive and impress independents or others without delivering any actual and measurable results. MHI is collecting millions in dues, and what do they have to show for it?  Why is the industry performing at a lower total production rate today than the year that Warren Buffett entered the industry over 15 years ago?

 

2018-12-10_0949SkyChampionManufacturedHousingShipmentHistoryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsNov2018

Skyline-Champion (SKY) is an MHI member.  They are making the case in the chart above that there is upside.  Of course there is, but why isn’t that upside being achieved?  It is self evident to those who look at history and the facts that the industry is under-performing. Several MHI member companies have said as much, in their own IR presentations. Rollohome went from zero to 60,000 new homes shipped in 2 years. What was done before can be done again, better, faster, and with sustainable results, thanks to existing laws.

 

MHI obtained a video with Secretary Carson, and a video with previous HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Castro is currently seeking a run at the White House as a Democrat. Dr. Carson is a well-known member of the GOP, and as a Republican, sought his party’s nomination as president in the 2016 campaign cycle.  Why are those videos touting bi-partisan praise for the industry not on the home page of their website?  Why instead are they a challenge to find?

The evidence and reasons suggests – and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis has not yet denied or explained away – the claim that the “Illusion of Motion” has made MHI money, while the industry continues to consolidate into ever fewer hands.  MHI meetings have become ‘Buffett’s Big Boy Buffet.’ Members pay for the honor of potentially becoming the next meal for a corporate giant.

If the industry was performing near their historic norm, or to the industry’s potential, then the value of those businesses arguably would be higher.

WarrenBuffettAZQuoteCriticalFactorDetermineValuePayFairBargainPriceMHProNews

Does MHI, Clayton Homes, et al’s failure to seriously move the needle to advance the industry de facto benefit Berkshire Hathaway and others who are consolidating the industry at effectively depressed prices? If so, is MHI engaging in unethical or perhaps illegally deceptive trade practices?

Is it a coincidence that failing to fight and win media image, to fully implement good laws, to overcome regulatory or other hurdles creates shark-like resistance?  Meanwhile, the manufactured home industry staying smaller limits the attraction of new competition, and that pattern allows Warren Buffett and his de facto allies to buy up chunks of the industry at a discount? Aren’t these useful in doing exactly what Buffett has said in his own words?”  That summarizes points that publisher and industry expert L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has made.

GoodBusinessIsLikeAStrongCastleWithaDeepMoatAroundItSharksIntheMoatIwantItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Sometimes the truth is hiding in plain sight. Follow the facts, evidence, and the money.

The industry’s independents in MHI ought to demand their money’s worth, or seek new structures that achieve the claimed goals of the Arlington based association that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing.”

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. These lessons are not shared to discourage, but to identify the root issues, so that they can be successfully addressed.  One of many things that Secretary Carson could do is ask the FTC and DOJ to investigate allegations of violations of antitrust and other laws.

 

Photo ops and nice speeches are fine, and we can all enjoy them.  But it is measurable results that the industry needs, and the same applies to current manufactured home owners and the roughly 100 million living in rentals, most of who want to become a home owner.” says Kovach.

The time for razzle dazzle and head fakes is over. The industry continues to be consolidated.

See the related reports to learn more, found further below the byline, offers, and notices.  That’s this morning’s edition of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use© where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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For Want of a Nail – Manufactured Housing

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

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Secretary Carson “HUDdle Conference” Draws Manufactured Housing Issues Engagement

March 21st, 2019 Comments off

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonHUDdleCOnferenceDrawsManufacturedHousingIssuesEngagementDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Daily Business News on MHProNews learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., kicked off their latest ‘HUDle’ meeting at their Washington, D.C. office building.

 

In a statement to MHProNews, here is what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said today.

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Department of Housing and Urban Development, on March 20, 2019, held the latest in a series of “HUDdle” conferences with invited HUD-program stakeholders.  The conferences, which are an initiative of — and hosted by — HUD Secretary Ben Carson, focus on emerging issues at the Department, including, but not limited to, aspects of its ongoing regulatory reform process,” MHARR said.

Among the manufactured home industry professionals present was Mark Weiss, JD.  Weiss is the president and CEO of MHARR.

MHARR’s president emphasized the urgent need for HUD to address and resolve two key issues that continue to suppress the availability of inherently affordable manufactured housing for millions of American consumers, and the economic growth of the industry,” per their statement, which added, “Those two issues are, first, discriminatory zoning laws that exclude or severely restrict the placement of manufactured homes in large areas of the country.  The second is the critical need for reform at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (under the “Duty to Serve” and beyond), to substantially increase the availability of manufactured home consumer financing (and especially personal property or ‘chattel’ financing) to market-significant levels.”

 

MHARR stated that they will be following-up soon with relevant HUD officials to further pursue these key policy objectives.

 

The issues come in the wake of fact-checks and related exposes by MHProNews, which included specific examples of the post-production Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) was routinely failing to address specific cases spot-checked by MHProNews. Here accessible via the linked text-image box is but one example. Others follow below the byline, disclaimers, and notices.

 

MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

 

Placement and financing are post-production, not production related issue, so they fall into MHI’s self-proclaimed bucket of representing “all segments of factory-built housing.”  Topics like this and others will be among the issues addressed at the rapidly approaching “Fix the MH Industry Trick$” meeting a week from today Thursday afternoon at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

That’s this afternoon’s manufactured housing industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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As Affordable Housing Crisis Rages, New HUD Code Manufactured Housing Shipments Fall, Some States Drop 35-40 Percent

Cha-Ching! Manufactured Housing Made Simple in 2019

 

Fix MH Industry Trick$ – Special Meeting at Tunica Show

 

Smile! You’re on Candid Camera! Security, Casino Hotels, and Fix the MH Trick$ Tunica Event

Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing

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

 

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

MHARR Calls on HUD To Remove Zoning, Placement and Consumer Financing Barriers to Manufactured Homes

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”