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A Tale of Two Cities, Affordable Housing, Manufactured Homes, and You

TaleOfTwoCitiesAffordableHousingManufacturedHomesYouManufacturedHomeProNews

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, a historical novel that centers “on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror,” per Wikiquote.

Five quotes, the one above, and four that follow, will help bring clarity to issues that vex affordable housing, the manufactured home industry’s professionals, homeowners, home seekers, investors, advocates, and public officials in an era of confusion.

In no particular order of importance, the following and the above quote by Dickens sets the stage.

 

  • On December 20, 1787, Jefferson wrote to his friend James Madison with his views about the draft of the U.S. Constitution… “I will now add what I do not like. First the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal & unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land & not by the law of Nations.”

 

  • If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life. If we would not submit to an emperor, we should not submit to an autocrat of trade…” – said Senator John Sherman of Ohio, sponsor of what became known as the Sherman Antitrust Act which was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison in 1890.

 

  • Matthew 15:19-20 – “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.” – Jesus of Nazareth, per the Study Bible, per Bible Hub.

 

  • Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy, but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War, per

Sometimes our enemies lie within. Sometimes the opponents of justice – ‘enemies’ – are found outside. To understand oneself or one’s society, or to grasp the events that are shaping our times, one must have a solid foundation about the truth in life, which requires a measure of objectivity.

By the way, to have a hope of turning enemies or opponents into allies and friends, these next quotes are useful as a bonus.

  • “…do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” – Abraham Lincoln, per
  • Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Rev. (Dr.) Martin Luther King, Jr., per

 

The Road Less Traveled

If we make up the rules of the road as we go along, then travel would become far more dangerous. So, society – sometimes through legislation, elected or appointed officials, or at times by direct vote – enacts rules that govern travel. A similar principle holds for much of the balance of other social interactions.

Anarchists and true criminals don’t care about rules. If we are to have a just society, it must be founded upon just principles.

The founders of America were in many respects deep thinkers who knew history, the law, religion, and morality. They had a good sense of economics, human rights, including private property rights. While they came from various religious beliefs, they were often Christians who respected the rights of other religions. Thomas Jefferson, for example, was a deist – but he had a sense of Scripture too.

As inspirational as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Jefferson (or others) happen to be, we would be mistaken if we demanded perfection from them before trusting the wisdom of many of their insights. There were scandals involving King Jr. and there were scandals involving Jefferson. Thus, the principle of separating the wheat from the chaff is useful, is essential in all of our dealings with all people. You wouldn’t have to look long to find fault with this writer, just ask my wife, our son, or others that know me. With any institution, organization, culture, creed, group or person alive, there is some good, and some bad.

But to know the bad, one must understand what is good.

  • What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.” – Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton.

If money or force alone are to rule society, then you better grab a gun, because otherwise there will be no safety, even in numbers.

If someone blindly trusts government, or a political party, an organization, or some favored personality, then disappointment is sure to follow.

For those who curse the foundation of America, it must be said that they likely do not understand history, economics, or objective morality.

While imperfect, what became the U.S. Constitution set the path so that later in our history the freeing of slaves, indentured servitude, political equality for women and all minorities, and much more could occur.

Some pit blacks and other minorities against whites, why? Some claim that a person or group is pitting a class, minority, or other groups against others, why? The sobering truth is that some of those grasp histories quite well, and they seek to divide our nation so that they and their cronies might rule it.

  • A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” – Abraham Lincoln, per

It must not be thought that the only divisions are racial ones, nor only economic ones. Your rights are safer if my rights are protected, and that means we must protect the rights of our neighbors. Those who helped overthrow the Tsars of Russia to bring about a ‘socialist utopia’ often ended up dead themselves shortly after the “Bolsheviks” – socialists/communists – came to power. Socialism isn’t the answer, but neither is unfettered capitalism. There is a middle ground that must be struck, and the founders tried to find that common ground.

What is going wrong in our manufactured home industry is a microcosm of what is amiss in our society. Ours is a great, but imperfect nation. In some respects, manufactured housing suffers more than some other professions, because it is misunderstood and relatively small.

In principle, MHProNews is as:

  • opposed to the monopolization of retail by Amazon,
  • as we are the monopolization of search and ads by Google (Alphabet) and Facebook,
  • The monopolization found in the work of Apple and Microsoft
  • or the monopolization of manufactured housing production and retail by Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and their affiliated brands.
  • The FAANG brands, plus Berkshire and Microsoft – are not the only ones that need to be broken up, but that would be a very useful start. #DeFaangBM.
  • If we will not act as needed, “We the People” will suffer the fate that Senator Sherman from Ohio and Thomas Jefferson warned against.

America is steadily being monopolized. The problem isn’t to be solved by term limits or by overturning Citizen’s United. Those are artful dodges or misinformed ‘solutions’ that would still leave a few oligarchs ready to rule. The challenge is to understand what made America a better place, and what it is that can right the ship that is taking on water.

The problem spans the left-center-right, Democrat vs. Republican divides. The confusion spans the traditions of those parties in the last 25 (+/-) years. Neither major party is the same as it was a quarter century ago, for good or ill.

The challenges faced are not partisan problems, which is why we’ve periodically referenced the useful research by a bipartisan panel of lawmakers that explained how manufactured homes are an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis. That focused report is found linked below.

 

DemocratsRepublicansAgreeManufacturedHomesCanPlayVitalRoleEasingAffordableHousingShortageMHLivingNews600
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/democrats-republicans-agree-manufactured-homes-can-play-a-vital-role-in-easing-the-affordable-housing-shortage/

The traditional role of media is to hold the powerful to account, to fact-check, and to reveal what is concealed. Journalists explore the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and How Much. They follow the money trail, much as criminal or other logical investigations often do.

Break up the monopolistic powers, and a significant part of the solution to our nation’s ills would be underway. Don’t expect perfect people to do that job, including this writer. We can count the ‘perfect’ people in world history on less than 1 hand. We must know our enemies, and know ourselves.

We are not personality driven at MHProNews, although personalities are involved. We are driven by facts, reason, and evidence. Our views about certain people or organizations have evolved as our understanding of the facts evolved, but our core principles have remained the same.

  • When a doctor discovers that the wrong illness or treatment has been used, they make the necessary changes.
  • When a businessman realizes that something is awry, they don’t keep doing the same things in the same way. They look for causes, then solutions, and make adjustments.
  • When residents of manufactured home communities realize that the land-lease properties are being consolidated into ever fewer hands, and that several of those consolidators are then enacting stiff hikes in site fees that often harm significant numbers of residents, of course they want to change that problem.

The common response to that is to demand rent control. In and of itself, that would never ‘solve’ the problem, because the problem is one of supply and demand. More supply of home sites must be brought on-line as rapidly as possible. Existing laws can be used to make that possible.

 

Enforce Good Laws

Much of what is wrong in America could be summed up like this. Good laws are going underenforced. Those with deep pockets can manipulate the system in their favor. As we’ve said several times, when prominent voices on the left and right both say, “The system is rigged,” that should be taken seriously.

TheSystemIsRiggedSenatorElizabethWarrenPresidentDonaldJTrumpSenatorBernieSandersManufacturedHomeLivingNews

The solutions proposed by those above are quite different, and this is where discernment is necessary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is quite right to call for a breakup of certain giants. On that point, she should be listened to – that is part of her ‘wheat.’ Ironically, 2016 cycle candidate Donald J. Trump pointed to a similar problem in different words, which was captured in part of an address by him in the video below. Several of his comments are part of his wheat.

Objectively speaking, Donald Trump was correct in saying that we can not count on those who ‘rigged the system’ to unrig it. Now President Trump may not be a constitutional scholar or a paragon of personal virtue. But the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn’t a perfect paragon of personal virtue either. One must separate the wheat from the chaff with all people, organizations, and things.

In our industry and with respect to the affordable housing crisis, a few simple issues and principles should be understood and doggedly applied.

Doing the following would disrupt the plans of a few consolidators, while it would be of maximum benefit to the vast majority of Americans, including smaller business owners, ethical investors, manufactured homeowners – particularly those in a land-lease – plus the tens of millions who now think they are trapped in rentals but mistakenly believe that they can’t afford to buy a home of their own.

3 broad legal principles need to be applied.

 

  • Fully enforce the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. That includes, but is not limited to, the enhanced preemption authority that it gives HUD over local zoning that limits access to manufactured housing.
  • Access to capital, which includes the Duty to Serve by the GSEs, but is not limited to them. HUD’s FHA Title I and Title II programs need reform as does VA, USDA and other publicly backed lending.
  • Enforcement of antitrust and RICO laws.  Keep in mind that rigging a market is arguably a violation of antitrust laws, and some of the tactics we’ve cited arguable violate RICO or deceptive trade practice laws.

For the above to occur, in practical terms, one must be able to persuade others as to why these laws should be enforced. Sad, but there it is. Thus, these articles are useful.

 

https://valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis

 

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/fear-a-solution-to-the-affordable-housing-crisis-and-the-manufactured-home-dilemma/

 

Much of this comes down to clarity and accuracy in communications and proper advocacy. For that reason, we have routinely debunked inaccurate and false claims, be it from another trade publication in our industry, voices outside of manufactured housing, or associations and nonprofits that deal directly with our industry.

For some 7 years, this writer was a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). I was elected by my peers to sit on the board of directors of the Suppliers Division. I attended most meetings. Our teams colleagues and myself were ‘praised’ by ‘leaders.’

 

TimWilliams21stMortgageCorpPriorMHIChairmanPraisingMHLivingNewsMHProNewsTonyKovach

 

By the way, in the video above, we use a little jesting. Levity can be useful in these serious topics.

 

Was MHARR right?

We were aware of the differences between MHI and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Frankly, while the logic of MHARR was routinely sound, some things that they claimed about MHI for a time did not seem to make sense to me. For example, both on paper were promoting the need for the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing that was mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The Government Sponsored Enterprises of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, under FHFA supervision, were supposed to implement laws that over a decade later are still not being properly applied.

Native American, Racial Minorities in Housing and Manufactured Homes, per FED, Harmed by Lending Practices, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Affiliated Lenders Cited

That harms not only minorities, but potentially millions of others.

 

Paul Barretto, Sr. Manager Fannie Mae, Manufactured Housing Initiatives, FHFA Lobbying Regulations, Duty to Serve, and Manufactured Housing Institute

 

Both organizations – MHI and MHARR – on paper were promoting the implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), including the “enhanced preemption” authority that gave to HUD over jurisdictions that violated the rights of citizens to place HUD Code manufactured homes on sites. Both MHI and MHARR say that they want DTS to be enforced.

But if they are sincere, years of examples reflects that MHI arguably has a funny way of showing it.

What was not clear for some time to me is that MHI was posturing support for DTS and the MHIA, but was not in practice doing what was necessary to see to it that those laws would be fully enforced. Earlier this year, Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of MHARR, penned an article entitled “The Illusion of Motion.” I wish I had that article and grasped it 4 years ago. It clarifies the distinction between posturing effort and actually doing something useful.

 

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https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/the-illusion-of-motion-versus-real-world-challenges/

That admission made, this writer was consistently in favor of enforcing good federal laws, including the MHIA and increasing financing options for homeowners and affordable housing seekers.

In hindsight, one could make the case that MHI postured support for our trade publications, while attempting to misdirect our interests too.

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

There are federal elected officials that have questions Clayton and their lenders verbally and in writing too.

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

The more we questioned their failures to enforce good existing laws, the more the tension between MHI, its leaders, and ourselves as members and trade publishers grew.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoLATonyKovachMHIMeetingsEventsNOtOpenJournalistsReportersMHProNews
Our goal from the start was to help the industry grow honestly and sustainably. So why would promoting that be a problem for MHI?

Finally, MHI ejected us from membership using an unsigned letter. Their claimed basis of the spurious ejection was the argument that ‘it has come to our [MHI’s] attention’ that MHProNews was ‘news and that they had no membership classification for ‘news.’ What a farce?! But the fact that they ducked polite, professional, face-to-face engagement speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

That was spurious because they knew we do more than news, and always have. MHI knows that, because our consulting and business development services were on our application, event badges, and more. Furthermore, they have other publishers as members. Are they ok, but not us?

In hindsight, it was a dark grace. We’d already learned what we needed to learn, from years of first hand experience that MHI’s own leaders praised.

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These are not just past praise for our work, but current realities too.

 

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These realities – in hindsight – appears to be that they their alleged con game was slowly being exposed. Their powers that be made the decision to eject us, to keep me from attending meetings, and thereby influencing discussions during their meetings. They then fostered in direct and indirect ways competition for us, while – per MHI sources – encouraging companies not to do business with us. Those are arguably the actions taken of true monopolists.

 

Executive Summary

Some months ago, on request from readers, we created a 600-word executive summary that is heavily cross linked to documents and sources. That is linked below.

 

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https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/masthead/manufactured-housing-industrys-opportunities-and-obstacles-executive-summary/

We have also produced in depth reports that carefully examine specific examples of market manipulation, providing documents, direct quotes in context, and more. An example is hot-linked from the image/text-link below.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews
Smoking Gun?!? In a series of direct quotes from Warren Buffett in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, a Berkshire brand in MH Financing, 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. MHI publishes an antitrust statement that is used at meetings. Why have they not acted on an apparent example of antitrust violations by their own members? https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

To make it clear that what is cited in the above was ongoing, and not a ‘one and done’ event, we complied numerous other examples of examples of allegations made against Clayton Homes and their Berkshire Hathaway affiliated lenders and other companies.

Case Against Clayton Homes

Because misinformation in manufactured housing is so commonplace, we created the “Ultimate” manufactured home infographic. You might find a cooler looking infographic, but as of this date, you won’t find one more complete or accurate. See that as part of the report linked below.

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For sharing this information with those outside of manufactured housing, please use the link below. Thank you. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/the-ultimate-manufactured-home-industry-fact-data-and-insights-bullets-plus-at-a-glance-infographic/

To understand why the industry is worth manipulating, and what the upside potential of our industry could be, we created this infographic.

 

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Since this infographic was first produced, there have been 10 out of 11 months of year-over-year declines in manufactured home shipments. This is a direct consequence of the kinds of issues and practices linked from this report. As the report linked below reflects, failure to properly implement the full potential of HUD Code manufactured homes possible under existing laws arguably costs the nation some $2 trillion dollars annually in lost GDP.

 

Because misinformation is so rampant in manufactured housing, we also created the “Ultimate” third-party research collection, which is linked below. Note that the collection of university level, nonprofit and academic research includes studies that spans several Democratic and Republican administrations. While each political party has done some good things, both have proverbial blood on their hands for failure to enforce good existing laws based upon facts that their own respective administrations often paid to unearth and produce.

UltimateReportersResearchersAffordableHousingAdvocatesShoppers3’rdPartyResearchReportsMobileHomesManufacturedHomesModularHousingMHLivingNews
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/ultimate-reporters-researchers-affordable-housing-advocates-or-shoppers-3rd-party-research-reports-on-mobile-homes-manufactured-homes-and-modular-housing/

 

We don’t need more studies, there are plenty of them.

 

Perhaps the single best recent research done on our industry was performed by the National Association of Realtors in 2018 by Certified Business Economist (CBE) Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton. Frankly, while good from the start, it had some mistakes in terminology, dating, graphics, etc. These errors I personally brought to Ms. Cororaton’s attention. To her credit, she corrected them all, had the entire issue of that journal republished with the corrections made, and additionally gave myself and Mark Weiss at MHARR a favorable mention in her first footnote to commemorate those contributions. That 2018 research is linked here or from the report below.

 

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https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/realtor-university-the-market-for-manufactured-homes-research-by-scholastica-cororaton-certified-business-economist-highlights/

Her work begs the question. Why didn’t MHI make those suggested corrections? They have far more staff. They were engaged in the research from early on. Once published, why didn’t MHI promote her important research, which is useful to debunking misconceptions of our industry?

There are times that patience pays, and a stubborn adherence to the law and facts matters. That I’ve learned in part from the example of MHARR, which for decades helped craft good laws like the MHIA or DTS as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) 2008.

MHI was later involved in the passage of the MHIA. So why is it that MHARR pushes for the strict enforcement of the MHIA, while MHI postures support by fails to insist on a full implementation of the MHIA or DTS?

It was slow, steady realization of those disconnects at MHI that brought me to realize that what MHARR had long alleged was correct. Nor was it only MHARR pointing fingers at MHI, which for years called for the creation of a post-production trade group (MHARR is a production trade group representing independent producers). Several voices within MHI felt similarly. Some eventually broke away from MHI, or stopped attending their meetings.

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NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI
Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.

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Some are current members of MHI that may have a problematic history of their own but using the principle of the separating wheat from chaff, have nevertheless done others a favor by calling out the corruption within MHI.

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FrankRolfeNegativeArticlesOnIndustryNoCommentbyManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIRVHorizonsMobleHomeUniversityPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/frank-rolfe-dave-reynolds-both-finger-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-failures-in-writing-again/

 

MHI’s former Chairman, and 21st Mortgage’s President and CEO Tim Williams de facto admitted to some of that in terms of clearing up misunderstandings about manufactured housing by third parties, when he told MHProNews the following on the record.

TimWilliams21stMortgageCorpGoodArgumentsQuoteRespondEveryStoryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

If he was serious, then why hasn’t MHI done what their own chairman said made sense?

 

Accurate, Inaccurate, Half-Truths, and Head-Fakes?

There is a tangled web of head-fakes, half-truths, accurate but misused information, posturing, lies, and deception. When traced back, that twisted web arguably often connects to what we’ve dubbed the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies.

For some times, it made no sense to me when Dick Jennison said that the industry should not try to grow to quickly. I had to hide my surprise, as we were on camera, being videoed.

 

It was only in hindsight that it dawned on me what was occurring, and that is what made that statement by Pension revealing.

Some of what Nathan Smith – another prominent member and former MHI Chairman – said on camera was equally surprising. This video below was shot and produced before the allegations against him and SSK Communities by his own residents became publicly known.

 

 

What these and other examples paint is a picture of the consolidation of the industry and how that is accomplished in practice. Keep people from being interested because the upside is so great, and the laws necessary to achieve that upside are already in place.

We cited useful comments by Frank and Dave “wheat” – above. But what follows below is a truly problematic claim made by Rolfe that explains why what he wants is bad for manufactured homeowners, bad for the industry, and bad for America in general.

 

FrankRolfeSaysWhyYouShouldNeverBuildMobileHomeParkSeriouslyFactCheckAnalysisManufacturedHomeLivingNews
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/frank-rolfe-says-why-you-should-never-build-a-mobile-home-park-seriously-fact-check-and-analysis/

MHLivingNews made clear that Warren Buffet, Clayton Homes, Nathan Smith, Frank Rolfe, and others MHI connected firms were at the core of each negative spin item that John Oliver’s viral hit dubbed errantly named “Mobile Homes.” Oliver’s video sarcastically blasted bad behavior in our industry. But what Oliver’s video doesn’t do is make clear that there are plenty of good operations too.

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

Nor does Oliver’s video explain that Warren Buffet purportedly weaponized several nonprofits by providing donations to them through dark money channels that we alone have documented in manufactured housing trade media.

 

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

 

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

What is fascinating about Buffett’s methods, which become clear only in hindsight – through the lens of history – is this. He has tentacles and ties achieved through funding and nonprofit groups that routinely intersect with manufactured housing. For example, Buffett has backed organizations that in turn attacked the industry, including his own brands – see the report linked above. Why would someone do that, one might ask?

Here is the demonstrably dark logic.

Because every business in every industry faces barriers of entry, persistence, and exit.

Barriers to Entry, Persistence, and Exiting in Business, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

If you weaponize an industry’s barriers of entry, persistence, and exit, you can create an information, economic, and political moat around your business. For example, more regulations indirectly benefits Buffett’s brands because it is harmful to smaller businesses.

bigCompaniesLoveRegulationsAnticompetitiveEveryNewRuleLimitsAbilityCompetitorsCompeteBigBizLobbyDealRegsSmallBusinessCanPutOutofBizCarolRothMHProNewsQuote

 

When the FAANG brands fight antitrust actions, they are now embracing the notion of being regulated. Why? For reasons that Roth explains in that pithy quote above.

 

 

If Berkshire faced a serious threat of breakup or heavy legal penalties, which the video above is an example that they are increasingly coming under scrutiny from several regulatory sources, don’t be surprised if they would quickly embrace more regulations. Regulations gives them a barrier against new competitors entering a market, including manufactured homes.

With that understanding, the quotes below come into focus.

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Berkshire Hathaway owns dozens of newspapers.  They have billions in assets. They have media contacts. If they wanted manufactured housing to be properly understood, does anyone doubt that they have the resources needed to accomplish that goal? The evidence and historic pattern indicates they want the industry to stay small as they consolidate it at a discount. When they want to take their foot off the proverbial brakes, can’t they do so at any time?

GoodBusinessIsLikeAStrongCastleWithaDeepMoatAroundItSharksIntheMoatIwantItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-559x430

 

It has taken this writer about 5 years to step-by-step begin to understand the full ramifications of what was occurring in manufactured housing. To their credit, MHARR had called these issues out in their own fashion during that time and prior to it for years. While the now defunct Journal of Manufactured and Modular Housing was still being published (the Journal), Danny Ghorbani – with Mark Weiss’ assistance – for years articles there by MHARR told the industry that it needed new postproduction representation.

When Ghorbani went into semi-retirement and an advisory role with MHARR, Weiss reframed some of those arguments into documents and reports like the one below.

 

MHARRreleasesStudyRecommendingIndependentCollectiveRepresentationPostProductionSectorManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHProNews
https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-releases-study-recommending-independent-collective-representation-for-post-production-sector/

 

What WaPo Told MHVille

When the Washington Post reported on the controversies occurring at HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP), while MHI supported Pam Danner, J.D., was in charge there, who was it that worked to have her dethroned when the Trump Administration came to town? The Washington Post made it clear. It wasn’t MHI that pushed for Danner’s removal, it was MHARR.

MHARRIssuesandPerspectivesWashPostPostProductionUnderscoresClearNeedForIndependentPostProductionAssociation
https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/washington-post-article-underscores-clear-need-for-an-independent-post-production-association/

We can and will link up more evidence and examples in the related reports, further below. But for now, this summary is useful.

  • Our industry and our nation are being monopolized.

Monopolization of American dream

  • The enforcement of good laws is necessary.
  • The need for accurate information is near the core of every issue.

Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage MHI, MHI, MHInsider, Frank and Dave, George Allen, MHReview, Manufactured Homes, or other purported purveyors of a blend of truth and misdirection while the industry consolidates. There are examples after examples of problematic behavior and information that flows from them. There are examples of good things too. One must sift the chaff out to find the wheat.

PrettyPicturesSharpWebsitesGreatVideos3DtechHUDCodeManufacturedHomesMillionNewHomesAnnually2018Finishedunder97000LATonyKovachQuoteMHProNews
The 2 year snapshot from third party Zillow purportedly proves the point made above.
ZillowHomeBuyerTrendsComparedConventionalTownhouseMobileManufacturedHomesCondoesDuplexesMHLivingNews
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/zillow-home-buyer-trends-compared-conventional-townhouse-mobile-or-manufactured-homes-condos-and-duplexes/
TerryDecioPhotoSkylineChampionHomesSKYImTiredofManufacturedHousingBeingTheBestKeptSecretImReadyToHelpHouseAmericaManufacturedHomeLivingNewsQuote
Terry Decio’s statement, and his firm is an MHI member, begs the question. Why is manufactured housing’s ‘secret’ so well kept if MHI is successfully promoting it? Can any organization be that incompetent’? Or is it a ‘big boy’ plan for MHI to posture effort that is rarely successful?

There are hundreds of fine videos, and good websites online. That being so, why is manufactured housing declining overall in shipments?

MHARR-logoManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformLogoAug2019NewHomeProductionShipmentDataMHLivingNews

 

Facts are Stubborn Things

As these issues have slowly coalesced in my own mind over the course of years of research and documentation, our team’s and my ability to drill down on aspects of this have sped up. Something like this would have taken days to write before – and would not have been as complete as this one is today. Now this can be written and linked up in a few hours, and is more comprehensive than ever before.

As much of a hassle as this has been – and it has – it is a dark grace. We may not have grasped the depth of the corruption harming thousands of ethical manufactured home independents, honest investors that aren’t predatory, and potentially millions of manufactured home residents any other way.

Perhaps the most damning evidence against the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis are statements made by their own current and former team members.

MHI’s outgoing president politely ripped his own organization in a parting message, linked below.

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

MHI’s former SVP of government relations, Jason Boehlert, who let the beans slip by saying the following.

JasonBoehlertManufacturedHousingInstituteSeniorVPLogoMHIlogoQuoteMHProNews

Why did MHI spend millions of dollars and years pursuing a bill – the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act that never passed? It can be summed up in the words, ‘rope a dope.’ The principle of Preserving Access had some merits – wheat – but their methodology was all wrong; that was the chaff.

But they – MHI – were the ‘government relations pros.’ Can anyone or any professional organization be that incompetent? In hindsight, through the lens of history, isn’t it obvious that Tim Williams was directly at odds – on paper – with Warren Buffett?

VicePresidentMikePenceWifeKarenHandOverHeartPledgeColts49ersGameWashingtonTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Notice. One can agree 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

 

No Vast Conspiracy

We can look back and smile when then First Lady Hillary Clinton boldly said that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy arrayed against her and her husband. That was a dodge, a red-herring.

DuckDodgeDismissDistractDetractDefameFromIssueTacticsByThoseWithNoGoodAnswersMHProNews-768x609

Many, perhaps most of the people, involved in rigging the system in manufactured housing – aren’t they just following orders? Therefore, the few giving those orders are the ones with the greatest guilt.

It is time for federal and state investigators to unravel and prosecute as needed what remains of this mess.

RobertBobVanCleefManufacturedHomeCommunityLeaderDiscussesManufacturedHousingInsanityManufacturedHomeLivingNews
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/manufactured-home-community-leader-discusses-manufactured-housing-insanity/

Some have misunderstood us because MHI and the powers that be, per our sources, want us to be misunderstood. If that is how the game is played, of course MHProNews and MHLivingNews will debunk their misstatements, misdirection, and falsehoods time and again until a blind man sees that they are purportedly as corrupt as sin.

What must come next is that more resident leaders like Bob Van Cleef, or more industry professionals like the folks at MHARR or others, demand that lawmakers and public officials do what is right and just.

MHARRReiteratesCallForCongressionalDTSInvestigationManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformLogo
https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-reiterates-call-for-dts-investigation/

The truth is hiding in plain sight. Much of this is now public record. But it takes time to compile it. Now that it has been organized, what excuse will lawmakers and public officials have?

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews
Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor.

The reason that these issues matter is summed up by Weiss’ and Ghorbani’s quotes above and below.

MarkWeissJDphotoManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformlogoQuoteOnEnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingImprovementActMHIA2000ImportanceAffordableHousing
Mark Weiss isn’t alone in this view. Bill Matchneer, former HUD OMHP administrator, and whose law firm does work for MHI, stated in the report linked below that importance of enhanced preemption during a conference call heard by dozens. He’s did not retract those comments after the report below was published.

Bombshells! Former HUD Manufactured Housing Program Administrator Bill Matchneer, Cavco’s Manuel Santana Statements

HUD-CodeEnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingImprovementAct2000IndustryVoicesJDHarperAMAADailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-1024x510

State execs that once spoke out publicly are now afraid to do so, why? He’s outside of our industry, but Danny Glover’s quote and the two that follow arguably apply.

DannyGloverQuoteItsNotOnlyAMonopolyOfWealthItsAmonopolyofInformationasWellDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

DeepaKumarQuoteGiantMediaCorpLikeTimWarnerandNewsCoprDisneySoForthTheyGetToDecidWhatIsNews
Deepa Kumar quote from the thought-provoking video documentary, Shadows of Liberty.
TheseLargeConglomerateCompaniesDecideOnTheirownandForTheirOwnPurposesTheNewsWeSeeandHearDanRatherQuoteFormerCBSNewsPhotoTwitterDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Dan Rather quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty.

 

Opportunity to Respond

In drawing to a close, let me say that I’ve repeatedly and personally invited virtually all of those named herein to meet me on stage, in front of an audience of industry professionals. Let there be a third-party moderator. Let’s discuss and debate these claims in public. They’ve declined.

Or I’ve invited them to respond in writing to these concerns and allegations. They’ve declined that repeatedly too. We documented those invitations several times. Fine, let them sit on their right to remain silent, because whatever they say can and ought to be used against them in a court of law.

Instead of MHI hiring an attorney to get HUD or the FHFA to enforce good existing federal laws, or to get the FTC and the DOJ to enforce antitrust laws, who did they hire an attorney to engage with? MHI hired an outside counsel to threaten us and our publications in writing, and they addressed me personally. They threatened litigation, fine. If they have a valid case, let them bring it. They already know what our strategy will be, because we posted it.

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

Instead of attempting to debunk our carefully constructed, logic and evidence-based cases, the powers that be rely on threats, economic, and intimation tactics.

When your enemy is digging a hole, don’t take away their shovel. Let them keep posturing.

costume

Some wars are undeclared. There are some things that Warren Buffet says that are arguably window dressing, but others are quite frank and demonstrably true. Take what follows as true.

TheresClassWarfareAllRightButIsMyClassTheRichLassThatsMakingWarAndWeAreWinningWarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairmanQuoeMHProNewsWryWingPolitics
Using this quote graphic should not be construed to support Buffett or the creator of the illustration.

To understand what is going on, one must be patient enough to read and learn.

IRead500PagesLikeThisEveryDayThatsHowKnowledgeBuildsUpLikeCompoundInterestWarrenBuffettQuoteManufacturedHomeProNews

Mark Twain was right. It is easier to deceive, than it is to reveal the deception. Bernie Madoff, or perhaps more recently – WeWork – are prominent examples of big but problematic rippoffs or misrun organizations.

To fight what is occurring in America and to our industry and its homeowners, one must be grounded in ethical and historic principles.

GeorgeOrwellQuoteMostEffectiveWayDestroyPeopleDenyObliterateUnderstandingofTheirHistoryGeorgeOrwell1984QuoteMHProNews-575x344

The Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. and I co-wrote the following after Charlottesville.

1SeekFirstPostCharlottesvilleWikipediaHealingPrinciplesAmericaMHLivingNews
Original photo credit, Wikipedia, text credit, MHLivingNews.com. See report linked here.

Unless we challenge the system, nothing will change.

EconomicRacismIlGenAssemblyRevDonTyeJr-JDHarperArkManufacturedHousingAssoc-IndustryVoicesMHProNews

Revdonaldtyejrbusinessmanmanufacturedhousingadvocatedailybusinessnewsmhpronews

ItsAsWrongtoUseNWordToDescribeBlackAsUseTWordTodescribeManufacturedHomeRevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword

NothingIsChangedUntilItisChallenged-768x318
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 allowed more consolidation and at a cheaper price? 

We as professionals and others can’t let petty differences keep us from focusing on the real enemies, who declared war without telling us. The founders and John Sherman were correct. Let’s listen to their voices, and act upon them.

AllTruthPassesThroughThreestagesFirstItisRidiculedSecondItIsViolatentlyOpposedThirdItisAcceptedAsbeingselfEvidentAuthurSchopenhauerIZQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It isn’t brief, but this is reasonably comprehensive. The links from this will take the patient to still more relevant examples of the problems that exist.

Let’s close with what is needed.

  • Fully enforce the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. That includes, but is not limited to, the enhanced preemption authority that it gives HUD over local zoning that limits access to manufactured housing.
  • Access to capital, which includes the Duty to Serve by the GSEs, but is not limited to them. HUD’s FHA Title I and Title II programs need reform as does VA, USDA and other publicly backed lending.
  • Enforcement of antitrust and RICO laws.  Keep in mind that rigging a market is arguably a violation of antitrust laws, and some of the tactics we’ve cited arguable violate RICO or deceptive trade practice laws.

In order to do that, enough squeaky wheels are needed to ask or demand that public officials act to enforce good existing laws.

We began publishing a decade ago, understanding much of the industry, but not some of these nuances. Over the years, our understanding grew to the point that it is today.

Celebrating 10 Years of Goal- and Solution-Oriented Manufactured Home Industry Innovation Information, and Inspiration for Industry Professionals

There are two and only two ways to learn. From your own experiences or that of others. To save time, learn from these experiences. You don’t have to blindly accept a claim, but you should look at the facts and see if they take you to similar conclusions to what we’ve discovered the hard way.

The lady is off, so this is your first take today of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##. (News, fact-checks, 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.)

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

Tony earned a journalism scholarship and was recognized with the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he also studied business management with a perfect 4.0 and made the Dean’s List. Tony has earned multiple awards in manufactured housing and in history. He’s a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.

 

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https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/manufactured-homes-arent-trailers-in-trailer-parks-hud-secretary-ben-carson-on-affordable-housing-manufactured-homes-zoning-and-placement-barri/
HUDSecretaryBenCarsonSpeechManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingActiveIngredientMedicationStrongerAmericaMHLivingNews
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hud-secretary-ben-carson-speech-on-manufactured-homes-manufactured-housingactive-ingredientmedicationfor-a-stronger-america/
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