Apparently Flawed Reports Nevertheless Spotlight Manufactured Housing Institute, HUD, Lois Starkey, Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform MSPB Controversy-Analysis; MHMarkets


Yesterday’s report that featured large private equity firm Payden and Rygel research into HUD Code manufactured homes made it clear that regulatory barriers and financing are two of the key factors ‘holding manufactured housing back’ from achieving its potential. As a federally regulated affordable home profession, the manufactured housing industry collectively has a multi-billion-dollar stake in how bureaucrats behave with respect to the HUD Code manufactured housing program. As MHProNews has reported in numerous fact-checks with analysis over the years, the omission (intentional or not) of key pieces of factual information can skew an otherwise seemingly accurate news item. Two recent articles – one by FedWeek and another by GovExec – apparently fall into the category of seemingly accurate information that nevertheless are arguably flawed because each missed important or essential details. Because this particular issue FedWeek and GovExec reported on directly involves manufactured housing, notable figures/groups in the industry, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), and regulatory policies, it merits industry scrutiny. The next administration, whoever may be leading it, will be staffing key positions in the federal government.  Much of what the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and other advocacy groups involved in affordable housing often do boils down to interactions caused by what lawmakers and regulators do or fail to do.  As the aptly stated: “Ronald Reagan’s director of personnel, Scott Faulkner, once said, “personnel is policy.” That “personnel is policy” notion begins helps set the stage for a big issue that has largely been ignored by others in MHVille trade media. But this article will present relevant documents and key details others have failed to report on or have not done so as thoroughly as this report will. Given the ongoing affordable housing crisis, these are issues impact tens of millions of Americans. There are also ripple effects from the lack of affordable housing. The consequences to the U.S. economy – per numerous sources that include prominent MHI member Cavco Industries (CVCO), non-manufactured housing industry researchers, and federal officials – the impact of the lack of affordable housing amounts to some $2 trillion dollars annually.

Democrats currently control much of the federal bureaucracy. This controversy is an apparent part of an emerging challenge for what leftist Michael Weinstein recently called “Corporate Democrats” and their purported failures regarding their own base with respect to the affordable housing crisis.

There is a nexus of private and public interests that per sources such as left-leaning Politico or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation that Democrats and their allies ‘fear’ or are “terrified” of a possible return of deposed 45th President Donald J. Trump to the White House next year.

Thus, who fills what role in the federal bureaucracy is an increasingly important subject for Democrats, Republicans, and all others impacted by governmental behavior or failures.

The attempted termination of HUD staffer Lois Starkey has been described as ‘precedent setting issue.’ Be that as it may, with two recent reports by federally focused publications issuing reports on the subject of Starkey’s termination and the related legal odyssey, her story appears to be a case study in just how difficult it may be to terminate a federal employee.

As longtime readers of MHProNews know, Starkey was formerly a vice president with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

As MHProNews will detail in the analysis and commentary portion of this report (Part III), while the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is named by both FedWeek and GovExec, oddly there is no mention of MHI.

Nor is there any mention of MHI outside attorney David Goch.

Similarly, there is no mention of a relevant report by the left-leaning Washington Post or many other items that have been provided herein, all of which are among the apparently missing details in their respective news posts.

While the Starkey aspect of this article is of obvious interest to manufactured housing, what makes this a potentially big issue is the battle over Schedule F and the stated plan of deposed President Trump, Project 2025 and other allied efforts to root out as many so-called “Deep State” operatives in the federal government as possible.

As MHProNews recently reported, partly with the GovExec-Lois Starkey news item in mind, the “terrified” Biden-Harris administration has been taking steps to make possible Schedule F removals by a potential Trump 2.0 administration more difficult.

So, while former MHI VP and still HUD employee Starkey is an interesting specific and known figure who will also be spotlighted in Parts I, II, and III, there are larger matters in the backdrop. Namely, the battle over Schedule F and who will run the federal bureaucracy after the next president is sworn in on 1.20.2025.

“Personnel is Policy”

The American Moment observed under the headline “Personnel is Policy” the following: “Politicians come and go, but the permanent bureaucracy remains.” That same post by AMCanon editors aptly said the following.

QuoteMarksLeftSidePoliticians come and go, but the permanent bureaucracy remains. When the American people elect representatives or even Presidents, what they don’t get to pick is the constellation of staffers, operators, advisors, and policymakers that must be hired in order to steer the ship of state.

This topic is as inside baseball as it gets.”

MHProNews has periodically reported for years on this topic, including the revolving door, and the Iron Triangle, which relate to aspects of the personnel issue the American Moment explored.

QuoteMarksLeftSide“Personnel is Policy” was one of the laws of the Public Policy process Morton Blackwell wrote decades ago. Often behind-the-scenes staffers and operators wield an outsized amount of power in government—deciding what and how particular issues get implemented. The failures of the Trump presidency in implementing his critically important agenda were often stymied due to the lack of dedicated and virtuous staff around him.”

While not often framed as this report aim to do, the issues facing manufactured housing’s future don’t get much bigger than this topic. Because whoever controls the federal bureaucracy apparently controls the direction that public policy will take. That direction is set in the day-by-day actions (or inactions) of the people involved.

As a relevant programming notice, a powerful insight from a non-association Washington, D.C. insider is likely to be featured in our next Sunday report. That will further clarify how significant this topic could be for manufactured housing and virtually every other profession if a Trump Admin 2.0 becomes reality.

With those foundational notions, this report provides the following.

Part I will provide the text from FedWeek as it appeared on 4.17.2024. Note that per MHProNews’ policy, quoting a source at whatever length should not necessarily be construed as agreement with that source. It is arguably easier and more effective for the reader to get the full picture when the facts are laid out in one article in a systematic manner. “We Provide, You Decide” © has long been one of our mottos.

Part II will be the text of the article from GovExec.

Part III will include the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruling. It will also include other documents, some of which may arguably contain quite significant revelations on how HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) has viewed not only this Starkey issue, but manufactured housing itself. Note that the MSPB, per their website: “is an independent, quasi-judicial agency in the Executive branch that serves as the guardian of Federal merit systems.” Part III also has other additional information from a range of sources on Starkey, industry and non-industry sources, along with our manufactured housing industry expert analysis and commentary.

Part IV is our Daily Business News on MHProNews macro and manufactured housing market connected equities report.

With that plan of action, grab your favorite brew for focus, get out your virtual highlighter, and let’s dive in. Because personnel is policy.


Part I

QuoteMarksLeftSideMSPB Sets Legal Standards for Politically Motivated Termination

By: FEDweek Staff

Following is a summary from the MSPB of a recent decision involving an appeal by a probationary federal employee of a firing on grounds that it was politically motivated—one of the few grounds that probationary employees can use as grounds for an appeal—which meanwhile set precedent for such cases.

In June 2017, the Trump administration named a new political appointee as General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing (GDASH). In July 2017, the agency hired the appellant as a Manufactured Housing Specialist, a career competitive-service position. Soon after the appellant began working for the agency, an industry group—the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)—sent a letter to several agency officials raising partisan political complaints. In the letter, MHARR complained that the agency retained the appellant’s second-level supervisor, “an Obama Administration holdover,” and hired the appellant, “an Obama donor herself,” and described the agency’s actions in this regard as “amazingly ill considered, offensive and arguably scandalous.”

In September 2017, the agency’s state partners in Oregon sent a letter to the Secretary of the agency threatening to withdraw from their partnership, in part due to the appellant’s alleged sharing of “sensitive government-to-government discussions with outside parties.” The appellant’s second-line supervisor defended the appellant’s actions at issue in the complaint. In November 2017, the agency rated the appellant “outstanding,” the highest possible rating, on her performance appraisal.

On December 19, 2017, the appellant’s third-level supervisor terminated the appellant after consulting with the GDASH and others. The agency’s stated reason for its termination action was the appellant’s alleged release of sensitive information to outside parties as described in the complaint from the agency’s state partners in Oregon.

On appeal to the Board, the appellant argued that the agency terminated her for partisan political reasons. The administrative judge agreed and reversed the probationary termination. The agency petitioned for review. Despite the agency’s non-compliance with interim relief obligations, the Board declined to dismiss the agency’s petition for review.

Holding: To establish Board jurisdiction under 5 C.F.R. § 315.806(b), an appellant must prove that the prohibited consideration of partisan political reasons or marital status was a but-for cause of her termination. She may use Title VII analytical frameworks to prove but-for causation.

1. In determining the appellant’s burden of proof under § 315.806(b), the Board compared the language of this regulatory provision to the language of Title VII’s anti-discrimination provision at 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(a) and the language of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act’s anti-discrimination provision at 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1). The Board determined that § 315.806(b), which requires the appellant to prove that her termination was “based on” partisan political reasons or marital status, is akin to the language at 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1), which prohibits discrimination “because of age.” The Board relied on the U.S. Supreme Court’s finding in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., 557 U.S. 167, 176-77 (2009), that the statutory phrases “based on” and “because of” have the same meaning and should be read as requiring that the plaintiff prove but-for causation.

2. The Board clarified that Title VII analytical frameworks remain applicable to § 315.806(b) claims to the extent that they may be used to prove but-for causation. The Board cited its recent decision in Wilson v. Small Business Administration, 2024 MSPB 3, ¶¶ 16-19 (explaining how the McDonnel Douglas framework, a mixed-motive framework, or both theories simultaneously may be used to prove but-for causation in a Title VII claim). The Board explained that, in this case, the appellant proceeded under the McDonnel Douglas framework.

Holding: The appellant proved that partisan political reasons were a but-for cause of her probationary termination. Accordingly, the administrative judge’s reversal of the probationary termination is affirmed.

1. The Board found that the decision to terminate the appellant’s appointment was unusual and unjustified. The agency’s stated reason for the appellant’s termination was her alleged sharing of sensitive information with outside parties as described in the Oregon complaint. However, the agency officials involved in the appellant’s termination, including the GDASH, lacked or ignored the relevant facts and did not consult the appellant’s first- and second-level supervisors, who had expertise in the area and firmly believed that the appellant was an outstanding employee and had acted appropriately. In making these findings, the Board deferred to the administrative judge’s demeanor-based credibility determinations.

2. The Board affirmed the administrative judge’s finding, based on demeanor-based credibility determinations, that the GDASH was the agency official who made the termination decision and directed the third-level supervisor to carry it out.

3. The Board affirmed the administrative judge’s finding that the GDASH’s testimony denying that she knew of the appellant’s political affiliation was not credible.

4. The Board found that the circumstances of the appellant’s second level supervisor’s reassignment to an administrative position was relevant and material to the appeal. The appellant’s second-level supervisor was also a target of MHARR’s partisan political complaints, the same deciding official was involved in both personnel actions and took them almost simultaneously, neither personnel action was subject to the kind of deliberation normally expected, and the justifications for both personnel actions were weak at best. ##


Posted in the Disqus comments on 4.17.2024 of that article was the following by L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

QuoteMarksLeftSidePardon me, but your report is arguably flawed and lacking some key facts. The Washington Post reported that it was the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) which had its outside attorney, David Goch, write a letter to HUD specifically suggesting that their former employee, Lois Starkey be terminated. That letter by Goch to HUD that WaPo posted is oddly not mentioned by either the review board nor FedWeek, why not?”


Part II

The following article was under the byline of Erich Wagner. Per GovExec: “Erich Wagner is a senior correspondent covering pay, benefits, organized labor and other federal workforce issues.” The caption under a photo of the HUD office building GovExec (Government Executive) said the following.

QuoteMarksLeftSideThe Merit Systems Protection Board ruled Lois Starkey’s 2017 firing from the Housing and Urban Development Department was politically motivated, due in part, to pressure from an industry association.”

MSPB political firing case raises new questions on Schedule F

The Housing and Urban Development Department’s 2017 firing of a probationary employee over alleged leaks was politically motivated, the agency tasked with enforcing civil service laws said last week.

The Merit Systems Protection Board last week ruled that the Housing and Urban Development Department improperly fired a probationary employee over her political affiliation in a case that raises a handful of new questions about Schedule F, were it to be revived under a Republican administration.

In 2017, HUD hired Lois Starkey to serve as a manufactured housing specialist, a GS-14 career position in the department’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, which sets standards for home design and construction. Though Starkey had extensive job experience related to housing issues, she also had extensive past connections with Democratic politics, including serving as a political appointee in the Carter administration, on her local party committee and managing her husband’s campaign for elected office.

But just days later, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, an industry trade organization, issued the first of multiple complaints regarding Starkey’s hire to HUD leadership, calling her an “Obama administration holdover” and donor and describing the hiring as “amazingly ill-considered, offensive and arguably scandalous.”

In August of that year, her supervisor tasked her with reaching out to the Oregon Manufactured Housing Association as part of an effort to resolve a dispute between HUD and the Oregon State Administrative Agency. But in September, the state agency complained about her overture to the state trade group and threatened to withdraw from its partnership with HUD.

That December, Starkey’s supervisor was reassigned from their GS-15 post to a job “described as comparable to that of an administrative assistant,” and the next day Starkey was terminated, despite just one month prior being rated as “outstanding” on her performance appraisal, in which she was described as “an invaluable asset.” Starkey appealed her removal to the MSPB, where an administrative judge issued an initial ruling in her favor.

Last week, the MSPB affirmed that initial ruling, finding that reaching out to state trade groups to resolve disputes between HUD and its state agency partners followed existing agency policy for dealing with similar situations and that Starkey was fired despite her supervisor informing agency leaders that she had acted on the supervisor’s orders.

The board found that HUD’s then-General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Dana Wade, a Trump appointee, ordered Starkey’s termination, and found the department’s arguments that the decision was not politically motivated wanting.

“The agency asserts that there is no evidence to prove that the GDASH reviewed the appellant’s resume, that she was present during the meet-and-greet event in which the appellant discussed her [political] background or that she reviewed any specific MHARR letter complaining about the appellant’s politics,” MSPB wrote. “We are not persuaded by the agency’s arguments. There is ample evidence that the head of MHARR was quite focused on the politics of the appellant and her second-level supervisor—so much so that he regularly lodged complaints about them that were well known and widely distributed.”

Although the case may appear to have only a tenuous connection to the former president’s abortive effort to strip federal workers of their due process protections—including MSPB appeal rights—known as Schedule F, insofar as the case involves an employee fired over perceptions that she was a Democratic loyalist accused of leaking information, the decision raises a host of new questions about how Schedule F could be used—and challenged—if revived under a new Republican administration.

First, while much discussion of Schedule F, which would create a new job category within the excepted service for “policy-related” positions, has surrounded the specter of agencies purging—or threatening to purge—political opponents and replacing them with loyalists, little has been said about how it could open a new avenue for industry groups to pressure agencies into firing individual federal regulators for perceived misdeeds.

“The conclusion MSPB reached here is that the dismissal was for political causes, and that an outside pressure in the form of an interest group set that up and created that pressure,” said Don Kettl, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland and former dean of its School of Public Policy. “The question of whether or not there are grounds for dismissal for political reasons, and whether or the not pressures come from outside groups could become a more widespread phenomenon—or problem—within the government service.”

But the case also highlights a potentially new avenue to challenge Schedule F, or at least to challenge personnel actions taken under that banner. Starkey was still within her probationary period when she was fired, a time in which new hires typically do not have access to most due process protections afforded to tenured federal employees, including MSPB review.

However, the U.S. Code states that a probationer—or any other federal worker whose appeal is “not required [to be heard] by statute” may receive an appellate review of their termination if it is done “for political reasons or marital status.”

“One thing that struck me as interesting is first, that the MSPB has ruled on this, for starters, and second, that while Schedule F intends to eliminate MSPB from the appellate chain, those appeals rights are granted in law,” Kettl said. “So if there’s a question as to whether an executive order [establishing Schedule F] can override the law, the answer is almost certainly no . . . But proponents of Schedule F are more than aware of that and are certainly prepared for that battle.” ##


Part III – Additional Information with More MHProNews Analysis and Commentary

So, as MHProNews has been reporting via coverage on Project 2025 and related, “Don Kettl, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland and former dean of its School of Public Policy” and other statements above clearly indicate that a battle over who in the government bureaucracy can stay or go if Trump 2.0 becomes reality is ahead.

In no particular order of importance are the following related items.

1) The order for the case styled as shown below is linked here. This is the matter that both FedWeek (Part I) and GovExec (Part II) are referring to in their articles above, which were provided under fair use guidelines.

2024 MSPB 6
Docket No. DC-315H-18-0258-I-4
Lois A. Starkey,
Department of Housing and Urban
March 22, 2024
John J. Rigby, Esquire, Arlington, Virginia, for the appellant.
Nicole Y. Drew, Washington, D.C., for the agency.
Cathy A. Harris, Chairman
Raymond A. Limon, Vice Chairman

2) MHProNews emailed the Erich Wagner at GovExec on “Apr 10, 2024, 11:13  AM” with subject: “Eric, media outreach about your HUD-Starkey report.” The guts of that email said the following.
We are the largest and most read trade media serving manufactured housing. Your article came to may attention a few days ago, and frankly other items have kept me from dealing with it at the time. Before we publish on this topic, I thought I’d touch base with you directly.

Respectfully, I think your story is missing a key element which may skew the report.

That element is that identified in the attached. As I recall, that letter was first published by the Washington Post. We have it posted on our website in an article related to that WaPo report.
While it is true that MHARR complained, MHI’s letter by attorney David Goch was specific in asking for acting on Starkey’s hire, including possible termination. Why that Goch letter isn’t (in my quick run through) in the case item, the ruling itself:  Opinion and Order ( said:  “However, it is not apparent whether that complaint, like the prior MHARR complaint, involved anyone’s political affiliation. Id.”
I know Starkey, and many of the players involved. IMHO, this is more about MHI’s flexing its muscle with HUD, not MHARR. Starkey, likely for reasons of counsel’s advice related to her case, didn’t respond to my inquiry.
I agree it could have implications for Trump Admin 2, if that occurs.
Let me know your thoughts. Thanks, …”
There was no response to that email and there were no apparent changes made to their article in the wake of that message.  That email to Wagner at GovExec included as an attachment the following item (Part III #3).
3) Per the left-leaning Washington Post (WaPo) was the following. WaPo had as an attachment to their report (see posted and linked below) the following under the heading shown.
QuoteMarksLeftSideTrade Group Letter Calling for Lois Starkey’s Dismissal
In this Nov. 16, 2017 letter, a lawyer for the Manufacturing Housing Institute called on Housing
and Urban Development officials to terminate Lois Starkey’s employment at the department
based on the grounds that she had a conflict of interest.”
MHProNews has improved the awkward angle WaPo had for that scanned letter below.
Several of the illustrations shown in this report can be opened in many browsers to reveal a larger size. To open this picture, click the image once. When the window opens, click it again to reveal the larger size photo. Use your browsers back key to return to the article.

While the format is somewhat different, the all caps usage by Goch and other text below is as shown in the screen capture above.

That text of that letter starting from the date from David P. Goch, J.D. (Esquire) to the named HUD attorney read as follows.


QuoteMarksLeftSideNovember 16, 2017
Ms. Beth Zore
Acting General Counsel
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Re: Employment of Ms. Lois Starkey
Dear Ms. Zore,
We are the attorneys for the Manufactured Housing Institute (“MHI”) and are contact you regarding HUD’s recent employee, Lois Starkey, who is currently employed in the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs. We are writing to notify you that Ms. Starkey violated terms of a severance agreement between Ms. Starkey and MHI by agreeing to work for HUD, a client of MHI. MHI previously notified the Office of Personnel Management on the Investigative Request for Employment Data and Supervisor of Information that Ms. Starkey’s employment by HUD would be in violation of her severance agreement with MHI.
In addition, we would like to bring to your attention a potential conflict of interest for Ms. Starkey. It has come [to] MHI’s attention that while Ms. Starkey was receiving payments from MHI under the agreement, from May 31, 2017 to September 15, 2017, she was also employed by HUD. We do not believe that Ms. Starkey sought or obtained a waiver from HUD’s office of General Counsel regarding this potential conflict of interest in violation of internal policy. We believe that receiving payments from MHI while being employed by HUD is in violation of CFR Title 5: Administrative Personnel, Chapter XVI, Subchapters A, D, and E.

For these reasons, we request that you take appropriate action regarding Ms. Starkey’s employment with HUD, which may include immediate termination.

We look forward to receiving your assurances. Thank you.

Yours very truly,


David P. Goch, Esq.

CC: Lois Starkey
Helen Albert, Acting Inspector General
Dana Wade, Acting FHA Commissioner and General Deputy Assistant Secretary for FHA …”


4) A book might be written that includes the curiously brazen letter by MHI outside counsel David Goch, J.D., above and how it could be unpacked. That noted, let’s point out this stunning phrasing by MHI’s attorney Goch: “We are writing to notify you that Ms. Starkey violated terms of a severance agreement between Ms. Starkey and MHI by agreeing to work for HUD, a client of MHI.” (Bold and italics added by MHProNews for emphasis). One must ponder if Goch and MHI seriously believed that HUD is a client of MHI?!?  Stunning, but presumably one or more persons at MHI discussed and then signed off on that letter and its wording before Goch sent it to HUD.

That said, this often referred to remark is appropriate to consider in the light of Goch’s curious HUD as “a client of MHI” claim. “Regulatory bodies, like the people who comprise them…become, with some exceptions, either an arm of the industry they are regulating or senile.” – John Kenneth Galbraith.

When the full quotation (minus the ellipsis) above is searched in Google, a range of sources that include universities, law firms, news organizations, and others have made reference to that remark. While not all agree with Galbraith’s famous claim, others do.

5) As was noted in the preface of this report with analysis and commentary, a media report may appear to be factually accurate. But by omitting information (intentionally or accidentally) a news item may nevertheless can be materially misleading. When done intentionally, omitting relevant information is a possible example of paltering, spin, propaganda, etc.

6) News media in the United States of America (USA) has a constitutionally protected role in our society. The purpose for that constitutional protection is so journalists can use the “power of the press” to hold the powerful in American government and society to account.

As the American Press Institute (API) said: “There are many kinds of journalism, but at the heart of their constitutional responsibilities, journalists are in the business of monitoring and keeping a check on people and institutions in power.”

Note that reporters aren’t supposed to be part of the federal, corporate, or nonprofit steno pool. A serious journalist and their editor(s) are not supposed to be merely take dictation from public or other officials as if every word they said was etched by God into the tablets that Moses came down from Mount Sinai with, known as the Ten Commandments. Skepticism and a search for the truth of a story is supposed to be a critical part of news reporting.

Meaning, in the constitutional sense of freedom of the press, the job of FedWeek or GovExec isn’t to merely mimic whatever some public official or document states. Every word that they shared has various levels of relevance. But in as much as neither FedWeek or GovExec even mentioned the letter by David Goch to HUD on behalf of MHI, they have arguably made a material oversight of the first order. It may also be observed that their failure to at least mention and link Project 2025 is curious too.

To establish how significant that omission is, consider how the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethical Conduct describes the role of ethical journalism.

“Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.” (Emphasis added by MHProNews.). That SPJ statement continues as follows. Note that the SPJ includes “gathering, reporting and interpreting information.”

QuoteMarksLeftSideSeek Truth and Report It

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

There is an evidence-based case to be made that much of those rules for journalists – along with others posted by the SPJ – have arguably been ignored by both FedWeek and GovExec in their respective reports on Starkey and this issue. For example, consider the following.

7) With respect to Lois Starkey.  A basic Google search using a laptop on 4.17.2024 identified the following items.

a) Under the heading: “Letter Addressing Allegations Against HUD Employee Lois Starkey.” was the following from Document Cloud.

“In this undated memo, HUD career manager Pamela Danner states that the charges Oregon agency officials made against her employee [i.e.: Starkey] do not merit her dismissal, because she had followed standard procedures.” (See that document linked here.)

b) The very first item on 4.17.2024 circa 4:00 PM ET was this article from MHProNews. The second item in the Google search for “Lois Starkey” “HUD” (a common-sense search that any serious reporter might use) was the DocumentCloud letter shown above (6a) and linked here.

c) The third item on the date shown is the article by GovExec, which of course would not have appeared before Erich Wagner wrote his article.

d) The fourth item linked on Google is a comments letter from Starkey to on behalf of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). That letter signed by Starkey is linked here.

e) item on the data shown is a document on MHProNews. It is an email chain that involves the Lois Starkey attempted termination that is at the heart of the issue GovExec and FedWeek purport to be reporting about. That documented email chain is linked here.

8). A mobile search of Google yielded a different set of results on the page 1 search. Among those page 1 mobile search items on this date (4.18.2024) is a document linked here that specifically mentions and quotes Lois Starkey. That document includes a transcript of remarks by Starkey which may shed light on why MHARR objected to her presence at HUD. Be that as it may, some notable items from that transcript shed light on how HUD officials view manufactured housing, in their own words. Some relevant for manufactured housing advocacy pull quotes, in no particular order of importance, from that document are the following.


QuoteMarksLeftSideOne significant factor to note is that the act created a preemptive program of the construction of manufactured homes.  Prior to the act, states had individual building codes for manufactured homes, but as a result of the act, preemption now completes a uniform building code for manufactured homes in all states, so the act made everything uniform as far as it relates to the construction of manufactured homes.” (Page 6).


“HUD Manufactured Housing Programs was established by the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which was amended in 2000 as a nationwide program to protect four critical aspects, which include quality, safety, durability, and affordability of manufactured homes.” (Page 5).

c) On page 24 was this question during the webinar: “How significant of a problem is zoning and community resistance to new manufactured housing in urban areas?”

d) Pamela Beck Danner, J.D., then the administrator for the OMHP, replied as follows.

QuoteMarksLeftSideThis is Pamela Danner.  I think this has, and I may have Lois [Starkey] assist me with this question, over the years this has been a significant problem that there are clearly some areas that zone out or restrict manufactured homes to particularly zoned areas for manufactured home communities.  As we noted before, rural areas do not have the same type of zoning restrictions, and it’s many times easier to put manufactured homes in those rural areas.

I would hope that as now manufactured homes clearly have changed in terms of aesthetics, looks, the communities now have attached garages, car ports.  We have found in Pennsylvania, these communities are very upgraded and certainly look very, very similar to site-built communities.

Lois, did you have anything to add?”

e) Starkey said: “Just with respect to residentially zoned areas, particularly in urban and ex-urban communities, you’ll find that zoning ordinances will have different aesthetic requirements that will apply, so maybe that will be size or roof pitch, and those kinds of things can be set by the community.  We don’t regulate that.  That’s not really preemptive, so you are finding that.  It depends on the area.  California, obviously, is probably the leader in acceptance of manufactured homes in other areas, but it continues to be a challenge.”

f) That comment by Starkey (8 e) is nothing less than a bombshell for those who grasp the significance of those words in light of the importance of “enhanced preemption” made federal law by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (a.k.a.: MHIA, 2000 Reform Act, 2000 Reform Law, etc.).

g) From page 6 of that same document is this: “Our mission is to emphasize the four critical traits to protect the quality, durability, safety, and affordability of manufactured homes and also to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes.  [Italics added by MHProNews.] Now, when we facilitate the availability of affordable homes, we are increasing homeownership for all Americans, which we all know is part of HUD’s overall mission.”

h) Federal “preemption” is mentioned several times. The 2000 Reform Law is mentioned.  Not mentioned is that Congress had held hearings during the Obama-Biden Administration on why HUD and how failed had purportedly failed to properly implement the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  Some recent articles on that topic are linked below.


Statements to Congress by Kevin Clayton-Clayton Homes for Manufactured Housing Institute; John Bostick of Sunshine Homes on Behalf of Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform

i) A collage of quotable quotes and relevant illustrations related to the enhanced preemption topic is linked here. One of the key provisions of the MHIA, which HUD officials in that transcript clearly referenced, was the ability for HUD officials to overcome local zoning barriers.  Starkey’s remarks in that formal HUD presentation transcript denied that power. Yet Starkey used to work for MHI in a key policy role for years. What was Starkey thinking when she said what she did as quoted above?

j) With those points in mind, here are Starkey’s words again: “We don’t regulate that.  That’s not really preemptive, so you are finding that.  It depends on the area.” When people in and out of government say that personnel is policy, right there is a clear example of why the battle over Schedule F and Project 2025 are so important.




k) While MHProNews are not attorneys, it doesn’t require a law degree to realize that those remarks by Starkey should arguably be the focus of an on-the-record and under-oath probe.

Why? In no particular order of importance are some reasons.


Not long after making this comment, Matchneer – who through the law firm that employed him periodically served MHI – separated from that firm with little explanation.

l) Enhanced preemption is arguably one of the most important topics in manufactured housing, and so it is no surprise that MHLivingNews and MHProNews have hundreds of references to it between the two manufactured home industry-focused websites.

m) But HUD’s federal preemption authority goes to the heart of why “personnel is policy,” and why the battle over Schedule F, Project 2025 and related are so important to manufactured housing (as well as other industries, professions, and the broader public interest). Thus, the quotes below are illustrative and relevant. MHI, MHARR, and the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) cooperated in getting the MHIA into law. There are Congressional Democrats, part of a broader and widely bipartisan coalition that made enacting the 2000 Reform Act possible. Those Democratic lawmakers are on record saying that part of federal intent in enacting the 2000 Reform Law was the enhanced preemption provision of that legislation. Those lawmakers are quoted below as specifically promoting the notion of enhanced preemption in a letter to HUD that was framed as being part of Congressional intent.




n) Restated, Starkey (without any verbal objection recorded in that transcript from then OMHP Administrator Pam Danner) took the opposite stance from what Congressional representatives said, even though numbers of those House members who share her political views took a distinctive stance. Starkey is a Democrat, said FedWeek and GovExec. The lawmakers that signed that letter to HUD to clarify Congressional intent with respect to their delegation of authority by lawmakers so HUD could overcome local zoning barriers were Democrats. Yet Starkey essentially declined to honor in her remarks the stance that members of her own professed party said was federal law. Stunning.

o) But that is the sobering reality of the current situation in Washington, D.C. and thus nationally. The known evidence soberingly comes down to this. Who is in charge of the federal government? Do we still have representative government in the U.S. as envisioned by the founding fathers? Recall the quotes from American Moment under “Personnel is Policy,” cited in the preface above.

QuoteMarksLeftSidePoliticians come and go, but the permanent bureaucracy remains. When the American people elect representatives or even Presidents, what they don’t get to pick is the constellation of staffers, operators, advisors, and policymakers that must be hired in order to steer the ship of state.

This topic is as inside baseball as it gets.”



9) For newcomers to federal preemption issue, and as a useful review of the matter for all others, consider this Q&A with Bing’s artificial intelligence (AI) powered Copilot, conducted on 4.18.2024 at about 3:37 AM ET.

Copilot, explain the significance of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and its enhanced preemption provision, linking supporting items, and how that enhanced federal preemption could be used to overcome zoning and placement barriers by state or local governments.

BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHProNewsCertainly! Let’s delve into the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) and its enhanced preemption provision, along with its implications for overcoming zoning and placement barriers:

  1. MHIA Overview:
    • The MHIA, enacted in 2000, significantly amended the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act.
    • Its key provisions address manufactured home installation, dispute resolution, and the establishment of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC).
  2. Enhanced Preemption Provision:
  3. How Enhanced Preemption Works:
    • When a federal standard exists, it takes precedence over conflicting state or local regulations.
    • Enhanced preemption ensures that federal standards are uniformly applied, promoting consistency and safety across the industry.
    • It allows manufactured homes to be placed without undue restrictions imposed by local zoning ordinances.
  4. Overcoming Zoning and Placement Barriers:
    • Federal Preemption: By invoking enhanced preemption, HUD can preempt state or local requirements that interfere with federal standards.
    • Placement Restrictions: If a local zoning regulation unfairly restricts the placement of manufactured homes, HUD can assert federal preemption to override such restrictions.
    • Affordability and Availability: Enhanced preemption supports the accomplishment of federal law’s purposes, including expanding the availability and affordability of manufactured housing.
    • Legal Action: Advocates can use litigation to enforce federal preemption rights, challenging discriminatory zoning practices.
  5. Challenges and Advocacy:
    • While enhanced preemption exists, its effective implementation remains a challenge.
    • Advocacy groups, including the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), continue to push for meaningful action to overcome zoning barriers.
    • The goal is to ensure that manufactured homes can be sited where needed, addressing the affordable housing crisis.

In summary, the MHIA’s enhanced preemption provision empowers federal standards to prevail over local regulations, promoting affordability and accessibility of manufactured housing while overcoming zoning challenges123.

Learn more

Copilot, is it fair to say that both HUD and the Manufactured Housing Institute have come under criticism for failure to enforce enhanced preemption and how that has contributed to the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. in the 21st century? Didn’t Congress hold at least two sets of hearings on HUD’s failure to properly enforce the enhanced preemption provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000? Link several items online that are related to those topics and controversies.

BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHProNewsCertainly! The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) and its enhanced preemption provision have been subjects of controversy and criticism. Let’s explore this further:

  1. Enhanced Preemption and Affordable Housing Crisis:
    • Both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) have faced scrutiny regarding the enforcement of enhanced preemption.
    • Enhanced preemption is crucial for overcoming zoning and placement barriers that hinder the availability of affordable manufactured housing.
    • Critics argue that the lack of robust enforcement has contributed to the ongoing affordable housing crisis in the United States.
  2. Congressional Hearings on HUD’s Enforcement:
    • Congress has indeed held hearings to examine HUD’s handling of the enhanced preemption provision.
    • These hearings aimed to assess whether HUD effectively uses its authority to preempt local zoning regulations that restrict the placement of manufactured homes.
    • The controversy surrounding HUD’s enforcement practices has drawn attention to the need for consistent and assertive action.
  3. Relevant Articles and Sources:

In summary, the debate over enhanced preemption’s enforcement remains a critical issue, and addressing it effectively is essential for expanding affordable housing options in the U.S.1234.

Learn more

Note that item 1 linked in the 2nd Q&A immediately above in the Ledger was picked up in full by Yahoo News and MSN’s news aggregator services. As a disclosure it was authored by this writer. On the subject of federal enhanced preemption for the HUD Code manufactured housing, MHARR, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews are among the three top sources for information. The two Q&As with Copilot illustrate that point.


ManufacturedHousingInstituteHitByAntitrustAllegationsInOpEd_MHI-AttorneyDavidGochMollyBoyleAskedRespondEvidenceBasedConcernsCopilot-AiFac CheckRefersToMHIsOrwellianApproachMHProNews


10) MHProNews reached out to MHI, David Goch, Starkey and MHARR by email on 4.17.2024. There was no reply received from Starkey, Goch, or MHI. MHARR did reply, but they indicated that they had no comment on the matter at this time.

11) MHProNews reached out to an informed and well-placed source in Washington, D.C. with respect to the reports by FedWeek, GovExec and the Starkey related issues.

Per that source, in an off-the-record remark was the following.

“The MSPB decision appears to knowingly and intentionally conflate — for its own transparently political purposes — a legitimate, lawful and constitutionally protected call to replace a political appointee (the HUD program Director/Administrator) of a prior administration at the start of a new presidential administration, with a related but separate call for information and an investigation into that appointee’s ethically questionable hiring of an individual with insider knowledge of industry strategies, tactics and priorities, directly relating to the HUD manufactured housing regulatory program in Washington, D.C.”

Those remarks ought to be read at least twice. Because they are packed with insights related to this controversy.

12) Some added Q&As with Copilot will further illustrate the legal and other practical issues involved.

Copilot, federal officials in HUD or any other federal agencies take an oath of office to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. They are also supposed to administer laws as enacted by Congress, correct? Can you illustrate and elaborate on those issues?

BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHProNewsCertainly! Let’s explore the significance of the oath of office taken by federal officials and their duty to administer laws as enacted by Congress:

  1. Oath of Office:
    • Federal officials, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, are required to take a solemn oath of office.
    • The oath is a formal commitment to uphold the Constitution of the United States and faithfully execute their duties.
    • The standard oath includes the following elements:
      • Support and Defense: Officials pledge to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
      • True Faith and Allegiance: They promise to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution.
      • Duty Fulfillment: Officials commit to discharging their office duties well and faithfully.
      • No Mental Reservation or Evasion: The oath is taken freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
      • Invocation: The oath concludes with the phrase “So help me God.”
  2. Duty to Administer Laws:
    • Federal officials have a constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land.
    • This duty extends to implementing and enforcing laws enacted by Congress.
    • Officials must act in accordance with the Constitution and statutory provisions, regardless of personal preferences or political considerations.
  3. Implications:
    • The oath underscores the importance of rule of law, ensuring that government actions align with legal principles.
    • Officials who violate their oath may face legal consequences, including removal from office.
    • Upholding the Constitution and faithfully administering laws are fundamental to maintaining a just and orderly society.

In summary, the oath of office serves as a solemn commitment for federal officials to uphold the Constitution and faithfully execute their duties, ensuring the proper functioning of government and adherence to the rule of law123.

Learn more


While all of it has relevance, let’s spotlight and italicize this portion of Copilot’s response:

  • “Officials must act in accordance with the Constitution and statutory provisions, regardless of personal preferences or political considerations.”

13) There is much more to know about this subject.  As Chris Plante has framed differently, and as Sam Smith is credited with explaining about the power of the press: “The greatest power of the mass media is the power to ignore. The worst thing about this power is that you [i.e. the press] may not even know you’re using it.” It is a fair question if FedWeek and GovExec writers/editors knowingly and wittingly ignored evidence that this Google search linked here strongly suggests could have come to their attention with some basic research. It may be more a case of what an editor told a reporter to cover and/or not cover. That is unclear.

But what is clear is that MHProNews brought to the direct attention of the named reporter on the GovExec item the oversights in his report (see Part III #2, above). Then, as noted above, this was posted on the FedWeek website under their article. Do they check those comments?


14) FWIW, Starkey has identified herself as politically active, and she clearly holds “progressive” views normally seen as those advocated by Democrats. Within certain limits with respect to federal employment, that is her right. But in her role as a public official, politics are supposed to be set aside.

15) “The greatest power of the mass media is the power to ignore,” said Sam Smith. It seems that two sets of reporters and/or editors both made a decision to simply go with what the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruled Lois Starkey’s 2017 case. That may be a case of lazy journalism. Or it could be a deliberate choice to withhold information that should have readily come to their attention if they had done the most basic types of research. Namely, a Google search.


Several of the illustrations shown in this report can be opened in many browsers to reveal a larger size. To open this picture, click the image once. When the window opens, click it again to reveal the larger size photo. Use your browsers back key to return to the article.

16) Trump era HUD Secretary Ben Carson appeared to understand that manufactured housing was an underutilized asset in the tool kit to address the affordable housing crisis.  MHARR recognized that too. Notorious MHI member and occasional MHI critic Frank Rolfe recently said during a video recorded interview that MHI ‘blew it’ by not capitalizing on the Secretary Carson era at HUD.  Those points noted, one more look at #8 g above is warranted. From page 6 of the linked document that quoted Pam Danner and Lois Starkey and another HUD personality was this remark: “Our mission is to emphasize the four critical traits to protect the quality, durability, safety, and affordability of manufactured homes and also to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes.  [Italics added by MHProNews.] By HUD’s own admission, and by looking at production levels since 2000, the failure of HUD to properly implement the MHIA and its provisions that included, but are not limited to, enhanced federal preemption that could be used to overcome zoning barriers becomes apparent. HUD has failed to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes.


The first two months of 2024 yielded some 15,830 homes. If that pace was maintained through the year it would equal about 94,980 total new HUD Code manufactured homes in the U.S. That would be a pace similar to the years 2019-2020, and less than 2018, 2021 and 2022. That would also be about 72 percent lower than production in 1998.


The economic ripple effects total some $2 trillion dollars annually. That includes observations made by a prominent Democratic lawmaker, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (CT-D).


There is an evidence-based case to be made that Cavco has ironically helped provide the ammo for antitrust pros to go after their firm and several others associated with the Manufactured Housing Institute. Their reasons to invest are also apparent proof of their own failures. The base image above is from the Cavco Industries (CVCO) November 2023 Investor Relations ‘pitch deck’ or IR presentation. Satirical “Proud Member of Machiavellian Housing Institute” (i.e.: Manufactured Housing Institute or MHI) with its modified MHI tag line: “The National Association Serving Consolidators of the Manufactured Housing Industry” was added by MHProNews, but Cavco Industries is indeed a “proud” MHI member. Call out boxes and arrows are added by MHProNews as part of this fact check and analysis. See detailed report and context here:


As the private equity research into manufactured housing as a possible solution for the affordable housing crisis performed by Payden and Rygel indicated, manufactured homes are essential in that battle for affordable housing. Prior to that Payden and Rygel report, MHProNews’ Masthead did a 9 minute ‘proof’ that without millions of more affordable manufactured homes, the affordable housing crisis can’t be solved.




Yet, HUD has arguably failed the industry and millions of Americans. So too has MHI.  Copilot has often made the point that MHARR is doing their job, while noting that MHI is under fire for not doing its job properly.

Not all of these nuances and details needed to be in the FedWeek or GovExec reports. But some mention of many of these issues were warranted and could have linked information for more insights. A publisher or media outlet in a free enterprise system can pick and choose what they report and what they don’t. But when they fail to report on an issue in what the SPJ’s Code of Ethical Conduct sets as the standard: “Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information,” then they undermine their own credibility and to some degree may diminish the public respect for journalism too.

There is often more to know. So, a possible follow up article could be ahead, as our research into this subject has revealed several other potential items of significance to the manufactured housing industry, the MHI-Starkey-HUD-MSPB connection, and more.

Stay tuned, and don’t forget to check in for those exclusive remarks from a D.C. insider to MHProNews that are tentatively planned in conjunction with our Sunday weekly recap. ##





Part IV – is our Daily Business News on MHProNews stock market recap which features our business-daily at-a-glance update of over 2 dozen manufactured housing industry stocks.

This segment of the Daily Business News on MHProNews is the recap of yesterday evening’s market report, so that investors can see at glance the type of topics may have influenced other investors. Thus, our format includes our signature left (CNN Business) and right (Newsmax) ‘market moving’ headlines.

The macro market moves graphics below provide context and comparisons for those invested in or tracking manufactured housing connected equities. Meaning, you can see ‘at a glance’ how manufactured housing connected firms do compared to other segments of the broader equities market.

In minutes a day readers can get a good sense of significant or major events while keeping up with the trends that may be impacting manufactured housing connected investing.

Headlines from left-of-center CNN Business – 4.17.2024

  • Pro-Trump network OAN and Smartmatic settle 2020 election defamation case
  • Trump Media, which runs the social media platform Truth Social, took the place of Digital World’s place on the Nasdaq stock exchange in March.
  • Trump Media stock ends session 15% higher after two very bad days
  • Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour, Executive Director of The Foundation for Aviation Safety and former Boeing Manager Ed Pierson, Aerospace Engineer and Technical Advisor to the Foundation for Aviation Safety and former FAA engineer Joe Jacobsen and Professional Practice Assistant Professor for Integrated Systems Engineering at Ohio State University Shawn Pruchnicki attend a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the safety culture at Boeing amid concerns about the assembly of its 787 and 777 jets, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2024.
  • Boeing whistleblower: ‘They are putting out defective airplanes’
  • General views of the Walt Disney ‘Partners’ statue at Disneyland on April 06, 2024 in Anaheim, California.
  • Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy file for union vote at Disneyland
  • NPR editor who penned scathing piece criticizing the public broadcaster resigns
  • A statue of Alexander Hamilton is seen outside the U.S. Department of Treasury building as they joined other government financial institutions to bail out Silicon Valley Bank’s account holders after it collapsed on March 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. U.S.
  • America’s debt problem is storing up trouble for the rest of the world
  • The Alaska Airlines logo is displayed on the tail section of Alaska Airlines planes a San Francisco International Airport on January 25, 2024 in San Francisco, California.
  • Alaska Airlines ground stop lifted, delays ongoing
  • Families who sued social media companies years ago are taking matters into their own hands
  • Climate change will make you poorer, according to a new report
  • Apple iPhone 15 phones are displayed for sale at The Grove Apple store on launch day in Los Angeles, California on September 22, 2023.
  • Apple fixes iPhone bug that suggested Palestinian flag when some people typed ‘Jerusalem’
  • Boeing’s problems just cost United $200 million
  • Private equity finds its next bet: college admissions
  • Book bans are accelerating across the country amid right-wing pressure campaign
  • Student debt is haunting Americans from graduation to retirement
  • Ford recalling more than 450,000 vehicles due to potential loss of drive power
  • Tesla will ask shareholders to re-approve Musk multibillion dollar payday thrown out by judge
  • Making deepfake porn without consent could soon be a crime in England
  • Can India become an economic superpower? Here’s what the data says
  • Pilot union alleges ‘significant spike’ in safety issues on American Airlines flights
  • Trump’s stock tumbles again after Truth Social announces it’s getting into streaming
  • News publishers group urges government to investigate Google for blocking some California news outlets
  • Here’s what would happen to the US economy if there are no rate cuts this year
  • Stocks wobble after Powell warns that rate cuts will likely come later than expected
In instances such as Apollo, Berkshire Hathaway, Blackstone or others, manufactured housing may only be part of their corporate interests. Note: depending on your browser or device, many images in this report and others on MHProNews can be clicked to expand. Click the image and follow the prompts. For example, in some browsers/devices you click the image and select ‘open in a new window.’ After clicking that selection you click the image in the open window to expand the image to a larger size. To return to this page, use your back key, escape or follow the prompts.
Notice: MHProNews invites the firms named in these reports to respond to any concerns about possibly inaccurate information via email that identifies the concern and offers evidence that sheds a different light on the topic discussed. That said, neither MHI nor MHI publicly traded ‘insider brands’ have done so. They’ve been repeatedly invited to do so, including but not limited to an outreach on Dec 7, 2o23 and Feb 25, 2024.
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