Cavco Industries (CVCO) President and CEO Bill Boor was and remains demonstrably correct. Boor said that the manufactured housing industry has an opportunity to “catch up” with conventional housing construction. With conventional housing builders essentially ‘maxed out,’ it raises the issue of just how high the manufactured industry’s potential might be. That naturally leads to this query. What had been and is being done to tap into the potential for factory homebuilders in general, or manufactured home builders more specifically, to achieve its historic potential? In the roughly past twenty years, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has worked with both Democratic and Republican dominated administrations. Indeed, MHI claims that they have positioned themselves to work with Democrats and Republicans alike. MHI has stated in writing and under oath that they are working to grow the manufactured housing industry. It only makes sense for professionals, investors, advocates, politicos, media, and others to step back and see what the facts and history reveal about MHI’s own claims.
Bill Boor and the firm he leads are MHI members. They have provided insights on several of the topics that follow. So too has formal statements made by MHI member Sun Communities chairman and CEO Gary Shiffman. Shiffman, Boor, and other MHI members remarks, past and present, deserve consideration.
Additionally, voices beyond the Arlington, VA based MHI merit thoughtful evidence-based consideration too.
Tents and other alternatives to residential housing are springing up in more cities and towns. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge recently said that well over 500,000 are homeless in the U.S. These images and facts give sobering witness to the point that this housing crisis is growing day-by-day, as newcomers enter America legally and otherwise.
Let’s note before diving in the following.
- It is quicker and easier to lie than it is to disprove a lie.
- It may similarly be harder to provide sufficient evidence of a fraud or con job than it is to commit a market harming scheme. Yet Enron, WorldCom, Theranos, and Bernie Madoff are just a few examples that such ploys could exist for years before they were finally addressed. Yes, the system can fail to properly act for years.
- These facts mean that it requires attention to detail to grasp the market and evidence in favor of modern manufactured homes, and then to expose the allegedly illicit and illegal issues that years of evidence and research demonstrates are costing our nation trillions annually, per NBER researchers, while causing the affordable housing crisis to get worse.
With that backdrop, MHProNews will consider the following in this performance analysis of MHI during a widely acknowledged affordable housing crisis.
- First, let’s begin by dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the points noted above. Meaning, MHI makes certain claims. Those claims will be documented herein, so there is no doubt about what they’ve said in their own words. Then, examples of how those claims have played out during Democratic and Republican Administrations will be reviewed.
- Second, based upon the facts and the evidence from the first point, MHProNews will let the track record and factual evidence speak. Examining MHI claims vs. the industry’s and MHI’s track record will shed light on how effective, or not, MHI is at measuring up to their own stated standards.
- Third, MHProNews will reveal MHI’s history of media engagement based upon specific, documented examples. That will be viewed in part through the lens of P.E.P. – short for Protect, Educate, and Promote. P.E.P. Is how a MHI affiliated state association executive said an umbrella-style production and post-production trade association should operate. But as important, P.E.P. is also connected to written pledges made by various MHI leaders. Are past plans and statements being lived and achieved today? How do words and deeds match up?
- Fourth, how does MHI deal with so-called bad actors. Because as a MHEC member that is a state association affiliate of MHI said, a good trade association is not in the business of protecting bad actors. MHEC is short for the Manufactured Housing Executives Council. MHEC meetings, when live, are routinely held in conjunction with a live MHI event.
- Fifth, in the light of the four points above, who is benefiting from the status quo or pattern of the recent years? Who has been or is being harmed by recent occurrences or the events of the last two decades?
- Sixth, for those who may not grasp the significant difference between the two national trade association, there will be a focused look at the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and how it differs in its structure and mission than MHI’s structure and stated mission.
- Seventh, what the bottom-line takeaways are from the review described. Then, how this report and analysis could result in actionable steps that lead to serious manufactured home industry growth.
Two notes for newcomers and researchers – as well as for longtime readers are useful.
Notice 1: The manufactured home industry has good federal laws that need only be implemented in order to fuel robust growth. That said, it begs the question. Why are those good laws, 13 and 20+ years after passage not properly implemented? More on these further below.
Notice 2: some of what is shown below will be new to virtually all readers, but there will be some items that will be familiar to longer-term readers. Both types of insights are necessary to do this review and analysis properly.
Put differently, what should be simple has for some reason been made seemingly complex. That begs the question – why is what should be simple being made more complex?
That noted, the new information plus the previously reported items organized as noted above, will prove illuminating and potentially useful to those industry advocates that sincerely want to see more HUD Code manufactured homes produced and sold. By contrast, the only ones who may not like what the facts and evidence reflects are those who are covering up or deflecting in favor of…whatever other kind of agenda.
With that action plan for this fact- and evidence-based report and analysis in mind, let’s dive in.
Seven Step Examination of MHI – Claims, Evidence, Performance – Facts & Analysis Based on Evidence and Outline Above
#1) MHProNews obtained and is publishing key facts from an MHI IRS Form 990. The IRS Form 990 is a formal statement by a nonprofit organization made under oath and under possible penalties of perjury if the statements are proven untrue. While all written statements matter for a good trade association, most will not rise to the level of seriousness as the claims made on a 990.
The screen capture below reflects what several 990s examined said. This is not the only statement like the one below. The 990 topic is examined in greater detail at the link here.
The statement in the red box above is in response to the form’s instruction to “Briefly describe the organization’s mission or most significant activities.” To that instruction, taking the MHI text out of all caps, it says the following as their mission and most significant activities. “Improve the overall operating environment of the manufactured housing industry and expand the demand for manufactured homes by seeking fair and equitable treatment in the marketplace and the regulatory and legislative arenas.” Everything that MHI does should be examined through the lens of that statement made under penalties of perjury.
That should then shed light on MHI’s claim of representing “all segments” of factory-built housing. At various times, MHI also gets more specific and clearly states that they mean all segments of manufactured housing. A key example of that is from the IRS 990, above. All segments means both production and post-production firms. It would also mean firms of all sizes.
Additionally, a previous MHI President and CEO, Chris Stinebert, who collaborated with MHARR in the passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, said this in his exit message. Notice how his statement fits the P.E.P. – Protect, Educate and Promote – maxim?
In 2008, MHARR and MHI worked together for the inclusion of the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs or Enterprises) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 during the Bush-Cheney term of office.
In 2000, MHARR and MHI collaborated to enact during Stinebert’s term as MHI president for the passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA or 2000 Reform law). So during the last years of the Clinton Administration, MHI was able to work with members of both major parties, in collaboration with MHARR, for a regulatory standard that was quite in keeping with the IRS Form 990 statement that Dick Jennison signed above. Without implying that all was ideal from 2000-2008, there is evidence to support the contention that MHI and MHARR were working to get the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 implemented, as well as to get DTS enacted into federal law.
So, during the Bush-Cheney years, the MHI record is at best mixed. On the plus side MHI and MHARR collaborated in enacted good laws. Some of those laws are clearly focused on post-production issues, which is part of the MHI “all segments” of manufactured housing mission. In terms of getting those laws implemented, MHI’s own documents and statements – then and since – reflect the point that the laws have not been fully and properly implemented.
It bears mention that the MHI 990 clearly says that their annual submission is reviewed by their board of directors before it is submitted to the IRS.
It is worth mentioning that during the Bush-Cheney years, MHARR reportedly reached out to certain Democratic lawmakers. Following that engagement, those lawmakers wrote then HUD Secretary Mel Martinez urging him to use the full powers of the MHIA in terms of preempting local zoning and placement challenges. That letter, part of a deeper dive report linked here, concluded with these words and signatures. Quotes further below will make it clear that this zoning/placement issue is one of the largest challenges limiting manufactured housing for decades.
Next, during the eight years of the Obama-Biden Administration (D), what did MHI accomplish? What occurred during those 8 years? Let’s look.
About ten days after President Barack Obama and his Vice President Joe Biden were sworn into office on January 20, 2009, prominent MHI member Tim Williams led 21st Mortgage Corporation signed a letter that was sent to thousands of independent retailers, loan brokers, selling manufactured home communities, and others. That letter signed by 21st President and CEO Williams was reportedly transmitted various ways, including by the U.S. Mail, fax, and internet – the later two categories known in certain federal statues as “the wires.” 21st Mortgage Corporation is an affiliate of Clayton Homes. Clayton, along with 21st and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) are all owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK).
President Obama received campaign support from Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire, in both his 2008 and in his 2012 campaigns.
In brief, suffice it to say that Berkshire Hathaway brands, along with several non-Berkshire corporate allies, have dominated MHI and their National Communities Council (NCC) and Federated States divisions. Democrats were in control of both the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and the White House. Buffett and some of his fellow billionaires and numbers of big businesses clearly had political clout with Obama-Biden. What occurred during those years?
A few highlights will illustrate.
- Dodd-Frank was enacted into law, creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- The CFPB in turn put in place regulations that crippled manufactured home lending by numbers of firms. Who said? Among MHI/NCC members, Sam Landy, J.D., President and CEO of UMH Properties. Landy specifically said that CFPB regulatory risk caused them to halt a previously performing loan program that offered loans at terms more favorable to their customers than other lenders then offered. Among the other lenders that pulled out was U.S. Bank, despite the fact that they reportedly had a performing billion dollar manufactured home loan program.
There were 2 key laws enacted with MHI and MHARR cooperation. During the 8 years of the Obama-Biden era, neither of those laws – DTS on lending, or MHIA on zoning/preemption – gained traction. Indeed, the evidence-based case can be made that because shipments fell dramatically to the lowest point in manufactured housing’s history since 1976, that the industry was pummeled by new regulations and other regulatory implementation hurdles during the Obama-Biden years. Yet, Buffett and President Obama clearly had access. Kevin Clayton, CEO of Berkshire owned Clayton Homes bragged in 2011 on video about “Warren’s” connections. Rephrased, prominent MHI member Kevin Clayton had White House access, had he desired it. Warren Buffett’s grandson served in the Obama White House. It is hard to understate the potential value of such access.
To that last point, the Joe Biden Kamala Harris 2020 website draws to a conclusion in their campaign promises by making this evidence-based observation. “In Washington, the ability to schedule a meeting with an elected official or his or her staff is a form of currency.” Other pull quotes say, “The next president must demonstrate with their actions – not empty words – that public servants serve all Americans, not themselves or narrow special interests.” And “The federal government’s power must be used to better the country, and not in service of narrow, private interests.” The Biden site also pledged that “We the people.” Those words changed everything. Power rested in the people, not the government. Freedom to think, to speak, to act, to criticize your government, all protected.” That and more are from the Biden-Harris Democrats campaign website are linked here as a download.
It is fair to debate how the Biden-Harris team are living up to those ‘day one’ pledges some 139 days into their time in the White House. Let’s further stress that facts are what they are, and that this is a nonpartisan analysis by political independents that are based on facts and evidence. The critique of the issues during the President Donald J. Trump and VP Mike Pence years will follow. But one point is that candidate Biden, like his predecessor and former boss, clearly understood that access to power is clout.
MHI grasped that access is clout too. MHI created the illustration above to tout their access and clout to their prospective and actual members for some time. Nevertheless, the industry demonstrably fell to its lowest point ever during the Obama-Biden years. Yet, it is difficult to imagine more access to power than MHI had during that timeframe.
Put differently, during the Obama-Biden years, as measured by the common-sense metric of production levels – which is a close reflection to shipments and sales, similar to ‘housing starts’ in conventional home building, MHI demonstrably failed their own test of their mission statement on the IRS 990. “Demand” – orders for – manufactured housing crashed. See the production graphic above. A big part of the reason for that crash? Failure to implement DTS, as well as the “enhanced preemption” made possible by the MHIA’s enhancements that those Democratic lawmakers above referenced.
But that’s not all. The notorious 10/10 Rule at Ginnie Mae went into effect during the Obama-Biden years. It is almost as if every lending option that would yield lower interest rate loans and superior terms for consumers was systematically cut off during the Obama-Biden years. To Kevin Clayton’s claim of the fabled Buffett connections, that begs the question. Did Buffett et al use that access and clout to hobble manufactured housing so that his own brands would gain market share in what might look at first blush to outsiders are mere market forces operating? Because it would be difficult to imagine how the industry could have done worse during those years. It wasn’t just MHI’s member Landy that said so. Another MHI/NCC member, Kenny Lipschutz mused similarly in exclusive comments to MHProNews.
But it wasn’t just Lipschutz or Landy that stated the obvious problems illustrated by the crash in manufactured home production caused in good part by curtailing manufactured home lending. Nathan Smith, who took over the role of MHI Chairman after Triad Financial Services CEO Don Glisson Jr stepped down, admitted on camera that MHI had missed and messed up opportunities. He put it politely, of course, but he explained the obvious. A good trade association should be pro-active, not just re-active.
More examples are possible, including but not limited to the multi-year, multi-million dollar lobbying failure of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act fiasco. But suffice it to say for now that going into the Trump-Pence years, MHI’s track record was dismal. That is as measured by their own claim of wanting to increase manufactured home sales, which should be their goal as a production and post-production or ‘umbrella’ style trade group.
Trump-Pence Administration Years – HUD Secretary Ben Carson and FHFA Director Mark Calabria
MHProNews has recently done a review of the Trump-Pence effectiveness vs. the first months of the Biden-Harris White House for manufactured housing at this link here. Suffice it to say the following in summary for now.
A) Director Mark Calabria led FHFA can be measured in depth at this link here. But it can be summed up by one of FHFA’s own staff managers. Before leaving, DTS program manager Jim Gray made this candid admission. MHProNews and/or this writer previously exposed the farce that occurred during the Obama-Biden and Trump-Pence years with respect to manufactured home financing at this link here and here.
B) During an administration that had a builder in the White House, where President Trump and his first Lady Melania Trump may have been the first chief executive to visit a manufactured home community that was not part of a campaign event, when White House level councils were held about removing regulatory barriers that specifically included manufactured housing, at the FHFA, there were years of diversionary and stall tactics that MHARR finally labeled a “shell game.” Yet, during the Trump-Pence years, part of MHI’s long sought change in the MLO rule – which MHProNews exclusively revealed could have been obtained by agreement at the CFPB with consumers and MHI years before without legislation – was passed into law.
It is through the lens of history and the various claims and statements by MHI that the reality of their performance comes into sharp focus.
To dot the i on the Trump-years, the Trump White House was favorable to the industry. HUD Secretary Carson said much to promote the industry. It is fair to say that no HUD Secretary did more in the 21st century to elevate the understanding of manufactured housing that Secretary Carson.
That noted, it must be explored if or when Dr. Carson learned about “enhanced preemption” and the MHIA. But what is certain, per sources, is that Brian Montgomery knew, and he failed to act. Additionally, Lesli Gooch and MHI leaders, including Kevin Clayton and Clayton General Counsel Tom Hodges, met with Dr. Carson in person several times. If MHI and the powers behind the throne there wanted to push for full implementation of existing laws, what better opportunity?
During the Trump years, it was MHARR – not MHI – that fought to get Pam Danner out of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP). That is per the Washington Post. That report is examined from the link below the next pull-quote.
So, how can it be explained that during both Democratic and Republican dominated terms of office, that MHI has failed, failed, failed to implement the laws that already exist?
For the record, it should be noted that MHProNews opposed the appointment of Brian Montgomery at HUD, due to perceived conflicts of interest. So, while MHProNews acknowledge good points from the Trump-years, there were obvious problematic points we called out during those years too.
That noted, then MHI EVP Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., was at the Trump White House. You do not get higher access than that. What did MHI’s Gooch accomplish beyond a photo op? In hindsight, it becomes blindingly clear that MHI was posturing rather than performing.
Some 6 years after MHI’s Dick Jennison said on camera and in front of dozens of manufactured home industry professionals that the industry could achieve 500,000 new HUD Code manufactured homes a year, the failure by MHI to implement good existing laws are still a key roadblock to industry advancement. That failure has occurred during both Democratic and Republican administrations. By way of contrast, the RV industry soared during those same years. This pitiable performance must be laid at the feet of those who claim to be representing all segments of the manufactured home industry.
Let’s close out this first segment, which already is beginning to point to the performance issues noted above, by quoting then MHI chairman, Tim Williams. Williams – when asked by MHProNews – responded to concerns at the time that MHI was failing at defending the industry against unfair characterizations by media and others, did several things.
In no specific order of importance, Williams stressed the value of MHProNews and MHLivingNews. That was in spite of the fact that we, then as MHI members, were pressing for action on long-promised items. Then, Williams pledged that MHI was going to hire a communications specialist. It was a role once filled years before by the now late Bruce Savage. That public relations position was cut by MHI during the industry’s crash, noted in the production data shown above. But as MHI rebuilt their coffers, they also began hiring numerous team members, including that PR person.
So, while MHProNews frankly – at that point in time – did not have the same level of clarity as to what was apparently occurring at MHI, nevertheless we did what pro-industry, pro-consumer media should do. Namely, we asked the questions mattered. We did persistent follow ups. Those efforts created an unparalleled history of the industry through these troubling years that are found only at MHProNews and MHLivingNews.
Summing up #1:
- To MHI’s credit, they teamed up with MHARR and certain state associations to enact the MHIA and DTS.
- However, once having the good laws needed to fuel more affordable manufactured homes for Americans, MHI then – for whatever reasons – systematically failed to get those good laws – which in several ways are post-production issues – to be properly enforced.
- Indeed, as the quote from MHARR’s President and CEO Mark Weiss, J.D., above illustrated, on DTS – Clayton Homes backed MHI actually worked to divert the law from its obvious intention. Namely, instead of pushing for lower cost lending and superior term lending for all manufactured homes, MHI pressed instead for a brand “new class” of manufactured homes that has since proven to be a market failure.
- During the years that they pressed for the “new class of manufactured homes” later dubbed CrossMods, manufactured homes slow but steady rise from the 2009 crash reversed.
- The 10/10 rule for Ginnie Mae, which had the pragmatic effect of limiting the number of firms that could make FHA Title I loans, went into place. When carefully examined, numerous prior options for more competitive manufactured home lending was systematically reduced. The DTS manufactured home lending mandated by HERA has demonstrably not been properly implemented. In the dawn of the Biden White House, both GSEs have recently come out and publicly stated that they now have no plan to implement a key part of the law that they are mandated to do. What is going on? Are these mere accidents? Or are these carefully placed barriers of entry, persistence, and exit that are part of the often noted Warren Buffett moat methods? More on that below.
For most of the last 2½ years, manufactured housing industry production and shipments declined. Indeed, after months of reports by MHProNews hammering them for accountability on that trend, MHI stopped making monthly ‘economic reports’ all together. Apparently, when the facts did not support MHI’s claims, they simply stopped reporting the facts.
It is against that backdrop, that the next elements of this evidence and fact based review of MHI performance is examined.
#2) MHI Performance as Measured by Their Pledges, Statements, and Their Own Measuring Sticks.
The CFPB recently published new data on manufactured home lending. In follows ups with the CFPB MHProNews learned additional and significant insights on the issues above. See two more in-depth looks at that aspect of this puzzle linked below.
Once more, MHI has among its most powerful and influential members brands owned by Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway. Democrats are in charge of the U.S. House, Senate, and White House. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge is a Democratic appointee of the Biden White House. When given a self-proclaimed opportunity to stage questions posed by a Democratic and Republican lawmakers, what did MHI have those lawmakers ask Secretary Fudge? Did they ask lawmakers to ask Sec. Fudge about fully implementing the MHIA’s enhanced preemption provision? No. Did they ask her to pledge removal of the 10/10 rule for FHA Title I loans? Note that the 10/10 rule demonstrably benefits Berkshire Hathaway and their allied brands. Did MHI get a commitment from Secretary Fudge to properly reform the 10/10, so more lower income Americans could get access to competitive lending? No. The embarrassing-for-MHI details are examined in the report linked below.
MHI has arguably been repeatedly caught and exposed for not doing their own claimed mission statement. On the one hand, MHI – after months and years of reports, fact-checks, and analysis like this one by MHProNews – began to make certain admissions that the key laws in question are not being properly implemented. Yet, despite those useful admissions, MHI then still continues to behave in a fashion that fails to seek the full and proper implementation of those laws.
Some examples will illustrate that claim. First, for new comers that may need to understand why the MHIA matters, these quotes from an MHI member and affiliate speaks volumes.
While MHI claims on their IRS 990 to be working to mitigate regulatory hurdles, and to improve the market for manufactured homes, Hodgson and MHI award-winner Mary Gaiski both made it plain that MHI is failing in that under-oath pledge.
MHI, as noted – under relentless pressure from reports and comments made by MHARR, MHProNews, MHLivingNews and others – finally began admitting reality. Some examples below illustrate.
MHI and their major brands can’t have it both ways. Since MHI is on record agreeing that the laws in question mean what they say, then they have obviously failed to call for their proper implementation when given specific opportunities to do so.
There are several takeaways logically possible due to MHI making those admissions. One is that MHI has only made their own failure to perform more evident. But perhaps as or more important, is that MHI is arguably attempting to cover the winners and losers that this roughly 15 year (+/-) year pattern reveals. For instance, Tim Williams – MHI board member, and former MHI chairman – said during an MHI meeting that he was glad that the GSEs pilot project for manufactured home chattel lending had failed.
That statement made in the presence of dozens of members is more than odd. It begs the question. How did Williams know that the GSEs pulled the plug, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac only published that outcome months later?
Once more, the powers that be behind MHI can not have it both ways.
Prosperity Now’s Doug Ryan has attended numerous MHI events over the years. He flatly accused MHI in writing of giving cover to Clayton Home’s monopolization of manufactured housing industry, in part through dominance in lending. Ryan is pro-manufactured home, but at least on paper, he has come out hard against several actions and inactions by MHI, Clayton, and their Berkshire Hathaway affiliated lenders, 21st and VMF.
Ryan is not the only one who has slammed Clayton, 21st, VMF, Warren Buffett – and by extension – their trade group, MHI. Democratic lawmakers said the following.
While MHI’s Gooch denied Ryan’s allegations that MHI was giving cover to Clayton and their lending, events since then have demonstrated the opposite of her attempt to deflect from the increasingly obvious realities.
But a reasonable question would be, why is MHI claiming one thing, but doing another? Paradoxically, several of their own members plus outsiders looking in spell out the answer to that question.
It could be summed up in one word.
By posturing effort, without delivering results, MHI is arguably helping larger brands consolidate smaller ones. Once that notion is understood, the evidence for it starts popping up in several evidence-based ways. A series of quotes and illustrations above and below document the how, the pattern, and the evidence-based concerns.
Following this 21st Mortgage Corp letter, mentioned and linked above, sent from Tim Williams to thousands of industry firms, the industry’s sales and production dropped to record low levels. As the commentary on the document from MHProNews, based upon cross references with Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway annual letter and Kevin Clayton’s own comments, the industry rapidly dropped to record lows. In the wake of those lows, the deep pockets of Berkshire backed Clayton allowed it to consolidate much of the industry at discounted valuations.
Clayton’s market share grew rapidly after the above letter cutting off lending to much of the industry’s independents occurred.
Let’s sum up for section #2 of this report and analysis.
- Actual statements, quotes, documents, and related illustrations make it clear that by thwarting the implementation of good existing laws, the steady consolidation of manufactured housing began to accelerate.
- Routinely, it has been Berkshire brands, and others that are often on the MHI board, that have benefited.
- While Gooch denied that the industry was being monopolized, as Ryan charged, the evidence shows otherwise.
- Ironically the CFPB demonstrates just how extensive Berkshire’s dominance of manufactured home lending is in the graphic below obtained by MHProNews.
- If MHI had authentically worked with MHARR to implement the laws they both helped get passed by Congress, then the case can be made that this trend would not have occurred in this fashion. Why? Because DTS and FHA Title I, to mention but two options that exist on paper in current law, would have offered better rates and terms than Clayton Homes and their related lenders. Put differently, it is only by choking off other lending options, and only by thwarting zoning and placement that the current scenario could have emerged.
That sets the stage for #3.
#3 MHProNews will reveal MHI’s history of media engagement based upon specific, documented examples.
June is National Homeownership Month. Despite having a public relations person, and years of promises of promoting the industry, MHI did not even mention it on their on Twitter feed or Facebook page, as is shown in the in-depth reports linked below.
But beyond the failure to effectively promote manufactured housing, which they have promised in various ways over the course of a decade, it is routinely MHI member brands that are the ones that stir up the bad news that yields the black eyes for manufactured housing.
It is such an appalling pattern that it seems surreal. But it is there for anyone to see who is ready to look at the facts and evidence.
Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds have become among the poster children of MHI members for creating bad news. They have also argued publicly not to develop more manufactured home communities. That has a series of ramifications that limits the market, and thus sales. See the comments and linked reports above.
Rolfe himself cites the Buffett-Moat methodology.
Democrats and Republican lawmakers alike have lamented these practices. So where are the federal and/or state level probes?
#3 can be summed up simply.
- MHI made big claims about “momentum” and touted a range of promotional efforts. Is it plausible that deep pocket brands could year after year fail to effectively promote the industry?
- When Kevin Clayton said in a video interview a decade ago that they were prepared then to do a national marketing campaign, where is that campaign?
- When Kevin said a decade ago that “Warren” told him he can have whatever he needs, what possible excuse can they have for the actual performance vs. the claimed ‘efforts’?
- What MHI actually did, in the light of the negative push-back that Tim Williams/21st admitted above was a pattern of bad news, not only failed to move the needle up. Instead, third-party Zillow research – plus 2.5 years of downward sales slides that followed – revealed that interest in manufactured housing actually declined. Someone simply could not make this up. But the facts are there.
Years of posturing and photo ops have been and are occurring. But MHI and their major brands are not producing the results.
#4. How does MHI deal with so-called bad actors?
A MHEC member and MHI affiliate flatly told MHProNews that they had no evidence of any action being taken under MHI’s so called Code of Ethical Conduct.
A MHEC member said that it is not the job of a pro-industry trade group to protect bad actors.
Yet, at a minimum, MHI and their affiliates are looking the other way. An MHI board member told MHProNews that the association has increasingly been operated as a ‘secret society.’ He explained that to mean that insiders get told what is occurring, outsiders do not. But it isn’t just off the record voices raising these concerns.
There are prominent past and present MHI members that have openly pointed the finger at each other, and at the association itself.
Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA) accused MHI of deceiving the public and of undermining the value of manufactured home owners dwellings.
Each of these and other concerns illustrate the outrageous pattern that once understood is hiding in plain sight. Note, an informed source at the MHBA told MHProNews that they stopped complaining about this “deceptive” Clayton-supported, MHI branded product offering only because it was obviously going nowhere. But meanwhile, manufactured home owners and independents are being harmed. Which brings us to #5 in our outline.
#4) In the light of the four points above, who is benefiting from the status quo or pattern of the recent years? Who has been or is being harmed by recent occurrences or the events of the last two decades?
Who benefits? Who is harmed? A common rule for investigators and reports are summed up by award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson like this.
MHI award-winner Marty Lavin has said similarly.
Lavin told MHLivingNews that he expected the MHI backed CrossMods plan to fail. So far, that has been so.
MHARR has been warning about it for years too.
MHI members warned MHProNews off-the-record, early on that the Clayton-backed MHI plan made no sense. The plan, de facto, elevated a small segment of the industry that was not proven, while by implication calling into question the balance of the industry’s production. Many HUD Code manufactured home producers already built actual modular models. So why create a confusing blurring of the lines by creating what was later dubbed as “CrossMods?” That this the point that MHI members, MHARR, and Tom Hardiman and MHBA have all made.
More Additionally, the GSE literature to promote these homes implied that other manufactured homes were not ‘quality.’ That was the obvious disconnect, yet, MHI accepted that with no public pushback known.
More recently, an MHI member producer said there is no evidence of traction for the program. With the benefit of some 3 years of hindsight, time and again, MHI and Clayton’s cheer leading for this program has fallen flat when faced with the facts on how the marketplace responded to the product.
Nevertheless, MHI kept doubling down on a plan – all while industry performance was sliding backwards.
Who benefits from this pattern of failed promotions and posturing? Lavin generically summed it up about MHI like this.
By implication, all others are being harmed. MHProNews predicted this “Trojan Horse” outcome over 3 years ago. That’s not to brag, facts are what they are. Rather, it should beg the question. If we could see what was likely to be the outcome, why shouldn’t MHI and their leaders not see it? After all, these are intelligent, educated individuals, some of whom have years of industry experience. Not to diminish ourselves, but to put our concerns into perspective. Didn’t MHI have more resources and people to figure out what this scheme would likely lead to – especially when after it was rolled out to their members it was met by yawns and walkouts?
In hindsight, all of these issues come into sharper focus.
There are more on each of these 7 topics, including this one. But that is enough to make the point that MHI’s behavior vs. their words appears to be aimed at the oligopoly style monopolization of the industry by big brands gobbling up smaller ones.
Summing up #5? The winners are industry insiders at MHI. The rest are there to be Buffett’s Buffet.
Those consolidations are often at discounted valuations, per the Buffett methodologies. Just one of several possible examples of that are shown in the UMH IR presentation deck slide, shown below.
#6) For those who may not grasp the significant difference between the two national trade association, there will be a focused look at the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and how it differs in its structure and mission than MHI’s structure and stated mission.
This is relatively simple. MHARR is a producers trade group. They do not do promotion or marketing. They focus on regulatory reform and regulatory related legal issues. Here is how MHARR describes themselves. “The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.”
That said, MHARR for some years made efforts beyond their mandate into zoning, placement, and finance related issues. Why? Because their members recognized that MHI is arguably not doing what that trade group tell their independent members. That noted, MHARR for years has advocated for post-production industry independents to form their own trade group. MHARR has said they would be pleased to work with such a pro-growth organization.
Despite MHARR’s smaller size, they have periodically beaten MHI ‘at their own game.’ One example is on the energy standards issue. A list of MHARR’s accomplishments and history in brief are found at those two links.
An evidence based argument could be made that MHARR has kept even more firms from sliding into the Clayton and their allied back MHI black hole. The evidence and facts for what has occurred to the industry’s production, retail, and community sectors are found in the reports linked below. Given the repeated opportunity to disprove or otherwise explain their years of seemingly odd behaviors, Berkshire leaders, attorneys, MHI and other major brands have routinely declined. Rephrased, these contentions at this time stand publicly unchallenged.
#7) What the bottom-line takeaways are from the review described. Then, how this report and analysis could result in actionable steps that lead to serious manufactured home industry growth.
To oversimplify and sum up the above.
- The evidence based case exists that a relatively small group of larger brands at MHI have been working for some years to undermine manufactured housing independents.
- MHI and those brands posture one thing, but do another. Near the center of this are Berkshire brands that have been using the Warren Buffett Moat method for years.
- The outcome has been literally thousands of industry firms have been wiped out. Ironically, Clayton’s General Counsel Tom Hodges admits to that point, but he simply doesn’t say it was his parent company’s brands that made those lost companies and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs a tragic reality. See Hodges statement to public officials linked here, and a fact check on his talking points linked here.
- It must be stressed that this is hardly the first time in the 21st century that multi-billion dollars scams have been hiding in plain sight. A partial list of those scams that cost our economy trillion are linked below.
- Outsiders looking in that have studied these issues have said for years that manufactured housing was being undermined by a combination of public officials that are at best looking away, plus association and special interest groups working to undermine the industry in order to benefit a select few. Some examples of such research are shown in the reports and quotes linked below.
The WND op-ed below outlines in 500 words the problem and key parts of the solution. Because as problem plagued as our industry is by the problematic and arguably illegal behavior of some readily identifiably brands and people, our industry is not alone in having similar problems.
Additionally, industry professionals would be wise to form a post-production trade group, one that avoids the problems that are evident from MHI. Independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes who are not already in MHARR should consider joining them to strengthen their years of yeoman’s work efforts.
MHI leaders have signed statements under oath that they have demonstrably not been faithful to, based upon the case above which is based on evidence and facts. Berkshire brands are credibly accused of “felony” antitrust violations that could also include RICO and other violations. Who said? Strommen’s legal research for Knudson Law.
- Early at the top, we noted that it is easier to lie that to disprove a lie.
- It is also easier to deceive that to demonstrate with facts and evidence the apparent clues and motivation for various deceptions.
- These notions are not new discoveries. Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain famously said similarly in the 1800s.
- But now that the patterns and the evidence in manufactured housing involving MHI are exposed, it is time for public officials to stand up and do what is right. Namely, investigate these claims using subpoena powers and by getting testimony under oath. Then, those involved should be prosecuted and/or broken up and dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. Doing so would arguably rejuvenate the manufactured housing market. It would benefit millions of Americans of all backgrounds.
A similar argument has been made by Scott Galloway with respect to breaking up the tech giants. Break them up, and prosecute those who the evidence indicates are guilty of violating federal/state laws.
Next, is our evening market report and related left-right headlines.
The Business Daily Manufactured Home Industry Connected Stock Market Updates. Plus, Market Moving Left (CNN) – Right (Newsmax) Headlines Snapshot. While the layout of this business daily report has recently been modified, several elements of the basic concepts used previously are still the same. The headlines that follow below can be reviewed at a glance to save time while providing insights across the left-right media divide. Additionally, those headlines often provide clues as to possible ‘market moving’ items.
Market Indicator Closing Summaries – Yahoo Finance Closing Tickers on MHProNews…
Headlines from left-of-center CNN Business = evening of 6.8.20
- Surprise winners
- A company advertises a help wanted sign on April 09, 2021 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Rhode Island consistently ranks as one of the worst states in America for the condition of its infrastructure with an estimated 24% of its roads in poor condition and 23% of its bridges standing structurally deficient. Looking to reshape the U.S. economy, President Joe Biden has recently unveiled a $2 trillion jobs, infrastructure and green energy plan called the American Jobs Plan. If passed, the proposal would create tens of thousands of jobs in construction, clean energy and technology. Many economists, engineers and politicians believe that infrastructure in the United Sates is lagging behind China and other competitive nations.
- Economies in these states are actually stronger than they were before Covid
- Job openings in the US soar to record 9.3 million
- Goldman Sachs to clients: Don’t sweat the global minimum tax
- Bitcoin’s terrible run isn’t over yet
- Meme stock mania isn’t going away anytime soon
- Boeing’s latest challenge: China
- Tips to keep rising wedding costs down
- Massive internet outage: Websites and apps around the world go dark
- Mitt Romney: It’s unacceptable Microsoft censored Tiananmen Square images in America
- Apple’s big developer conference tries to move past backlash
- Why electric cars are so much heavier than regular cars
- ‘We turned so far right we went crazy:’ How Fox News was radicalized by its own viewers
- Gap’s new $200 jacket is kind of a big deal
- Smart Asset
- 7 mistakes comfortable retirees know to avoid
- Wendy’s stock surges as Reddit crowd talks up ‘chicken tendies’
- MIAMI, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 23: A For Sale sign is seen in front of a home on October 23, 2019 in Miami, Florida. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously-owned homes dropped 2.2% in September.
- It’s easy to sell a home these days. The catch is you have to find another one to buy
- Ford enters the little pickup truck war with the new hybrid Maverick
Headlines from right-of-center Newsmax – evening of 6.8.2021
- Sen. Cruz: Biden, Harris Covering Up Border Crisis by Staying Away
- Newsmax TV
- Kerik to Newsmax: Voter Fraud Probes Don’t ‘Happen Overnight’
- Peter Navarro to Newsmax: Fauci ‘Orchestrated a Coverup’ |
- Dick Morris to Newsmax: GOP Primary Gives Way to ‘Trump Primary’ |
- Rep. Babin to Newsmax: HHS Facility at Fort Bliss ‘Costing Millions’
- Rep. Nancy Mace to Newsmax: ‘Fauci Needs to Go’ |
- Ed Rendell to Newsmax: Some Nontraditional Infrastructure Must Stay in Bill |
- More Newsmax TV
- NRA’s Gun Rights Message Not Slowed by Legal, Money Troubles
- Liberals have cheered the highly public legal and financial jeopardy ensnaring the National Rifle Association, seeing the gun lobby’s potential demise as the path to stricter firearms laws.But, it turns out, the NRA’s message has become so solidified in the Republican Party…
- Biden to Launch Task Force on Bottlenecks in Supply Chains
- After completing a review of supply chains, the Biden administration [Full Story]
- Trump Speech Draws 1.8 Million to Newsmax, Beats Fox in Key Rating
- Trump Speech Draws 1.8 Million to Newsmax, Beats Fox in Key Rating
- President Trump’s speech to the North Carolina Republican Convention [Full Story]
- Newsmax Remains Top 50 News Site, With Big Traffic Growth
- Civil Rights Leaders Can’t Get Manchin to Back Dems’ Voting Bill
- Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was unswayed Tuesday by civil rights
- Sen. Cruz: Biden, Harris Covering Up Border Crisis by Staying Away
- President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris won’t visit the [Full Story]
- VP Harris Laughs When Asked Why She Hasn’t Visited Southern Border |
- Sen. Rick Scott Blasts VP Harris Over ‘Disgraceful’ Refusal to Address Border Crisis
- Parents ‘Have to Fight Back’ Against Critical Race Theory in Schools
- As the controversial critical race theory seeps into more and more
- Report: China ‘Drastically Suppressing’ Uyghur Birth Rates
- China’s birth control policies could cause anywhere from 2.6 million
- Va. AG Morrisey: Drugs Coming Across Border Will Devastate State
- West Virginia has already been torn apart by the opioid addiction
- The Hard Truth: When the Equity Bubble Bursts, Where Do Investors Turn?
- SPONSOR: How to embrace, prepare, and profit while theres still time.
- Capitol Hill Tech Vendor Hit With Ransomware Attack
- A tech vendor that services several dozen offices in the House of
- Rasmussen Poll: Only 40 Percent Think Fauci Told Truth
- As investigators pursue evidence the COVID-19 virus might have
- Washington State Sets Up ‘Joints for Jabs’ Covid Vaccine Incentive
- Adults can receive a free marijuana joint when they get their
- Obama Condemns Cancel Culture, ‘Condemning People All the Time’
- Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned that “a lot of the
- Sen. Capito: Infrastructure Deal Unlikely on Tuesday, Could Come Later
- Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she does not expect to reach
- WalletHub Poll: Wide US Differences in COVID Recovery
- Two Midwest states have been the fastest, and slowest, in recovering
- NYPD, Federal ATF Create Illegal-Gun Task Force After Shootings
- The New York Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol,
- ‘A Lot of Anxiety’ as Biden Agenda Collapses in Confusion, Liberal Infighting
- Hopes for a big infrastructure investment are teetering. An ambitious
- North Korea Cracks Down on Foreign Culture, Styles
- North Korea has imposed harsh restrictions on foreign films, music,
- Trump: ‘Why Does Fox News Keep Chris Wallace?’
- The “radical left” Chris Wallace of Fox News was the subject of
- US Job Openings Jump to Fresh Record High of 9.3 Million
- U.S. job openings rose in April to a fresh record high, along with
- Trudeau Urged by US, Canada Business to Open Border This Month
- Business groups are calling on the Canadian and U.S. governments to
- Russia Commissions New Class of Submarines
- Russia has commissioned the Kazan, a new and completely modern
- Senate Set to Pass Sweeping Bill to Address China Tech Threat
- The U.S. Senate on Tuesday is set to approve a sweeping package of
- Biden to Launch Task Force on Bottlenecks in Supply Chains
- The United States will target China with a new “strike force” to
- GOP Delaying Biden’s Personnel Agency Choice Over ‘Critical Race Theory,’ Abortion Rights Support
- Senate Republicans are delaying confirmation of President Joe Biden’s
- Cannabis Addiction Draws Drugmakers in Search for a Treatment
- With more states and countries opening up to legal cannabis, there
- Axios-Ipsos Poll: More Than Two-Thirds See Little Risk in Returning to Pre-Pandemic Life
- Sixty-nine percent of Americans now say they see just a small risk –
- US Pullout From Afghanistan Half Done, But Questions Remain
- The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is more than half done, and U.S.
- Bruce Springsteen Plans Broadway Return of His One-Man Show
- The Boss just can’t quit Broadway.Bruce Springsteen will return to
- UK’s Johnson Wants G7 ‘Marshall Plan’ on Climate
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants G7 leaders to sign up to a
- Israel Lawmakers to Vote Sunday on Government to Oust Netanyahu
- Israel’s parliament will vote Sunday on whether to approve a new
- More Newsfront
- US Job Openings Jump to Fresh Record High of 9.3 Million
- U.S. job openings rose in April to a fresh record high, along with the number of people who voluntarily left their jobs, underscoring fervent labor demand and turnover as businesses emerge from pandemic-related restrictions and the economy strengthens.The number of… [Full Story]
- Apple’s New Privacy Feature Won’t Be Available in China
- Oil Prices Retreat But Outlook Remains Positive
- Ford to Offer New Maverick Compact Pickup Standard as Hybrid
- Tesla China Deliveries Surge 29 Percent in May After April Slump
- More Finance
- COVID Vaccine-Reluctant Not Changing Their Minds, According to New Poll
- Three-quarters (76%) of Americans say they have already been vaccinated or plan to be in the near future. However, 24% say that do not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine at all, and of these, 78% say they are unlikely to change their minds. That’s the result of a new Gallup… [Full Story]
- ADHD Meds May Help Keep Some Kids From Thoughts of Suicide
- Polio: When Vaccines and Re-Emergence Were Just as Daunting
- Forgetfulness Doesn’t Always Mean Dementia…And How to Protect Memory as You Age
- Meat-Free Diet Helps Ward Off Severe COVID
Manufactured Housing Industry Investments Connected Equities Closing Tickers
Some of these firms invest in manufactured housing, or are otherwise connected, but may do other forms of investing or business activities too.
- NOTE: The chart below includes the Canadian stock, ECN, which purchased Triad Financial Services, a manufactured home industry lender
- NOTE: Drew changed its name and trading symbol at the end of 2016 to Lippert (LCII).
- NOTE: Deer Valley was largely taken private, say company insiders in a message to MHProNews on 12.15.2020, but there are still some outstanding shares of the stock from the days when it was a publicly traded firm. Thus, there is still periodic activity on DVLY.
MHProNews. MHProNews – previously a.k.a. MHMSM.com – has celebrated our 11th year of publishing, and is starting our 12the year of serving the industry as the runaway most-read trade media.
Sample Kudos over the years…
It is now 11+ years and counting…
Learn more about our evolutionary journey as the industry’s leading trade media, at the report linked below.
· For expert manufactured housing business development or other professional services, click here.
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Disclosure. MHProNews holds no positions in the stocks in this report.
That’s a wrap on this installment of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, stock, investing, data, metrics, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.