Class Action Case #1:23-cv-14565 Sailer et al v. Datacomp, Equity LifeStyle, Sun, RHP, Yes! Communities et al, MSJ Files 3rd Manufactured Home Communities Case, Others Set for Trial; plus MHMarkets


PacerMonitor reported that Case #1:23-cv-14565 in the Illinois Northern District Court styled Sailer et al v. Datacomp Appraisal Systems, Inc. et al is assigned to Judge Jeremy C Daniel. Law360 said: “Owners of manufactured homes across the country have hit an appraisal service and a slew of housing operators with three separate proposed class actions alleging that the companies violated antitrust laws…” under the headline “Manufactured Home Cos. [i.e.: companies] Illegally Raised Rent, Residents Say.” From Westlaw: “Antitrust News: Mobile Home Community Residents File Antitrust Suits Against Data Provider, Community Owners,” which said: “Each putative class action alleges that defendants utilized unlawful information exchanges to coordinate on lot rental prices, services, and quality, to the detriment of two of society’s vulnerable groups—the elderly and low-income earners…” ClassAction said: Datacomp’s co-defendants, Equity Lifestyle Properties, Hometown America Management, Lakeshore Communities, Sun Communities, RHP Properties, YES! Communities, Inspire Communities, Kingsley Management and Cal-Am Properties, have [per the suit’s allegations] illegally coordinated their prices by sharing non-public, competitively sensitive data.

Part I

According to the pleadings in Case #1:23-cv-14565, Edelson Lechtzin LLP, Grabar Law Office, Caputo & Mariotti, P.C.  are the attorneys/law firms acting on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Meanwhile, an NBC News affiliate reported that “Non-profit law firm Mountain State Justice [MSJ] announced…it’s filed a third lawsuit on behalf of Mercer County mobile home [sic] park tenants. The new suit comes on behalf of residents at Maple Acres Estates, against Diamond Field LLC.”

“A press release received by WVVA goes on to explain “The lawsuit raises multiple issues, including, but not limited to, these primary claims: 1) Diamond Field is operating Maple Acres Estates without a Mercer County Health Department permit, in violation of the clear statutory mandate expressed in the Manufactured Home Act, W. Va. Code § 37-15-1 et seq., and the Code of State Rules, § 64-40-5.1 et seq; 2) Defendant has failed to maintain the community in a fit and habitable condition; and 3) Defendant has terminated tenants’ existing leases and now demands new, unlawful contracts.” Plaintiffs are seeking both injunctive relief and monetary damages, alleging mass eviction as tenants’ lease agreements were terminated according to the proposed rent hike.”

In another manufactured home community operator connected case previously reported, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (BDT) and Yahoo! News recently report that “A civil trial was set for June 30, 2024 in one of three court cases involving mobile home parks, their permitting and higher lot rents for mobile home parks in Mercer County.”

Yahoo and BDT elaborated by reporting the following (note: typos in the original).

QuoteMarksLeftSideIn November 2022, Mountain State Justice (MSJ) — a statewide non-profit legal services and advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit against Smith Management LLC, which had purchased the manufactured homes communities including Gardner Estates, Elk View, Country Roads, Delaney and Shadow Wood. In the lawsuit, Mountain State Justice alleged that Smith Management LLC was doubling tenants’ lot rent rates and instituting egregious community rules that exceed the scope of existing leases.

The lawsuit raised issues, including, but not limited to, these primary claims: 1) Defendants have failed to maintain the communities in a fit and habitable condition and 2) Defendants have terminated tenants’ existing leases and now demand new, unlawful contracts, according to Mountain State Justice officials. Regarding the lease claims, Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants 1) terminated leases in the middle of existing one-year lease terms in violation of West Virginia law and 2) attempted to unilaterally alter lease terms (including increasing the rental rate, changing the way utility charges are assessed, and altering community rules during the existing lease term). Regarding habitability, community conditions have resulted in unsanitary and unsafe environments, insect infestations, and property damage to tenants’ homes, according to Mountain State Justice officials.

The plaintiffs are seeking both injunctive relief — requiring defendants to honor existing leases for the duration of their terms — and monetary damages for both breach of the lease contract and the uninhabitable community conditions, according to Mountain State Justice LLC officials.

In February this year, filed a second lawsuit against Smith Properties LLC, The plaintiffs are seeking both injunctive relief — requiring defendants to honor existing leases for the duration of their terms — and monetary damages for both breach of the lease contract and the uninhabitable community conditions, Mountain State Justice officials said when the second lawsuit was filed.

A third lawsuit was filed in June, this time on behalf of residents of the Maple Acres Estates community against Diamond Field LLC.

Diamond Field LLC purchased Maple Acres Estates in August 2022, according to court documents. In March the, defendant issued notice to Maple Acres tenants of its intent to increase tenants’ lot rent from $170 to $299 effective May 1 this year, thereby terminating tenants’ existing lease agreements, MSJ attorneys said then.”

There have been and are other cases and probes involving manufactured housing community owners, as MHLivingNews and/or MHProNews have previously reported.  Among them are those found linked below.


Lowey Dannenberg Probe Equity LifeStyle (ELS), Hometown America, Lakeshore Communities, Sun Communities, RHP Properties, YES! Communities, Inspire Communities, Kingsley Mgt, Cal-Am Properties


Beyond the purported links to Datacomp, as MHLivingNews reported, a common feature of the suit appears to be that the defendants are members of either the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and/or an MHI linked “state affiliate.”

ClassAction’s summary stated in part the following (typo in the original).

QuoteMarksLeftSidePossessing access to non-public, competitively sensitive data, coupled with the knowledge that competitors access and use the same information, allows the community owner defendants to “reduce or eliminate competition amongst themselves on price, services, and quality for manufactured home lots,” the case summarizes.

According to the suit, mobile home lot rents have increased significantly across the board in recent years. The case alleges the community owner defendants “could never have demanded these rental price increases unilaterally” without conspiratorial action. The lawsuit accuses the companies of exchanging sensitive data by way of Datacomp’s JLT Market Reports, which RHP CEO Ross Patrich reportedly called “extremely helpful for rent increases across our portfolio throughout the country.”

The filing stresses that should the defendants be permitted to “continue their anticompetitive scheme,” proposed class members will continue to pay “supracompetitive” rents for mobile home lots.”

Both ClassAction and the suit (attached further below) incorrectly state that there are “roughly 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes, including a high concentration of individuals with disabilities or mobility issues and other vulnerable groups.” The more commonly used datapoint for years has been that some 22 million Americans live in a pre-HUD Code mobile home or a post HUD Code manufactured home, based on Census Bureau data. But more recently, that number was reported as 21.2 million. The reason for the revision: “The Census Bureau revised the estimated number of manufactured home residents down from 22 million to 21.2 million due to a change in the methodology used to collect data 1” Either way, 21.2 or 22 million is obviously more than 20 million cited by the plaintiffs. That pointed noted for accuracy, that datapoint may not be of significant impact in the plaintiffs’ case.

QuoteMarksLeftSideThe large corporate owners of manufactured home communities have been clear about their intentions to turn manufactured home communities into cash cows, and manufactured home community managers and investors have been hugely successful in accomplishing this,” the case says.

The lawsuit looks to cover all persons and entities who paid rent directly to any of the mobile home community owner defendants, or any unnamed co-conspirator, for a manufactured home lot located in a mobile home community that was included in a JLT Market Report between August 31, 2019 and the present.

Perceived by many as notorious and predatory, manufactured home community operator Frank Rolfe may have spoken too soon when he asserted per a report that “sure it sounds unfair [i.e.: sharp site fee/lot rents increases]. But there is nothing illegal about it.” Oddly, Rolfe also reportedly said: “If you like having a monopoly, holding all the cards, knowing the tenants won’t move their homes out, never worrying about someone building a new property near you and taking one of the tenant’s biggest assets if they default, then you’re going to love mobile home parks.”  Once plaintiffs’ attorneys grasp the relevance of those remarks in the broader context of what has been occurring in the manufactured home community sector, is a class action lawsuit against Rolfe, his partner Dave Reynolds, and possibly one or more of their investors ahead?

As MHProNews reported last December (2022), the manufactured home industry has arguably become a “target rich environment for plaintiffs’ attorneys.”   As in several of the previously cited cases, Rolfe, Reynolds and others are reportedly either MHI members and/or they are members of an MHI “state affiliate.”


Has the Manufactured Housing Industry Become a Target-Rich Environment for Plaintiffs’ Attorneys? Facts, News & Views; plus, Sunday Weekly Manufactured Home Industry (MHVille) Headlines Recap


Other than MHProNews/MHLivingNews, the trends in litigation involving manufactured home community (MHC) residents pushing back against claims of “predatory” site fee (a.k.a.: “lot rent) hikes, a lack of proper maintenance, abusive guidelines for living enforcement that may result in eviction, and so on has been downplayed, ignored, or has been underreported by much of what passes for the manufactured home industry’s bloggers and trade media. That may be particularly true when the firms involved are members of MHI and/or MHI state affiliates.

But as another example of a class action case that was brought and successfully settled on behalf of residents, the Northeast Justice Center issued the following statement.


Craw, et al. v. Hometown America, LLC, et al



CASE NO: 18-CV-12149-LTS (D. Mass.)

QuoteMarksLeftSideIn 2018, the Northeast Justice Center brought a class action lawsuit that was removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and that became known as Craw, et al. v. Hometown America, LLC, et al., 18-CV-12149-LTS (“Class Action”). In the Class Action, one of the Plaintiffs claimed, among other things, that the owners and operators of the Oakhill Manufactured Housing Community (“Oakhill”) failed to provide or inadequately provided services to Oakhill residents related to stormwater management.

In 2021, the parties to the Class Action reached a Settlement requiring Oakhill to create a $500,000 Settlement Fund to compensate current or former Oakhill residents. The Settlement also required Oakhill to implement a Court-approved Stormwater Management System Operation and Maintenance Program (the “Oakhill Stormwater Program”), subject to Court oversight for a five-year period – that is, through October 2026.

So, if you are a current Oakhill resident who is experiencing stormwater management issues, you may find this website helpful in understanding special rights or remedies potentially available to you under the Oakhill Stormwater Program and Class Action Settlement.

If you have questions about the Class Action Settlement or the Oakhill Stormwater Program, please do not hesitate to contact Class Counsel, Ethan R. Horowitz, at 978.888.0624.”


As another example of a cases settled, in January 2017, S&P Global reported the following.

QuoteMarksLeftSideEquity LifeStyle Properties Inc. reached settlement deals for three pending lawsuits involving three of its properties in California.

The company said it estimates its total contribution to the settlements to be about $2.4 million, or 3 cents per share, net of contributions from its insurers. It expects to record the net expense during the fourth quarter of 2016.

The lawsuits accused the company of failing to properly maintain California Hawaiian in San Jose, Monte del Lago in Castroville and Santiago Estates in Sylmar.

While Equity LifeStyle views the allegations as “without merit,” it considers the settlements to be in the best interest of the company and its stockholders, President and CEO Marguerite Nader said in a release.”


In the case of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), resident concerns apparently sparked the launch of a Facebook page called “ELS Victims Unite.”  The first paragraph states in part (typo in the original): “The residents of Cimarron manufactured home park are faced with steep rent increases above national averages, poor management, reduced service and advertised ammentities, and poor maintenance. This is our fight to fight, and we are fighting. We are up against a predatory out of state corporate landlord. It has become too much…” readers can click the “see more” to read a litany of allegations against the corporate giant, which has long had a board seat on the MHI “executive committee.”



MHProNews previously reported the Fegan Scott suit and ELS’ reply.


Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS) Legal Defense of Suit by ELS Residents Brought by FeganScott Class Action Focused Attorneys – Case No 2:21-CV-14492-DMM Facts and Analysis

FeganScott Class Action v Manufactured Housing Institute Member ELS: “Announces Investigation into Equity LifeStyle Properties for Widespread, Chronic Neglect of Mobile Home Properties Across U.S.” – plus MHMarket Updates


Each of the linked cases shed a certain light on the problems facing potentially hundreds of thousands of manufactured home community residents that could be declared members of various current or potential class action lawsuits.

According to LawInfo: “For those accused of crimes under U.S. law, the presumption of innocence and the proving of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt mean that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that you broke the law.” But in a civil case, the standard is different. For example, the Florida Bar explains that: “In a civil case, the person (or a company) who started the lawsuit (plaintiff) has the burden and obligation to prove the case with stronger evidence than the defendant has. This is called the “preponderance of the evidence” standard.

In the case against the defendants, it should be noted that ELS owns Datacomp.  ELS also owns MHVillage and MHInsider. That and the MHI ties may shed light on why there has been no mention of several of the legal issues described herein on other industry ‘news’ and blog sites.



Excerpts from Pleadings in #1:23-cv-14565 Sailer et al v. Datacomp Appraisal Systems, et al are as follows. 


QuoteMarksLeftSidePlaintiffs Amber L. Sailer, Colleen Levins, Dennis Keith Radogna, Jr. and Amanda Breanne Radogna (together, “Plaintiffs”), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated (the “Class,” as defined below), upon personal knowledge as to the facts pertaining to themselves and upon information and belief as to all other matters, and based on the investigation of counsel, bring this class action complaint to recover treble damages, injunctive relief, and other relief as appropriate, based on Defendants’ Datacomp Appraisal Systems, Inc. (“Datacomp”), Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (“ELS”), Hometown America Management,

L.L.C. (“Hometown America”), Lakeshore Communities, Inc. (“Lakeshore”), Sun Communities, Inc. (“Sun Communities”), RHP Properties, Inc. (“RHP”), YES! Communities, Inc. (“YES!

Communities”), Inspire Communities, L.L.C. (“Inspire Communities”), Kingsley Management,

Corp. (“Kingsley”) and Cal-Am Properties, Inc.’s (“Cal-Am”) (together, “Defendants”), violations of federal antitrust laws and common law.

                                                                      I.     NATURE OF THE ACTION


  1. This action arises from Defendants’ conspiracy to fix, raise, maintain, and/or stabilize manufactured home lot rental prices. Manufactured, or mobile, homes have long been one of the country’s most affordable housing options, particularly for people who do not receive government aid. According to federal data, about 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes, which make up about 6% of U.S. residences. And in 2022, nearly one-third of the 10.5 million adults living in manufactured homes were over the age of 60. The effect of Defendants’ conspiracy has been devasting to manufactured home residents. These individuals—whose median annual household income is approximately $35,000—are being overcharged for what used to be affordable housing. The consequence is that two of society’s most vulnerable groups—the elderly and low-income earners—face considerable financial pressures. Some residents are facing evictions.
  2. Manufactured home lots are plots of land where manufactured home residents set down their manufactured homes. Manufactured home lots are located in residential developments called “manufactured home communities” or “manufactured home parks.” Manufactured home communities are specifically designed to house manufactured homes and can range in size from a few lots to hundreds. Most manufactured home residents own their manufactured homes but rent the lots on which they set down their manufactured homes from the owners of manufactured home communities.
  3. Defendants are Datacomp—the nation’s largest provider of manufactured and mobile home data—and several large owners of manufactured home communities that use Datacomp’s reports to coordinate their prices by sharing non-public, competitively sensitive” information.

Note that some information in the pleadings, as with the case linked here, has been redacted.


QuoteMarksLeftSide4. Defendants ELS, Hometown America, Lakeshore, Sun Communities, RHP, Yes! Communities, Inspire Communities, Kingsley, and Cal-Am (together referred to as “Manufactured Home Community Defendants”) are manufactured home community owners. They are part of a recent wave of large corporate owners who have acquired manufactured home communities across the United States to grow large portfolios of home sites. After acquiring the communities, these buyers have implemented steep, annual rent increases on their manufactured home lots, which have caused significant burdens on manufactured home residents.

5. Manufactured home community owners, including the Manufacutred Home Community Defendants, have coordinated with each other to increase manufactured home lot rents systematically and unlawfully by purchasing and using market reports published by Defendant Datacomp. …

6. Having access to this non-public, competitively sensitive information, and knowing that one’s competitors have access to and are using the same information, allows manufactured home community owners, including the Manufactured Home Community Defendants, to reduce or eliminate competition amongst themselves on price, services, and quality for manufactured home lots.

7. In recent years, manufactured home lot rents paid by manufactured home residents have increased significantly. For example, manufactured home lot rental prices increased by approximately 2.3% per year between 2010 and 2018, which is approximately in line with the average annual inflation of 1.8% during this period. However, consistent with Plaintiffs’ conspiracy allegations, manufactured home lot rental prices increased at a significantly higher rate between 2019 and 2021—9.1% per year (while inflation was only 3%). The Manufactured Home Community Defendants could never have demanded these rental price increases unilaterally. To implement the increases, they needed to conspire. They did this by exchanging non-public, competitively sensitive information through Datacomp’s JLT Market Reports. In the words of Ross Partrich, CEO of Defendant RHP: “We find the JLT Market Reports to be . . . extremely helpful for rent increases across our portfolio throughout the country.”


  1. Plaintiffs bring this antitrust class action lawsuit pursuant to Sections 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 15 and 26), to (i) recover treble damages and the costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, for the injuries sustained by Plaintiffs and members of the Class; (ii) enjoin Defendants’ anticompetitive conduct; and (iii) for such other relief as is afforded under the laws of the United States for Defendants’ violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).”

15. The activities of Defendants and their co-conspirators, as described herein, were within the flow of, were intended to, and did have direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effects on the interstate commerce of the United States.



  1. Plaintiff, Amber L. Sailer, is a resident of Dallas, Texas. During the Relevant Time Period, Plaintiff Sailer rented a manufactured home lot located in a manufactured home community named Rolling Hills which is owned and managed by Defendant YES!. During the Relevant Time Period, Plaintiff Sailer paid monthly rent to YES! for this manufactured home lot. Plaintiff Sailer paid higher rental prices by reason of the violation alleged herein.
  1. Plaintiff Colleen Levins is a resident of Oxford, Michigan. During the Relevant Time Period, Plaintiff Levins rented a manufactured home lot located in a manufactured home community named Lake Villa, which is owned and managed by Defendant Kingsley. During the Relevant Time Period, Plaintiff Levins paid monthly rent to Kingsley for this manufactured home lot. Plaintiff Levins paid higher rental prices by reason of the violation alleged herein.
  1. Plaintiffs Dennis Keith Radogna, Jr. and Amanda Breanne Radogna are residents of Plant City, Florida. During the Relevant Time Period, Plaintiff, the Radognas, rented a manufactured home lot located in a manufactured home community named The Oaks at Countrywood, which is owned and managed by Defendant ELS. During the Relevant Time Period, Plaintiff Levins paid monthly rent to ELS for this manufactured home lot. Plaintiff Levins paid higher rental prices by reason of the violation alleged herein.


Part II Additional Information with more MHProNews Analysis and Commentary

There are numerous reasons that these suits are relevant to manufactured home professionals.  In no particular order of importance, some of those reasons are as follows.

  1. Several aspects of one or more of these cases touch on issues that are arguably limiting manufactured housing. Who says? Ironically, one of the high-ranking officials in the Datacomp-MHVillage-MHInsider family of brands that are now owned by ELS.




2.  While it is true that a common perception may be that there is “not enough positive news” about manufactured housing to counter negative news, it is also true that the public – which logically is being influence by news – may have a better view of manufactured housing if they believe that it is mainly certain brands that are problematic in the industry.  MHLivingNews pivoted some years ago away from a focus on ‘positive’ stories about the industry toward reports that showed all aspects of the industry, while highlighting the notion that many of the industry’s ‘negative’ news stories are routinely tied to what might be described as “the usual suspects.” For instance, MHLivingNews noted that every one of the firms that were sharply satirized by John Oliver’s viral “Mobile Homes” video in 2019 were members of and/or had other direct ties to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).


FrankRolfeMobileHomeUniversityProtestsBlackEyeNewsInvestingUltimateVideoCollectionManufacturedHomeProNews and


3. When talent is recruited by companies with problematic customer relations track records, those employees may or may not have a clear understanding of the true nature of what is occurring in the manufactured home industry. Earlier this year, MHProNews reported that based on cited research sources, some of the same brands being sued in these class action lawsuits also have an apparently high number of unhappy employees.  The question of if bait and switch tactics in employment practices ought to be raised.  And to what degree might working for a firm with a problematic reputation impact a given employees future work/earnings potential?




3a) With #3 in mind, one of the points in the case pleadings in Case #1:23-cv-14565 Sailer et al v. Datacomp et al said the following.

“39. Manufactured homes are generally less expensive than site-built and modular homes. It is estimated that manufactured home construction costs 40-50% less per square foot than site-built homes.

45. Additionally, manufactured homes provide an important source of affordable housing to people in rural areas. While approximately 6% of homes nationally are manufactured homes, 14% of homes in rural areas are manufactured homes—e., more than double the overall national number.”

While those numbers could be refined, they nevertheless make the point that is likely used by several firms that are MHI members that have been credibly accused of predatory behavior who often happen to be MHI members and/or of an MHI state affiliate. One might imagine that a prospective newcomer to manufactured housing seeking employment may be told by recruiters how affordable manufactured homes are.  For instance, Careers at Cavco says on 10.12.2023 at about 7.09 AM ET the following.

  • “Visualize yourself working for a strong company that prides itself on crafting the highest quality homes in the industry.”
  • “Why should you choose to go to work at Cavco? Here are just a few of the things that set us apart.”
  • “We are driven to solve affordable housing issues in new and existing markets.”
  • “We have the commitment to grow ourselves and the company.”
  • “You’ll be part of a team of more than 5,000 professionals worldwide who are collaborating with customers to seamlessly design, build, and deliver high-end manufactured homes and buildings.”

Several of those remarks could be disputed based on credible evidence.  Yet, they are made as part of their recruiting pitch.

Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) also has a recruiting/careers page. On this date at 7.10 AM ET, it says the following.

  • Working at Equity Lifestyle Properties

  • Throughout its hundreds of properties across North America, ELS works to create a comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone—residents, guests, and employees too. With a culture of recognition and reputation for excellence, ELS teammates are empowered to take ownership in their job and make a difference. ELS is a place where talent is recognized and internal growth is promoted, making it an ideal organization in which to develop a long and successful career. Let’s start your new journey today!

Again, not only are the allegations in the suits named herein a possible argument against what ELS claims in the above, but also consider what past/current employees have said about working at ELS, or other brands named in the litigation cited herein.

4) Brands with problematic consumer reputations can taint the recruiting and sales efforts for so-called ‘white hat’ brands that seek to implement honest and ethical business practices. Manufactured housing is underperforming as an industry. Suits like those named are focused on issues that make the news. They are spread on social media, as the Facebook post shown above reflects. They are the source of satirical barbs. How can those factors that drag down the industry’s image and reputation benefit honest and ethical companies? Given that some of the companies that stand accused have drawn negative press for other reasons (see examples linked below related to a key corporate figure at defendant Sun Communities), can’t such a problematic image spill over harmful onto ethical firms? Using the logical of Darren Krolewski, who de facto now works for ELS, the obvious answer is ‘yes.’  That’s one reason why on MHLivingNews/MHProNews, we have strived to draw a bright line distinction between problematic brands (so-called ‘black hats’) vs. ethical ones (so-called ‘white hats‘).

5) There is the MHI and/or state association level nexus. MHI has had several high-profile members/board members and top staff credibly accused of corrupt practices.  When MHI leaders and their outside attorneys were asked to comment on the report linked below, they have thus far declined comment. They have also been given an opportunity to respond to reports linked herein, and again, they have thus far declined to comment to MHProNews. By contrast, while Richard “Dick” Jennison was president and CEO, replies from top board members and staff were timely and at times swift.

‘Conflict!’ MHI CEO Lesli Gooch Purportedly Paid Some $400K in Scheme Involving Indicted Man, 4 Congressional Reps per Bing Research -Exposé Links Evidence Contributing to Manufacturing Housing Underperformance


6. Despite claims by Cavco and others that they are seeking to grow the industry and their share of it, what seems more accurate is that several of the firms are de facto colluding to keep the industry underperforming.  Industry underperformance is a factor that allows manufactured home firms – perhaps like those named in the suits mentioned above – to charge residents more because they have a kind of ‘local’ monopoly.  MHProNews/MHLivingNews have made evidence-based arguments that consolidation is the  unstated goal of MHI’s arguably duplicitous behavior and paltering remarks, despite claims to the contrary.  Evidence for that comes from the websites, investor pitch decks, and earnings calls related remarks by several MHI member brands. Some of them are named in one or more of the suits referenced herein.


Manufactured Housing Institute CEO Lesli Gooch-OpenSecrets-CPI-LegiStorm Reveal Apparent Conflicts of Interest with Site-Built Housing-Call for Gooch Resignation-Termination@MHI; plus MHMarkets


7) By controlling and limiting much of the lending in manufactured housing, either directly and/or indirectly, the manufactured home industry is kept underperforming. Industry members who are independents may be fearful of being ‘next’ of being absorbed or driven out of business.  Several disconnects that might be described as “material” in SEC regulatory terms exist between what some publicly traded firms have said.







It isn’t just outsiders looking into MHI that are critics. Past and current MHI members have been critics of some of the tactics and behaviors that seem to favor the consolidators routinely at the expense of independents, current or potential consumers. Additionally, there are reasons to believe that shareholders are suffering from several of these trends too. See the linked reports or do a site search to learn more.

MHProNews has made the argument for years that no one could be as incompetent as the behavior exhibited by MHI and some of their key members.  Apparent conflicts of interest, as exemplified by CEO Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., for example are reasons given for termination. But in the case of Gooch, not only has she not been terminated, but the record seems to reflect that Gooch has been rewarded and promoted (see linked reports). Social, taxpayer, and other negative impacts beyond shareholders and stakeholders exist too.


The reason that 2002 is noted is that is the year that Berkshire Hathaway acquired a major stake in Oakwood manufactured homes. Their investment in Clayton Homes occurred in 2003. A steady wave of consolidation followed. 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.
Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.



OPB Probes Homelessness Causes, Possible Fixes – ‘Most Agree Blame Falls on Lack of Affordable Housing’ Pallets-Manufactured Home Takeaways, AI Insights, Analysis; plus MHVille Markets Update

Several of the points from the pleadings touch on topics previously reported by MHProNews/MHLivingNews, but often not reported by others in MHVille. Some examples.

  • “Last year, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison investigated Defendant Lakeshore for how it handled its acquisition of Viking Terrace, a manufactured home community in Northfield, Minnesota. Shortly after purchasing Viking Terrace in April 2022, Lakeshore raised lot rents by 20% and imposed draconian rules prohibiting vegetable gardens without Lakeshore’s permission, forbidding outdoor laundry lines, and banning fenced-in-yards for pets. The investigation uncovered multiple violations of Minnesota law and the Attorney General demanded that Lakeshore “cease and desist enforcing its new rules and leases.”
  • “…the Colorado state legislature passed a law offering greater protections to residents, including giving residents 120 days to buy a community from landlords looking to sell their land, as well as a right of first refusal. Defendants ELS, RHP, and Kingsley were three of the manufactured home community operators in Colorado that received the most complaints on the state system. Additionally, in 2020, Kingsley reached a six-figure settlement agreement with the State of Colorado, in which it agreed to repay manufactured home residents in seven manufactured home communities for illegally withholding security deposits, imposing arbitrary fees, and improperly charging attorney fees
  • “In 2020, New York state senators Jen Metzger, James Skoufis, and David Carlucci wrote a letter to Defendant RHP, calling on RHP to maintain current rental lot rates. Citing complaints from residents about exorbitant annual lot rent increases, ignored requests for maintenance, and unusable property amenities, the senators wrote: “The business policies and practices cited above undercut any possible justification for yet another substantial lot rent increase.”
  • “This business model, which has been employed by all the Manufactured Home Community Defendants and others, crosses the line from egregious to illegal on account of Defendants’ conspiracy.”
  • “In December 2021, Defendant ELS purchased Datacomp and its companion website MHVillage for $43 million. With this acquisition, one of the largest manufactured home community operators, ELS, gained control of the largest database of information about the manufactured home industry, Datacomp. This made the unlawful conduct even more egregious.”
  • “Datacomp publicly advertises that its client list “includes the ‘top 10’ largest community owners, regional property management companies, developers, lenders, appraisers, homeowner associations and real estate brokers nationwide.”



Case pleadings are linked here. 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.


There are some things in the top headline case that the pleadings seem to take at face value that ought to be questioned and via during interrogatories and depositions. For instance:

“Datacomp’s first major expansion was in the early 2000s when it launched MHVillage, a listing site for manufactured home sales. It is the largest manufactured home marketplace in the world, generating leads for about $3 billion in sales annually. When creating MHVillage, Datacomp leveraged the information about manufactured homes that it had gathered while appraising manufactured homes.” There are reasons to think that this may be exaggerated or paltering, as a series of fact checks (use site search tool for examples) have previously explored. MHVillage has repeatedly declined to explain or even defend their claims when MHProNews has reached out for comments.

Returning to the pleadings in Case #1:23-cv-14565 Sailer et al v. Datacomp et al is this segment which industry professionals and others ought to lean into and grasp.

QuoteMarksLeftSide7. “Plus Factors” in the Manufactured Home Industry Provide Additional Evidence of a Conspiracy


  1. Prominent legal and economic antitrust scholars studying collusive behavior have identified certain “plus factors,” which are “economic actions and outcomes, above and beyond parallel conduct by oligopolistic firms, that are largely inconsistent with unilateral conduct but largely consistent with explicitly coordinated action,” and therefore support an inference of collusion.[1] Each plus factor that is present constitutes a piece of circumstantial evidence supporting active collusion, as opposed to mere conscious parallelism. The factors that provide the most probative value and lead to a strong inference of explicit collusion are referred to as “super plus factors.”[2]
  2. Here, several plus and super plus factors support the plausible inference that Defendants are members of a per se unlawful price fixing cartel. These include: (1) Defendants’ exchange of competitively sensitive information; (2) the presence of a price-verification scheme; (3) a motive to conspire; (4) opportunities and invitations to collude; (5) an increasingly concentrated market; (6) high barriers to entry; and (7) high switching costs for manufactured home lot renters.

[1] William E. Kovacic, Plus Factors and Agreement in Antitrust Law, 110 Mich. L. Rev. 393, 393 (2011).

[2] See id. at 396-97.


  1. First, the reciprocal sharing of firm-specific competitively sensitive information that would normally remain private is a “super plus factor” that leads to a strong inference of active collusion.[3] This data, which would normally be kept confidential, given its competitivelysensitive nature, is provided to competing manufactured home community owners who set manufactured home lot rents. Because a manufactured home community owner would be competitively disadvantaged by providing private data to other manufactured home community owners unilaterally, a rational actor would only do so with the expectation that it will benefit from similar private information shared by its competitors.
  1. Second, Datacomp provides participating manufactured home community owners with a price-verification scheme, or “the practice of a seller reporting to its competitors the details of completed transactions with specific customers.”[4] “[P]ostsale price verifications are more likely to be used as a monitoring device because they reveal to a firm’s cartel partners its actual prices, which a firm in a competitive market would wish to keep secret.”[5] This type of price-verification makes little sense absent collusion.
  2. Third, Datacomp provides manufactured home community owners, including the Manufactured Home Community Defendants, with a motive to conspire by advertising that JLT Market Reports provide valuable information to support lot rent increases and acquisition opportunities.
  1. Fourth, Datacomp’s JLT Market Reports themselves are an opportunity to coordinate prices, and Datacomp’s advertisements about the reports are naked invitations to collude. Additionally, as of July 2019, Defendants Datacomp, ELS, Hometown America, Sun Communities, RHP, YES! Communities, and Inspire Communities are all members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (“MHI”). MHI is the only national trade association representing all sectors of the manufactured and modular housing industries. Executives from Defendants

ELS and Sun Communities have been on the MHI Board of Directors during the Relevant Time Period. Additionally, MHI organizes numerous industry meetings and events throughout the year, including MHI Congress & Expo, the MHI National Communities Council (“NCC”) Spring Forum, the MHI Annual Meeting, the NCC Fall Leadership Forum, and the MHI Winter Meeting. Defendants, including Datacomp, ELS, RHP, and YES! Communities, have all been exhibitors at MHI Congress & Expo during the Relevant Time Period. Trade association membership and events provide Defendants additional opportunities to collude.

  1. Fifth, the manufactured home community market is increasingly becoming more concentrated. While the industry was once highly fragmented, large manufactured home community owners, including the Manufactured Home Community Defendants, have been buying up communities across the United States to create massive portfolios. A conspiracy is easier to effectuate, maintain, and enforce in a concentrated industry.
  2. Sixth, manufactured home community owners and operators face significant entry barriers. These include the high cost of acquiring property and establishing a property management infrastructure as well as ongoing costs of maintenance and regulatory compliance. Large manufactured home communities run into the hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase. Market analyst, Ron Trinh, noted that “barriers to entry to compete [are] very high” in this industry, giving established companies, like the Manufactured Home Community Defendants, a significant advantage. Another analyst has noted that “[o]ne of the distinct features of the [manufactured housing] sector is the complete lack of new supply expected to be constructed. With essentially zero net supply coming online for the foreseeable future, manufactured housing is relatively immune from the oversupply fears that encumber other REIT sectors.” Thus, new entrants into the market are unlikely to discipline cartel pricing.
  1. Seventh, there are significant switching costs that prevent effective price competition in the manufactured home lot rental market. In other markets with low switching costs, consumers can stop purchasing a particular manufacturer’s product when its prices are no longer competitive. Manufactured homes are not easy or inexpensive to move. They require special hauling vehicles, escorts, and permits to transport. These services are costly, typically ranging from about $5,000-$15,000, depending on the size of the home and the distance the home is moving. In 2022, the average cost to move a manufactured home was $9,000. As described above, many manufactured home owners are low-income earners who may not be able to afford these high moving costs. According to a study, these costs may represent “five to seven years’ worth of accrued equity for mobile homeowners.” Therefore, when a manufactured home community owner raises lot rent, residents are often forced to accept the price increase—or leave their home. These factors are what led Frank Rolfe, an investor who has owned thousands of manufactured home lots, to make the controversial, and often quoted, remark that a manufactured home community “is like a Waffle House where the customers are chained to their booths.”




  1. Defendants’ anticompetitive conduct had the following effects, among others:

i. Competition among the Manufactured Home Community Defendants has been restrained or eliminated with respect to manufactured home lot rent prices;
ii. The price of manufactured home lot rent has been fixed, stabilized, or maintained at artificially high levels; and
iii.      Individuals have been deprived of free and open competition.


  1. Defendants’ violations of the antitrust laws have caused Plaintiffs and members of the Class to pay higher prices for manufactured home lot rents than they would have in the absence of Defendants’ illegal contract, combination, or conspiracy, and, as a result, Plaintiffs and members of the Class have suffered damages in the form of overcharges paid on their manufactured home lot rentals. This is an injury of the type that the antitrust laws were meant to punish and prevent. Defendants’ price fixing agreement and information exchange are per se unlawful, or alternatively are unlawful under either a quick look or rule of reason analysis.
  2. Under the per se standard, and additionally where, as here, there are demonstrable anticompetitive effects, a relevant product and geographic market need not be defined.

A. The Relevant Product Market Is Manufactured Home Lots

  1. There are no reasonable substitutes for manufactured home lots. While a manufactured home can be placed on private land, land ownership is prohibitively expensive for many manufactured home residents.
  2. Additionally, many jurisdictions prevent the installation of manufactured homes as infill housing in areas zoned residential or restrict placement of manufactured homes to manufactured home communities only. By renting a manufactured home lot, manufactured home residents get to enjoy the benefit of owning their own home but are not burdened with the expense of landownership. Additionally, many manufactured home residents specifically choose to live in manufactured home parks for their community benefits, which may include special perks such as community or recreation centers, playgrounds, and dog parks. Many manufactured home communities are 55+ communities and provide other specific benefits to older residents. 
  1. Should a geographic market need to be defined in this action, it is the United States. The Manufactured Home Community Defendants own manufactured home parks across the United States and have increased rental prices universally.”

[3] Christopher R. Leslie, The Probative Synergy of Plus Factors in Price-Fixing Litigation, 115 Nw. Univ. L. Rev. 1581, 1608 (2021).

[4] Id. at 1601.

[5] Id. at 1601-02. …”


“Plaintiffs believe that due to the nature of the manufactured home industry there are likely hundreds of thousands of Class members in the United States and its territories. …

  1. Beginning at a time currently unknown to Plaintiffs, but at least as early as August 31, 2019 (further investigation and discovery may reveal an earlier date), and continuing through the present, Defendants and their co-conspirators entered into and engaged in a contract, combination, or conspiracy to unreasonably restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).”

While the arguments raised by Samuel Strommen have clear distinctions, there are also some similarities.  For instance. As was quoted above, plaintiffs’ noted that: “…Defendants Datacomp, ELS, Hometown America, Sun Communities, RHP, YES! Communities, and Inspire Communities are all members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (“MHI”).  Manufactured Housing Institute (“MHI”). MHI is the only national trade association representing all sectors of the manufactured and modular housing industries. Executives from Defendants ELS and Sun Communities have been on the MHI Board of Directors during the Relevant Time Period. Additionally, MHI organizes numerous industry meetings and events throughout the year, including MHI Congress & Expo, the MHI National Communities Council (“NCC”) Spring Forum, the MHI Annual Meeting, the NCC Fall Leadership Forum, and the MHI Winter Meeting. Defendants, including Datacomp, ELS, RHP, and YES! Communities, have all been exhibitors at MHI Congress & Expo during the Relevant Time Period. Trade association membership and events provide Defendants additional opportunities to collude.”

Strommen Manufactured Housing Institute remark: MHI is a mouthpiece of the Big 3 – in apparent Restraint of Trade and Should Not Get NOERR protection.


While there have been some in MHVille trade media that have touched upon these issues, it should be noted that they either ignored or attempted to apparently slime Strommen and the related reporting here on MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews. No wonder Strommen’s words of thanks were solely focused on our publications, rather than others who routinely have acted as mouthpieces for MHI and their consolidators. Ironically, several of those who have become the focus of these research papers and suits have praised MHProNews for our balanced reporting. That includes praise from rival publishers/bloggers. It might be difficult for ELS, for example, to attempt to counter our publication’s reporting when their vice chairman issued written praise for our industry-information efforts. These nuances and details may prove, as these cases play out, to be significant.


True Tale of Four Attorneys Research into Manufactured Housing – What They Reveal About Why Manufactured Homes Are Underperforming During an Affordable Housing Crisis – Facts and Analysis

Thus, it is worth mentioning that the emerging suits have to some extent confirmed and vindicated years of reports by MHProNews and/or our MHLivingNews sister-site. By contrast, where was the balance of the industry’s trade publishers and bloggers? While there are some minor exceptions, an evidence-based case can be made that they have often looked the other way and/or actively given glowing-uncritical coverage for firms and organizations that are routinely involved in such troubling matters involving manufactured housing.

To illustrate, on this date MHProNews asked Bing’s AI search function this question:

> “Have any manufactured home bloggers or trade publishers, other than MHProNews and MHLivingNews, been positively referenced by pro-consumer rights groups like PissedConsumer?”


I have searched the web for you and found the following information. I could not find any other manufactured home bloggers or trade publishers that have been positively referenced by pro-consumer rights groups like PissedConsumer apart from MHProNews and MHLivingNews 1.

I hope this helps!

‘Keeping Our Mobile Home Communities Safe, Well-Maintained, Affordable is Vital’ – Attorney General Wm Tong Testimony, More Follow Probe of Sun Communities (SUI) Issue–Latest MHI Member Scandal?


State Attorney General Files Charges Against Manufactured Housing ‘Fraudsters for Deception’-AG Says ‘Our Team Works to Protect Little Guy from Slick Hustlers;’ plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap


Lawyer Tip$, LCI, PATK, Scholar=Manufactured Housing Institute Insider Says Manufactured Home Industry Sales ‘Will Never Recover to Prior Levels In Our Lifetime;’ plus MHVille Stocks Update

Texas Real Estate Research Center ‘Sentiments’ vs. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform ‘Official Data’ – Facts and Analysis, plus MHVille Markets Update

Part III – 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 move 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 are impacting manufactured housing connected investing.

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Headlines from left-of-center CNN Business – from the evening of 10.11.2023

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  • Harvard University stands in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 6, 2023.
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  • When her husband nearly died from heatstroke working as a UPS truck driver, Theresa Klenk, a nurse, helped back the high-stakes union negotiations for UPS to add air conditioning to its fleet. The union won, and future vans will have AC. Her fight to get existing trucks equipped continues.
  • After her husband nearly died from heatstroke, she took her fight to the highest levels
  • NY officials announce legislation aimed at protecting kids on social media
  • Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, during a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.
  • Fed officials expect one more interest rate hike and higher-for-longer rates, minutes show
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  • US wholesale inflation heated up last month amid higher gas prices
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  • Australian reporter Cheng Lei released after three years detention in China over espionage charges
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  • Estimated $1.73 billion Powerball jackpot up for grabs during Wednesday night’s drawing


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In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” – Warren Buffett. That begs a key question. Why don’t more people LOOK at the rearview mirror more so they can learn more about the patterns that influence what’s ahead? Note: depending on your browser or device, many images in this report can be clicked to expand. 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.


Headlines from right-of-center Newsmax 10.11.2023

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  • War a Wake-Up Call for US Border Security |Platinum Article
  • Trump: Biden Must ‘Take Back’ $6B From Iran
  • Erdogan: Israel Hamas Response a ‘Massacre’
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  • Newsmax’s John Huddy, Team, Come Under Barrage | video
  • State Dept: At Least 22 Americans Killed in Hamas Attack
  • US Special Ops, Hostage Experts Advising Israel
  • Israel’s Gantz: Netanyahu OKs Unity Govt, War Cabinet
  • War Appears Set to Escalate as Israel Pounds Gaza
  • Israeli Shelling Hits South Lebanon After Hezbollah Rocket Fire
  • More Israel at War
  • The Race for Speaker
  • Meuser to Newsmax: Jordan to Back Scalise for Speaker
  • CNN: House Won’t Vote on Speaker Wednesday
  • Scalise Tries to Round Up Support to Become Speaker
  • Scalise: Priority is Bipartisan Israel Resolution
  • Scalise Wins Secret Ballot for Speaker
  • House GOP Poised to Change ‘Vacate Chair’ Rule
  • Report: McCarthy Doesn’t Want Speaker Nomination
  • Gizzi: McCarthy Returns to Speakership?
  • Tea Party Group Backs Rep. Jordan for Speaker
  • House GOP Launches Ad for Blue District Republicans
  • More The Race for Speaker
  • Newsmax TV
  • Lara Trump: Donald Trump Was Most Pro-Israel President
  • Meuser: Jordan to Back Scalise for Speaker
  • Rod Blagojevich to Newsmax: Dems Must Repudiate BLM | video
  • Former Amb. Friedman: World Must Allow Israel to Defeat Hamas | video
  • Tony Perkins: Hamas Struck When Congress Is ‘Paralyzed’ | video
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  • Rabbi Boteach: Hamas ‘Monsters,’ Not ‘Militants’ | video
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  • Wall Street’s major indexes closed higher after Wednesday’s choppy [Full Story]
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  • Ex-NFL Player Sergio Brown Charged in Mother’s Death
  • Former NFL player Sergio Brown was arrested Tuesday after authorities [Full Story]
  • Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment to Be 3.2%
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  • Ruling: California Ban on High-cap Magazines Can Remain
  • A divided federal appeals court is allowing California’s ban on [Full Story]
  • Michigan Poll: Trump Leads Biden by 7 in Key State
  • Former President Donald Trump is holding a lead well outside the [Full Story]
  • Ohio Poll: Trump Beats Biden by 12
  • Biden Refuses to Confront Age Issue
  • Trump: ‘Big Difference’ Between My Docs Case, Biden’s
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  • Hunter Biden Judge Dismisses Gun Charge
  • A federal judge moved to formally dismiss the gun charge Hunter Biden [Full Story]
  • Zelenskyy to NATO: Need More in ‘Battle Against Terror’
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the NATO military [Full Story]
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  • Germany Announces $1.1B Ukraine Aid Package
  • Ukraine Probes 260 Cases of Alleged Military Abuses
  • Zelenskyy: ‘Good News’ on Ukraine Air Defense
  • Newsmax’s John Huddy, Team, Come Under Barrage
  • Newsmax’s John Huddy and his team, covering the war in Israel, came [Full Story] | video
  • Santos to Fight New Charges ‘to the Bitter End’
  • George Santos, R-N.Y., on Wednesday said he will fight new [Full Story]
  • Is Hamas a Threat to the US?
  • As pro-Palestinian activists from Times Square in New York City to [Full Story] | Platinum Article
  • Pete Buttigieg Heckled by Climate Protesters
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was interrupted by climate [Full Story]
  • NASA Will Unveil Newly Returned Asteroid Sample
  • NASA was set Wednesday to provide a first peek for the public at what [Full Story]
  • US Students’ ACT Test Scores Drop to 30-Year Low
  • High school students’ scores on the ACT college admissions test have [Full Story]
  • Wholesale Inflation Increases to 2.2 Percent
  • U.S. producer prices increased more than expected in September amid [Full Story]
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  • The U.S. Supreme Court was set on Wednesday to hear a bid by South [Full Story]
  • Exxon to Buy Shale Rival Pioneer for $60B in Stock
  • Exxon Mobil will buy U.S. rival Pioneer Natural Resources in an [Full Story]
  • CNN Nevada Poll: Trump Leads by 52
  • Former President Donald Trump is 52 points ahead of his closest rival [Full Story]
  • War Appears Set to Escalate as Israel Pounds Gaza
  • Palestinians in the sealed-off Gaza Strip scrambled to find safety [Full Story]
  • Yellen Reiterates: US Economy Headed for Soft Landing
  • S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday she continued to [Full Story]
  • Money Worries Keep Americans Up at Night: Survey
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  • RFK Jr. Raises $11M Hours After Independent Announcement
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. raised more than $11 million in the six hours [Full Story]
  • Report: Biden WH Sent $730M to Anti-Israeli UN Group
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is [Full Story] | video
  • Lake Announces GOP Senate Primary Run in Arizona
  • On Tuesday, Republican Kari Lake officially entered the race for the [Full Story]
  • Special Counsel Aims to Shield Jurors in Trump Jan. 6 Trial
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  • COVID Increases Risk for Immune Disorders


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