‘Deception and Misdirection’-MHI Proxy Response to Concerns About “Awards” to BBB D- rated Flagship Communities – ‘Facts are Stubborn Things’ Commentary; plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headline Recap


A well-known and longtime Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member company has become the focus of a new controversy related to that trade group giving them three “awards” during their recent Congress and Expo (C&E) revenue generating and networking event for 2023. Flagship Communities, formerly known as SSK Communities, along with their general counsel, Jody B. Gabel, corporate leaders Kurt Keeney and Nathan Smith, and MHI chairman Leo Poggione (Craftsman/Cavco) and Lesli Gooch (CEO) were among those provided with an opportunity to give remarks. That inquiry will be shown further below. But instead, by coincidence or design, MHI National Communities Council (NCC) “member emeritus” George F. Allen responded publicly with via his self-described “Community Investor” blog, though Allen said some years back that he shed the last property, which reportedly had high vacancies. Allen also reportedly had a tiny “portfolio” of communities to begin with, and seemingly violated several of his own published remarks for ‘best practices’ in his own operations. Why Allen would be chosen and/or volunteered to respond is worthy of wonder, as his audience and prior stature have reportedly dwindled in recent years from his prior-high of a decade or so ago. But as unusual is what Allen has said, which is one of the reports for the week that was posted further below. It is one of several topics that kept thousands of manufactured housing industry professionals and others interested in inherently affordable quality living made possible by modern manufactured homes done correctly flocking to MHProNews and MHLivingNews every day of the year.

The facts, evidence, and editorial commentary found here results in millions of pageviews from well over a million visits a year. That is its own testimony that our MHProNews/MHLivingNews platforms dwarf the last known reported traffic found on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) website, and are still the leading voices among the balance of what passes for MHVille trade media in this part of the 21st century.

Other topics for the week that was are found below, including:

  • A look at the NBC News report that once again exposed the industry’s financing and manufactured home community sector controversies to widespread public scrutiny.
  • A manufactured home association’s comments and related analysis on the hotly-debated Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) rule pending with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • While manufactured housing has taken its sharpest downturn in years, why far more costly conventional housing recently reported an increase – despite higher interest rates.
  • A half-billion dollar deal offer is examined.
  • More media controversies, including insights from the headline generating Tucker Carlson/Fox News developments.

That and more are found linked below in our headlines for the week that was.

Those headline-related week in review points noted, here is the text from the emailed inquiry sent to Flagship leaders, their attorney Gabel, and MHI’s board and staff leaders.

On 4.27.2023 at 7:39 AM ET the following was communicated via email.


QuoteMarksLeftSidefrom:    L. A. Tony K (for MHProNews)

to:        Jody B. Gabel (——-@lutzbobo.com | general counsel, Flagship Communities)

cc:        Nathan Smith (——@sskcommunities.com | CIO Flagship Communities, former MHI Chair),

Kurt Keeney (——-@sskcommunities.com | CEO Flagship Communities),

Leo Poggione (—@forahouse.com | Cavco unit affiliate leader and MHI Chairman),

Lesli Gooch (——@mfghome.org | MHI CEO)

bcc:      info@mfghome.org

date:     Apr 27, 2023, 7:39 AM

subject: Ladies and gents, an opportunity to respond for publication

Ladies and Gents,

A report on MHI’s ‘awards’ for Flagship is posted and will be part of this morning’s email news update. We plan a follow up, perhaps including a mainstream media release. If you want to provide comments or reactions, please email them to my attention ASAP. Thanks,

Tony ##


Shortly before 8 AM Eastern, one of the two weekly MHProNews emailed news updates went out on 4.27.2023 circa 7:57 AM.

That is about as open-ended as an opportunity to comment can be.

Any one of those addressed, or any combination of numbers of those leaders, could have emailed remarks of whatever length. It was addressed to the attorney of record (general counsel) for Flagship Communities (a.k.a. SSK Communities) and copied Flagship’s leaders Kurt Keeney and Nathan Smith. Because MHI was involved, it was also sent to Leo Poggione, Chairman for MHI and Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., their CEO. Even if Flagship/SSK or MHI board/staff leaders might have some reluctance to reply for whatever reasons, why would an attorney for Flagship/SSK (or MHI) not weigh in?

A common role that attorneys play is to provide a response to news media when a controversy has erupted. As LawyerMinds lays out the pros and cons of attorneys responding for a client, they lean in toward providing remarks. “The good news is that the outcome of how you deal with the media and how you portray your case and client are– most of the time, anyway– within your control as long as you are well-prepared.”

As an example of media savvy legal advice from attorneys to attorneys is this from Mark Kitrick, of Kitrick, Lewis & Harris: “Whether it be TV, radio, news, or social media, this is a critical time to tell your client’s story. It should be powerful, have a moral, and include no more than three salient points. When anyone hears or learns about it, it is THE story that is compelling and you want people to conclude you are right and that your client should win.

You must spend significant time and energy to create a well-designed, well thought out statement that encompasses 2-3 points. In essence, you’re creating a short play or television show. It should be akin to your Opening Statement. Never be spontaneous…”

That noted from Kitrick, in the case of attorney Jody Gabel, she has apparently responded to Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints on behalf of her client Flagship Communities (et al), perhaps knowing that her remarks could be published by the BBB and thus made public. Certainly, there is no known reason to think that she was insufficiently prepared.

Indeed, a case could be made that all of those contacted ought to have been ready for a media comment. If not, MHI created a position for a media relations professional. That is the specific role for a public relations (PR) pro. Additionally, MHI recently hired an outside media relations professional to handle press inquiries in the Department of Energy (DOE) litigation case. Are objective-minded industry professional to think that none of those individuals are prepared to comment on why MHI leaders saw fit to give Flagship Communities, with its controversial history an award?

The question practically answers itself, unless, one or more involved have something to hide and that something could be potentially worse for those involved than saying something on the record. Rephrased, perhaps they didn’t want to dig themselves into a deeper hole?

Perhaps part of the problem is that the MHI ‘awards’ to Flagship Communities are so absurd and shocking on their face, given known facts published in reports linked herein, that the apparently crony and corrupt practices of those involved is highlighted by their outrageous act of MHI giving public praise to an organization that has apparently violated the MHI-NCC Code of Ethical Conduct.

Flagship’s own media release and a full report, analysis, and commentary are found in the MHLivingNews report linked below in our week in review.

Also found in the recap of the headlines for the week that was are the remarks from award-winning self-promoter and apparent personality cult showman and blogger George F. Allen. See his unique defense – and distracting attack – on MHI and their leaders on the Masthead, linked below. Note that the timing of his attack appears to be a twofold diversion from the perhaps equal or greater immediate controversy of MHI giving multiple awards to a company that has a D- BBB rating.

Don’t miss today’s postscript which will dot the i’s and cross the t’s on what remains from the headline at the top.

With no further adieu, here are the headlines for the week that was from 4.23 to 4.30.2023.

What’s New on MHLivingNews



What’s New on the Masthead




What’s New and Recent from Washington, D.C. from MHARR

MHARR Presses HUD for Specific Inclusion of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Housing in New Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule

Why Manufactured Home Industry Members Must Comment on the DOE Manufactured Housing Energy Rule to Demand its Delay and Withdrawal

“More Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Outrages Coming for the Manufactured Home Industry and Consumers.”


What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

Saturday 4.29.2023

Is Tucker Carlson-Fox News Split Helpful or Harmful for News? Ex-Fed PsyOps Pro’s Tips-Facts, Insights, Views, Why it Matters to MHVille & USA Analysis; plus MHMarkets Update


Friday 4.28.2023

‘Trapped’ – NBC Spotlights Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac-Fed Roles in ‘Making Mobile Homes Less Affordable’ Fueling ‘Acquisition Spree’ as ‘New MHC Owners Hike Resident Costs;’ plus MHVille Markets Update


Thursday 4.27.2023

Manufactured Housing Association Presses HUD for Specific Inclusion of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes in New Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule; plus MHVille Markets Update


Wednesday 4.26.2023

New U.S. Conventional Housing Nears 450K Average as Sales Up in March 2023 vs Manufactured Housing’s Reported Dive – Added Facts, Opportunities, Obstacles, MHMedia Views – plus MHVille Market Update


Tuesday 4.25.2023

How Many More? Upcoming Event Demand State-Fed Officials Stop Madness of Biden-Era Policies – Interlaced Issues Impact U.S. Affordable Housing, plus MHVille Markets Update


Monday 4.24.2023

Manufactured Housing April Updates for all 50 States for February 2023 Troubling Facts Paired with ‘Weasel Words’ by Manufactured Home Industry ‘Leaders’ – Data, Examples, Viewpoints, and Analysis


Sunday 4.23.2023

U.S. Housing Market Snapshot April 2023, Manufactured Housing News Includes Eye Popping $500 Million Offer to Manufactured Home Residents; plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headlines Recap


An insider that claims knowledge has told MHProNews that the key part of Allen’s recent post was done on behalf of MHI’s CEO Lesli Gooch. Be that as it may, following a public spat that lasted for a while, Allen was seemingly re-embraced by MHI and their allies on several levels. Despite the falling out the two parties had over MHI’s reported unwillingness to buy Allen’s Roundtable event and his annual survey (etc.) out, apparently, they patched things up a few years ago. The word heard then, which stands unrefuted at this time, is that MHI and Allen made a quid pro quo deal that the later apparently found acceptable.

Apparent evidence for that deal is found in Allen subsequently getting some version of the title “MHI member emeritus,” Allen and key MHI members doing business in support of networking meetings he’s involved in, and Allen being named as a “contributing editor” of MHI “endorsed” and apparently supported MHVillage’s MHInsider publication. That evidence certainly could qualify him as a “surrogate” for the organization. If MHI rejects that, they should clarify Allen’s role as a periodic surrogate publicly.

Given that MHI and several of their corporate leaders and attorneys routinely don’t directly respond to MHProNews inquiries, as they did in years gone by, Allen’s musings and MHI’s own remarks (which may obliquely be considered as ‘responses’) offer clues as to what MHI is attempting to keep industry professionals placated. The reasons that manufactured housing industry professionals, notably but not only independents, would need to be mollified is precisely because of the mounting evidence and concerns about the Arlington, VA based trade group’s antics, actions, and inactions. The common thread to some superficially odd behavior seems to be unlocked when the money trail is followed. Namely, MHI’s larger and industry consolidating brands routinely seem to benefit from the status quo that MHI’s policies and behaviors make possible.

As a relevant segue, when manufactured housing is growing robustly or is operating at a significantly higher level, while some level of consolidation is possible, the history of the late 20th and early 21st centuries of the manufactured housing industry demonstrated that aggressive buyouts then by Fleetwood and Champion ended up with both firms eventually filing for bankruptcy.

Warren Buffett’s Pledge to Kevin Clayton – ‘You Can Access Plenty of Capital’ for Projects – Quotes, Facts, Video, Transcript, and Implications for Manufactured Housing Industry

‘Production at Lowest Levels in a Decade’ but 2023 Outlook ‘Optimistic for Texas Manufactured Housing Industry,’ says TRERC – Supply Chain, Finance, Report, Analysis; plus MHVille Stocks Update

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU)? The Role of ADUs in Easing America’s Housing Crisis by Emily Hamilton Examined; plus, MHVille Market Updates

True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry in March 2023 Based on Facts, Not Clever Agenda-Driven ‘Fiction$’ – plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headlines Recap

The sorry saga of Cavco Industries costly battle with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) made clearer that the methods of the consolidators of what remains of manufactured housing independents can read a bit like a corporate spy novel.


It is the troubling evidence of problematic and often seemingly self-contradictory behavior that more likely accounts for MHI staff and several (not all) of their corporate leaders not responding to MHProNews’ inquiries. After all, MHProNews and MHLivingNews have noted on various occasions that MHI has painted themselves into a proverbial corner. That has been demonstrated once again in 2023 when MHI filed suit against the Department of Energy (DOE) in the manufactured housing energy rule case. As the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) revealed with documentary evidence and accompanying narratives, MHI worked with DOE to create a negotiated rulemaking outcome that led the industry to the point that the rule produced was established. It was arguably the exposes from MHARR, MHProNews and MHLivingNews that ultimately forced MHI to sue DOE.

Legal Action Filed on DOE’s Manufactured Housing Energy Rule

Manufactured Housing Institute Leaders-Lawyers Asked About Explosive Allegations by Nonprofit Veteran on High Profile MH Industry Threat; Exclusive Q&A Claims Downturn Less Than 1 Year Away if MHI Fails

But by filing suit on the DOE energy rule, MHI has also boxed themselves in on the industry’s financing and zoning fiascos. Allen, quick to posture when he thinks he can’t easily be held to account, nevertheless declined in writing an opportunity to debate MHI’s performance with MHProNews. Nor has MHI’s leaders or attorneys accepted that challenge, any more than Tim Williams of the Ohio Manufactured Home Association nor Jim Ayotte of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association done so.



Candidly, there was an internal discussion – should MHProNews both mentioning Allen’s recent missives? After all, his audience is relatively small compared to ours. The decision to respond in part came down to the notion that Allen’s response – be it as an apparent surrogate for MHI, or be they his own musings as an MHI ally – are revealing. It illustrates that MHI’s leaders are so boxed in that only “Deception and Misdirection” type tactics remain. Or, MHI’s leadership may be forced at some point to try to explain to dues payers who trusted them at their word their otherwise self-contradictory behavior and claims.

The editorial case has been made by MHProNews several times that Allen is a cheap shot artist who arguably lacks the intestinal fortitude and/or the intellectual capacity to formulate a thesis that will defend MHI and stand up to scrutiny by well-informed and objective-minded industry members. Allen uses what award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson has called “The Smear.” By slurring or sliming his target – most recently, this writer and this publication, Allen may think that it could short-cut the intellectual curiosity of his relatively small group of readers. Perhaps, but if so, that’s arguably ‘shame on George’ for treating them so.

Allen and MHI are in some ways alike, though their level of sophistication, size, and resources are clearly different. Each wants to play the role of gatekeeper. Each apparently wants to serve the larger companies that directly or indirectly have paid their bills for years. Each one is quite routinely about blatant or thinly veiled self-promotion. Each party (Allen and MHI) are apparently fostering manufactured housing industry consolidation, even if from time-to-time words are used that deny that assertion.

On paper, the Biden regime ought to be an ally in that battle against consolidators. But it is apparent that the Biden administration has tossed out words that seem to support manufactured housing, but that when the factual reality is examined, the industry is shrinking in the last 5 months as measured by production. The industry is also shrinking as measured by the number of independents remaining in the industry.


While there may be nuanced or stylistic differences between what MHARR states or what MHProNews/MHLivingNews publishes, the thrust of them is routinely aligned.

Additionally, when MHI’s behavior is examined, several third-party reports directly or by implication have pronounced MHI as ineffective at best, or perhaps criminally liable at worst, for their role in industry consolidation.

Pro-Manufactured Home Law Prof. Daniel R. Mandelker Says ‘Organization Needed for Manufactured Housing Advocates Litigation and Legislative Support’ – plus MHVille’s Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap

Dougryanamericanbankermanufacturedhousingmonopoly posteddailybusinessnewsmanufacturedhousingindustrypronews 575x237
See his context and the full ‘debate’ context in the report, linked here. https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/epic-kevin-clayton-moat-rant-analysis-lesli-gooch-debate-defense-doug-ryan-charge-end-clayton-monopoly-over-manufactured-housing-breaching-buffett-berkshire-clayton-monopolistic-moat-method/


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.

It is no surprise that Allen took a cheap shot some months ago at Strommen’s research. It fits his pattern as being a periodic MHI surrogate.

When Allen attempts to slur some third party, that should be a clue for industry professionals to lean in and wonder – what game is Allen playing and for who’s benefit?

This platform has made the evidence-based and factually consistent thesis that MHI, with Allen as one of those supporting the effort (despite his occasional moaning to the contrary in his blog posts) to facilitate industry consolidation. The fact that Allen has admitted it is a problem, even as he has arguably profited from it, is telling. The fact that Allen has responded at all to MHProNews/MHLivingNews thesis and contentions are also revealing.

MHI is arguably in an unfortunate position of their own making. They have led the industry into place where good laws that could lead to robust growth if properly implemented have been thwarted. The fact that MHI’s key members continue to support the MHI staff makes clear that they want the status quo. The status quo leads to consolidation. It is MHI’s own publicly traded members who have said as much.

Distraction and smear tactics may have worked better for MHI and its de facto surrogates some years ago. But as MHProNews increasingly unpacked the evidence and searched for evidence of the motivations and clues as to why the industry’s largest trade group has fumbled the ball for so long became increasingly clear. It is about consolidation. It is about eliminating independents in a steady fashion.

MHI’s leaders can’t have it both ways. Nor can Allen. Allen isn’t a dummy, so when he called this publication’s contentions on an industry image and educational campaign “brilliant,” in his mind, he obviously had to pair it with the notion that we were somehow simultaneously engaging in spreading what he called “bullsh-t.” But it is Allen that fails to provide evidence. It is Allen that admitted he too has raised similar concerns (but arguably for different reasons). That being so, what is the BS that Allen refers to, if not his own?

By pointing his fat finger, Allen now finds three uncomfortably pointing back at himself.

Allen’s musings are a small but useful example of paltering, posturing, spin, and projecting onto his target the very things that he is apparently guilty of himself – namely, of spreading BS. Be Allen a designated surrogate, as that source to MHProNews has claimed, or be he a volunteer that just happens to get the benefits cited herein above, Allen illustrates the following. He exemplifies the underhanded but nevertheless used tactic of accusing an opponent of the accuser is guilty of himself.

That tactic of projecting guilt onto another is summed up in the Magyar saying “Az aki mondta, te mondtad, te vagy.” Which loosely translates into English as: “The one making the allegation, that is the guilty party.”

Allen has painted himself into an adjacent corner as MHI. He can’t claim to have clean hands when he obviously has knowledge of what MHProNews/MHLivingNews routinely publish. MHI’s own attorneys have said in writing that they follow MHProNews. That means they too have no excuses.

The powers that be in manufactured housing want the status quo. If they didn’t, there are any number of things that they could and should have done differently. Now that the consequences of their handiwork are becoming clear, meaning this most recent 5-month downturn in manufactured home production and shipments, it is a problem for MHI’s leaders. It certainly appears that Allen is not going to be able to give them the cover they may desire to get them out of their current jam. See the related and linked reports to learn more, and watch for a planned special report on a related topic. Because this platform has made it difficult for MHI and its bosses to continue their paltering, projection, and “Deception and Misdirection” efforts.

This platform’s reporting, expert views and analysis stand vindicated time and again, as do MHARR’s. The statistics don’t lie, even if people may try to twist or ignore them. The industry is in its latest decline and MHI’s leadership are apparently responsible. Therefore, the leadership at MHI must morally and legally be obligated to deal with the downturn, difficulties, and their associated costs and consequences. ###


Trade media can and should be a ‘cheer leader’ when it is appropriate to do so. But authentic trade media also holds the powers that be to account. Who says? The American Press Institute.
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Again, our thanks to free email subscribers and all readers like you, as well as our tipsters/sources, sponsors and God for making and keeping us the runaway number one source for authentic “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, 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.)

Our son has grown quite a bit since this 12.2019 photo. All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in our manufactured housing industry related concerns. But Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included the Constitution of the United States, bottled water, and other goodies.

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

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.


Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach



Related References:

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

Aging Warren Buffett Led Berkshire Hathaway Invests Billions in Asian Firm, Soon Sells Most in ‘Red Flag’ Issue for Dozens of Manufactured Housing Producers; plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Worsens in January 2023 per MHARR – Cavco Wm ‘Bill’ Boor Remark on Manufactured Housing Comes Into Sharper Focus; Sunday MHVille Headlines Recap

True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry in March 2023 Based on Facts, Not Clever Agenda-Driven ‘Fiction$’ – plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headlines Recap

MHI ‘Special Bulletin’ DOE MH Energy Regs Lawsuit ‘Effort to Ensure Consistent Industry Message,’ Will Manufactured Housing Institute Launch More Suits? Plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headlines Recap

Danny Ghorbani – Manufactured Housing’s ‘Elephant in the Room,’ per Prior Manufactured Housing Institute Chair, Exclusive Q&A on Key MHIndustry Issues, plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headlines Recap

‘In the Business World, the Rear-View Mirror is Always Clearer than the Windshield’–Warren Buffett MHVille Leader Showcases Efforts to Renew American Dream; plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap

Manufactured Housing’s Next BIG Regulatory Battle That MHARR’s Spotlighted and Which MHI Conveniently Ignored in Recent ‘Manufactured Housing Institute News;’ plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap




Flagship Communities – Hypocrisy, MHIndustry Corruption? ‘Fragmented Industry with High Barriers to Entry and Imbalanced Supply and Demand Dynamics;’ Plus Sunday MHVille Weekly Headlines Review

‘Affordable Homes for Low Income Must Produce in Factory,’ ‘Years to Unravel Sabotage,’ Grad Students Interest in Manufactured Housing, Factory-Home Solutions; plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap

Russian Disinformation? CNN and WND Report on “World Government Summit,” Joe Biden Address to Business Roundtable on “the New World Order;” plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Review




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