Fraud, Class Action, CFPB-Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, 21st Mortgage, Manufactured Housing Institute, and the Manufactured Homes Industry

Sometimes it’s best to hide in plain sight.” – David Estes

A composite image From the Mahany Law website, with text and collage graphics by MHProNews.  

In this special report, there will be a series of screen captures of headlines from articles and posts by third parties, plus quotes by others.  That will keep the reading focused and easy to follow.

What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.”

— Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, parent to several manufactured home industry production, finance, retail, and supplier operations (Quote per GoodReads, other sources).

Each of these screen captures of Google search summaries has the date/time saved as part of the file name. This example happens to be a more recent, and more prominent law firm.


Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

– Warren Buffett (Quote per GoodReads, other sources)


Our favorite holding period is forever.”

– Warren Buffett (Quote per GoodReads, other sources)


Our favorite holding period is forever.” – Warren Buffett.


The Daily Business News on MHProNews begins this summary report with the clear statement that editorially, and from years of personal experience, we believe that most of those who are members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) are nice, honorable, working people.  It’s axiomatic that one doesn’t throw a baby out with the bath water.

This summary report, commentary and analysis uses quotes by MHI and other industry members, past and present.


Some of those quotes specifically address matters relevant to MHI and the issues involving Berkshire Hathaway (BH), that impact large portions of the manufactured housing industry. Some are from companies or members that are or have been doing business with one or more of Warren Buffett’s BH brands.  So it’s worth keeping in mind that people will often only say and do so much “on the record.”


It’s up to the discerning reader and/or a court of law to decide if and how these quotes apply, because the Buffett and other quotes are general statements of that person’s principles. Do they apply to manufactured housing, or to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)?  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Several, but not all, third party media reports make the tie-in between Berkshire Hathaway and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Is this a secret hiding in plain sight?

Congressional, media, and industry sources all suggest that MHI is dominated by Berkshire Hathaway.


For example, an email from an MHI member was delivered by mistake to MHProNews recently.  It was from an active, well-known, and widely liked member.  It read in part as follows, “He (“L.A. Tony Kovach”) is right that MHI is controlled by Berkshire Hathaway, however absent of MHI the industry is controlled by Berkshire Hathaway.”

To rephrase, that MHI member’s message means, with or without MHI, Berkshire Hathaway is dominating manufactured housing, but they are presently also doing so by controlling MHI.

The quote in brown was from a long time MHI member. It is cited in the article at the link shown, or click the image above.

A top executive – president – of another MHI member company emailed recently about an MHI related coverage to say, “Can’t agree more thank you.”


There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”

— Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, parent to several manufactured home industry production, finance, retail, and supplier operations (per BrainyQuote, and other sources).

Hillary Clinton, left, Warren Buffett, right. Credit – Boston Globe. Why did Buffett back Clinton, when Clinton strongly supported Dodd-Frank and the CFPB?  Why would MHI for years (unsuccessfully) promote Preserving Access, when Buffett was on record as supporting Pres. Barack Obama, and Sec. Hillary Clinton and their policies?

As a consultant, circa 2002, this writer told a client that manufactured housing was such a comparatively small industry at that point, that someone like Warren Buffett could step in and literally buy the entire industry. Within months, the Berkshire Hathaway acquisition was announced, and later finalized.  That wasn’t insider information, that was simple observation of the financial facts.

When we interviewed award-winning retailer, Alan Amy, one of his keen statements was that manufactured housing is the future.

How do we know?

Per Amy, because the billionaires are buying what they can in this industry. You can hear that in Alan Amy’s own choice of wording in the video below. Keep in mind, our video interviews and discussions are unscripted.

When MHProNews launched 9 years ago, the first phase in our vision was to get the masses of the industry’s professionals to believe in their own industry and its future again.  Pointing to the investments of Warren Buffett or Sam Zell was part of that; if those billionaires believed, then the rest of us should too, correct?


Today, the industry’s needs are different.

Per federal data, MH Industry is rising, but more slowly than conventional housing is recovering. Given the affordable housing crisis, how is that fact possible? We know, do you?

Is Buffett going to be proven correct?  “What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history,” said Warren Buffett.

Listening to what Buffett says has value. But paying attention to what he does has perhaps equal or greater value. Does this quote from MHI award winner Marty Lavin below apply?  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©


Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance. That’s his 70′ custom Italian yacht, reportedly priced new at a cool $6 million dollars.


I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.”
— Warren Buffett, (quote per Medium)


Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes very little sense for those who know what they’re doing.”
— Warren Buffett, (quote per Medium)


Buffett bought into MH in 2003, acquiring Clayton Homes, in spite of allegations of fraud. Later, he bought Oakwood Homes, rolled it into Clayton, and created the industry’s largest manufactured home producer. Buy low. Buy cheap?


The graphic from the Atlantic reminds us that years ago, vertical integration – consolidation – would push the industry’s independents out of business.

What the Atlantic is telling the industry is the independent retailers would over time be crushed, or consolidated. Few would survive. Have they been proven correct?


Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway, speaking about his partner Warren Buffett, per Medium, other sources.

Warren Buffett has become one hell of a lot better investor since the day I met him, and so have I. If we had been frozen at any given stage, with the knowledge we had, the record would have been much worse than it is. So the game is to keep learning, and I don’t think people are going to keep learning who don’t like the learning process.”

For years, MHProNews has touted that readers are leaders. That 15 minutes a day here plus another 15 minutes daily on our sister site,, were minimums to begin to understand the true nature of our industry, and the facts about what are the forces that drive it.  Once you have the facts, “We Provide, You Decide.” ©.


Democratic Congressional Representatives, calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to investigate Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, 21st Mortgage Corp. regarding their business practices.  Does that happen to look a lot like what the Mahany Law firm noted at the top is focused upon?


This summary is laying out third party media, legal, and other sources statements.  You do the math on the allegations, accusations, and concerns that are raised by them – because whatever you place in the industry, your business is directly or indirectly influenced by Berkshire Hathaway – which several say dominates MHI.


MHProNews gets periodic messages asking or commenting about MHARR, and why we’ve treated them differently than MHI.

Have we?  If so, why? Aren’t the two associations radically different?

  • MHI is an umbrella group, claiming to represent all facets of the industry.
  • MHARR very specifically has as its members only independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

By each organization’s own self-definitions, any effort not directly linked to production of HUD Code manufactured homes is solely the purvey of MHI, not MHARR.

Thus, the multi-year history of MHARR’s past and previous president routinely calling out ‘the post production’ sector – MHI – of the industry.  They’ve also pointed to Berkshire Hathaway, by name or implication.

U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Mike Capuano (D-MA). Image credit, Twitter, Wikipedia. Click here or above to see the report, including their letter to the CFPB.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

– Warren Buffett


Fair, and Balanced

MHProNews has also routinely provided each of the best known Berkshire Hathaway manufactured housing brands with an opportunity to speak on the record about their company, organization and efforts.

It should be apparent to long-time, careful readers that MHProNews has produced information from MHI, from Berkshire Hathaway team members, and also from those connected to them.

So even though Clayton, VMF, 21st or MHI may not always respond directly, we often have had indirect information directly from their team members, or provided their statements, documents, etc. That information has routinely been worked into our reporting, and commentary.


To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Another member source at MHI has told us that they have hope that Joe Stegmayer, the association’s new chairman, will lead MHI in a new direction.  Time will tell.  Readers are reminded that the fact checks we’ve spotlighted in recent weeks have not yet been corrected on MHI’s website, as of this writing.  Why not?

Also, readers should keep in mind that Joe Stegmayer worked for Clayton Homes in upper management. What will he do?  Time will tell. But he could start with something as simple as having the errors on their website corrected by the MHI staff.  We know from experience, it could be done in less than a day.

Financing has been one of the most powerful reasons which has tied virtually every company in manufactured housing to Berkshire Hathaway.  The Sam Zell reminder quoted above is worth noting.


That said, is it clear why MHARR has been pushing for the Duty to Serve manufactured housing; to help break up what CFED turned Prosperity Now’s Doug Ryan has called a monopoly? Or what the Democrats referenced herein as Berkshire Hathaway’s ‘near monopoly?’

From across the political or economic spectrum, people inside and outside of the manufactured housing industry have quietly spoken about what some see as the truth that is hiding in plain sight.

Now that new capital has begun flowing into the industry – including in the ‘easier lending’ space – isn’t this the time to break the chains of habit that have bound the industry for so many years?

Why won’t MHI publicly address:


Is it time to restructure and reform the Manufactured Housing Institute?

Or is it time to create a new post-production association?


Notice. One can agree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission, while still questioning how it came to be that Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. To see all of William’s informative slides, click the graphic above.

Nathan Smith in the video above said that he was for pro-active leadership.


How it is pro-active when MHI keeps doing the same things (eg: Preserving Access), the same way, and keeps getting the same results?  Who does slow growth benefit the most, if not the consolidators?

A composite image From the Mahany Law website, with text and collage graphics by MHProNews. Notice, the MHProNews graphic often used on third party images says at the top, “Third Party Image Credits are as Shown,” a reminder that news media by copyright law is permited to use other organization’s images for illustration and commentary purposes. Placing our logo and that graphic is not meant to imply an endorsement or affilation.

The page from the Mahany Law website, as is shown on this date, is linked here.


What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.” – Warren Buffett.

Will Buffett be proved correct, or not?

Nothing is changed until it is challenged.” – Soheyla Kovach.

MHProNews’ parent operation demonstrated to MHI over the course of years options for lending, and ways to improve image at a low cost. For years, even though our parent operation as an MHI member showed the way to grow business, MHI leaders ignored those options. Why? Could it be that slow growth allowed more consolidation and at a cheaper price? 

We Provide, You Decide.” (C)  ## (News, headlines, commentary, analysis.)

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach, managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to and


MHProNews welcomes other perspectives.  Our views should not be construed to represent those of any sponsor or client. It should be noted that MHProNews has and continues to dominate the news, and sources tell us that Arlington, Knoxville, Washington and other key places in the industry are among the most faithful readers, along with a broad spectrum of other readers.


MHProNews has for some years offered to publicly debate via video the kinds of points referenced in this report, and others cited over the last several years.


mas kovach mhpronews shopping with soheyla .jp

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