Paraphrasing a key portion of what the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) had to say about HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) — the rule of law has been subverted by deep state actors at HUD.
Once the allegations made by MHARR were received, MHProNews directly asked Teresa Payne, the administrator for HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, about the MHARR allegation. More on that, plus an MHProNews Analysis and Commentary will follow the full MHARR statement on this issue that follows.
MHARR PRESSES HUD TO COMPLY WITH REGULATORY REFORM ORDERS
With less than two months remaining before the 2020 presidential election, MHARR has stepped-up ongoing efforts to press for full HUD compliance with President Trump’s regulatory reform policies as enunciated in Executive Orders (EO) 13771 (“Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”) and 13777 (“Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”). While these orders and the regulatory reform policies that they reflect pertain to all HUD program offices, they apply with particular force to the HUD Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP), which was expressly directed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Acting Assistant HUD Secretary (at the time) Dana Wade, in 2018, to conduct a complete “top-to-bottom” review of all HUD manufactured housing standards, regulations and related administrative actions. Compliance with these mandates, however, has been caught up in – and stymied by – the OMHP regulatory maze showing, yet again, what happens in the absence of an appointed non-career manufactured housing program administrator, as provided by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.
To date, then, even after an extended Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) review of literally hundreds of proposed reforms, not a single standard or regulation has been rescinded or modified by the program. Indeed, the only so-called “regulatory reform” accomplished by OMHP, in nearly three years (other than the re-assignment of former administrator Pamela Danner), has been the “withdrawal” of a number of OMHP’s ironically-named Pamela Danner-era “The Facts” public relations newsletters from the OMHP website in 2019. That action, however, is not a “regulatory” reform at all, insofar as the newsletters, per se, do not constitute either a standard or “regulation” within the meaning of either the EOs or applicable federal law.
With no substantive regulatory reform accomplished within OMHP to date, it is becoming increasingly evident that HUD regulators are committed to slow-rolling any type of program reforms in the hope that the November election will bring a change in presidential administrations and that a Biden Administration, once in office, would halt the implementation of any and all such reform initiatives. This is precisely why strong leadership is absolutely required within HUD now in order to ensure that key program reforms are proposed and implemented as final agency actions before they can be choked-off by any new administration.
With Dana Wade having now returned to HUD as its Assistant Secretary for Housing/ Federal Housing Commissioner, and being the highest-ranking HUD appointed official with direct oversight of OMHP, the time has arrived to finally adopt and implement these fundamental and necessary reforms. These include, most importantly, the repeal of HUD’s 2010 Interpretative Rule which negates the procedural protections of section 604(b)(6) of the 2000 reform law; the withdrawal of all so-called “guidance” documents issued by OMHP without notice and comment as required by law; the adoption of specific procedures for the adoption or revocation of “guidance” documents in the future, as proposed by MHARR; and reform of the MHCC itself to ensure that the industry’s smaller businesses are fully and properly represented, and that the MHCC has available to it the institutional knowledge, know-how and memory that MHARR possesses, but has increasingly been repressed by HUD regulators intent on controlling the MHCC and turning it into a clone of the ineffectual Manufactured Housing Advisory Council which was abolished by the 2000 reform law.”
Additional Information, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
“With no substantive regulatory reform accomplished within OMHP to date, it is becoming increasingly evident that HUD regulators are committed to slow-rolling any type of program reforms in the hope that the November election will bring a change in presidential administrations and that a Biden Administration, once in office, would halt the implementation of any and all such reform initiatives.” – from MHARR statement of 9.21.2020, above.
The selection of specific words matter.
That statement from MHARR is accurate. But in fairness, it does not mention the fact HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been a cheerleader for manufactured housing since early on. One of several examples of Dr. Carson’s pro-manufactured housing efforts is the quote and linked report, below. Technically, what Secretary Carson has done is not regulatory reform. Rather, Secretary Carson has promoted the positive aspects of manufactured housing and how it could potentially help bring millions of renters into the benefits of affordable home ownership. That merits mention, because his words and efforts could prove useful as time goes on.
That said, MHARR’s statement was focused on regulatory reform, not promotion. Regulatory reform is that trade association’s stated mission. So, MHARR’s statement, properly understood, thus bears close examination by public officials, industry professionals, investors, residents, and advocates.
MHProNews contacted Teresa Payne directly via email about the allegations made by MHARR that they are slow-walking regulatory reform in an effort to hold onto a possible Biden Administration. Payne was given an option to respond directly to MHProNews, or through other HUD channels.
As of the time of this report, no response has been received from the inquiry on 9.21.2020. But an informed source tells MHProNews – and has been dual confirmed – that Payne received the email inquiry.
Payne in turn shared our request for reaction to the MHARR allegations with others, per third-party sources.
Payne, according to a source that claims knowledge, is an ally of deposed prior HUD’s OMHP Administrator Pamela Beck Danner, JD.
Danner was “parachuted” into the role by Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backers, despite a formal agreement between MHI and MHARR to support Vic DeRose for the OMHP spot.
Danner was widely decried in the manufactured housing industry for her overreaching regulatory stance, which HUD Secretary Ben Carson obliquely referred to as ‘ridiculous’ during a Congressional hearing.
Danner was eventually dislodged, not by any action made by MHI, but rather by MHARR and other ‘heat’ that MHProNews has previously reported. That’s according to Lesli Gooch’s own statement on behalf of MHI to the Washington Post. Gooch specifically said in her own words that MHI made no effort to remove Danner. Given the widespread outcry among scores of industry professionals, that begs the question, why not?
In appointing Payne as the administrator for the OHMP role, MHI’s fingerprints are on that selection too, say Washington and other sources.
To underscore a point made by MHARR, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), established the role that Payne is supposed to be filling. Per that MHIA law, OMHP is supposed to be operated by a non-career administrator. The ideal behind that law is to create a greater opportunity for a non-career administrator to avoid political or other favoritism.
As MHARR phrased it in their news item and analysis above.
“Compliance with these [legal] mandates, however, has been caught up in – and stymied by – the OMHP regulatory maze showing, yet again, what happens in the absence of an appointed non-career manufactured housing program administrator, as provided by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.”
Rephrased, MHARR’s ken understanding of the law coupled with their assertion that a pro-Biden Administration, anti-Trump Administration de facto ‘deep state’ is at work at OMHP makes sense, based upon the known facts.
As a non-industry example, not unlike the selection of the Trump Administration of Christopher Wray to head the FBI, or possibly the selection of Brian Montgomery at HUD, there are several Trump Administration appointees that President Trump – has he known more going into the selection – might have done differently. This, per mainstream media reports, is due in part to infighting in the White House between those who are so-called “Establishment” type Republicans vs. those who are seriously looking to do the ‘drain the swamp’ regulatory reform agenda that President Trump has sought to advance.
Other industries have benefited from regulatory reform. So why hasn’t manufactured housing?
As was previously reported by MHProNews, the selection of Dana Wade returning to HUD was a hopeful sign from the Trump White House. But in a Biden-Harris – or Harris Biden? – Administration, how long would someone like Wade, who informed sources say is truly reform-minded, last at HUD?
The View from Arlington…
By contrast to MHARR’s report and analysis, MHI keeps spewing a mix of facts, spin, paltering, and outrageously self-contradictory statements and actions as the 2020 general election looms. Naturally, they also promote their events which generates revenue for the Arlington, VA based national trade group.
While MHI PAC money had gone to candidates from both major parties, MHI’s call in conjunction with their touted “rental housing coalition” is in-your-face contradictory to manufactured housing independents’ interests. Those independents – be they retailers, producers, suppliers, communities, financial services or others – historically were supposed to be about selling more manufactured homes through regulatory reform and increased public acceptance. “Renting” manufactured homes, while hardly new, was a pivot that was forced in part during the Obama-Biden Administration’s Dodd-Frank regulatory maze that choked off some lending that existed prior to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
With that understanding, a close look at the MHI rental housing coalition is reflects a thinly-veiled pro-Democratic stance by that coalition, and by implication of MHI itself.
MHI – by accident and/or design – has through action and inaction been fostering consolidation. When new HUD Code homes destined for rental use in manufactured home communities that are often MHI members are pulled out of the data, the ‘recovery’ of the industry from its bottom in 2009 is meager.
Even publicly traded MHI members admit in their investor relations package that the industry is underperforming, as the graphic – with notes added by MHProNews – below reflects.
Other MHI members have produced some similar items that tout the advantages of manufactured housing over other forms of conventional housing, either sold or rented.
While MHI makes similar claims, it is a widely accepted premise in marketing that third-party praise is better than self-praise. So the reams of potential third-party kudos about manufactured housing logially ought to be found on the MHI website.
Its absence only calls into question why MHI isn’t pushing for the development of more communities and homesites, which MHARR has done, but MHI arguably only postures at doing.
Instead of MHI promoting the implementation of good federal laws that are already on the books and which enforced would spur serious growth, MHI enters into elaborate rationalizations and head-fakes such as the ‘new class’ of manufactured homes they’ve renamed as “CrossModTM” homes. MHProNews was alone in manufactured housing trade media in quickly calling out even the concept of that plan as a flawed Trojan Horse. Years later, the data reflects that the concerns this publication raised proved to be correct.
Even an executive with an MHI member-only producer told MHProNews that there was ‘no traction’ to the program. Why do they keep pushing it when it has clearly failed in the marketplace?
Perhaps as or more important, MHI’s efforts divert energy from other possible efforts that could support all manufactured homes, not just a failing select class of far more expensive units.
By contrast to MHARR, MHI’s has focused on posturing, pointing to ‘research’ that oddly never has been proven in the marketplace, and photo/video ops. The mouthpieces for MHI have supported an attempt at creating an ‘echo chamber’ of alternative media to MHProNews, which they routinely used to praise – prior to our inquiries into apparent disconnects and illogical behavior becoming too uncomfortable for them to deal with.
But manufactured home industry professionals have largely ignored those alternative sources of MHI backer’s ‘information,’ ‘news and view’ – perhaps because they are such a disconnect with reality? By contrast, MHProNews has increasingly been turned to by those outside of manufactured housing – such as investors, researchers, advocates, and public officials.
Not only do statements like the above reflect that interest, but so too does the metrics from MailChimp, which reveals that for much of 2020, Washington D.C. has either been as high as the number 2 city for readers, but routinely has been the number 3 metro where readers are coming from to read MHProNews.
That’s points are mentioned not as self-praise, but rather, in support of the notion that those with knowledge find these reports and analysis to be credible, or they wouldn’t be coming back day by day, and week by week to stay informed on what is occurring vs. what MHI claims. If this source, our evidence and reasoning was just so much hot air, then why is it so widely read by pro-MHI, independents, MHARR supporters and thousands of others?
MHARR routinely promotes in meetings with public officials as well as via their messages to the industry the logic and need to follow the law. By contrast, MHI has for years behaved in an erratic and nonsensical series of self-defeating and contradictory behaviors, while spotlighting their access to public officials via video and photo opportunities. But if MHI video and photo ops were the key to advancing the industry’s independents and consumers, then why is manufactured housing in year 2 of year-over-year declines in production and shipments?
The blatant prima facie conflict of interest of MHI CEO Lesli Gooch is obviously tolerated by MHI’s elected leaders, which are led by Clayton Homes General Counsel Tom Hodges.
Hodges and Gooch were both given an opportunity by MHProNews to weigh in on the MHARR allegations above from MHARR, but they declined.
In sports, science, or business – months or years of failure routinely result in changes in staff leadership.
But instead of cleaning house of the key members of MHI staff, MHI’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors have kept the status quo at MHI in place. Their corporate dues money – combined with their active and tacit support for Gooch, President Mark Bowersox, or others at MHI – are clear indications that the powers that be at MHI want the status quo. Skyline Champion’s communication’s professional said as much.
During an affordable housing crisis, MHI’s behavior is squandering – as MHARR said – an ideal opportunity that the industry has been given to remove barriers and thus advance the industry’s interests. MHARR early on in the Trump Administration touted the opportunity. But arguably due in part to the combination of a MHI insiders manipulation of the system and ‘deep state’ actors at HUD or other parts of the federal government, the industry is actually at a lower ebb today after the Trump Administration’s regulatory reform than when MHARR’s leaders made this statement in 2017.
Despite the flaccid apologetics and cheerleading approach of MHI sycophants and MHI insider member-brands supported trade media, the cold, hard facts are reflected in comments like those Mary Gaiski.
Gaiski is not alone in making statements of fact – that when carefully considered – are a poor reflection on MHI’s claimed efforts. Others on or off the record have made statements that clearly call into question the effectiveness of MHI’s ‘efforts.’
The evidence is difficult if not impossible to refute. The manufactured home industry could be doing historic levels of business, so said third-party researchers that date back decades up to the Trump Administration era.
The logical reason that only one MHI apologist has even attempted to directly defend their behavior in a public debate – which pro-MHI member Andy Gedo tossed in the towel on after making several damning admissions – is because MHI’s behavior can’t be logically defended.
The only thesis that makes sense, third-party researchers into manufactured housing have told MHProNews as recently as last week, are those that reflect the realities of what MHARR or this trade media have produced in our respective reports over the past several years.
A full and proper implementation of federal law would send manufactured home sales and home ownership rates soaring. MHARR has called and worked for years toward that goal – which they have essentially been fighting both MHI and entrenched “deep state” style Establishment bureaucrats from both major parties. MHProNews has alone called for the removal of Brian Montgomery, for reasons that connect to his own purported conflicts of interest.
The troubling nature of these facts shed light on possibly corrupt or illegal actions by firms that are publicly traded. They also reflect other possible corruption, given that Warren Buffett and some of his fellow travelers have given support through dark money channels to groups that routinely shine a negative light on manufactured housing.
While this is vexing to manufactured home professionals, numbers of manufactured home residents, affordable housing seekers, and advocates, what MHARR has alleged is hardly unique to our industry.
President Donald J. Trump himself has spoken increasingly of the ‘deep state’ in 2020.
The evidence, evolution, and role the so-called “Deep State” and “revolving door” play in manufactured housing are outlined in recent and other reports like the one below.
No political party, no candidate or professional is ever perfect. MHProNews has made clear that this isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans per se, because both major parties have been part of enacting pro-manufactured housing legislation.
But the evidence that President Trump has put the regulatory tools in place through executive orders, enacted legislation, and other efforts to make positive changes at HUD possible is apparent for those willing to study the details.
Secretary Carson has made numerous positive efforts to promote manufactured housing, which MHI tells its own members about via emails as if they are their accomplishment, but that MHI oddly routinely fails to promote even on their own website.
What Lies Ahead?
Much of the national energy will be increasingly focused on the 2020 election, with early voting already underway.
If the recast “Harris-Biden” ticket wins, watch the opportunity the Trump Administration created for manufactured housing vanish like the warmth of summer in the onslaught of a harsh northern winter.
If Trump-Pence and his Congressional allies win, then the start of antitrust and deregulation efforts has an opportunity to continue.
Obama-era VP Biden is correct about this. The 2020 election is about the “soul of America.” Left-of-center AP and USA Today both described the respective campaigns as bringing largely different messages and claims about reality in America today.
The Democrats – who have in the last two decades drawn increasing support from the billionaire class, big corporate, banking, media, and tech interests – frankly has several ‘Warren Buffett style moat’ advantages.
But moats and castle walls were breached even in medieval times. Meaning, they are not invincible.
According to most pundits and polling, the Trump Campaign was supposed to lose in 2016.
What happens in 2020 with vote-by-mail and other ploys rife with opportunities for fraud remains to be seen. But even Democratic backers like Hollywood personalities Bill Maher and Michael Moore have warned fellow Democrats that there is a lack of enthusiasm for the Biden-Harris ticket. They have said the election could still be lost by Democrats.
No less a personality than former President Obama has told insiders, per left-of-center media sources, that Joe can still ‘f-ck’ this up.
Political parties are vessels that are used by special interests. Those alignments can change over time.
The political process has arguably been a tool for the moneyed interests.
Sound information and understanding grounded in facts vs. myths are the start. MHProNews has sourced insights across the political and business spectrums to present the most accurate picture possible.
But proper action must follow evidence-based insights. That is why the MHARR report above is one of several broadsides that – coupled with administrator Payne’s failure to disclaim the allegations – shed light on the true status of the manufactured housing industry going into the fall of 2020.
Because freedom isn’t free, it will require a battle, that will include info-wars and voting wisely.
Once the election is over, if the Trump Administration wins a second term, there will need to be a house cleaning at HUD and elsewhere in Washington.
If the Harris-Biden team wins, it will be a difficult battle for independents, as the 8 years of the Obama-Biden Administration should remind all objective thinkers.
With MHI, think deception and misdirection, or paltering. It is a series of years of head fakes, or one of the most incompetent’s trade organizations in American history. Either way, it is not a good look for MHI and their leadership.
There is always more to know. Stay tuned with the runaway largest and documented number one most-read source for authentic manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © 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.)
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
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.
Communities, Assoc Exposé – Whistleblower “Leaks” – Lesli Gooch Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO and Sheila S. Dey, Executive Director Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA)