Jealousy. Lunacy. Hypocrisy. Once was, award-winning, former community-investor George F. Allen bemoans MHARR, begs them and NAMHCO for unity with MHI, all while assailing this platform. Will someone in his circle please show him how to use the GPS app on his phone?
Or is Allen still navigating by using an old app-less flip phone? Does he not see that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), himself, we and others have all left the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) for good, stated, and ongoing reasons?
Let’s unpack wanna-be “EducateMHC” magician and trickster Allen’s Good Friday assaults and caterwauling complaints about several MH industry things, as he purportedly puffs to carry MHI’s water. Yes, that’s the same MHI Allen himself quit, that he said privately and publicly betrayed had him, and that he long complained about their purported oligarchic practices. In his trying to point a finger at others, has he successfully instead pointed three fingers back at himself and his buddies affiliated with the Arlington, VA oligarchic front group?
Let’s dig into the evidence and find out. Because after 6 months of declining new manufactured home shipments during an affordable housing crisis, manufactured housing retailers, communities, producers, lenders, and all others merit serious answers, not another artful dodge.
What is it All About?
Professionals in our industry or any other are obviously in business to make money. For the majority who want to earn an honest living, that requires information, among other factors.
So as the ancient Romans put it, “scientia potentia est” or “knowledge is potential power.”
Knowledge is only potential power because accurate information must be properly acted upon in order for it to have practical value.
But what if the information being put forth isn’t accurate? Doesn’t that make success more difficult to obtain? Especially for the independent business person, who may be competing against a nearby industry giant?
That’s just one reasons why critical thinking skills are necessary. Because Allen is right about this much, there are two entirely different narratives at play in manufactured housing industry trade circles. That begs the question, which narrative is more accurate?
As a thoughtful strategist – the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it – the purpose of education is to build character and to learn to think critically. Keep in mind what King and his colleagues accomplished. Flash back to 1950. Who would have thought that black Americans could have so many social, economic, and political barriers for their progress removed by the efforts of King and others working with him?
Knowledge, critical thinking – reality-based understanding – these are important for any professional, especially for those in a seemingly uphill battle.
In a normal industry, some of the types of facts and insights needed to succeed would typically come from trade associations.
Sadly, in manufactured housing – as even their exiting president Chris Stinebert obliquely suggested – the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has purportedly been failing at their own mission. Why else would Stinebert wait until his final column to list all the ways that MHI was – from his insiders vantagepoint – failing to get to the root issues? To learn more, see the linked final article by Stinebert, here or above.
So while some moan or rail that MHProNews dares to hold MHI or other ‘big boys’ to account, it must not be forgotten that others – including, but not limited to, MHI insiders – have blasted MHI before or contemporaneously with this publication.
Rephrased, there is ample evidence that Stinebert and others in and out of MHI have provided to demonstrate that the Arlington, VA based trade group was weaponized to do the bidding of their ‘big boy’ masters. Let Allen or others in MHI try to defend against that claim as best they can.
White Hats, Black Hats
Those ‘big boys’ are often tied to Omaha based Berkshire Hathaway, or Knoxville metro based Clayton Homes and their lending affiliates. To be accurate and objective, there are other companies in the mix too. MHI can arguably be seen as a mix of black hats and black hats. The question then is, which hat is a given firm or individual wearing? And are white hat firms giving black hat conglomerates cover for black hat activities?
The contention that much of the industry’s ills are in many ways internal did not begin here at MHProNews. One might argue that we were a bit slow on the uptake. But if so, it was to make sure that the evidence existed to back the various claims being made, often by MHI insiders.
More recently, thanks to numerous voices inside and out of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, MHProNews and our publicly-facing sister site can and have sincerely advanced the troubling case that the industry is underperforming due to the fallout from purported: antitrust violations, ongoing efforts at market manipulation and association failures.
One need look no further than the historic shipment data to recognize that the industry is underperforming.
Even publicly traded MHI member companies are making that argument that the industry is underperforming, as the Skyline Champion (SKY) graphic below reflects. The comments were added by MHProNews, but the green line reflects that the industry has a long-term average of some 224,000 new HUD Code home shipments annually. It has achieved 372,000 plus new manufactured housing units produced in 1998. In the mobile home era, over 55o,000 units were produced and sold for 2 years running. What was done before can surely be done again.
Another example of how MHI and their big boy brands are stirring the industry’s problems is the John Oliver’s satirical viral hit “Mobile Homes” video, accessible via the linked text-image box below.
That’s not caterwauling. That’s better known as following the facts, evidence, money trail, and logic. That’s what researchers and reporters are supposed to do, George.
These examples are the very essence of the critical thinking skills that Dr. King, Jr. and so many other thinker-doers through the ages have said is necessary for human progress.
George F. (F?) Allen’s ‘Defense’ of MHI and Certain State Association Executives
George F. (F?) Allen is up-front in each blog post for some years about why he writes. “Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’” Meaning, write him
a check, take out your plastic, or cash and he’ll provided you with his sage views.
Never mind that he’s now out of the land-lease business, so by his own prior definition, he no longer has “skin in the game.” Ooops.
Never mind that – per sources in his own circle – despite his new ‘EducateMHC’ moniker, his own daughter reportedly failed in the land-lease community business. That reported failure almost took Allen himself under, per those same sources in Allen’s own orbit. Ooops.
And never mind that Allen’s and his colleagues in SECO have an idea of education that has proven to be legally problematic, as the report and cross-linked information here outlines. Ooops.
Keep in mind that Allen likes to entertain others, and is rather good at it. Among his delights are ‘magic tricks.’ The person who is adept at slight-of-hand actions has attempted a verbal slight-of-hand for some time, one could say. In fact, why not point out that part of the ‘mystery shopping’ service that Allen provided for years was predicated on fooling people into thinking that he was an actual prospect.
So, what follows from Allen’s blog as his Good Friday topic is prudently considered through the lens of those assertions and related factoids. He’s been successful for years in writing and organizing events for a fee. Done well, that’s a legitimate part of the American way. Done badly or problematically, it is a good reason to apply “caveat emptor.” Let the buyer beware.
Thanks, George 😉 Allen’s Over-the-Target Responses to Recent MHProNews Reports
Naval and Air Force pilots have long had the expression that you don’t catch flak unless you are over the target.
Sources indicate to MHProNews that some of the same state executives that complained about leaks to this publication have at times shared information with Allen or others too. That’s obviously done when those same association executives doing the ‘leaks’ thought it useful to their interests. Perhaps so, but it is mentioned here because Allen did in his missive quoted at length further below.
Part of the purpose of good media is to hold the powerful to account. Who says? The Society of Professional Journalists and their code of ethics.
It has been a while since Allen has taken public aim at this platform in an apparently failed attempt to get industry readers to “boycott” MHProNews. That was allegedly done as ‘carrying water for’ association executives in the MHI orbit. In response to the SPJ bullets 2 and 3, noted above, this fact-check and analysis are hereby offered.
Allen, himself a prior MHI critic, has apparently found a new way to profit from being a periodic voice to attempt to dissuade industry independents from following the reports and analysis on MHProNews.
Allen has not bothered to explain in depth to his readers what changed his views about MHI, on the concerns he previously noted publicly below. Does his lack of consistency bother him?
Facts, documents, and accurate quotes in context are #NettlesomeThings.
New readers should bear in mind the following points.
- Allen and Spencer Roane have been offered the opportunity to publicly dispute the evidence presented here on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews regarding themselves and/or the concerns associated with MHI, that he himself previously voiced routinely. They’ve repeatedly declined to engage in a public discussion or debate. That’s in keeping with their 5th Amendment right to remain silent, which we respect. But that leaves others free to ponder, if they had the better case, why not make it in public?
- MHI, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, and/or their attorneys have been made a similar offer to publicly dispute the evidence presented here or on MHLivingNews via a moderated, on camera, and in front of a live audience of industry professionals. They’ve repeatedly declined the opportunity to do so. Once more, that’s their right. Perhaps they’ve duck out knowing their are federal investigations underway, and that whatever they say could be used against them in a court of law? See the video, below the next bullet. NOTE: views of that video have apparently more than doubled since we began sharing that mainstream media report about investigations of Clayton and their related lenders, from their own hometown news station.
- George F. Allen, various figures associated with MHI, Jim and Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams and others may be loathe to admit it today, but they have each praised this publication for being pro-industry and for the good work being done here. Now that same analysis done here that they previously praised has turned dark in their eyes.
As believers in free enterprise and the value of honest competition, Allen – right or wrong – is serving an obliquely useful function. This publication and MHLivingNews are apparently ‘over the target,’ so we are ‘catching flak.’ This isn’t the only recent attack by opposing voices. But the other assaults are less visible, and this one by Allen is visible.
As an observable attack, Allen is thus useful to manufactured home industry investors, advocates, and professional readers to understand the ongoing dynamic within MHVille. The visceral reaction being quoted below by Allen – in his role as a periodic tool for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis – will speak for itself.
Let’s see what Allen said, and then unpack it in a very few words. As the reader can see from the screen capture below, provided under fair use guidelines, attacking this publication was his headline topic. That’s a backhanded compliment. The text that follows the image shown is from his blog on that date and is unedited in any fashion.
“Nobody Else Will Tell You This!”
Enough of the Name Calling, Sensationalist Caterwauling, & Questionable Claims!
Since 2009, manufactured housing’s nadir (‘worst’) year ever, when only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped nationwide, we’ve collectively and simultaneously endured and experienced:
- The loss of easy access to chattel capital for new home loans in communities
- Two venerable trade magazines ceasing publication (i.e. Manufactured Home Merchandiser and The Journal)
- Two new trade pubs birthed (i.e. MHInsider and Manufactured Housing Review)
- A near continuous online diatribe (‘bitter & abusive denunciation’) of one – but not both, national advocates for manufactured housing (i.e. MHI but not MHARR), one or another state association executive (e.g. WI being latest target), and specific corporate executives (e.g. from Clayton Homes & 21st Mortgage) not aligned with a particular yellow journalist’s views of the manufactured housing industry.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Together, as an industry and realty asset class, we should be; no, we must be, ‘working together’ to eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2019. Also to offset negative press coming from social activist quarters regarding predatory site rent practices foisted on homeowners/site lessees! But such a coming together will continue to elude us as long as an industry outlier broadcasts speculative contrarian tripe, tearing down manufactured housing and land lease community business models at will!
SOLUTION? Make it a point, henceforth, to support your state manufactured housing association as an active member, as well as one or more of three national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR & now, NAMHCO). Also ensure you’re on the receiving end of MHInsider magazine, Manufactured Housing Review online ezine, the Allen Letter (if a land lease community owner/operator), and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter – if a top housing manufacturer or portfolio executive!
Frankly, that’s ALL YOU NEED TO READ & BELIEVE, to stay cogently, accurately, and timely informed about industry and asset class matters! Resist any temptation to succumb to reading anything by anyone engaged in name calling, sensationalist caterwauling, and questionable claims! JUST DO IT – resist the temptation to muck & muddle your thinking. You’ll be glad you did!
If you need contact information relative to trade entities and publications identified in the previous paragraphs, simply let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 346-7156. And to subscribe to the Allen Letter and or the Allen Confidential business newsletter, visit www.educatemhc.com
Fisking – Unpacking Allen’s Missive
In no particular order of importance.
- Allen tells his readers who to read, and who not to read. That’s his first amendment protected right, up to the point that he may be part of an organized boycott effort, because a boycott can become legally questionable in antitrust and other types of legal controversies.
- Allen fails to admit that he and his inner circle are reportedly regular readers here on MHProNews. Thank you, to all of our readers. Pardon the hypocrisy of some who tell others not to do, what they themselves do. The fact that he and his circle read here is implied by his attempted critique.
- It is Allen who fits the caterwauling definition, because what he gave are emotional appeals and red herrings, not an actual effort to debunk even a single factual claim made here or on MHLivingNews. There is no effort made by Allen to point out any failure in logic, any inaccuracy, or any of the evidence we’ve presented that sparked his public moaning.
Here is a pull quote that bears a nod of interest.
“Together, as an industry and realty asset class, we should be; no, we must be, ‘working together’ to eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2019.” The reality is that the industry will not be ‘working together’ – because some are arguably working to purportedly eliminate their industry competition, by direct and indirect means. Allen’s related quote is equally lacking in logic. He wants people to support “one or more of three national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR & now, NAMHCO).” Excuse me, sir? MHARR and NAMHCO exist because MHI – in their view – have failed the industry. It is an either or proposition.
Why Hasn’t Allen Explained to MH Community Readers How Clayton/21st Hurt Their Interests?
Note that neither Allen, nor anyone else in the orbit of industry publishing he has cited has attempted to debunk the documents, direct quotes and evidence linked from the text-image box below.
What Allen fails to tell his readers is how that attack on industry independents harmed independent owners of manufactured home communities. Yet Allen claims to be their protector. How so? Isn’t he giving other big time cons cover?
Allen cited in this and a prior posting about the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO). Those associations are both breakaways from MHI. They exist because each trade group’s members believed that MHI wasn’t getting the job done properly.
Allen fails to mention that important fact. By contrast, MHProNews has not missed that obvious mark.
Calls for ‘unity’ by Allen or MHI sound good, warm and fuzzy — until they are carefully examined. Unity behind what? Unity with what goal?
If the big boys absorb the smaller firms at a discounted value due to market manipulation, that’s unity. Is that the unity that Allen wants? Why is Allen de facto working for the interests of the consolidators that he periodically takes pot-shots at? Isn’t it just another head-fake?
What Allen ignores in his missive – either through ignorance or perhaps from incentives offered by the ‘big boys’ – is that a key reason that the industry is underperforming is rooted in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies. Allen makes no effort to debunk the evidence published here or on MHLivingNews for that claim. Why would he? The powers that be and their own attorneys won’t touch that topic in public, and perhaps with good reason. So, in goes GFAllen…
Allen ignores the fact that Clayton has been the source of embarrassment to the industry, starting not long after Warren Buffett bought them for Berkshire Hathaway.
Thus, it is unlikely that Clayton, 21st, or MHI will publicly respond to our published – documented, and evidence based – concerns.
Allen laments Frank Rolfe, predatory community operators, and the John Oliver video errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.” But what F (F?) Allen fails to mention is that MHI is connected to each operation in that Oliver video. Ooops.
Several Florida newspapers opted to run the same letter sent by our publisher. The reportedly did so only after an editor checked the claims and sources, per the editor that did the fact checking. The letter was sent to only 1 publication, but at least 5 have run it.
Those claims lodged here, on our sister site MHLivingNews, and summarized in that 300 word letter published in the 5 links above all remain unchallenged.
MHARR’s new initiative, that Allen both praises and slams at the same time, exists precisely because MHARR states their belief that MHI has so dropped the ball on post-production issues that they have no other choice but to try to act where MHI is failing to do so.
The last decade-plus has not been especially kind to the manufactured housing industry and consumers of affordable housing. The 21 stCentury began with a great deal of promise for the industry and consumers alike.
It’s America. People are free to write a huckster and incentivized mouthpiece a check if they want to do so. They are free to read Allen or attend his meetings. Those that go say the networking is pleasant and useful, but some lament the ‘education’ part of it.
But what SECO and the Allen Roundtable arguably prove is that professionals in manufactured housing are so desperate for answers and professional opportunities, that they will listen even to someone with his track record of recent years. In years gone by, Allen helped found the National Community Council (NCC), which is part of MHI. But more recently, Allen himself has quit MHI and the NCC. Allen himself won’t pay to go to their fundraisers, errr, ‘meetings.’
Allen has positioned himself to fill a vacuum. As soon as someone else steps up and offers an alternative, don’t be surprised if his meetings and ‘education’ vanish like a fleeting morning fog in sunny Florida.
Once more, our publisher invites Allen – or the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis – to publicly dispute and disprove
- in front of a live audience of industry professionals,
- with moderator and
- on camera any of the claims made here on pro-growth MHProNews or MHLivingNews.
You can’t solve a problem by ignoring the root causes. That’s what Allen either doesn’t get or has arguably been incentivized to ignore and obscure.
Thus despite Allen’s caterwauling and attempted slight of hands, our published case against the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, their surrogates and allies stands. If any of these concerns or allegations we’ve reported or that others have raised were easily disproven, why hasn’t anyone in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington orbit and/or their surrogates stepped up to the plate and made the public effort?
George F. (F?) Allen (GFA) is arguably either:
· or some combination of those.
As noted, Allen and his buddy Spencer Roane have been given the opportunity several times to debate the issues he laments publicly with our publisher in a moderated session, on camera, in front of a live industry professional audience. Allen and Roane both keep ducking that offer. Shall we add the word cowardly to the bulleted Cs above?
BTW, that same offer to discuss and debate the issues has been repeatedly extended to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis. Allen has apparently been carrying water for them in recent months, and perhaps this is missive by GFA their reply. But given the history of Allen previously decrying their rigged system, as was shown above, what was the MH Axis thinking? Can’t they come up with a better surrogate? If not, doesn’t that speak volumes too?
That’s this morning’s first installment of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Your link to industry praise for our coverage, is found here.
For the examples of our kudos linked above…plus well over 1,000 positive, public comments, we say – “Thank You for your vote of confidence.”
“We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)
(Image credits and information are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
2) To pro-vide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.
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They are industry professionals that currently hail from primarily south-central or southern states. They may hunt, fish, go to the honky-tonk, or go four wheeling in the mud for fun. They’re routinely patriots – people of faith, flag, and family, who love the constitution and their second amendment protected guns.
Manufactured Housing Institute Members Defending MHI, Great Debate About Manufactured Home Industry Progress, Problems, and Profits – Masthead L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
Both of these messages are from the same person. There will be an upcoming report with on-the-record comments from an MHI board member. The company of the professional quoted below has been a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member for a number of years, and is not a member of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).
Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats – Masthead L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
When someone is introduced to manufactured homes and their tremendous value, they are often shocked. ‘ How is this much home for such a modest price possible?’ A key part of the answer mirrors any product produced in a production center. Cars built in a driveway would cost far more than a car built in production center.
Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market – Masthead L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
The year was 1998. It happened to be the year that manufactured housing hit its last peak, but it was also the year that Simon Reynolds compiled and published ” Thoughts of Chairman Buffett – Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha.”
HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
MHARR SEEKS HUD STUDY AND ANALYSIS OF ZONING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MANUFACTURED HOUSING Washington, D.C., April 8, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), in an April 4, 2019 meeting with HUD policy, analysis and research officials, called on the Department to conduct nationwide research – and follow-up analysis – concerning local zoning mandates that discriminatorily exclude or drastically restrict the placement of federally-regulated manufactured homes to the detriment of lower and moderate-income American families in large areas of the country.