MHProNews has been fielding industry responses via email, phone and text to the report and analysis linked below.
Based upon early feedback, MHProNews sent the following inquiry to MHI members for their response. The inquiry included the link above, and asked members of state and the largest national MH association – the Manufactured Housing Insitute – the following:
Q – “Off the record, do you think it appropriate to mislead members on an issue?”
Examples of replies by MHI members:
“Never!! The problem with misleading anyone is they take the “lie” as gospel and they in turn put their individual reputation and credibility on the line.
Taken a step further the person/organization just smashed their own rep & cred and they will bust their hump to ever be trusted again“
One well-placed MHI member stated,
“I can only guess that they are trying to stay on the “good side” of CFPB and the consumer groups. Problem is, they don’t have (a) good side.
This kind of legislation (HR 650/S 682) will never pass with a Democrat administration in place;” (parenthetical not in the original, but was implied).
Using an example of a named high school coach, which was edited out to protect the source…
The coach “…had 3 rules for…the team.
1) always tell the truth.
2) think before action and finally
3) lean on the foundation your parents gave you to do the right thing.”
A respected state association leader, replied to the MHI controversy by stating:
“MHI is a joke, a bad one. One guy could make a phone call and fix all of the issues with CFPB. He owns 50% of the industry and refuses to lift a finger, they can kiss my ass if they think I am going to waste my time and energy.
MHARR is a bunch whiny ass crybabies who waste their time seeking subsidies for this industry. We don’t need subsidies, we need to be left alone.”
MHARR & MHI Reactions
MHI and MHARR staff/sources were given a chance to react to these statements.
A source close to MHARR texted the following Sunday afternoon:
“Not sure why someone that’s informed about our industry and association and work would make such a comment? While there are associations that seek taxpayer subsidies, MHARR is not one them.”
The same source elaborated, stating:
“MHARR fights to maintain the affordability of manufactured housing by opposing unreasonable and discriminatory regulation and by seeking even-handed treatment for MH financing via the statutory duty to serve. “
MHI staff and an elected leader asked for reaction/comment failed to reply as of press time; but MHProNews will bring any follow-up by the association to the industry’s attention.
Another source said in a call that MHI is at a standstill on The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650-S 682), and rather than risk a fall in attendance at their upcoming summer meeting, they put out their MHI Housing Alert (attached as a download on the link above) as spin to keep the appearance of momentum on their bill going.
Risking an MHI Profit Center?
Another comment provided a similar viewpoint, saying that MHI meetings have become a profit center for that national MH association. That source stated the key staffers are unwilling to candidly admit the challenges to most MHI members. He elaborated by explaining that in pre-meeting emails, MHI staff feared a drop-off in attendance at the summer meeting would result if the full truth were told to members.
MHProNews was told members routinely fail to speak out publicly on an issue that the association has taken a stance on, “...you are either inside their circle, or not. As soon as you question leadership in a meeting or public, they’re routinely tagged as an outsider. There is no question that insiders get better treatment than those who question a path; even if that questioning is with the good intentions of the association and industry in mind.”
Who authorized the MHI memo?
MHProNews sought confirmation of an an aspect to who ok’d the original MHI Housing Alert that sparked the linked analysis. Nathan Smith – prior MHI Chair and partner in SSK Communities – name was raised in a reply, “Nathan…he’s a Democrat and a friend of Elisabeth Warren’s.”
Elizabeth Warren was a champion of the Dodd/Frank reforms, and opposes on principle any changes to the law.
Another source pointed a finger at Nathan Smith as being “routinely” involved in reviewing memos that go out to members, without specifically saying that the prior MHI Chair did so on this ‘alert.’
Another industry member stated, “I am glad you wrote this article. Accountability is key to our industries success.”
Other comments used colorful language not deemed worthy of publishing in pro-Industry trade media.
Some made a point of defending other MHI staffers, but routinely agreed that President and CEO Dick Jennison would have okayed the housing alert in question, and that it was beyond the pale for he and SVP Lesli Gooch to send that document to members.
For the record, MHProNews has and still does support passage of Preserving Access and/or having the CFPB change the regulations themselves, as the link here demonstrates.
(Editor’s Note: Typos found in quotes are in their original texted or emailed replies.)