“When testifying in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Kevin Clayton, CEO of Maryville, Tenn.-based Clayton Homes and head of the Manufactured Housing Institute…” – HousingWire.
“Mobile home [sic] loans and borrowers are different. Clayton Homes dominates the industry. Clayton charges borrowers of color a lot more. Clayton targets borrowers of color and steers them into…” National Consumer Law Center.
American Banker, Seattle Times, BuzzFeed News…
…These are just some of the operations that have identified the third rail in the manufactured housing industry’s economic and political landscape.
Berkshire Hathaway (BH) Owned Clayton Homes dominates the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Isn’t that evident by…?
- Third party media analysis (examples, from both right and left wing media)
- The fact that 2 out of 4 of the MHI Executive Committee seats are held by Clayton Homes’ Tom Hodges and 21st Mortgage, Tim Williams,
- The third seat is held by a former Clayton Homes division president, Joe Stegmayer, now Chairman of Cavco Industries, and
- Howard Walker, ELS which uses BH lending and other BH connected products and services?
Clayton Homes and its sister operations have been charged by several third parties with racism, steering, and predatory lending.
- It’s 9.11. 9/11/2001 was like a wake-up call, but it also brought the nation together.
- Texas and Louisiana have just endured Hurricane Harvey.
- Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have, are or soon will be feeling the impact of Irma.
- We have a builder/businessman in the White House.
- President Donald J. Trump has prefab housing interests.
- Vice President Mike Pence understands and respects manufactured housing, perhaps better than any VP in history.
The president’s agenda is pro-business, pro-growth, American Business and American Workers First.
The president has shown by his actions that he is implementing his campaign promises. The DC Swamp is Fighting Back.
That Swamp is perhaps best defined as the intersection of Big Business, Big Lobby, and Big Government.
The Above Is Like an Executive Summary,
The Below are Some Details, Facts, Allegations, Concerns – What It Means to Manufactured Housing, and
Potential Next Steps
“Superficiality is the curse of the modern world” – Matthew Kelly
Skim at your own risk.
Open your mind, and consider the following objectively, without passion, habit, or emotion.
While some of those claims by parties outside of manufactured housing could be nuanced, questioned or debunked, the persistence of the allegations above and below by third parties are significant. We’ll note right now that our raising this issue as a pro-industry trade publisher, and citing these topics from these sources, doesn’t mean we endorse everything these parties are stating or alleging.
Rather, we’re doing what every good trade media does in other industries. We report the good, the bad and the problematic.
There is no way to solve a problem if you don’t first identify it, analyze the options, and then begin to work to solve those identified issues.
Thanks to our sponsors, team and supporters, we bring day-by-day the Manufactured Home Industry’s “News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.” It’s all about team work. While the commentary is that of our organization, we must in gratitude in turn thanks those:
- Service users of our operation,
- That make our work possible. We could not do this alone. We don’t operate in a vacuum.
We salute those who support us, and our thousands of readers should use their products and services at every opportunity.
Congressman Ellison and others pushing DOJ and CFPB Investigations
MHProNews documented in the reports linked that third parties are pushing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and/or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to release findings about Berkshire Hathaway operations on the issues of racism, steering and predatory lending.
What is not entirely clear is the degree to which anti-trust allegations may be part of DOJ or other investigations.
While we have sources in and close to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).
Those sources state they are carefully monitoring all that we publish.
To our knowledge at this moment, MHI and the Berkshire Hathaway (BH) brands have not responded to these issues raised last month or previously.
Allegations, Allegations – Facts, Figures and The Record
We’re told that MHI and the BH brands have attorneys that go over our articles and posts, looking for ways to shut MHProNews and MHLivingNews down. Why? Are they trying to control the narrative? So that only their voice is left?
We have sources that have told us that they’ve directly and/or indirectly pressured our advertisers and sponsors.
We’ll layout those concerns and allegations above and below. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©
The Third Rail in Manufactured Housing
There is a reputed third rail in manufactured housing.
BH has so much influence – some believe – they industry professionals and companies are economically fearful of standing up to them.
But thanks to some courageous, wise, committed, sponsors and supporters – we’ve been able to carry on.
That should not be construed to mean that those sponsors agree with each and everything we do. We don’t ask some’s permission to publish or produce. We have quiet advice from a variety of sources. But we make our own decisions, based upon the facts, input as we see them and experience.
We strive day-by-day to act in what we believe the facts and experience reveals are the root issues that hold manufactured housing back from doing 5 to 10 times more business annually than the industry currently does.
We’ve said for years. If RVs are outselling Manufactured Housing by some 5 to 1, why can’t almost every honest retailer, every ethical community operator be selling about 5 or more times the number of homes that they do? RVs are a luxury for most, while manufactured homes are one of the necessities of life.
MHI and Surrogates
Suzanne Felber and George Allen have and are said to be receiving promotional benefits from MHI, and/or certain forms of work from MHI and/or Berkshire Hathaway (BH) companies.
Is it a coincidence that Felber’s site fawns over Jennison, HUD’s Pam Danner, Clayton Homes, and MHI?
Allen’s situation is perhaps more complex, as the emailed discussion linked here reflects.
What is clear is that Allen periodically lashes out via email and/via his blog, etc. against this writer and MHProNews with unsubstantiated claims, designed to dissuade his followers from putting stock in MHARR, this writer, or the MHProNews trade media.
Allen – by accident, design, hubris, envy or some combination – thus provides de facto ‘cover’ to MHI and the BH brands.
That cover comes from the one person – Allen – who made a serious claim at starting a post-production association. But after a number of years have gone by, his COBA7 is not a formal association at all. Emails between members of COBA7 provided to MHProNews by their own followers suggest they are unsure what to do about MHI or how to best advance the industry.
It wasn’t always so with Allen, as the screen captures and weekend email exchange attached reflects.
At a minimum, we’d allege that Allen’s not been consistent.
At a minimum, Allen’s failed to follow the logic of what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and others have pointed out. That doesn’t mean he should be condemned to perdition’s flames. I’ve said many times, if Allen’s followers didn’t see some value to his work, then he’d have no audience.
But is the main value Allen brings his networking meetings? And given the steep decline in his meeting attendance since we were involved in cross-promotion with him, is Allen’s influence rising, or fading?
MHARR, MHI, and MHProNews
While MHARR and MHProNews have some overlapping interests, each organization is a distinct and independent operation.
Allen wrongfully conflates MHARR and MHI’s respective missions. We’ve covered that before, so won’t belabor that today.
For several years before MHARR used MHProNews for some modest ads, this writer was periodically taking MHARR positions at MHI meetings. We as trade publishers did so when we felt MHARR was correct. I personally did that privately and in public, both before and after my being elected by my peers as a board member of the MHI Suppliers Division.
MHI knew exactly who I was – a goal and solution oriented, pragmatic idealistic – because I don’t keep that secret. It’s part of every email MHProNews sends out.
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
A search of our articles going back in time will reflect the reality that we supported MHI on some topics, MHARR on others.
It should also be noted that at one point in time, perhaps naively believing that MHI and MHARR could be ‘reconciled,’ we attempted to do just that when Dick Jennison came on board as MHI’s president. There are a number of industry pros, beyond
- Dick Jennison,
- Rick Robinson,
- Mark Weiss,
- Danny Ghorbani,
- Joe Stegmayer,
- Dennis Hill,
and numerous others who know this to be true.
It should be noted that MHProNews always took editorially the view our parent company’s management – Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC – dba/MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com, et al – believed was in the best interest of the industry, based upon then available information.
They can’t have it both ways.
We Operate by the Same Principles Now as Then.
Some of those stands were controversial, as Financial Services Chairman Dick Ernst said in the video above. But as he also said, it’s because of our desire to bring the industry together in a cohesive way.
Cohesion – peace and cooperation – are only possible among those of good will.
After years of efforts, often behind the scenes, we came to the painful conclusion that MHI staff did not want peace with MHARR.
We also came to the painful conclusion that MHI allegedly wanted to so dominate MHARR, and if possible,
- buy out,
- draw in as members of MHI, and/or
- force out of business each MHARR member, and thus silence MHARR for good.
As new facts or insights emerged, we as trade publishers tried to adapt to those insights. We had inside and other sources at MHI that gave us some tips and insights as to what was coming. Some of those insights were about plans, months or years in advance of their being enacted.
Finance, Monopolistic Actions, and Duty to Serve (DTS)
It’s clear in hindsight that on a subject such as the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing lending by the GSEs, that my view previous view on accepting MHI’s stated support for the same was naive.
We have since carefully laid out our concerns and allegations that while
- MHI staff stated their desire to want DTS to become reality, in fact,
- Tim Williams/21st Mortgage,
- as well as Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance,
have practically foiled those efforts at a robust chattel DTS program or pilot.
How did they do it, one might ask? A fair question. Here’s how.
21st and VMF did so by not providing the data that the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs or Enterprises) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as their sources say, needed to responsibly enter into the chattel market in a spirited fashion.
There are other factors too, this document can’t be all encompassing. But we previously documented with comments from experts such as Titus Dare, Marty Lavin and others.
Anyone can go to
- Industry Voices,
- the Daily Business News (DBN),
- Industry in Focus Reports, prior
- Masthead blog posts,
- or previous featured articles and interviews,
and you’ll see that step-by-step, for years, we’ve laid the foundation for what we are stating today.
NMHOA and MHAction
We have often taken NMHOA or MHAction to task, and still do for supporting rent control or other efforts that are arguably harmful to their own claimed followers.
We think rent control may be well intentioned, but fails to accomplish the goal it desires. We’ve cited
- Paul Bradley of ROC USA,
- Sam Landy, JD, of UMH Properties,
- Sheila Dey, JD, of the WMA
and numerous others in pointing out the weakness of the concept of rent control. It harms business, affordable housing in general, and manufactured home communities and residents in particular.
But on the narrow subject of DTS and monopolistic practices by MHI and BH units, there may be common ground possible between industry professionals and those consumer-focused groups.
That said, we continue to call on NMHOA and MHAction to revisit and reject their own mistaken support for rent control, and other actions that harm the very people they claim to want to benefit.
We’ve invited public debates
- with those ‘consumer groups,’
- with MHI,
- and MHI’s de facto surrogates to debate the issues by video.
While NMHOA has not yet accepted that invitation, to their credit, Isbhel Dickens at least acknowledged in writing their willingness to consider that kind of direct engagement.
By contrast, MHI and their surrogates have not accepted that offer on any level.
If they were right, why do they duck a public debate?
Duck. Dodge. Distract. Detract. Delay. Deny. Demean. Defame. Destroy.
When you see an indirect, semi-public or no reply by MHI, BH and their surrogates, think about those 9 deadly Ds.
When you see or hear about efforts by MHI, BH, or their surrogates to
- starve out,
- or destroy MHProNews and MHLivingNews, you have to ask yourself, why?
Why has MHI not taken on the issues that we’ve raised, until the last few months, and then, only in an arguably weak or even counterproductive fashion?
When you see MHI, BH and their surrogates try to
- buy out competitors,
- harm competitors through heavy regulations,
- feint an argument for X, when their powers that be are doing the opposite,
or try to pressure MHARR members into becoming MHI members, you have to ask yourself, why?
MHI and MHARR Independent HUD Code Producers
In my enthusiasm to debunk the Atlantic and IBIS World, several years ago, I missed their powerful point that was hiding in plain sight.
Their headline claimed that manufactured housing was a dying industry. We strived to debunk that claim, and I’d stand by that to this day.
But I missed the nuance necessary for the point they made about Clayton dominating MH retail.
MHProNews has had independent MHI and MHARR members alike tell me that while they may not officially be up for sale, for the right price and terms, they’d sell.
MHProNews has had independent MHI and MHARR members alike tell me that the biggest thing that holds them back having enough independent retailers to distribute and sell their products.
MHProNews has had state association executives tell me that several of their independents are undercapitalized.
MHProNews has had independent community owners and retailers tell us that there’s just too many issues to navigate.
They sell out or close down.
Wasn’t The Atlantic was right about that point?
What the Atlantic and others may or may not understand is just how the industry got to this point. That will be laid out in future reports, stay tuned.
We will also circle back, perhaps this weekend, and hot link the various bullets and allegations noted in this document. Stay tuned.
A “Brilliant” BH Strategy to Dominate Manufactured Housing, While Avoiding the ?
Look carefully at what we’ve been publishing on MHProNews for months and years.
While we’ve worked independently of each other, there are several points in common. Coincidence?
BH’s Clayton’s willingness to buy from independents, or to use Triad Financial, or Credit Human (formerly San Antonio Credit Union) or other lending sources and suppliers, those were arguably shrewd moves in a strategic and tactical sense.
- First, it undermined the claim of monopoly. After all, how can you be a monopoly if you are buying from a competitor? That gives them some cover with DOJ or the FTC.
- Next, by failing to succeed at passing Preserving Access, or
- Third, by failing to succeed at getting HUD, or DOE or others that could be cited to relent in some regulatory overreach, they were indirectly allowing pressure on the independent producers and the independent retailers. That too is useful to give them cover with DOJ or the FTC.
- But one reason why – primarily, but not solely via MHI and their surrogates – by trying to marginalize, silence, buyout, or crush MHProNews and MHLivingNews – weren’t they trying to control the industry’s narrative?
- To the degree that they control the industry’s narrative, aren’t they trying to create an information monopoly?
- By controlling the information – the inner industry dialogue – aren’t they trying to avoid the very kind of analysis and fact checks that MHARR and MHProNews produce?
Why won’t MHI release their own bylaws? We’re told that isn’t even legal, but they’ve still done it.
Why does MHI have inaccurate consumer information? The last we checked, they’ve not corrected it.
Why did MHI try to keep us from doing certain interviews or attend certain public addresses by elected or appointed officials? That – per attorneys we’ve spoken with – raise a variety of legal and constitutional issues.
Isn’t it arguable that these moves are designed to choke off competition, including competing news and commentary?
Isn’t the Truth Hiding in Plain Sight?
Isn’t Warren Buffett precisely what Tim Williams/21st/MHI Chair arguing against in this exclusive report? Every slide was provided by Williams and/or a source at MHI.
MHARR has a tiny fraction of the MHI budget, but they are consistently correct on the issues. Frankly, the only things they’ve missed, IMHO, are fairly nuanced areas, more a matter of style than substance.
If MHARR can be correct on issue after issue, why is MHI wrong so often?
If MHARR can be logical on so many issues, why is MHI so often double minded?
“A double–minded man, is unstable in all his ways,” – James 1:8
Odds are excellent that one or more of the 9 D’s describes the motive for MHI, BH and their surrogates from not replying straight up, or debating straight up.
If they were in the correct, why not take a stage in a video debate of the issues?
Could it be that they are concerned that they would lose?
That’s not hubris, because frankly MHI and BH has attorneys who are trained in such matters such as debate. Ishbel Dickens is an attorney, and she too is trained in debate. They have a training this writer doesn’t have. That’s not my area of expertise.
They have time, money and resources we don’t have. Yet, they are the ones playing the 9D game. Why?
Duck, Dodge, Distract, Detract, Delay, Deny, Demean, Destroy, Game.
Why an Independent-Focused Post-Production MH Association is Needed
News, education and even promotion can only do so much. We’re not lobbyists, but we can, have, and do support lobbying activity.
The industry needs someone with the mindset of President Trump’s and VP Mike Pence’s stated agenda to lobby for that to be applied in Washington, D.C.
MHARR has said as much in writing for years.
There is a real need for either a third association to represent the post-production sector, or for MHARR and/or NFIB to step up and expand their offerings to fill that role.
Frankly, in a perfect world, what I think should happen is that MHARR expand, and team carefully with NFIB.
As an FYI to the detail minded, the last time MHProNews had an in-depth conversation with NFIB officials, they stated that their preference was to work with an existing association on specialized topics, while providing the added muscle on bigger issues such as tax reform, repealing and replacing ObamaCare, and the like.
That leaves it to MHARR to decide in their November conference call if they may want to expand to serve the broader manufactured housing industry, as opposed to just independent HUD Code manufactured housing producers and some state affiliated associations.
We have repeatedly offered MHI the opportunity to respond in writing to the issues and concerns we’ve raised. We also routinely cited MHI, or their surrogate’s own words in our reports. That’s how fact checks and balanced reporting works.
MHI Wants to “Stop the Leaks”
We are now being told that MHI is trying to ‘stop the leaks’ – which includes even their own publications to members! Why?
Could it be, as we’ve alleged several times, that they want to control the industry’s narrative?
Could it be that they want to propagandize the industry, to the detriment of those being manipulated?
Where is MHI’s self-proclaimed clout?
Where’s Rick Robinson’s self-proclaimed MHI Zen?
Aren’t MHI, Allen, Felber and others guilty of the very things that they claim MHProNews does?
To rephrase, aren’t they projecting onto us, what they themselves are guilty of doing?
That’s why, ICYMI, its necessary to engage with these parties, and to refute their spurious allegations, while challenging them to debate the issues or at least prove their claims.
They’ve always declined or bow outed, why?
If they were correct, and MHARR or MHProNews were so wrong, why would they not debate? Unless they lacked the confidence of the guts to stand up to closer public and industry scrutiny?
A Missed Opportunity to Deny, Decry and Denounce Racism
We also offered MHI’s executive committee members, plus Clayton, VMF and 21st the softball opportunity to deny, decry and denounce racism and the monopolistic allegations against them.
Go back to the top. See what Cong. Ellison said. If you happen to be right or centrist, don’t let Ellison’s positions keep you from looking at what has been presented.
Facts are facts, no matter who presents them.
The scriptures have said, separate the wheat from the chaff. That applies to all, very much to me and our work included.
President Trump Accepted that Opportunity from Media he Doesn’t Trust, Then Why Would MHI not do the Same?
In the MHI/BH wisdom, they did not accept that opportunity. Any excuse they use to their members will be convincing to those who blindly want to believe them.
We’ll begin to draw to a close this Masthead commentary and analysis with the following.
Smaller to mid-sized firms are de facto paying for what the larger ones want.
Smaller to mid-sized firms are arguably feeding the hand that bites them.
Those that sit on the sidelines are de facto supporting the powers that be. Any excuse will do to sit on the sidelines. You don’t like the color of my hair, I’m too tall, short, fat, skinny, the wrong gender, skin color, whatever excuse you want will do. Ditto with respect to mighty MHARR.
The larger firms benefit from the lack of progress on a range of issues, which they claim to want to accomplish. What team keeps hiring a coach and QB to keep failing to win?
There is no logic to saying – as MHI does – that HUD is overstepping their authority, while not at the same time asking for Pam Danner to step aside and be reassigned as director of the Manufactured Housing program. Isn’t that only logical?
It is fishy at best that MHI’s VP Lois Starkey left MHI and now works at HUD. To my knowledge, MHI has yet to comment on that issue. If they have nothing to hide, why does MHI hide on the Starkey and Danner and other issues?
Why has MHI told some that replacing Pam Danner is a close subject?
Why has MHI allegedly prepared Lois Starkey to fill Danner’s spot, if Danner does step aside?
We’ve pointed to arguments made by Sam Zell, or Jenny Hodge, and drawn them to their logical conclusion.
We’ve pointed to the arguments made by MHI Chair, Tim Williams, and drawn them to the obvious open question. How can Williams claim to be at odds with Warren Buffett? Hasn’t Buffett openly supported Dodd-Frank, the CFPB, Secretary Clinton and Barack Obama? Hasn’t Buffett and BH favored heavy taxes and regulations that they can better avoid? That, by the way, is among the places where Cong. Ellison and I would part company.
Because we’ve been citing for years third-party research that has documented what common sense tells the objective thinker is true. Heavier regulations harms independents more than big companies.
That’s why even U.S. Bank backed away from manufactured home chattel lending, even thought they had a success program. That’s and low volume, which MHProNews raised that concern years ago, while I was elected by my peers to be on MHI’s Suppliers Division Board of Directors.
That’s why this quote from Dick Jennison, an unforced admission by him on video is so powerful.
MHProNews led the Independent’s Industry Charge for the Trump Admin
My wife and several industry pros were on the Trump train before this writer became convinced. I saw one decent Democratic candidate, Jim Webb, or dropped out early. Several of the GOPers were okay on paper.
- But Donald Trump had deep pockets,
- the street fighting, counterpunching skills,
- and the name recognition that made him a viable candidate.
Fault him for this or that tweet, but I think the man is a genius. POTUS Trump isn’t perfect, but neither are you or I. Trump is a genius. I’ve followed him for years off and on. He was right about trade when conservative icon Ronald Reagan might have done better, by listening to Trump.
Can You Spell, Phony? Hypocrisy? Con Job?
We remind readers that while MHI took no public position on the last election, just days before the election, they had not one but two pro-Secretary Hillary Clinton speakers on their stage in Chicago.
They did not lift a finger to help pro-business, pro-worker Donald Trump become president.
No two people agree on everything.
My 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.
We’ve worked with those from every racial, ethnic, religious, economic or any other group you care to mention. We are realistic idealists. We are optimistic pragmatists. We know that only some will come together to advance the industry, not all.
For approaching 9 years since we began publishing, thanks to those that we work with and who sponsor us, we’ve created a site that reports best practices, covers news that often no one else in MH does, and identifies issues that hold the industry back.
Frank Rolfe and I would not agree on everything, as he’d be the first to say. But he’s right when he said that it is the industry itself that has held manufactured housing back from achieving its full potential.
Titus Dare and I would not agree on everything either, as he’d be the first to say. But he’s right that MHI has used problematic messaging that opens the Arlington, VA based association – and by extension, those that mimic MHI.
We could go through that same litany over and again. Some of our strongest supporters don’t agree with every specific thing we do. There are some that think, for example, that it is a waste of time to reach out to MHI, Allen, etc. There are reasons that we do so. For example, recently an industry pro we respect tried to privately get Allen and I to bridge the gap.
My take is that Allen is not willing to do so. But that’s not the biggest thing on the radar.
That biggest thing is the threat from within the industry posed by MHI and BH.
That biggest threat can be overcome, through a wise use of facts, history, common sense, critical analysis and reason.
BH dominated MHI has not defended the industry when it could.
BH dominated MHI has not succeed at getting Preserving Access passed, when numerous sources told us that MHI could have had the MLO rule by agreement with the non-profits.
That would have benefited Triad and Credit Human, along with every other MH lender.
Why didn’t Tim Williams and VMF agree to that half-a-loaf is better than none deal?
Do you see how there is a consistent pattern of failure by MHI to succeed in areas that they could do much better at than they currently are?
Are they incompetent?
Or is clever, head fakes and cunning?
Whether they succeed or fail at Preserving Access, or other issues, several industry voices have told us that BH benefits.
The MH Alliance
Freedom isn’t free.
“Easy doesn’t pay well.” – John Bostick
Principles and integrity alone will produce long term success for manufactured housing.
IMHO, without a moral, ethical faith-based foundation, our industry and our nation will continue to struggle.
Everyone with a belief that they contradict in word or deed is a hypocrite. This writer claims no perfection, my wife can correct anyone who mistakenly thinks otherwise. We have for years and years said that all that we do is a result of team work. All success is team work.
But every team can use a coach, guide, and cheerleader.
We know what works. MHI – even while I was an active, board member – would not help promote any of the solutions that we provided.
Even when those solutions advanced what they claimed they wanted done, they didn’t use it or provide it to others. Why?
How else to explain it than?
- Are they incompetent?
- Too arrogant?
- Or is clever, head fakes and cunning?
- Do the powers that be win, whether or not MHI succeeds at what they claim to want do accomplish?
MHI Literally Picks Winners and Losers
After a few appearances on MHI’s stage, while still an MHI member, not long after Dick Jennison came in as president, and while he and I were supposedly still on good terms, they stopped allowing me or others we believe in any time on an MHI stage. Why?
For example, we promoted Lisa Tyler, Ph.D. Dr. Tyler is a terrific believer in manufactured housing. She’s reportedly the first person to get a Ph.D. in perhaps 20 years with a specific manufactured housing focus.
Why did they give Dr. Tyler no time on stage? Dr. Tyler, to my knowledge, had no beef with BH. Still, she was given no stage time. Why not?
For years, Nadeen Green, JD, did Fair Housing articles for MHProNews. Some state associations would promote her writing, but not MHI. Why not?
At no cost to MHI, about 4 years ago, this writer promoted a concept at the Suppliers Division that would have made us not a dime. But it could have made the industry’s independents billions of dollars by getting to the root issues that keep tens of millions from taking manufactured housing seriously.
Lois Starkey was the point coordinator for MHI on that issue. We were told that Dick Jennison opposed that effort, if so, why? That was true even during the time that we were supposedly working to promote Preserving Access together.
Why did Jennison oppose what would have been a super low cost, easy win for MHI to promote the entire industry?
Why didn’t Starkey ever advance the concept to completion?
Dozens of Supplier Divisions members know exactly what I’m talking about, because the above was not a secret. Hundreds if not thousands of MHProNews readers would read a periodic notice about that, and may have wondered, what ever happened to that infotainment initiative?
Perhaps it would have been too useful to smaller and mid-sized companies, and not useful enough to larger firms?
Allen criticized me privately and publicly for taking quotes out of context or not dating quotes. Sorry, George, but you and I both know that isn’t accurate. We provide more context than almost anyone in media. Some think we provide TOO much detail, and this post will be an example of that claim.
The reality is that you just can’t please everyone, and you just can’t please some people, period.
But the videos on this page are all part of the picture of what has held our industry up, and how this industry advances. By choking off growth, people like Nathan Smith and other larger, connected players benefited at the expense of the smaller independents, isn’t that a fair reading of what happened?
Isn’t that what Smith is laughing about in this video?
A New Source for Pro-Industry Events
A non-MHARR source has touched base with us more than once on the idea of doing events independent of MHI. We commend the initiative, should it advance. Frankly, we’ve considered doing the same thing.
One of the few things that MHI does that has value for many are networking and educational events. Not only this writer, but many – including MHI members – have told us that MHI charges way too much for their events.
That can be all be changed for the better.
We’ve said for months, MHI needs to be reformed or supplanted.
We’ve said for years, that the state associations are routinely far more effective than MHI is at getting their stated agendas done.
MHProNews and MHLivingNews are proof that there is no third rail in the MH industry.
No one has killed me.
No one has beat me up.
We have spoken with legal counsel about MHI – and by extension BH? – efforts to marginalize, and if possible starve us of advertisers and sponsors.
We will do whatever we think is best, honorable, honest, and should we do so, we’ll do that with the least cost to us, and the most impact on them.
While MHI has had some success at scaring off some sponsors, we still have enough to sustain our needs, thanks be to God and those who support our work.
The point is,
- these allegedly monopolistic forces can be beaten, even though they are far better funded.
- They make mistakes. Look at BH/Clayton’s iHouse. How did that work for them? Did they ever figure out why that failed?
- Those mistakes are revealed through fact checks, history and their own statements!
The irony is that I’m not opposed to big business, but we editorially are opposed to monopolistic practices.
There are good reasons why anti-trust – anti-monopoly – laws exist. It is harmful to the public and to small business, which creates the most jobs.
Could I be wrong on President Trump? About VP Mike Pence? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.
I think Mark Weiss and Danny Ghorbani are right. If the industry fails to advance in Washington under the Trump Administration, shame on the majority for not acting while we have the chance!
In our industry and in America, there has historically been three types of groups and people.
1) Those who take one side,
2) those who take the other.
3) Those who sit in the middle, trying to figure out who to support.
The American revolutionaries had the odds against them. The British had historically won war after war before the Revolution of 1776. The American insurgents rallied enough of the people to beat the English. Yet the Brits at the time was the world’s only super power.
David beat Goliath.
If we take all of the independents in MH combined, they actually outnumber MHI’s giants. Nor do we need them all, but we do need enough people and companies of integrity to step up and be goal and solution oriented.
I’m not going to say it is easy. Easy doesn’t pay well.
But what we want to do is doable. It’s been successful.
We think BH’s monopolistic control over MHI and several state associations needs to end.
We think if MHI fails to reform itself, then those professionals of good will need to do a post-production association ourselves.
Those who think that manufactured housing can’t be change are right, and wrong. They forget that 20 years ago, it was Fleetwood and Champion who competed for being number one and two.
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
While the industry is advancing, third generation professional – millennial Tom Fath – has said is manufactured housing is in decay and under assault. He’s growing, and he’s right.
The MH Alliance – P.E.P. The ADL and NAACP of Manufactured Housing
My father was a philosopher. He taught us kids that you can’t give what you don’t have. MHI can’t give what it doesn’t have.
For whatever reason MHI has not defended the industry nor itself.
That’s a hard to dispute fact, but we’ll call it an allegation, while we challenge them to debate in public and prove me wrong.
The industry must do what the ADL and NAACP did for their respective groups.
Now is the Time for All Good People to Come to the Aid of their Country.
Now is the Time for All Good People to Come to the Aid of their Business and Industry.
If not now, while the industry is somewhat recovering, when? If not now, when the nation is facing perhaps the greatest affordable housing crisis, when?
Doing and fighting for what’s right is profitable. But regardless, it is always the right thing to do what’s right.
MHLivingNews and MHProNews are prepared to support intelligent efforts to supplant what MHI does.
Why not let the big companies keep their big boys club?
Why not let there be an association that works on behalf of everyone else?
Feedback on this is welcome. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Fisking, Analysis, News, and MH Industry Commentary.)
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L. A. “Tony” Kovach is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC. The Mastheadblog represents that editorial perspective, and may or may not represent the views of sponsors or others.
MHProNews is open to a diversity of professional viewpoints. We routinely seek, get, and publish feedback from industry professionals that represents a range of diverse views and backgrounds.
MHI is once more invited to publicly debate via video, available both live and for later playback, their track record on protecting and promoting the manufactured home industry.
Because MHI directly and through surrogates has postured legal action and other similar threats, we are going to use the word alleged for the above, and encourage thoughtful readers to dig into the facts for themselves. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©