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Happy Holidays! ‘Outrageous’-In Time for Christmas, New MHI Doc Reveals Apparent Threats to any Who Disagree w/Manufactured Housing Institute as MHI Declares Sweeping New Meeting-Event Powers

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In this fact and evidence packed news-editorial-analysis is a recently posted and newly obtained document from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) website. The document is dated 11.30.2023, but the URL of the document suggests it was posted sometime during the month of December 2023. MHI leaders were asked about the document late Friday afternoon but did not immediately respond; and based upon years of evidence, may never respond. The document has been described as “outrageous.”

Why?

Because this so-called “Code of Conduct” declares as an “MHI event” any “meetings, conferences and symposia, assemblies, receptions, workshops, exhibits, gatherings, and any other forum” “organized, hosted, or sponsored in whole or part by MHI” or “related to MHI business of any kind.”

That is so sweepingly broad that it is possible that no one from MHI could be at an event, no MHI member may be at an event, yet if any MHI “members and event attendees” (emphasis added) merely posts in social media something deemed by MHI to be “unacceptable behavior” or unwanted “publicity” towards “another person” then MHI could take any action it deems okay in their sole judgment. Quoting: “MHI reserves the right to take any appropriate action against a member or event attendee…”

If your beliefs clash with that of anyone else’s beliefs there, which is all but guaranteed, you could be subjected to MHI’s whims.

Don’t believe it? Here is how they (highlighting and emphasis added) phrased it. “MHI reserves the right to take any appropriate action against a member or event attendee…”

“MHI has the right…to decide what conduct constitutes harassment.” Sieg Heil, MHI Leaders!

Via this new MHI ‘code of conduct’ meeting document, an evidence-based case can be made that have declared themselves to be the new authoritarians who decide by their own self-declared authority what might be a friendly remark or what kind of “publicity” could be deemed a sexual advance, or an offense, based solely on their say so.

Checking with an attorney, it is possible that the origins of this MHI document may seem innocent, such as a suggestion by an insurance carrier.  That said, such a start doesn’t mean – per legal an association expert cited in Part II below – that this particular rollout by MHI is appropriate. They may have opened themselves up to liability just for deploying a flawed document, per that association expert.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of MHI’s document is wrapped in some of the latest leftist buzz words, while they posture representing “all segments” of the manufactured housing industry. The document is provided below in Part I of this report and analysis. Part II will provide additional information, analysis and commentary.

As an industry attorney who reviewed the MHI document that follows told MHProNews: “you’re right, it can certainly be abused while portrayed as completely innocent. Just another example arguably of their “party line or else ” way of operating.”

 

Part I – Recently Posted (Circa 11.30.2023 or 12.2023) Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) “Code of Conduct” 

Code of Conduct

    1. This Code of Conduct applies to all MHI members and anyone who attends an MHI event. MHI events include, but are not limited to, all meetings, conferences and symposia, assemblies, receptions, workshops, exhibits, gatherings, and any other forum that is (1) organized, hosted, or sponsored in whole or part by MHI, (2) located on MHI premises, or (3) related to MHI business of any kind.
    2. MHI strives to provide a safe, inclusive, harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, beliefs, citizenship, age, or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law.
    3. MHI does not tolerate conduct that threatens, intimidates, or coerces another person.
    4. MHI expects members and event attendees to act in a legally appropriate, professional manner that promotes a positive and collegial atmosphere free from harassment and other unacceptable behavior. Members and event attendees are expected to act with courtesy and mutual respect towards others.
    5. No member or event attendee may engage in conduct that is discriminatory, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy or publicity, or otherwise violative of any law.

<li>Harassment is any improper or unwelcome conduct that might reasonably be expected or perceived to cause offense or humiliation to another person. MHI prohibits all harassment, including, but not limited to, harassment related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, national origin, political affiliation, age, religion.

  • Sexual harassment is a specific type of prohibited conduct. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offense or humiliation, including but not limited to, unwanted physical touching or closeness, physical gestures that imply a sexual act or sexual anatomy, using vulgar words of a sexual nature, and unwelcome sexual flirtations or propositions. Sexual harassment may involve any conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature, including written and electronic communications, and may occur between persons of the same or different genders.
  • Members and event attendees must stop any behavior in violation of this Code and must comply with this Code immediately.
  • This code provides general guidelines and cannot cover every possible type of unacceptable behavior. MHI has the right, but not the obligation, to decide what conduct constitutes harassment.
  • MHI reserves the right to take any appropriate action against a member or event attendee who engages in any form of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or inappropriate behavior in violation of this Code.
  • To the greatest extent allowed by law, MHI is not and will not be held responsible for any member or event attendee’s alleged violation of this Code or otherwise inappropriate or unlawful act. ##

 

The full text of the MHI generated copy of the above – with highlighting, illustration and comments added by MHProNews – is found at this link here.

Part II – Additional Information with More MHProNews Masthead Analysis and Commentary

We are not attorneys. But legal sources made it clear that our concerns are not unfounded. As was noted in the preface above: “No, you’re right, it [the MHI document text posted above] can certainly be abused while portrayed as completely innocent. Just another example arguably of their “party line or else ” way of operating.” An association legal expert is also cited herein too.

Much of what is found in that MHI document is so apparently and seemingly self-aggrandizing, overly broad, and potentially based on potentially flawed legal authority beyond their mere say so.

  • While MHI members may be notified of this prior to attending an MHI event, do they know they are subjecting themselves to an array of possible abuse by doing so?
  • Will MHI members be advised of this before they sign up or renew a membership?
  • When a larger company that may bring one or more team members to an event realize the potential liability risks of agreeing to this so-called “Code of Concuct” posted above?
  • Do NON MHI members who are merely “event attendees” at Louisville, Biloxi, any state association, or ANY event realize that they may be deemed to be “related to MHI business of any kind” and thus subjected to these standards?

The array of problems caused by a flawed set of standards that may be applied in an uneven way are significant.

Does that mean that if a subsidiary or firm with manufactured housing industry – and/or any other “business of any kind” is deemed by MHI’s sole discretion to be offensive in any way that you could find yourself on the receiving end of anything MHI deems appropriate? Seemingly so. Again, here is what they wrote.

  • “MHI has the right…to decide what conduct constitutes harassment.“
  • “MHI reserves the right to take any appropriate action against a member or event attendee…”
  • What about constitutionally protected and God-given rights? If someone merely says something during a meeting that someone finds offensive, whose side is MHI going to take?
  • What if someone is winking at a friend, but someone else mistakenly thinks they were winked at – could they find themselves ejected or worse, losing time, money, and prestige in the process?
  • Do you see any mention of those and an array of other possible issues in the MHI document?

 

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MHProNews and others has been warning about the increasingly manipulative, at times self-contradictory, and now seemingly authoritarian behavior of MHI and its dominating brands.

This isn’t hypothetical. The quote below is from a letter from an MHI contracted attorney to a then MHI member who disagreed with an MHI position. That MHI attorney, David Goch, threatened that party in writing for their remarks. If MHI decides a remark is “deleterious” a word Oxford Languages says that means “causing harm or damage” but which Merriam Webster said: “deleterious applies to what has an often unsuspected harmful effect.” Meaning, an innocent remark can be construed by some person or group to be against their interests. As MHI outside attorney Goch wrote in the comment quoted below: “deleterious statements regarding MHI, the Institute is firmly committed to pursue every legal remedy available to preserve the reputation it has worked so hard to establish and maintain. This includes statements made from its membership as well.”

 

https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-outside-attorney-david-gochs-statement-to-angry-threatening-member-speaks-volumes-plus-sunday-weekly-mhville-headlines-in-review/

 

Imagine as an example that a small, midsized, or large company takes one or several members of their team to the Louisville Show, the Biloxi Manufactured Housing Show, or any state association event.  Or to any event that MHI deems to be connected in any way that is “related to MHI business of any kind.” If someone speaks a word that may be deemed as critical of MHI, or a prominent MHI member, will they get ejected from the event? Sued? It isn’t so farfetched.  When a deposed president is having his legal business interests in New York challenged through what numbers say is an abuse of the legal process, why would it be a surprise to see corporations that have ties to some of those same groups insist on using a potentially innocent question or remark as being deemed damaging to MHI or one of their prominent members?

 

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https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/masthead/the-trump-arrest-why-it-means-business-as-usual-is-dead-or-dying-and-the-party-is-over-malcom-x-ai-orwellian-two-minutes-of-hate-and-silver-linings/

 

Was it Really Sexual Harassment? 

As the image featured image at the top suggests, a buddy may be winking at another buddy across the room. But someone else sees that and may mistakenly think that the wink was intended for them. Could that be a cause for MHI to step in with a heavy hand? Read the above again, quoting: “Sexual harassment may involve any conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature, including written and electronic communications, and may occur between persons of the same or different genders.” That is so broad that entirely innocent behavior could be deemed “harassment.” Someone mistakenly bumps into someone in a busy room or line that they simply don’t see (out of a comfortable line of sight). Suddenly, an innocent bump could be turned into ‘harassment,’ based on an aggressive (mis)use of the MHI Code of Conduct, right?

Look again at what that industry attorney told MHProNews when asked about MHI’s new “code” – that legal pro said: “No, you’re right, it [the MHI document text posted above] can certainly be abused while portrayed as completely innocent. Just another example arguably of their “party line or else” way of operating.”

 

What About MHARR at MHEC or Other Events?

If MHARR’s leaders attend a MHEC Event, or a state association event, it is now – in MHI’s wording above – an MHI event. If MHARR, or anyone else, says something that MHI in its sole discretion deems offensive in any way, MHI could take “any appropriate action” which they alone deem to be ok.

Or what about MHARR members? If a MHARR member is merely at an event which has now been dubbed an MHI event, as a result of this “Code of Conduct” they have posted,”

But it is even more outrageous than that. Because MHI can also give ‘a get out of jail free’ card to those who may actually and intentionally be disparaging others, but that MHI – again in its sole discretion – decides not to enforce these Code of Conduct rules against.

What if MHI is presenting at a virtual event? And someone with a different view than MHI is presenting? That happens routinely with FHFA listening sessions. This is just one of several possible problems with this Code of Conduct as presented by MHI.

 

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/were-abe-lincoln-and-frank-rolfe-correct-federal-agency-to-present-speakers-insights-on-why-affordable-housing-and-manufactured-homes-struggle-during-affordable-housing-crisis/
https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/masthead/pimple-on-an-elephants-ass-shell-game-l-a-tony-kovach-manufactured-housing-institute-manufactured-housing-assoc-for-regulatory-refo/

 

The Flip Side of the Coin from Attorney Denise Gold

In fairness to MHI, according to the American Association of Association Executives (AAAE) on 10.15.2019: “A caring and cautious association should establish a code of conduct for events. Adopting and publishing such a code helps to set a tone of professionalism and respect and to create a welcoming environment for attendees.”  That same page said under “Decisions and Drafting” that “When developing an event code of conduct, first decide what and whom you want to cover. The latter is easy: The code should expressly cover everyone attending the event, including staff, members, guests, volunteers, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. As for what to cover, consider both the general values you want to promote and the specific behaviors you want to encourage or prohibit. Every code should explicitly promote an environment of respect and civility that is free of physical and verbal harassment and bullying.” That same AAAE page gives examples. “Examples include disorderly conduct caused by inebriation, actions that create unsafe conditions (like a trip hazard), and noisy activity that interferes with presentations (like side conversations and cellphones ringing). If privacy or intellectual property rights are a concern, then you might restrict participants from recording or taking photographs during sessions without consent. If antitrust is a concern, then include compliance with your association’s antitrust policy in the code (with a copy of, or link to, the policy).” That said, note that MHI’s “Code of Conduct” doesn’t mention antitrust. It doesn’t mention “inebriation” or “actions that create an “unsafe” situation or “recording or taking photographs without consent.”

Put differently, MHI appears to be taking a reasonable idea and going far beyond the pale to make a statement that is so overly broad as to itself be considered a possible violation of any number of rights of both members AND “event attendees.”

Per AAAI: “Also require attendees to obey all applicable laws and venue policies.” Duh, obvious, but reasonable. That same source said: “The organization is not, generally speaking, responsible for the misconduct of nonemployees toward other nonemployees, even if the incident occurs at an association event. However, if association staff members are aware of, should be aware of, or helped to create the circumstances of the misconduct, then the organization might be held liable.” But the American Association of Association Executives also said: “On the other hand, publishing a poorly drafted code or failing to follow published procedures can raise the risk of liability.” (Emphasis added). These remarks are written by an attorney: “Denise Gold is associate general counsel at the Associated General Contractors of America in Arlington, Virginia.”

Per attorney Gold: “However, if association staff members are aware of, should be aware of, or helped to create the circumstances of the misconduct, then the organization might be held liable.” That noted, MHI’s document specifically give MHI the right to not enforce their code of conduct, based upon their sole discretion. Here is how they phrased it:

  • “MHI has the right, but not the obligation, to decide what conduct constitutes harassment.”

 

‘A Hostile Work Environment’

Some years ago, an MHI team member approached MHProNews with concerns about ‘a hostile work environment.’  That person was a woman, but in the current environment it could be any gender and combination of interactions. MHI’s chair was directly contacted by this writer for MHProNews. The response? In essence, ‘too bad’ that person ‘can quit if they don’t like’ the workplace at MHI.

https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/sexual-harassment-not-just-hollywood-media-politicos-manufactured-housing-workplace-claims-high-profile-mh-cases-too/
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https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/sexual-harassment-not-just-hollywood-media-politicos-manufactured-housing-workplace-claims-high-profile-mh-cases-too/

CodeOfEthicalConduct-ManufacturedHousing.orgWebsiteScreenCapture12.23.2023-about9.30AMetMastMHProNewsFactCheckAnalysisCommentary

 

So, on the one hand, “Adopting and publishing such a code helps to set a tone of professionalism and respect and to create a welcoming environment for attendees,” said Gold. But if the seemingly good gold is twisted, it can be used to target almost anyone for almost any reason. It can be verbal or nonverbal behavior. You may be wearing a religious symbol, but someone else decides it is “offensive.”  You may be used to praying before a meal, but someone else decides that is “offensive.” The ways that this becomes a proverbial “can of worms” for attendees and MHI are vast.

In the view of this editorial, it appears that:

  • MHI could deem most anything to be ‘harassment’ or ‘inappropriate.’
  • You may hold a political view that others don’t like. That is all but guaranteed in our highly polarized society.  MHI said: “harassment related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, national origin, political affiliation, age, religion.” That is so overly broad you may violate that “code” just by being there. Don’t believe it? Consider what has happened to Jews across the U.S. since the surprise Hamas attack on Israel. Or consider what happened to hundreds of Catholic Churches that were attacked since the Supreme Court handed down their ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade.
  • People are used to taking selfies for social media. But just an innocent photo could be twisted into some ‘violation’ of the MHI “Code of Conduct.”
  • If MHI deem it inappropriate, they can take any action they deem in their sole view as being appropriate, as they wish.
  • If MHI decide not to act, then they don’t want to be held accountable.
  • An MHI event could be deemed to include any event where an MHI member firm or “related” interest.

As was noted at the top, this is an outrageous document that threatens the rights of all but the ‘protected’ MHI members that would likely never be charged with this.

 

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustrysMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNe

 

MHI and their attorneys declined to respond to the detailed allegations in the reports linked below. Ponder that as you ponder this new “Code of Conduct” that MHI has quietly rolled out on their website. To learn more, see the deep dives linked a bit further below. ###

 

MerryChristmasManufacturedHomeProNewsBingAI-MastMerryChristmas2023

 

PS: all that said, who at MHI is responsible for the arguably poor taste of that ‘holiday’ greeting? Can’t they create a more appealing image of a new HUD Code manufactured home than what is shown above? Do you see why MHI isn’t to be trusted?

 

Big Picture-Have Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Leaders Defrauded Own Members? Prima Facie Case of Racketeering-Market Manipulating Allegations Based on MHI Members Published Statements

4AttysResearchManufacturedHousingRevealWhyManufacturedHomesUnderperformingDuringAffordableHousingCrisisFactsAnalysisSamStrommenFranQuigleyAndyJustusDanMandelkerMastMHProNews
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Stay tuned for more of what is ‘behind the curtains’ as well as what is obvious and in your face reporting that are not found anywhere else in MHVille. It is all here, which may explain why this is the runaway largest and most-read source for authentic manufactured home “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © 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.)

CongRepAlGreenDeskTamasKovachLATonyKovachPhoto12.3.2019ManufacturedHomeProNews
Our son has grown quite a bit since this photo above was taken. All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested with the discussion of manufactured housing related issues on our trip and 12.3.2019 meetings. But Texas Congressman Al Green’s (D) office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. As political independents, MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

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.

http://latonykovach.com

Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

 

Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.

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FederalAttorneysMoveDismissManufacturedHousingInstituteTexasManufacturedHousingAssocMHI-TMHA-LawsuitDOEsLegalArgumentsAndCEO.LesliGoochPh.D.ExposéPlusMHStocksUpdateMHProNews
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