“It’s not rocket science” said the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) Executive Director Jim Ayotte. “The FMHA press release was issued to elevate Florida’s worsening housing affordability problem, to make the case that factory-built housing needs to be part of the solution…” Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) FMHA affiliate executive Ayotte admits that things are getting worse. Manufactured homes should be part of the solution. But the fact that things have been deteriorating instead of improving are akin to prior statements by Ayotte’s fellow Manufactured Housing Executives Committee (MHEC) members and MHI affiliate association executives Amy Bliss and Mary Gaiski similarly made. That FMHA release that upstaged the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) which Ayotte referenced is linked here. The FMHA/Ayotte release follows in the intellectual footsteps of former MHI chairman Tim Williams. Williams is still president and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corporation, which is a Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) owned brand that is a sister company to Berkshire’s Clayton Homes. Williams exclusively told MHProNews – “There are good arguments to be made that we [the Manufactured Housing Institute] should respond to every story, refute every statistic, and make our case to the public.” That quote from Williams was while he was MHI’s executive committee board chairman.
So, “It’s not rocket science” is ironically, a clear hit on MHI and Williams for not doing what Williams said he and MHI would do some 5 years ago.
But it isn’t just Williams who said something should be done but then it went…nowhere. Not to be forgotten, Kevin Clayton, President and CEO of Berkshire’s Clayton Homes said about a decade ago that the manufactured housing industry was ready then to do a national image campaign.
Said Kevin Clayton, “…we’ve made a lot of acquisitions over the last 24-36 months. Literally every time when I would talk to Warren he would say, Kevin, you and the team need to make that decision. Just rest assured you have plenty of capital to do so.” NOTE: that 2 to 3 year timeframe (“24-36 months”) in the linked video interview with transcript covers the specific period of the letter from Williams that apparently sparked the failure of thousands of manufactured housing independents, factories, and impacted the communities street retailers once supported. As Clayton said, it was a lack of liquidity – i.e. financing – that caused that collapse, which Warren Buffett had effectively pre-announced. Williams claim and that of Kevin are at odds. That blocked out segment below says, “Because we are unable to obtain reliable and adequate sources of funding effective March 1, 2009 we must limit our financing to the following.”
But there are more facts and precisely quoted previous promises, pledges, and statements from MHI leaders. That includes Joe Stegmayer, who ironically said that in many ways, “manufactured housing” was still ‘an untold story.’
Ironically, comically, paradoxically, or absent mindedly, Ayotte has asked in his message – which is shown further below – for this writer’s (my) help. By extension, Ayotte was asking for the support of our pro-industry white hats, pro-consumer, pro-growth media platforms.
Pardon me? Did Ayotte forget that Williams made those statements cited above, when he said that MHI should be giving responses every time they were needed?
- Did Ayotte forget that MHI was hiring a media relations person?
- Or that MHI would be doing a campaign and responses?
- But who is it in manufactured housing trade media that actually did respond to the PBS smear of our industry? It was MHLivingNews and MHProNews. See the example linked below. Note that this was precisely the same topic which sparked the January 2016 statement that Williams was commenting on.
- Connect the dots.
- Look at the facts and evidence.
- Look at the history and trends.
- Let objective thinking and common sense prevail!
After various messages and conversations, sources indicate that a combination of flak, foibles, and industry politics caused FMHA’s Ayotte to directly respond to the following the MHProNews Masthead report and analysis linked as shown.
In an apparent response to flak that is reminiscent of Ohio Manufactured Home Association (OMHA) Tim Williams and Elizabeth Birch, Ayotte was purportedly pushed following flak into firing back. Ayotte’s aim was at this platform and writer, but what his miss exposed instead was Williams/21st, Kevin Clayton, Stegmayer and MHI. Those incidental targets where struck, ironically due to MHI’s failure to do the very thing which has caused Ayotte to attempt, however feebly, to promote manufactured housing because MHI has apparently failed to do so successfully.
Those dots can not be ignored, because they all interconnect. ALL of the fingers are pointing back at those who are either in leadership, or who have given cover to leadership that has allowed the current scenario in manufactured housing to occur in the first place.
The evidence from a factual flashback is useful. Robert Miles, an apparent mouthpiece for Berkshire and Buffett asked Kevin Clayton the following, to which Clayton’s response almost exactly 10 years ago was revealing.
Ayotte, per informed sources, is a routine reader of MHProNews and MHLivingNews. So too are numbers of other MHEC executives.
If so, that means he could well know about each of these issues shown and linked from this fact- and evidence-based report and analysis.
That would mean that Ayotte is either conveniently forgetful, or posturing as did MHI bootlicks Birch and Williams. Each of these attempts to deflect attention from MHI and their corporate leadership’s failures only ends up revealing just how apparently flawed and/or corrupt this years of obvious charade that they are promoting the industry has been.
As a careful review of statement from Ayotte below will reflect, his aim missed this writer and but squarely hit Williams, Kevin Clayton, Stegmayer, Warren Buffett, and MHI instead. You can’t make this up, but you can illustrate it with a wry smile, accurate quotations, plus the embarrassing – if not criminal, per Samuel Strommen at Knudson Law – facts. Is it any wonder that MHI and their corporate masters send out overpaid execs to try to deflect from the obvious reality, that MHI itself has been unwilling to publicly defend for years? You just can’t make it up.
Specific quotes and examples from Ayotte’s statement to MHProNews will serve to illustrate the prima facie evidence for a hilariously opaque and/or audacious “big lie” mendacity. Ayotte’s complete statement to MHProNews will be shown and fisked below. Note that Ayotte made this statement to MHProNews, but copied the MHEC executives. As of 11:18 AM on 8.19.2021 he declined to debate or share a follow up. Thus this report will do it for him, presenting his claims, along with the mortifying facts for MHI’s leadership.
The Ayotte Statement to MHProNews and MHEC Executives
A fisking is a literary method of parsing a statement section by section. Here is Ayotte’s statement with the Masthead on MHProNews analysis. Brown and bold text is by Ayotte, our references and analysis are in black.
It’s ridiculous that you tied a press release issued by the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) to your longstanding vendetta with MHI.” Per Oxford Languages, here is the meaning of vendetta.
- a prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone.
- It’s almost humorous how some people want to use their first amendment rights in an effort to diminish or take away a legitimate use of the first amendment rights by another who makes them uncomfortable.
Jim – “There are many kinds of journalism, but at the heart of their constitutional responsibilities, journalists are in the business of monitoring and keeping a check on people and institutions in power.” – American Press Institute.
Back to Ayotte’s statement.
“FMHA’s press release had nothing to do with MHI and to infer otherwise is not true.” That’s demonstrably inaccurate. See the report linked here for proof. The Masthead noted that Ayotte “upstaged” MHI, which is accurate. The fact that Ayotte has to do what Kevin Clayton and Tim Williams/21st and former MHI chairman said they would do but have failed to perform for years speaks for itself. By accident or implication, Ayotte did upstage MHI. This follow up by Ayotte didn’t hit MHProNews, rather it points the finger at those who defend MHI’s decade-plus years of obvious failures.
“The FMHA press release was issued to elevate Florida’s worsening housing affordability problem, to make the case that factory-built housing needs to be part of the solution, and to encourage local governments to amend their land use policies to allow residential design manufactured homes in residential districts.”
Masthead response: by accident and/or design, that only demonstrates that MHI has failed to use their self-proclaimed “clout” do to what they said they would do.
Ayotte to MHProNews:
“If you really want to understand my motives, it’s this. Florida’s worsening housing affordability problem coupled with factory homebuilders’ ability to produce more residential looking manufactured homes has provided the industry an opportunity to expand home placement options in areas where mobile and manufactured homes have long been excluded.”
Masthead response: Thanks, Jim. You’ve made the points posted herein. See Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, et al.
“Once local governments see the quality, value, and affordability of today’s manufactured homes they will be more receptive to considering other applications for manufactured housing, like permitting new manufactured home communities or offering incentives to redevelop older mobile home parks. This isn’t rocket science, but it requires persistent advocacy and consistent messaging.”
Masthead reply: Kevin Clayton said about a decade ago that the industry – i.e. MHI – were ready to do an image campaign. If they had done what they said, then FMHA and the states would not be behind the proverbial 8 ball.
Ayotte to MHProNews:
“Anything you can do to support our vision and mission will be appreciated.
James R. Ayotte, CAE
Florida Manufactured Housing Association…”
MHProNews reply to Ayotte, et al: Jim, as you know, the most pro-growth efforts in manufactured housing trade media has been MHProNews and MHLivingNews. Who said? Why Tim Williams and others.
Additionally, once it became apparent that it was MHI members that were often the routine source of bad news and bad behavior, MHProNews/MHLivingNews has been making that case to the industry and public. So, Jim, we’ve been doing our part. Now, when are you going to start earning YOUR PAYCHECK, by doing whatever it takes to cause MHI and the FMHA to work for growth instead of merely posing for photo ops and video ops?
Jim, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. You can’t have it both ways.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not something to be waited for. It is something to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream Discover – while you still can” – Mark Twain.
These quotes are from best selling author and pro-manufactured housing speaker, coach, and trainer, Tim Williams in a post to MHProNews entitled “Destiny.” It is only by looking back, and seeing the history of broken promises, and then looking ahead to recognize that this won’t change until men and women of courage do whatever they can to push back.
MHProNews/MHLivingNews have proven that you can push back and live to talk about it. The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) pushes back for the industry’s growth-minded independent producers. Those who seriously want growth are MHARR members. Those who want consolidation are often (not always) MHI members.
Ironically, Jim Ayotte is correct. This isn’t rocket science. Manufactured housing has a great story to tell.
But what that proves is that Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams (both), Joe Stegmayer, and a string of MHI leaders have been pulling the chain of white hat, growth-minded, MHI members. Because not all MHI members agree with the policies, despite what MHI’s leaders want others to believe.
So, it is just that MHI, thanks to the apparent desires of their consolidation focused leaders, seems to be more interested in fostering mergers and acquisitions than it does true, robust, and sustained growth.
If Ayotte, or any of the others want to publicly debate this, by all means, let’s do it. The only one who has made a serious and sustained effort to do so was MHI member Andy Gedo.
Because Gedo’s a thoughtful person, he ended up making more useful statements and tossed in the towel on trying to defend MHI and their corporate masters. My typing teacher in high school pulled me aside after class one day. She said she had been teaching typing for 40 years. She explained she had never asked anyone to drop her class. But she wanted me to do so. Apparently, she thought I was hopeless. Well, that meant I buckled down and typed all the more. Now, decades later, I still recall the line we drilled on which will be tweaked as follows.
“Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country and this once far more noble profession. ” Because ironically, Ayotte is correct. This isn’t rocket science. But it does require the wisdom and courage to do what must be done. Bullies, thugs, and their minions are only beaten by beating them time and again. That starts by exposing them and fighting back. Enough said. ##
Notice to MHI members. Follow up emails to several MHI linked attorneys – not one disputed the claim by the law firm cited in the report below. MHI has demonstrably created an ‘amen corner,’ an echo chamber that parrots their talking points. MHI and those involved have not denied that evidence-based allegation.
But as, or perhaps more important, is this below. For those MHI members who are aware of what is occurring, but who fail to stand up or speak up in some form or fashion, legal experts cited below say that it could make those members vulnerable to legal action, just as MHI is. To learn more, see the related report linked below.
“Tangled Web” “Deception and Misdirection” – Havenpark Capital-Havenpark Communities, Fannie Mae, Manufactured Housing Institute “Displaced Inc” – MHAction, Warren Buffett, Embarrassing MHIndustry Blogger Fact Check
The evidence routinely points one way. No wonder why MHI, their major brands, and even their outside attorneys all went silent when it comes to engaging with MHProNews on these troubling trends and growing evidence.
Stay tuned for more of what is ‘behind the curtains’ as well as what is obvious and in your face reports. It is all here, at 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.)
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.