“The muckrakers were reform-minded journalists, writers, and photographers in the Progressive Era in the United States who claimed to expose corruption and wrongdoing in established institutions, often through sensationalist publications,” says left-leaning Wikipedia. You don’t have to be leftist to be a muckraker, as Britannica indicates with their definition. In a May 12, 2023 Britannica item, with the highlighting added: “A muckraker was any of a group of American writers identified with pre-World War I reform and exposé writing. The muckrakers provided detailed, accurate journalistic accounts of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business in a rapidly industrializing United States. “Most of the muckrakers wrote nonfiction, but fictional exposés often had a major impact, too, such as those by Upton Sinclair. In contemporary American usage, the term [muckraker] can refer to journalists or others who “dig deep for the facts” – again, per Wikipedia.
So, when a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and MHInsider connected writer recently wrote the following, he apparently overlooked the fact that his remarks were a backhanded compliment. “There’s an erstwhile (i.e. former) manufactured housing employee who, for more than a decade now, has been – IMHO – writing roughshod as a ‘wannabe’ business muckraker, targeting national MH trade advocacy groups and industry corporate executives.” It’s one of several oddities about George F. Allen, who once was a “community investor” but finally shed communities that he admitted had significant vacancies.
When MHProNews notes herein the “oddity” of Allen’s curious use of the routinely complimentary term muckraker, flashback to a 2011 post by Allen. He wrote that the:
MHIndustry needs a good muckraking* journalist…. Why? (And it’s not going to be me!) Why? Well there are indeed answers, of sorts, to both questions. * What’s muckraking? According to our handy Webster’s Dictionary, “…to search for and expose real or alleged corruption, scandal, or the like….” Now for a response to the first ‘Why?’ question. For starters, too many ‘things’ occur, and yet ‘some’ don’t happen, legislatively and leadership wise, in the manufactured housing industry at large, and landlease community asset class in particular, that go unresearched and parsed in detail, let alone reported to the general factory – built housing and realty business public, by independent third-party news and investigative sources. In effect, our culprits are enabled to hide till their next faux pas.”
Based on evidence found herein, it would be fair to say that much of that critique happens to be quite true. For instance. Allen said he won’t do that necessary work of muckraking. Nor does MHInsider, or Kurt Kelley’s quarterly Manufactured Housing Review (MHReview) do it, and Kelley said as much. ManufacturedHomes.com was given an MHI ‘award’ recently, which is going to be the subject of a planned report. Suffice it to say that MHI doesn’t give awards to those that don’t routinely carry their water. It is a wonder that MHARR members are still supporting ManufacturedHomes.com, given the mounting evidence that they are MHI members, are getting praised by MHI, and yet they are among the platforms that are supposed to be fueling growth for individual companies and state associations. Also per Allen, “And manufacturedhomes.com is working with 15 state associations to enhance their online presence. The unasked question, in my mind, was “Why aren’t all state MH associations on board to improve their representation of manufactured housing and land lease communities nationwide?” More on that further below.
Allen once more weaves and bobs while failing to connect the dots. But ironically, Allen essentially says that none of those others are muckrakers, none are holding the powers that be to account, save who? MHProNews. Says who? Per Allen himself. So ironically, Allen tries to make muckraker both a necessary thing and also a misplaced slur.
Both MHVillage.com and ManufacturedHomes.com are supposed to be platforms for boosting the industry’s sales and image. To the extent that the later uses some pretty fancy looking tech, one might think, fair enough. In days gone by this platform worked with both of those firms, as each were clients of MHProNews.
But the reality is that the fancy tech or tall talking claims of massive traffic by those two MHI members brands haven’t stopped the manufactured housing industry’s well documented 6-month slide. Think about it. The more states that sign up with ManufacturedHomes.com, the fewer manufactured homes are being sold in the last 6 months? What kind of claim to fame is that supposed to be? Something similar can be said about MHI endorsed MHVillage.
But these factoids should draw thinkers back to the essence of good journalism or the key to what an honest muckraker is supposed to provide for readers. Look again at the definitions above. Muckrakers provide details. Facts. Evidence of corruption that involved big businesses and their apparent or de facto surrogates. MHI member and apparent surrogate Allen, clearly connected to MHVillage and praising MHInsider and ManufacturedHomes.com has obviously acknowledged that none of them hold the powers that be to account, but this platform and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) clearly do.
Allen either volunteers and/or is asked to attack from time to time the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), or this platform and “muckraking” writer.
But as MHProNews has pointed out for years, Allen’s musings may seem to at times to question or poke at MHI and their purported predatory brands. Nevertheless, despite saying there is a need for a muckraker, and having said that this platform is that muckraker, it was MHI emeritus member Allen who publicly called for a boycott of MHProNews.
Allen said he won’t be the one to be the one to dig into details and expose the corruption. The periodic and apparent MHI surrogate Allen said: “too many ‘things’ occur, and yet ‘some’ don’t happen, legislatively and leadership wise, in the manufactured housing industry at large, and landlease community asset class in particular, that go unresearched and parsed in detail, let alone reported to the general factory – built housing and realty business public, by independent third party news and investigative sources. In effect, our culprits are enabled to hide till their next faux pas.”
Let’s clean those Allen musings up. During an affordable housing crisis, despite having legislation in place that could and should unlock more sales, the industry’s once again in two quarters of declining sales. Market manipulation is a potential antitrust and/or RICO violations. MHI is publicly proclaiming that they are in bed with nonprofits that are the competitors of manufactured housing.
When Allen called for a boycott of MHProNews, he may not have then realized that some boycotts can be an antitrust violation. In stark contrast to his praise of muckraking and the need for it in manufactured housing, in 2018 – following the documented antitrust violation reporting by MHLivingNews and MHProNews, Allen wrote this, in an apparent reference to MHProNews/MHLivingNews. Again, highlighting is added, but the words are as he posted them.
A Final Thought for Year 2018, but Key for 2019
No names here, but hope you too boycott an ongoing online MH-related news media attempt to denigrate and divide us as an industry and realty asset class!
In my opinion, life is too short to be making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks, only befouling internet platforms better used to promote manufactured housing and the land lease community lifestyle! …
If so, join me in 2019, committing to read only print and online trade publications advancing the causes, and improving the image, of HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities! No more caterwauling (‘to fight like cats’) in public and in private. Period.”
First, per sources deemed reliable, Allen is a regular reader of MHProNews. His thinly veiled attacks on this platform are also evidence for that observation. So, Allen is an apparently self-contradictory hypocrite.
Second, also per sources deemed reliable, Allen has been jealous of our superior audience size and reach, which at times he himself has admitted. More on that in reports linked below for the headlines in the week that was.
Third, for a reason to even mention Allen, it is because he is either volunteering and/or being nudged by those in the MHI orbit to periodically lash out against this publication, MHARR, and the ever-more apparent need for an authentic, robust, ethical, and growth-minded post-production trade group. The oddity is that Allen himself, in supposed league with Ken Rishel and others, previously argued for a new post-production trade group. Clearly consistency nor clarity of memory are not Allen’s middle name, which begins with the letter F.
It should be mentioned again that to truly understand Allen, per a former client of his, one must keep the following mantra in mind. “With George, its AAA. All About Allen.” In Allen-world, GFA doesn’t have enough attention, enough accolades, or enough of his thirst to be a gatekeeper, the latter of which could also be viewed as a possible antitrust volitation or potential RICO behavior. In his mind, Allen is at the center of manufactured home history. That’s not hyperbole. Quoting his blog, Allen: “alone is the online advocate, historian, trend tracker, and text resource” or previously he wrote that he is the “primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media for all…”
Phew! Seriously, George?
See that former client of Allen’s point? “For George, it is AAA. All About Allen.”
That said, the Allen of yesteryear who said that the industry needed a “muckraker” is potentially an apparent backhanded compliment to the only manufactured housing trade publication that – as Britannica said: “The muckrakers provided detailed, accurate journalistic accounts of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business.”
In last Sunday’s manufactured housing industry headlines in review, it was noted that an attorney informed MHProNews that the statutes of limitations don’t xpire on an offense if that offense is part of an ongoing pattern of antitrust, RICO, or other violations. See that in greater depth from the link to last Sunday’s report, further below.
To Allen’s point that “too many ‘things’ occur, and yet ‘some’ don’t happen, legislatively and leadership wise, in the manufactured housing industry at large, and landlease community asset class in particular.” That’s not great prose, but it is an arguably apt description for the decades of failure by MHI to get post-production laws properly enforced. Neither then or now does Allen do the nitty gritty work of naming names, as MHProNews did by accurately providing the MHI-National Communities Council (NCC) Code of Ethical Conduct and then holding that so-called “code” up to the behaviors of several MHI brands.
Allen has said the manufactured home industry needs to promote, but then oddly suggests that the promotion should come from those who are MHI corporate leaders who are apparently subverting the performance of the industry. That’s self-contradictory.
In a few pithy phrases.
- Allen is paltering.
- Allen is posturing.
- Allen, MHI, MHVillage, MHInsider, and ManufacturedHomes.com are using a similar playbook, only the later ones’ playbooks look slicker. Allen’s website looks like it was built in the 20th century.
“There is No Worse Enemy Than the One Who Looks Like a Friend…”
That paraphrase of a quote is found in one of the reports linked below in our recap for the week in review. The insightful maxim that “There is No Worse Enemy Than the One Who Looks Like a Friend…” is based on a paraphrase from a Roman leader and was applied by this humble muckraker to manufactured housing.
Speaking of muck and the need for detailed exposure of the facts via “accurate journalistic accounts of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business…”
While MHI is posturing about what they are doing on the DOE energy rule – in authentic “muckraking” detail in an evidence-supported fashion – is the troubling scandal of the status and historic events that led to the DOE energy rule. Those are unpacked below. As the DOE cited from a manufactured home industry independent’s remarks, cited by MHProNews below: “Hemminger Homes…stated that it would be hard to comply with the current DOE standards.”
But the role that Buffett and Clayton bucks have had on the DOE manufactured housing energy rule are carefully unpacked by showing precisely what DOE, MHI, and MHARR each said in their own reports.
As if to confirm Allen’s point about the lack of muckrakers in MHVille, neither he, nor MHVillage’s MHInsider, nor ManufacturedHomes.com, nor Lesli Gooch, and others explored are cited by the DOE. But MHProNews’ Kovach letter to the DOE is cited by the DOE in the explanation for why the rule was halted. MHARR’s remarks are referenced numerous times.
Restated, MHProNews provides the journalistic and editorial analysis, backed up by pages of supporting documents with related evidence that could stand up well in a court of law. But that is only possible because of a steady stream of tips, remarks, and insights from others in MHVille. An upcoming report, along with elements of several reports further below, are possible because of tipsters. Something as simple as forwarding an email can be a useful – and used – element in an upcoming report.
So, while some in MHVille trade media make outrageous claims about the audience size that surely cause an embarrassing growth of their nose, while they simultaneously refuse to provide any evidence which might backup their ludicrous claims. Some liars are apparently so mendacious with their propaganda that they seemingly can’t help themselves. Perhaps they think that no one will check their claims? Meanwhile, MHProNews dips twice in the week in review into the waters of Bing and its highly touted Artificial Intelligence (AI) to see where the truth of who is the leader in size and audience, along with other issues dogging manufactured housing.
Topics like the following are asked of Bing’s AI, and their AI answers are shown further below in the weekly headlines recap.
- Why is manufactured housing underperforming during an affordable housing crisis are asked and answered by Bing.
- MHProNews digs into the latest about Triad Financial and what they reveal about their operation, but also about the manufactured home industry at large.
- MHProNews unpacks the drama of a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder who was silenced, charged, but then released with the charges dropped.
- HUD’s role in the affordable housing crisis is explored through the lens of MHARR’s latest Issues and Perspectives with expert analysis found exclusively here. See that and more among the headlines for the week that was.
Don’t miss today’s postscript.
With no further adieu, the following are the Sunday morning headlines for the week in review from 5.21 to 5.28.2023.
What’s New from Washington, D.C. from MHARR
What’s New and Recent on MHLivingNews
What’s News and Recent on the Masthead
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
Sunday 5.21. 2023
In fairness to Allen, it is important to recall that MHInsider has been fact checked on several occasions. Their leadership – Patrick Revere and Darren Krolewski have once again declined comments about reports like the one linked below.
Thanks to months of persistence outreaches and fact checking of the Texas Real Estate Research Center (TRERC) and their reports in conjunction with the Texas Manufactured Housing Association, they have admitted in writing the MHProNews is correct.
TRERC said they will adjust their reports moving forward. While time will tell, that’s an interesting development that reflects on MHI and their trade media allies of MHInsider, Kurt Kelley’s MHReview, ManufacturedHomes.com, George Allen, and their state association affiliates that uncritically forward MHI claims, even if they have been publicly debunked, often by some of the MHI’s own members.
MHI’s so-called Code of Ethical conduct have been demonstrably shown to be mere cover for those who don’t dig deeper. How so? Because MHI’s own members are doing what their code of conduct forbids. And outrageously, they are getting MHI ‘excellence’ awards while doing so. See that in the ‘muckraking’ report shown below.
Allen’s right, sort of. He admitted that he won’t do the muckraking. Allen said so himself. He’s apparently busy cashing into the apparent pattern of corruption in MHVille by cooperating with the consolidators on the very processes that he claims to decry. He claims to care about manufactured housing independents, notably community independents. But then he has organized events for years that were tailor made for MHI’s consolidators that he feigns concerns over their behavior. Neither he, nor MHI, nor their other brownnosing surrogates can have it both ways.
That said, he publicly provided praise for the only trade publication that does the important and potentially good work of the textbook definition of muckraking.
There may be reasons to believe that state associations will increasingly come under scrutiny for their role in passing along MHI’s arguably paltering, deceptive, and misleading claims.
But drawing to a close, some of the last words for the week’s theme will go to Britannica. “The muckrakers provided detailed, accurate journalistic accounts of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business…” That overlapped in part with the trust-busting era, sometimes called the Gilded Age or the Rober Barron era. Who is it that has drawn those historic lessons to the attention of industry readers? ##
Again, our thanks to free email subscribers and all readers like you, as well as our tipsters/sources, sponsors and God for making and keeping us the runaway number one source for authentic “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.’