Netflix’s The Irishman, Manufactured Housing Industry Lawyers, HBO’s John Oliver Strikes Again – Manufactured Home Sunday Weekly Review 12.22 to 12.29.2019

Still from video trailer, below. Text collage by MHProNews.

A red-hot, which means viewed a lot, movie streaming on Netflix is Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. It’s best understood as historically grounded fiction. While there’s long been theories on who ordered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, or what happened to Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa, there’s no public proof that the theories floated in The Irishman are accurate. Plausible? It’s a movie. You think about it.




The reason to mention The Irishman at all on a professional manufactured housing site is because it’s a timely and vivid reminder of the light that can come from historic perspectives.

Who had the popular PT 109 president whacked is conjecture.

  • That President Kennedy was killed in Dallas,
  • that there were numerous allegations of election cheating in key states that may have put him over the top,
  • the violence or corruption often associated with the union movement,
  • those and other insights from the movie aren’t new to me as a history buff.

But those fascinating historic tidbits and others woven into the storyline from Scorsese’s hit movie is likely new to millions who watched that flick. If you haven’t seen it yet, and don’t mind the language or violence, it’s interesting viewing.

The politics of those years covered in The Irishman’s plot were often harsh.

  • Just ask the family of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Ask those who knew union members from that period.
  • The FBI, then or more recently, were documented to have spied on domestic political opponents or citizens who were exercising their God-given and Constitutionally protected rights of free speech, free press, the right to organize, protest, practice their religious beliefs and so on.

Rephrased, the scam with a FISA warrant aimed at the 45th president is a new wrinkle on a previously run playbook. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

America’s history is more raucous than many think. But those facts aside, whether you agreed or not with his policies, former President William Jefferson ‘Bill’ Clinton – who had scandals that to this day haunt our industry and the nation – was correct about the following. There is nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed by what’s right with America.



Absent applying the ancient principle of separating the wheat from the chaff, who would we ever find to quote, save God himself? President Clinton signed into law the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000. That’s good. He also deployed James Carville to distract the nation with his trailer park quote; clearly not good. Same person, wheat and chaff.


Strong arm tactics in politics, business – or corruption in office – aren’t new. It’s occurred numerous times starting before the U.S. was an independent nation. That’s just one of several takeaways from the Netflix movie The Irishman.

Meanwhile, HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has arguably struck a note important to manufactured housing again. Or better said, Oliver’s previously hit some themes that are relevant to our industry today. Oliver’s crude language aside, his piece posted below on consolidation and monopolistic practices in the U.S. is as hard hitting as his sarcasm is sharp. Think of the points and principles made by Oliver, because while he is clearly pro-Democratic, that doesn’t mean that his claims are purely partisan. Facts are what they are, be they raised by Republicans, Independents or Democrats. His video has had some 9.2 million views. By comparison, MHI has videos that have anywhere from under 100 views, to perhaps a few thousand. Which do you think will have more public impact?



The video above has had about two million more views than the one that took on

  • Warren Buffett,
  • Clayton Homes,
  • their lending and business practices,
  • or the purportedly predatory ways of Frank Rolfe,
  • Nathan Smith’s operation,
  • or other Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member firms mentioned in the video found in the report below.

Watch that in the report linked below to understand the granular details behind Oliver’s gritty claims. Why does it have so many MHI connections?




That MHI has raised no public peep on either Oliver video speaks volumes, doesn’t it? What about their vaunted antitrust statement? What about their code of ethical conduct claims for members? After all, what could MHI say? How can MHI deny that it is firms tied to their trade group that’s mocked by Oliver?


When top MHI members are involved in scandal after scandal without having their claimed Code of Ethical Conduct invoked against the purported behavior, why should the industry and its investors be surprised that shipments in 2019 suffered a year over year decline over the same period in 2018?

Nor is it the only time. There are years of historic patterns that demonstrably point back to MHI. Before or since their ‘code of ethical’ conduct re-release, has anything changed? Who exactly is it that is fostering calls for local, state or national rent control? Isn’t it routinely tied to MHI’s own members?




Of course, the Arlington, VA based trade group’s senior staff and key members on the board are silent.  The track record is as pure as New York snow on day 3.

Should one or more MHI staffers or well-placed members find themselves in court, do you think they might invoke their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination? Or do you think some might ‘roll over’ on others, hoping for leniency?

We’re about the close out the year and the 2nd decade of the 21st century. The first decade was supposed to end with manufactured housing outpacing conventional housing.


That graphic was from 10 months ago. Since that was published, the John Oliver Buffett-Clayton-Frank Rolfe video, the NCIS episode, and other black eyes for MHVille have occured. Thank you, MHI and key MHI members, for repeatedly making our points so plain. Thank you for proving our case.

That projection from Belsky didn’t work out so well, did it? But why?

It’s a statement that most every manufactured home retail or community professional who experienced the slide from 1998 to 2008 know all too well. 


Reports here examine day-by-day and step-by-step why Belsky was mistaken or why MHI pivoted significantly since Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes and other pieces of manufactured housing in 2003. Let me stress that one of the hottest reports of 2019 could end up the one featuring Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-D), linked further below.


Since Buffett-led Berkshire bought Clayton, the industry is actually smaller today than then. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis, unless they wanted it to be so?
Since Buffett bought Clayton and other pieces of the manufactured housing industry, the industry is actually selling fewer new homes today than in 2003. How is that possible during an affordable housing crisis? Given Buffett’s assets, the BH Media Group, and over $128 billion in liquid assets, doesn’t it seem logical that manufactured housing is underperforming because that is what Buffett wants at this time? Meanwhile, consolidation continues for favored firms. Think about John Oliver’s video posted above.
Joe Stegmayer left a role at Clayton Homes as a division president and went to Cavco Industries. While the ‘moat’ has been deployed by 21st, Clayton, and Berkshire (see report, linked here), Cavco and Clayton have grown. Questions have risen as to what under the surface ties may exist between Clayton and Cavco.
Why keep the industry at low ebb? Follow the money and the acquisitions.


By keeping the market underperforming, it de facto causes all business in it to be undervalued. Just luck, or is it part of the Buffett ‘Castle and Moat’ strategic plan to create a slowly developing monopoly?

Facts placed along-side other facts cases that build a case of alleged wrongdoing against MHI and several of their key members emerges. Don’t miss the SEC report, linked further below.

What has MHI done in response to numerous claims, beyond ducking out in publicly discussing them?

Hey, Rick. There are those that recall your publicly ducking MHProNews’ questions.
This satirical cartoon was published prior to the official word that Jennison would retire. Thank you, MHI, for arguably proving our reports, analysis – even our satire – right time and again.
Dickjennison louisville2018
Dick Jennison skipped out on his own presentation, after MHProNews emailed a list of questions for industry professionals to ask him at the end of his talk. Curious?


Beyond dodging public discussion, here’s some of what they’ve demonstrably done.


  • MHI’s inside general counsel,
  • MHI contracted outside attorneys,
  • attorneys acting on behalf of MHI affiliates, allies, and members take the time and money to threaten this relatively humble organization – perhaps because our trade media are the biggest and best and runaway most-read in the manufactured housing industry.
  • Why would the powers that be behind MHI authorize spending money threatening us for fact checks of MHI or some key members’ own written or published items?
  • Why do they spend members’ dues on such threats unless we are often over sensitive targets?


Do you think MHI, Clayton Homes or Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway threatened John Oliver or HBO with an attorney’s letter? Doubtful.

Do you think the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis seriously threatened legal action against The Seattle Times, the Nation, Forbes, GuruFocus or PBS News? Unlikely.

So, what is it about our articles on MHProNews and MHLivingNews that makes them so nervous?


Buffett’s words can be broken into several categories. Among them: those that are to be taken at face value. Those that are arguably a head fake or those that can slide from one category to the other.

One possibility is because they know that you and thousands of manufactured housing industry pros, investors and advocates like you in our now diminished industry are reading here routinely.

Rephrased, they fear what we have to say. Maybe they should?


What WarrenBuffettKevinClaytonTimWilliamsBerkshireBrandsManufacturedHousingInstituteLeadersFEARManufacturedHomeProNews
This report has been one of the hottest reads in 2019.


We Provide, You Decide.” © They thanked us for years when we published MHI articles, until our questions about some of their claims caused them to insist that we stop doing so. You can see for yourself that they’ve not deterred us, have they?

We’ve said for years that we provide the relevant insights, you decide what to make of that and what to do with it. What we know is that some have and are acting on our reports and analysis.

Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.  They are reportedly regular readers of MHProNews.

Dive into the reports linked below to see why MHI and other ‘big boy’ members have paid attorneys to carefully read what we have to say.

What they pay for to digest, hoping to find some weakness in our publishing to exploit, you can read for free, thanks to supporters and to sources of news tips, which include tips from principled souls within the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.


We recommend that news tips DO NOT use company, nonprofit or organizational emails or cell phones. To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.comTo help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP or COMMENTS in the subject line.


If you aren’t already on our ever-growing list on our x2 weekly email news updates, you should be if you are involved in this industry.

  • Washington tunes in (see deeper below).
  • Investors are regular readers.
  • Industry independents and big boy operations are here daily in rising numbers that keep us the most read in MHVille history.

If they find us credible and relevant, shouldn’t you as well?

Which is why you shouldn’t miss the deep dive report on House Financial Service Committee Chair Maxine Waters and Warren Buffett below. It’s one of several you can bet with long odds of success that attorneys involved in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis wonder what they can threaten MHProNews’ management with next. Isn’t that a backhanded compliment to our work? Isn’t the attention and effort they’ve expended on spending far more in legal fees than they ever did in sponsoring us previously evidence of their ongoing over-the-target reactions to our reports and analysis?

In the eyes of the law, the accused are deemed innocent until proven guilty by a court or by a plea. That’s good. But don’t forget that every criminal was a criminal before he was found guilty. Evidence of a crime or some regulatory wrongdoing is where investigations begin. Investigations happen because there are reasons to believe that misdeeds have occurred and/or are still taking place.


  • There are hundreds of thousands sleeping on the streets.
  • Millions living in rentals with good payment histories that pay less monthly towards buying a manufactured home.
  • There are millions who should be lined up at the doors of retailers and communities across America.
  • But instead of successfully promoting the industry and its products and services, what has MHI wrought, save embarrassment and a decline in shipments in 2019 over 2018?
  • Does that explain why MHI has for much of 2019 stressed photo and video ops that they have with key federal or other officials, hoping to Razzle Dazzle some in our industry into believing their arguably self-contradictory nonsense?




Is there another trade group that is this bad at what they claim to do? Is there another association as ineffective at doing what they claim to do in America? Or are they merely play-acting as the consolidation rolls on?

We Provide. We respect you enough to let you and common sense decide.

We got our first legal threat from Rick Robinson while he was still MHI’s General Counsel and while we were still MHI members. Ponder how your dues money is being spent if you are a member? If you question their methods enough, will you too get threatened?

Does it sound a bit like The Irishman to you?

The year 2019 and the 2nd decade of the 21st century are approaching a close.

FYI, there will be a keen insight at the end of this article. Don’t miss it.

With no further adieu, let’s dive into the headlines from the week that was 12.22 to 12.29.2019.


What’s New on Manufactured Home Living News


What’s New on the Masthead


What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

Saturday 12.28.2019

Are Big VW, Fiat Chrysler, BMW Automotive Lawsuits with SEC Signaling Woes for Publicly Traded Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Members?


Friday 12.27.2019

Tax Cuts Jobs Act Returns Record Sums to U.S., Federal Receipts Rise, plus Manufactured Home Investing, Stock Updates

Briny Breezes Controversy Unmasks Heated Debate Over Trump Town USA Plan Launched by Broker James Arena


Thursday 12.26.2019

Elder Abuse, Manufactured Homes, Liabilities and Publicly Traded Firms-plus Manufactured Housing Investment, Stock Updates

Manufactured Double Talk? Analyzing New Land-Lease Manufactured Home Community Developments


Wednesday 12.25.2019

Christmas Inspirational Music Videos 2019


Tuesday 12.24.2019

Nobility Homes Sales, Earnings for NOBH Fiscal 2019, plus Manufactured Home Investing, Stock Updates

Minority Report – Why Majority Should Engage in Solvable Problems of Homelessness and Affordable Housing


Monday 12.23.2019

Unpacking Yahoo/Insider Monkey’s Review of Legacy Housing (LEGH), plus Manufactured Home Investing, Stock Updates

Manufactured Home Community Transformation into Trump Town USA – Broker, Mayoral Candidate James Arena’s Vision Making Florida’s Briny Breezes Presidential Township

Sunday 12.22.2019

2019 Year in Review, Plus Manufactured Housing’s Sunday Week in Review 12.14 to 12.22.2019

That promised keen insight? Here it is.

We began December with the announcement that we could publish fewer reports during the week in Washington, D.C. Readership and reader-engagement actually rose. It might be a coincidence, or perhaps we stumbled into something. In any event, we’ve kept the experiment running. Fewer reports, often greater depth. The result? More reading. Among the most read-reports during a single month for the year 2019 have been those in December.

December is typically a time people slow down a bit, but our engagement has risen on multiple counts.

The other keen insight is that Washington, DC is demonstrably tuning into our investigations, reports and analysis. Reading from the DC metro has been as high as #2, but has steadily been #3 for December.


Arlington, are you in that DC mix of readers too?

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There is always more to come, but that’s it for now on this Sunday installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing,” © where We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, week in review, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)

MHI loves their photo ops. Hey, photo ops can be arranged and they don’t necessarily mean what the image may imply. We have others. Stay tuned. 

(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

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 This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.

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Related References:

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


Does Misinformation Matter? Revealing But Misleading ‘News’ by MHInsider and the Manufactured Housing Institute?


Saturday Satire and Executive Summaries for Manufactured Housing Professionals, Investors, Advocates, Researchers, Public Officials, and Investigators



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