“Wow! You certainly did make a strong and well articulated case for MH. Every time I see a devastating event on the news (such as a tornado) and the folks say they will rebuild their small town I can’t help but think how MH could facilitate that in so many ways – time, cost and emotional benefits.” So read the start of an email to MHProNews from an attorney with years of experience in a non-manufactured housing professional organization. The attorney’s message made clear that those verbatim comments were in reaction to the first two of a planned series of fact-packed and evidence-linked op-eds (opinion-editorials) published in the mainstream news Tampa Free Press. Those illustrated and documented op-eds are turning heads and are getting some attention. ICYMI, see the headline links to those op-eds among our others in this weekly recap of manufactured housing news which are in this article further below.
So, some readers are cheering. But candidly, not all of that attention from the MHProNews/MHLivingNews 2022 mainstream media engagement effort are favorable.
Perhaps ‘over the target’ type reactions from the camp of those who are steadily being exposed for their apparently dark deeds are to be expected.
An un-postmarked letter with no return address found its way to MHProNews. The envelope itself raises several questions that may be considered another time.
While that letter made no specific demands, the contents were an apparent revival of a kind of implied blackmail. If so, then the legality of the letter is among the issues, as deliberate misuse of the U.S. mail can be a federal criminal offense. Let’s be clear, then and now, MHProNews said that we’d be pleased to appear on stage with MHI leaders. Let them say publicly whatever they want to about this platform and or this writer. We get to do the same. It could be professionally moderated. Then, let audience attendees decide based on evidence both parties provide where the truth of a topic is. MHI has never accepted that in any way. More specifically, they are documented to have ducked such a public discussion.
Longer-time and detail-minded MHProNews readers already know MHProNews has pressed ahead with accountability efforts despite direct or implied warnings. As the old Air Force and journalistic saying goes, ‘you don’t catch flak unless you are flying over the target.’
Perhaps there is no relation between that envelope and an email from an apparent pro-MHI blogger who occasionally laments the terrible things occurring in the community sector of the manufactured home industry. That blogger contacted MHProNews recently by email to offer ‘advice.’ Input and feedback are encouraged, so that is no problem. That blogger’s advice included the suggestion that if MHProNews would join MHI then we too could get the full benefits of all of MHI’s knowledge and efforts via their emailed ‘news’ and other updates. Hmm… Seriously? That same writer themselves has ripped MHI publicly in years gone by. So, what rewards or incentives was that blogger given for offering their ‘advice?’ Over the target #2.
But there are other over the target efforts underway, which may become the focus of its own report to industry readers.
Those reactions noted, another MHI insider made the simple but VALUED effort of sending a ‘members only’ email to MHProNews. More on that below and later.
The nature of propaganda and con artist games have some similarities and some distinctions. One similarity is that a con game and propaganda both seek to create an artificial reality that is believable, so as to lull the targeted group into acceptance of the con or ‘big lie.’
Con artists are not just movie characters ala the classic hit movie, The Sting. Con men are regrettably real individuals who sometimes have created elaborate schemes to defraud someone of something that has value. That’s why the Department of Justice (DoJ) has a webpage which specifically warns individuals against the old “Razzle Dazzle.” MHProNews has previously noted examples of what has been deemed by a Manufactured Housing Executives Committee (MHEC) member with obvious MHI history as that person’s evidence-based claim that certain parties in manufactured housing who happen to be MHI members are engaged in the deploying a “razzle dazzle” style effort against manufactured housing industry pros. It’s a serious charge.
With enough cheerleading and stage acting from select voices, an impression or aura can be mimicked which will tend to fool the trusting into thinking that something that is fake is authentic. Some real world ‘cons’ of massive proportions that are non-manufactured housing examples follow in the report linked below.
Documented Massive Rip-offs, Official Failures – ‘Lying to Investors, Regulators, Clients’ – Theranos, Enron, WorldCom, Solyndra, Madoff, WeWork – Investigating Tips Warren Buffett led Berkshire and Manufactured Housing Woes
That’s not a slam on trusting people. But it is a cautionary tale to all, those using illicit means to manipulate a market as well as to those who place trust in those who don’t merit confidence or loyalty.
In pondering the notions shared by that deftly pro-MHI blogger, ponder this rhetorical question.
Why does the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) publish almost all of their communications that are emailed to their members publicly on their website?
- One apparent reason is transparency.
- Another possible motivation is accountability.
- A third is that their track record is there for all to see.
Against that backdrop, see among the headlines for the week in review found below a key pro-consumer choice and pro-manufactured housing industry step that MHARR has teed up for accomplishment.
Meanwhile, that MHI forwarded message to members only reveals that MHI hasn’t even mentioned the developments MHARR is making public along with MHARR’s apparent role in it. See the postscript for MHI’s ‘news’ comments to states and members.
Then you can compare yourself what MHI said to members via email, what MHI said to non-members via email, with what MHI stated vs what MHARR not only publicized via their new release but also did something about.
Does MHProNews provide expert analysis and commentary? Yes. Do we treat MHARR news seriously? Yes, because there is institutional knowledge there and Washington, D.C. based insights. They merit no less attention, and arguably more sincere interest than what MHI publicizes. Such editorial style observations are properly labeled under “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use” – the tagline under the logo found on virtually every page of MHProNews. Providing information from a range of sources gives is evidence to support the claim of “We Provide, You Decide.” MHProNews provides readers with proverbial meat and potatoes meals that are tasty, properly prepared, plus are GMO and toxic-additives free. When toxic third-party content is found in an article, the source of that information is duly noted, so that attentive and regular readers can discern the possible poison for themselves.
Another part of the 2022 engagement efforts underway with mainstream media is the MHLivingNews exclusive linked below with the Associated Press (AP). See that among the headlines that follow in that segment of this weekly report.
Rather than groan and moan – or worse yet, simply accept – the routinely problematic terminology about manufactured housing, why not go to the source and ask them to fix it? When was the last time that MHI did that, please? Per multiple sources at AP, no similar effort was made by MHI. Why not? Doesn’t MHI state that they are the post-production trade group that claims to represent “all segments” of manufactured housing? What does the word ‘represent’ mean to them? Because in the world of trade associations, represents has a legal meaning which MHI leaders, board members, and all others are supposed to be able to reply upon.
With that in mind, thoughtful and future-minded readers would be well advised to read the DoJ media release among the headlines below. Has anyone else in MHVille provided that to their readers? If not, why not? ICYMI, see that outreach effort with the AP below among the headlines in review.
That MHLivingNews report and others have appeared on the Tampa Free Press. But they have also appeared on numbers of other mainstream media websites too. Tip to independents who are growth minded: these are press releases. A press release can be picked up by any website, including your website, if the content is copied and pasted as is with links, and other content intact. From insights obtained by those in manufactured housing who have done so, better SEO is reported over time. Another method for attracting more traffic to your website with content your visitors may find nowhere else is to have your webmaster install an RSS feed to MHLivingNews and/or MHProNews. Others have done with positive results.
To borrow from the phrase used by that non-manufactured housing attorney at the top, consider this. When the only ‘compelling case for MH’ being made in mainstream media are being produced by our platforms 2022 outreaches, why would you settle for anything less?
Every item we publish is held up for accountability too. One inexplicably miffed individual messaged to say that this writer has been ‘snookered’ in the past. Quite so, and we followed the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) guidelines in making a public correction. Then we went beyond the SPJ Code of Ethical Conduct by repeating that correction of having trusted MHI and some of their leading brand-leaders several times. In sales coaching to independent retailers, this writer has told them mistakes by ethically minded professionals will occur. But what defines a white hat operation which can make them stand apart from black hats leaders and brands is this. What occurred after an error is discovered? Is it made right? Or is it covered up, ignored, or “Razzle Dazzled” out of site? Hold that standard out to MHI, to their pro-MHI mouthpieces and bloggers. H-ll, MHI can’t even correct those factual errors on their own website which MHProNews has notified them about. In some case, our readers have been advised of those errors – some of which have gone on for years after notice was given.
Some are accusing the Biden White House of a “Wag the Dog” operation over the Russian-Ukrainian tensions. Time will tell. But in the meantime, what’s certain is that the cost of crude oil is spiking. Fuel costs are rising. That adds to inflationary pressures caused by creating more fiat currency that proponents claimed would ‘pump up’ the COVID19 induced recession and related economic activities. But what that increase in fiat currency has been accomplishing is pumping up the stock markets. Another impact of inflating the monetary supply was to make the costs of goods and services – including housing – more costly and thus less affordable for millions. These are issues that may only be lightly noted, if at all, by others in MHVille trade media. That’s said so that comparisons can be made. Even ‘entirely fictional’ movies can be inspired by true events.
Readers here may not always like what they read. But the purpose of news is supposed to be to inform readers of reality, not to shape reality as part of a larger con-game. Authentic media efforts in the U.S. are historically supposed to hold the powerful to account. Who says? The American Press Institute (API).
Yes, our style is different than others in media. We also happen to know MHVille from the inside out, not just the outside in. Officials at AP in an email told MHProNews that they would expect that our platform would use a unique style. Hmm, a surprising and rather nice thing for them to say.
Nowhere else online is there the same level of dedicated effort in manufactured housing to hold the powers that be accountable. Nowhere else in MHVille trade publishing is there a similar effort to provide the fodder that could lead to industry growth with based on sustainable business practices that get and keep consumers of affordable manufactured housing happy with their #HousingChoice. Some cheer what’s published here while others jeer. Fine. But both they and others flock here for facts, insights, and analysis that’s found nowhere else online.
With no further adieu, here are the headlines for the week that was, 2.13 to 2.20.2022
What’s New on the Masthead
What’s New from Washington, D.C. from MHARR
What’s New and Recent on the Words of Wisdom
What’s New on MHLivingNews
What’s New on the Daily Business News
Justice Department Antitrust “Collusive Schemes” Probe Announced – Businesses Warned Against “Anticompetitive Conduct” – Housing Included – Exploring Manufactured Home Industry Effects; plus MHMarkets
Tampa Free Press – “State of Emergency” – Democrats, Gov. DeSantis And Competing Affordable Housing Crisis Plans And Solutions Examined – Potent Fact-Base Case for Robust Support of Manufactured Housing Made
Recent 2022 EIN Media Releases
(Note: these 2 media releases are about 1/3 the length of the Tampa Free Press op-eds they link to, but they also have some added information not found in the original op-ed).
As noted, and promised above, is this from MHI. This is being shared not because it is ‘GMO’ free, but rather to provide a compare and contrast opportunity with what MHI is saying vs. what MHARR has reported on the same specific topic. The expert editorial commentary will, of course, be that of MHProNews – not anyone else.
CALL FOR ACTION
Tell DOE its Energy Standards for Manufactured Housing are Unreasonable
The Department of Energy (DOE) has published and is seeking comments on its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which evaluates potential impacts of the Department’s proposed action to establish energy efficiency standards for manufactured housing. The draft EIS provides an additional opportunity for MHI and the industry to continue our advocacy and tell DOE that the proposed energy efficiency standards are not cost-effective and will hurt the affordability of today’s manufactured homes. The Department will use the comments and information that are submitted to help inform the final rulemaking to establish manufactured housing energy efficiency standards, as well as prepare a final EIS.
The findings in the EIS demonstrate MHI’s position that the Department’s current proposal is not cost effective for consumers and will raise the barrier for entry-level homeownership for millions of Americans at a time when there is an affordable housing shortage. In the draft EIS, the DOE acknowledges that “increase purchase price and up-front costs might reduce access to affordable homeownership for some low-income consumers” reinforcing MHI and the industry’s argument.
In response to the draft EIS, the DOE hosted two listening sessions in January for the industry and public to comment. MHI was the only national industry association that participated in the virtual comment sessions, alongside the Wisconsin Housing Alliance and the New York Housing Association. In addition, MHI’s Manufacturers’ Division Chairman and Technical Activities Committee leadership representing CAVCO Industries, Clayton Homes, and Skyline Champion participated. All corroborated MHI’s position cautioning DOE about the draft proposal and urging revisions to align with the HUD Code, which was established to reflect the home construction process for manufactured housing.
At a time when the Administration is looking to boost the supply of affordable homes through manufactured housing, this proposed rule cannot stand. Join us to oppose the DOE proposal.
Join MHI’s Effort and Act Now!
It is critical that DOE hear from all sectors of the manufactured housing industry about how detrimental this proposal would be for homeowners. Please join MHI’s effort and tell DOE that their actions will place homeownership out of reach for many Americans.
To participate in the Call to Action click here and follow the simple steps on MHI’s website. The letter to DOE has already been composed – all you have to do is insert your home address and click submit.
NOTICE: The plan was to show this text from the Regulations.gov website. But circa 7:40 AM on 2.20.2022, the Regulations.gov website is down. It’s down in Chrome, Bing, and the Safari browsers – including a test in Safari that didn’t use WiFi.
By contrast, the FHFA.gov website is working at this same time (7.42 AM ET 2.20.2022).
That said, MHProNews will paraphrase the point that Regulations.gov insight on comments about comments that are ‘AstroTurf’ or repeated comments with little or no change. Comments to public officials in official RFI’s (Requests for Input) that are duplicates are not a vote. Repeating the same comments with different names doesn’t impress a federal official. Regulations.gov says one good comment with a pertinent insight may be worth more than many duplicated comments that makes a weaker argument.
MHProNews has made this point several times over the years. That’s said, because in recent years, MHI has asked for precisely these types of spam-like mass comments that Regulations.gov advices against.
Then why does MHI do this?
There are several possible psychological, marketing, habitual (think trust – Razzle Dazzle, etc.) and sociological reasons. But what’s certain is that the MHI ask – which does get numbers of responses – is contrary to what Regulations.gov advises.
Why does MHARR weigh in with meaty materials on their comments? Perhaps in part because of the clearly stated statements by federal officials via Regulations.gov and the like. As MHProNews has stated previously, there are workhorses and there are show horses. You decide who the show horse is between the two national trade groups and who the work horse is.
One more piece of information, before concluding this article.
MHProNews monitors MHI’s ‘free’ emails. In recent days, MHI has sent out messages on:
- Thursday, February 17, 2022. This had no mention of the DOE related issues, basically a pitch for MHI’s events.
- Wednesday, February 16, 2022 “news and updates” which also had no mention of the DOE related issues.
- Tuesday, February 15, 2022, no mention of DOE or any news item, just another pitch for an MHI event, which their own form 990 reveals is a profit center. It is also a venue where MHI consolidators can engage with possible targets of acquisition. MHI events are furthermore arguably a venue for MHI ‘razzle dazzle.’
- Wednesday, February 02, 2022. This one pitches their event, but also briefly says the following about DOE.
“Speakers at Listening Sessions Support MHI’s Call for Changes to Proposed Energy Standards
During the virtual public comment period for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which evaluates potential impacts of DOE’s proposed action to establish energy efficiency standards for manufactured housing, speakers supported MHI’s concerns about the impact on affordability and availability of today’s manufactured homes.” ##
Restating the above evidence. Neither to the MHI Federated States (i.e.: MHI ‘state affiliates’), nor to their g-string-scanty-style ‘news’ items, are the substantive issues raised by MHARR mentioned by MHI. The contrast in information and communications styles is significant.
Trade associations are supposed to inform their members as part of the cost of membership.
Trade associations also are supposed to inform the general public about issues of importance.
Go to the MHI website and here is what comes up in a search under the DOE energy rule. On the homepage on this date, there is nothing visible that relates to the DOE energy rule that MHI has repeatedly stated is a ‘threat’ to the most affordable manufactured homes. By contrast, there are ads for various members, there is a promotion for their thus-far market failing CrossModTM homes initiative, and promos for events that are MHI profit centers and/or ‘razzle dazzle,’ consolidation, and related engagement opportunities.
What about a search on the MHI website? These screen captures tell the story. There is nothing since 2018.
How seriously can a public official, or objective researcher (think reporters, nonprofits, university level studies or others) take MHI’s statements when they can’t be found publicly on MHI’s own website? How serious is MHI to be taken when their own footer has remained unchanged since 2017? They are an apparent embarrassment to themselves and to the industry. But these points ought to raise questions when compared to the more modestly funded MHARR and their website comparison on these same searches.
Go to the MHARR website, and several articles can be accessed with a simple search.
- On this date at 8.14 AM, there are four articles on the MHARR homepage related to the DOE energy rule.
- A search using the MHARR search tool reveals pages of articles publicly available on MHARR’s positions, news updates, and regulatory filings and other comments on the DOE energy rule. Note that MHI’s own website search tool had only a handful of results, all on 1 page, and nothing since 2018.
- Compare the emails from MHARR and MHI and there is no contest. MHI’s information is clearly lacking key insights that MHARR provides to all.
Why don’t others in manufactured housing trade media and bloggers highlight such comparisons? The case can be made that MHI has their clutches into most of this trade media’s rivals. They prop them up and reward them in a variety of ways. That may be kosher in some sense, but it also may be part of the broader con that is termed by a MHEC member as a “razzle dazzle” tactic.
To be clear.
- MHProNews has noted that even among black-hat brands there are white-hat professionals.
- Among MHI members, there are apparent black-hat brands who routinely turn up in mainstream media stories about “predatory” and other negative news reports. But in fairness, MHI also has white-hat brands too. Some producers have opted to be members of both trade group, for whatever reason.
- The evidence-based case can MHI be made that MHI engages in paltering and spin. They tell part of a truth but leave out important information that may change the obvious meaning of whatever it is they are ‘reporting’ on. Indeed, it was precisely that pattern that caused this pro-industry and pro-consumer writer to be ‘snookered’ for a time. Paltering is by definition a method of misleading, deceiving, and manipulating the target of that style of messaging. But once MHProNews realized – through a tip from a reader – in 2015 that MHI sent out an email to their members that apparently deliberately left out key information all caught on CSPAN video. That information that was apparently omitted by MHI’s Richard “Dick” Jennison and Lesli “MHI 2.0” Gooch, was brought to MHI leadership’s attention. Then did nothing to censure or correct the record. Note, they didn’t deny the omission. They simply allowed that statement to stand uncorrected. That was part of the odyssey of discovery that this platform – then an MHI member – embarked upon that led us to this point in time. We’ve gone from a generally pro-MHI source to a generally MHI critiquing source. The reasons are due to the evidence and their history of behavior.
We began this weekly recap with a quote from a non-manufactured housing attorney that we may hear from again, time will tell. That party wrote to say: “Wow! You certainly did make a strong and well articulated case for MH. Every time I see a devastating event on the news (such as a tornado) and the folks say they will rebuild their small town I can’t help but think how MH could facilitate that in so many ways – time, cost and emotional benefits.”
There is no contradiction between being pro-industry, pro-consumer, and yet hold misbehavior among industry professionals and groups to account.
The case has been made by Samuel Strommen at Knudson Law that manufactured housing is underperforming due in part to behavior by key MHI member brands. Strommen’s legal thesis provides over 130 footnotes. He laid out the evidence why MHInsider (in fairness, just one possible example) is an apparent MHI mouthpiece. Strommen laid out the evidence and reasons for saying that MHI was ‘in on it’ in terms of MHI’s participation in antitrust violations occurring in manufactured housing. Those are serious allegations.
When brought to the attention of the TBPR.org. The brown and bold are added for emphasis, but the text is as sent by Ms. Garrett.
… “As stated in the November 9, 2021 letter to you, this matter appears to be more appropriately addressed by elected officials and/or the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chief Disciplinary Counsel
Board of Professional Responsibility
of the Supreme Court of Tennessee
Garrett herself says that there is evidence of possible criminal activity. The TBPR forbids criminal action by a TN licensed attorney. That includes forbidding suborning perjury. Garrett admitted in writing that the TBPR.org has the ability to refer such matters to other public officials for possible criminal investigations. But Garrett said they have not done so. Why is that? Is it a form of favoritism? Something else? Plan on more on that topic in the days ahead.
But the bottom line for today is this. There has long been sufficient evidence to support a third-party investigation of the Manufactured Housing Industry in general, the Manufactured Housing Institute and some of their key brands in specific. Who says? Samuel Strommen with Knudson Law, among others.
Stay tuned for more about the promotion of the good in MHVille, plus the spotlight of what’s apparently gone wrong that needs to be investigated by a range of state and federal officials. Until next time, stay between the lines. ##
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Our thanks to you, our sources, and sponsors 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.