The Eric C. Conn – Social Security attorney, fraud case – would never have been mentioned in the Daily Business News save for this troubling fact. Several mainstream media accounts featured his office space – manufactured homes – in photos and copy, as if that was somehow relevant to the reported events.
For those who missed the initial report, linked here, the flamboyant Conn used TV, billboards and the internet among other bold ways to promote his blossoming Social Security disability law practice in Kentucky.
“The colorful attorney — who had been charged with conspiracy, fraud, false statements, money laundering and other related offenses in connection with the scheme — faces up to 12 years behind bars,” the initial report said in part.
The sensational, estimated half-billion-dollar plus Social Security fraud scheme has drawn national attention.
Given the sheer size of the crime, it’s a big story.
In fairness, Conn himself often had those manufactured homes that were his office in the background. But would the media have hyped the point of his office arrangements, had it been located in conventional housing?
More to the point for manufactured home professionals, how did the kind of housing he used for office space justify the mainstream media use of terms like “trailer house” [sic] and “mobile home,” [sic] when the offices were clearly HUD Code manufactured homes that – based on the visual evidence – looked just fine.
“It’s just as wrong to use the N-Word to describe a black as it is to use the T-Word to describe a manufactured home,” factory-built housing veteran, Donald Tye has stated matter-of-factly, in a different report linked here.
As community professional and MHI/NCC member, Frank Rolfe said regarding the Keith Olbermann matter, “Newscasters and journalists are losing their careers over the use of every other insulting slang term — however minor — simply from special interest groups threatening to boycott the advertisers. So why is ‘trailer trash’ the one insulting term in the U.S. that you can use without any fear of reprisal?”
“Is it because the average American feels it’s true,” says Rolfe, who asks – “thanks to the consistent negative portrayal of the industry in the media?
Rolfe has blasted the Manufactured Housing Institute for its repeated failures to engage – and defend – the industry from unfair attacks.
“I think one of the challenges we have as an industry is that there is not enough positive news about manufactured housing to counter the negative,” said pro-MHI member, Darren Krolewski, in response to concerns about the Arlington, VA based association that have been expressed by Rolfe and others.
But Rolfe’s view disagrees with Krolewski’s.
More Troubling News…and Where was the Potential Good News Reports?
Along with a recent North Carolina mainstream media windstorm story, and the recent cat house story (both of these will be upcoming features), MHI senior staff and public relations personnel have decline to comment.
An MHI board member emailed MHProNews in late June, shocked and dismayed that the association had done “Nothing!!” during Home Ownership month, to promote the good news about the manufactured housing industry.
Those failures to respond often lead the public to draw the very conclusion that Rolfe laments. Namely, that if the industry won’t defend it own honor, then the narratives of the mainstream media must be true.
Dotting the i on the Eric Conn Update
The FBI has reportedly identified and seized four bank accounts believed to be associated with the allegedly bond-jumping – and jurisdiction fleeing – Conn.
The government will receive $150,000 from the sale of the house in Pikeville (with the rest of the roughly $750K home going towards other legal obligations). Conn’s lampooned and maligned law office complex is reportedly worth $659,100.
Together those assets will amount to just below $750,000. The government has also seized and intends to sell the replica of the Lincoln statue, which Conn said he purchased for $500,000. (3) ## (News, Analysis.)
(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)
Submitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.