In what looks like a case of an “over the target” reaction, one or more individuals associated with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) “listening session” on 3.25.2021 took the extraordinary step of cutting off one of the presenters who was pointedly connecting dots and evidence that unmasked what Mark Weiss, J.D. called a “shell game.” Attorney Weiss is the president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). His comments as prepared ripped the problematic process that over 12 years after the enactment of the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing with competitive lending are linked here. Before proceeding, the etymology of the headline phrase “calling a spade a spade” is worth noting for any overly sensitive individuals. Quoting: “To call a spade a spade” entered the English language when Nicholas Udall translated Erasmus in 1542. … In fact, one form of the expression that emerged later was “to call a spade a bloody shovel.” The early usages of the word “spade” did not refer to either race or skin color.”” [Note: some emphasis added, but the text is unchanged]. So, said left-leaning NPR on 9.23.2013. That noted, pushback and “calling a spade a spade” by citing evidence and experts with the (FHFA) during and after their Enterprise Housing Goals “listening session” resulted in a promising about-face by FHFA, which will be explored herein below.
In less than 24 hours, one or more individuals involved in the arguably errant move during the FHFA listening session that cut off the second half of the address by L.A. “Tony” Kovach and then implied after doing so that this writer’s content may not be posted at all, has been reversed.
That reversal came after some protest messages to FHFA’s Clinton Jones, Senior Advisor for Legal Affairs and Policy, Director Mark Calabria, and other named management-level staff.
Here is an example of the emailed correspondence. This message is dated March 26, at 10:52 AM ET.
Following up to let you know that the team spoke with Clinton this morning and we will be posting your full statement along with the video and transcript materials once they are ready. I will share that link with you once it is live.
Director of Stakeholder Relations
Federal Housing Finance Agency | F H F A…”
The screen capture below documents the email from Walton, who her email addressed, and what the respective roles of each person are in this FHFA and manufactured housing related financing process. To open the screen capture and collage of information graphic up and see it full size, click here or in the linked item below the graphic.
Under Walton’s name on the top left are those who were addressed.
Each person’s bio-or role in brief is examined in this infographic.
To see this image below full size for easy reading, click here.
That email from Walton, which copied her colleagues as indicated, was in response to various electronic requests from L. A. “Tony” Kovach, in his capacity as a consultant and industry expert, to the FHFA.
Here is one example. The email below was addressed to Clinton Jones, J.D., and included Theodore “Ted” Wartell, Danielle Walton, Korwin Clayton, and Jeanie Shattuck-Lemons – all at FHFA – including others to document the ask.
In a message from Kovach sent March 25, 2021, 5:40 PM ET, per Gmail, was the following.
“RE: Clinton Jones, follow up on email to your colleagues Fwd: Ted, a few words, please…
As you may recall, in my live and later virtual comments in December of 2019 I made comments quite similar to what were made today.
The difference is that there was new material and new examples of those same concerns. It strikes me that my request to Ted Wartell and your colleagues is not a 2 hour decision. It is a 1 minute decision.
The last I checked, this was billed as an FHFA Listening Session. My comments, while perhaps more focused on individuals than that of Mark Weiss, J.D., nevertheless made similar points. Namely, that this has been – as he put it – a “shell game” or a sham process.
Ironically, by allegedly cutting my call in comments off today, your colleague Ted and/or whomever was involved in that call and comments cut off arguably only served to underscore or even prove what I was saying.
There is no legal line crossed in my comments. See for yourself in links 1 and 3 below, below my name.
Not only were my Constitutionally protected rights of free speech thwarted, but so too was my right to petition for redress of grievances.
I’m hereby asking you to tell me precisely what we can expect to correct the error by Ted and/or whomever was involved in cutting off my comments as prepared which I was faithfully sticking to in my address.
If your colleagues have not yet forwarded my emails to them to you, by all means, let them do so.
Kindly let me know in a timely manner that my request to have my linked comments as prepared posted, and also to have the unedited audio posted. At a minimum, whoever cut me off should suffer the embarrassment of having done so, don’t you agree?
Let me know, thank you.
The above was in response to the comments made as prepared by Kovach (this writer) linked below. That post will be updated with a cross-link to this report and analysis.
The comments by the Manufactured Housing Institute CEO Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., largely mirrored her posted comments found via the report linked below. That same report also spotlights MHARR’s Mark Weiss statements which called what is occurring with the Duty to Serve and Enterprise Housing Goals process a sham – or more precisely – a “shell game.”
Why This Matters – Additional Information, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
As this writer’s December 2019 and this week’s comments both made clear, what has been occurring with DTS is a “disgrace.” That “disgrace” harms the interests of millions of current owners of HUD Code manufactured homes. Who says? The applied logic of Edward Golding in his Urban Institute comments – se that in the context linked here. It further harms the interests of affordable housing seekers. Affordable home ownership, as the graphic collage above and linked here for reader convenience indicates, is widely acknowledged as important to people of lower incomes, perhaps especially minorities.
The first step necessary to break the logjam in providing all HUD Code manufactured homes with the lending mandated by HERA and the Enterprise Housing Goal (EHG) requirements is to expose what a purported sham this process has been. The listening session and public comments are – in this context of a scam – just window-dressing to make people who participate hopefully feel like they are doing something. As the comments linked here and here document, there are ample legal and sustainability reasons why FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac can do precisely what the law requires. Rephrased, the case can be made that there are no good excuses for the obvious lack of performance by FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Even Lesli Gooch admitted as much.
The next step is to push these legal and evidence-based buttons to insure that the special interests and their “iron triangle” allies in fact are forced to do what the law requires. While this trade media coverage can support that goal, as does years of MHARR’s effort, there is more that can and should be done.
To unpack that, see the related report below. Executive summary? Enough independents and other interested parties need to organize and push along-side MHARR, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.
Steady, evidence-based pushback “over the target” that calls the facts as they appear to be is part of the process. While it remains to be seen if, when, and how FHFA will display on their website the comments related to the Kovach statement found here, their emailed pledge is promising.
Once they see this report, which their top leadership was told to expect, several possibilities open up.
It can not be understated that not only Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, and others have arguably benefited from this 2 decades of foot dragging in Washington D.C.
But so too may other private equity giants and relative newcomers into the affordable housing realm.
This can readily become a bipartisan or nonpartisan opportunity. How so? When both major parties claim that they want to provide more home ownership, and the laws that make that possible already exist, AND evidence of possible corruption that involves possible felonies and RICO violations; a series of pathways to press the evidence opens up.
Independents, sincere – vs. merely posturing – advocates, ethical (vs. corrupt) public officials, investors, taxpayers, honorably motivated nonprofits, and others should find these issues and developments to be a timely and target rich.
Stay tuned for more. Because there is an opportunity to legally breach the Buffettesque moat.
The case has been, and can be made, that the Buffett-style moat in manufactured housing is arguably illegal. That moat has been protected and advanced by using Iron Triangle methods. Those are opportunities in disguise for a wide range of white hats and sincere reformers.
Only more persistent pushback will likely make that possible. Who says? Mark Weiss and his colleagues, along with others who arrived at the conclusion that MHI is merely posturing. MHARR and others have been fighting this battle for many years. This degree of exposure of what has been happening to thwart affordable financing for all HUD Code manufactured homes is a potentially important step in that process.
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
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