“Senator Todd Young represents the state of Indiana. He currently serves on the U.S. Senate Committees on Finance; Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science & Transportation; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Previously, in the House, he served on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Budget Committee, and most recently the House Ways and Means Committee.”
What ‘Educator’ Allen Claims
With those elements understood, MHProNews pivots to an event of a controversial manufactured housing industry member and blogger, George F. Allen. From a recent Allen blog post:
“Major Great Reasons to Attend Networking Roundtable, 8-10 September, in Indianapolis, Indiana ‘Legislation to Create a Housing Affordability
Task Force Introduced in the U.S. Senate’
“A bipartisan group of 13 senators, led by Todd Young (R-IN), reintroduced the ‘Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act’, which aims to better understand and respond to America’s housing affordability shortage. The legislation seeks to bring together a group of experts to evaluate and quantify the effect a lack of affordable housing has on individuals and provide recommendations to Congress about increasing affordable housing options.” Quoted from recent MHI Press Release.
U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) is the Monday morning, 9 September, keynote speaker at this year’s 28th annual Networking Roundtable, 8-10 September, in Indianapolis, IN.”
The use of political figures to draw a larger fee-paying crowd is hardly new to the manufactured housing industry, or any others for that matter. It has been a practice engaged in by both sides of the two major political aisles for years.
That noted, one wonders how well politicians’ staff research the people or organizations they will be addressing? Do they ponder whom or what organizations they may be elevating by their presence? Or how such an address might be used for or against them in an upcoming campaign?
George F. Allen has an arguably checkered resume. On the apparent plus side, he’s been inducted into the RV MH Hall of Fame, was a co-founder of the National Communities Council (NCC) of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), both of the later two which the blogger later blasted and quit. More recently, per MHI-connected sources, a business deal between MHI and Allen was been struck which was been followed by a pivot from Allen to re-embracing the Arlington, VA based trade group he previously denounced and criticized.
All of that might be irrelevant background noise for Senator Young’s staff, and perhaps rightly so. After all, there is wheat and chaff from all people, organizations, events, and things.
That said, the troubling public defense and promotion by Allen of questionable if not illegal tactics of Tom Lackey and Spencer Roane reported at the link below has perhaps not come to Senator Young’s attention?
MHProNews and our public focused sister site – MHLivingNews – has been making a point of drawing when possible a bright-line distinction between purported ‘black hat’ operations in manufactured housing and metaphorical ‘white hat’ organizations. When our assessments have evolved over time, we have publicly explained why, as the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethical Conduct says is proper.
Allen’s non-association, for-profit event last year featured Joe Stegmayer, Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Stegmayer lost his job at Cavco Industries as chairman, president, and CEO after he received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchanges Commission with respect to purported problematic trades. Mainstream media provides a troubling example of Allen and the results of he and his colleagues ‘teaching’ at this link here, where Allen is giving cover to a disciple of he and his compatriot, Spencer Roane and SECO.
The mutual admiration society circle of mutual praise is to some extent completed in the link below.
Those stories are foundational for understanding that Allen uses events like the Roundtable, where Senator Young is currently said to be scheduled to speak, and SECO, where Allen and his colleague Roane ‘teach’ rent-to-own or lease-purchase programs. That ‘education’ by Allen and Roane are per industry legal sources akin to what the NY State Attorney General (AG) office said the practice is illegal. NY State Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood issued a statement linked here announcing a settlement by dozens of communities; yet Allen and his colleague Roane continued to promote something that looks, sounds, and smells the same? Does Young’s office know about these potential land-mines?
Allen and Cavco’s Joe Stegmayer
Stegmayer, and several prior MHI chairs have had legal/financial ‘clouds’ over their heads, which in Cavco’s case has resulted in over a dozen shareholders legal probes that have reportedly cost the firm millions of dollars in less than a year.
In drawing towards a close to this report, MHProNews has questioned the wisdom of legislation to enact a task force. First, it is similar to or duplicative of the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing Development chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
Second, it is an arguable slow walk of solutions that Democrats and Republicans alike agree is well proven, namely, the manufactured homes that are produced in states like Young’s. MHProNews has for years promoted bipartisan solutions, but they should be actionable steps, not mere window dressing.
Finally for today, Young’s bio makes it clear he sits on a committee that is focused on small businesses. There are several small business focused issues that bear legislative oversight, as the resident leader said in the report linked below. While Robert ‘Bob’ Van Cleef isn’t from Young’s state, the principles and concerns raised nevertheless apply.
Summary and What’s Next
With manufactured home industry shipments into 9 months of year-over-year declines, additional controversy is debatably not what the industry should logically desire. Who knows when MHAction and others like them use this kind of address and turn it against Senator Young and the industry?
Rather, the industry needs to be striving for more positive efforts akin to what HUD Secretary Carson has been striving to achieve. MHProNews will contact Senator Young’s office to discern if his team is aware of these concerns related to George Allen, the kind of ‘education’ that occurs at events he is associated with, and if this is what Indiana’s senior senator wants to be associated with?
We will report back later either on public-focused MHLivingNews and/or here on MHProNews.
That’s a wrap on this installment of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, fact-checks, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.
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