In response to an inquiry about a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) webinar on Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) advocacy, this comment was emailed to MHProNews. “Now that’s chutzpa[h]. Pay us $25 to tell you what we’re doing with the dues money that you already pay.” Chutzpah is defined by left-leaning Wikipedia as “Chutzpah is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. It derives from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpāh (חֻצְפָּה), meaning “insolence”, “cheek” or “audacity“.” Oxford Languages says the word “chutz·pah / ho͝otspə,ˈKHo͝otspə/…noun: chutzpah … “extreme self-confidence or audacity.” What evoked that claim that MHI was displaying audacity or chutzpah? MHProNews asked MHI leaders, including outside attorneys, for an explanation or reaction to their charging members for a webinar on advocacy, which is what MHI members are supposedly paying for already via their dues. After all, normal trade associations give updates on advocacy efforts to their members for ‘free’ as part of a trade group’s communications. It is part of a normal trade group’s effort to show their members that they are being good stewards of the dues and other money in a given association’s care.
Ironically, the MHI email in question admits that their webinar is sponsored by affiliated MHI member attorneys. Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. But Sun Communities is also stated as a co-sponsor of the MHI event. So, there appears to be a heaping helping of chutzpah.
Here below is the inquiry to MHI, which includes the text of the MHI pitch for a $25 fee to hear about advocacy. Following the email to MHI leaders, which bcc’d some MHI members, consumer advocates, plus federal professionals in Washington, D.C., will be additional information, more analysis and MHProNews commentary.
Jul 6, 2021, 12:41 PM
|from:||L. A. Tony K|
|to:||John Greiner <JGreiner@graydon.law>|
|cc:||“Hodges, Tom” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Lesli Gooch <email@example.com>,
|bcc:||Darren Krolewski <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
John, Tom, Lesli, et al,
We’ve been provided this email below from MHI, which notes that questions should be directed to email@example.com, which are among the emails copied in this request for response to the question that follows the recent MHI message.
MHProNews would value your emailed response to this first of 2 questions.
Q1) Precisely what has MHI accomplished that is measurable and demonstrable in the Obama-Biden, Trump-Pence, or Biden-Harris years by MHI’s specific advocacy?
To frame that inquiry is the publicly made comments found on the FHFA website, linked below, that states a series of facts about existing federal laws that MHI has yet to get properly implemented. Note that it quotes Ms Gooch and others involved in MHI, as well as other MHI meeting attendees.
As reports linked further below reflect, Kevin Clayton, Tom Hodges, Lesli Gooch and several MHI formal statements essentially concur that the good federal laws described in the linked comments above to FHFA have not been fully and properly implemented.
So, question 2:
Q2) On what basis is MHI claiming “clout” or expertise in advancing its own stated agenda?
Please email your response for our mutual accuracy in handling and clarity in communications. Several MHI members are BCC’d to document this inquiry, and a few advocates and interested parties in D.C.
We welcome your feedback on the above, or any items that follow below. Again, please email for accuracy.
That was followed by the latest email to the thousands in manufactured housing that receive our twice weekly emailed news, tips, and views updates.
MHI’s outside attorney at the Graydon law firm confirmed receipt of the message but did not offer an explanation. Other feedback came in from various sources connected with MHI. So, the quoted reaction above was not alone. But MHI itself has not offered an explanation, over 20 hours after the above was sent.
MHI emails often have a statement like this: “If you have any questions, please contact MHI’s Advocacy and Communications Department at MHIgov@mfghome.org…” Apparently, that is just one more item that is window dressing, just for show.
It should be noted that MHI’s claim that the Biden White House and Congress are working to “expand the American Dream of homeownership and promote fair housing opportunities for all” is little more than a current Democratic talking point. Similar claims were made by the Bush Administration and other Democrats, which have demonstrably been proven to have resulted in lower rates of homeownership, That won’t be the focus of this report and analysis, but to learn more about those issues, see the articles linked above and below.
Additional Information on MHI Webinar Pitch Email, More MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
Let’s briefly recap the obvious. Lutz, Bobo & Telfair and Sun Communities were co-sponsors to this MHI webinar. That begs the question, why should there be a charge for members or others to hear about MHI’s advocacy?
Then, Lutz, Bobo & Telfair (LBT) website includes these areas of specialization, which are edited below to sharpen the point that will follow.
Real Estate Law
- Zoning Law
- Land Use Law
Real Estate Litigation
We already know that MHI leaders, including, but not limited to – Kevin Clayton, Tom Hodges, and MHI CEO Lesli Gooch – are aware of the enhanced preemption provision of federal law. Gooch is a featured speaker in this webinar. Presumably LBT law would be aware of preemption too. More on that shortly.
This was posted on the LBT law firm’s Facebook page, along with the base featured image shown at the top of this report and analysis.
“Our designated attorney Jody B. Gabel is an active member of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI). Ms. Gabel was elected to serve on MHI’s National Communities Council’s Board of Governors in 2018 (“NCC”). She has been a valuable member of the MHI’s NCC, which is comprised of community owners, managers, and individuals or companies whose primary business supports the development, finance or operation of manufactured home communities. Ms. Gabel also works on important community issues such as fair housing, occupancy standards, property rights, and litigation issues. She has proven herself as a valuable member of our community and dedicated law professional.”
The Tiny House Alliance website lists attorney Gabel too. Here is what that trade group said.
“Jody Gabel is a trial attorney with over 25 years experience in mobile home park law, RV tenancies, landlord/tenant and housing law, issues.
Jody Gabel has been a partner of Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. in Sarasota, Florida since 2001. Jody supervises a team specializing in matters involving federal and state fair housing laws, ADA compliance, evictions, collections, abandonment, lienholder matter, replevins of mobile homes, recreational vehicles, and shares in resident-owned communities.
Jody serves on the Manufactured Housing Institute’s National Communities Council’s Board Of Governors and continues to represent the majority of the mobile home park owners located in Florida.”
The Tiny House Alliance U.S. (THAUS) trade group says that Gabel has joined their trade group too.
Research is part of every attorney’s professional life. But Gabel may have particular experience in that, as her biography says that she was “Member, Florida State University Law Review, 1992-1994; Writing and Research Editor, 1993-1994.” She graduated “Florida State University College of Law, J.D., with high honors, 1994.”
MHProNews has contacted Gabel directly to inquire about her understanding of enhanced preemption under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 (sometimes called the 2000 Reform law). More on that later.
The LTB firm’s tag line is “Reputation – Respect – Results.” Okay, results for whom?
Gabel is praised for her work on behalf of ‘most’ manufactured home communities via the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA).
More specifically, the other sponsor for MHI’s webinar is member and publicly traded Sun Communities (SUI). Sun Chairman and CEO Gary Shiffman said almost two years ago that there are times that they could be developing sites at a lower cost than they were buying sites. With MHI member Marcus & Millichap (MMI) reporting further compression on cap rates and per-site costs to buy an existing manufactured home community, presumably Shiffman’s point is more apt today than at that time.
As Sun, and other MHI member community operators are busily and explicitly stating in public that they are consolidating the “fragmented” community sector, that would be a far more difficult task if new communities were routinely coming online.
But the reality, as reported by other MHI members, is that there are more land-lease manufactured home community closures than there are openings. To get “results” for consolidators, they has to be a publicly unstated goal of not getting enhanced preemption enforced. Nothing else would make sense. After all, would there be a rush to pay more for land-lease communities if they could be developed and rapidly filled for less than older, existing communities would cost per site?
After more than a decade of listening to, reading, and observing all that MHI and their key corporate leaders are doing, it is ever more apparent that they are routinely saying one thing, but meanwhile, they are doing another. That would come as no surprise to MHI award winner, Marty Lavin, J.D., who told MHProNews some years ago, and on more than one occasion, that the deeds of people and organizations matters more than mere words.
Lavin also told MHProNews in February 2019 the following.
But Lavin isn’t alone, as others once in the association have spoke out too.
MHI claims, among other things, to have said on several occasions that they positioned their trade group to be able to work with Democrats and Republicans alike. If so, why has MHI been self-admittedly unable to get existing federal laws properly implemented?
While the Biden-Harris White House is still fairly new, MHI is already making big claims. But aren’t these similar to years of similar claims under the Obama-Biden and Trump-Pence Administrations?
It is increasingly obvious that MHI, an umbrella trade group that claims to represent “all segments” of manufactured housing, is in fact working contrary to the interests of independent retailers, independent producers, consumers, and others. What MHI and NCC are apparently focused upon is posturing support for existing laws, while obviously doing nothing effective to advance the interests of what remains of the independents in our profession.
It is beyond question that Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway alone has the clout necessary to advance the industry’s interests. Kevin Clayton, in a video interview with transcript shown below, told pro-Buffett interviewer Robert Miles that Buffett assured him that he had access ‘to plenty of money’ to do whatever he wanted to do. Left-leaning CNBC reported on May 1, 2021 that Buffett-led Berkshire had “Berkshire’s cash pile grew about 5% during the quarter to more than $145.4 billion.”
But beyond that, Berkshire, Bill Gates – a close Buffett ally and major Berkshire stock holder – have media resources and contacts that could readily be tapped into if so desired.
Then, there is MHI’s own multi-million dollar cash pile, plus a media relations/communications professional. Why aren’t any of those resources being used to overcome the various hurdles that are keeping manufactured housing at levels still lower than when Berkshire acquired Oakwood and Clayton in 2002 and 2003?
Indeed, while claiming momentum, MHI and their dominating brands then watched as the manufactured home industry dropped in production levels. That slide occurred even as the U.S. affordable housing crisis got worse. For 2½ years, new home production – which obviously implies sales – fell. It was only in the last 3 months of HUD/IBTS/MHARR reporting that the industry has finally turned a corner, as the demand for all housing has grown red-hot.
What the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) President and CEO, Mark Weiss, J.D., called the “illusion of motion” in 2019 has proven to be quite so.
MHARR reached out to MHI member state affiliates to test the waters to see if one or more would get involved in litigation with them to get enhanced preemption enforced. There were not takers.
Yet, MHI affiliate state association leaders admit that matters have gotten worse.
More recently, MHARR’s founding president, who was an MHI VP, Danny Ghorbani publicly called out MHI for posturing without performance.
In fairness, there are a few state associations that have provided periodic tips and insights to MHProNews. But publicly, who is there that among the state executives that is pushing back against this 15+ year pattern?
Keep in mind that existing manufactured home communities are filling rapidly. So says MMI.
Warning to Independents and Conclusion
It should be obvious that absent a change in direction, a metaphorical wall will be hit in the near term by independent HUD Code producers. When somewhat more than 1/3rd of all new HUD Code manufactured homes are going into a land-lease community, producers could soon face a wall that will result in a sharp drop in production.
Additionally, since retailers are apparently getting the short end of the MHI-big brands stick, the obvious solution to creating more sales is to apply enhanced preemption. There is no serious public disagreement on that point. It is the failure of MHI and their big brands to actually do the legal or other efforts necessary that all but assures a continuing erosion in the numbers of manufactured home independent retailers, communities, and producers.
In the view of MHProNews, MHI members that care about growth should call for a public accounting by MHI of their stewardship and performance. A legal source informed MHProNews that failure to do so could result in legal liability for MHI members that fail to protest publicly.
A longtime MHI member previously told MHProNews that MHI was operating more and more like a “secret society.” That was a fascinating insight. A secret society may have an outer level of membership that is told much of the same sort of things that the general public is told. But then, there is an inner level of membership. They are the power. They get the information that is closer to reality.
See the linked and related reports to learn more. As a postscript, Gabel – hours after asked to comment, and MHI, almost a full 24 hours after being asked to comment, have both failed to respond. Should that change after publication of this article, MHProNews will plan to do a follow up report.
Next, is our evening market report and related left-right headlines.
The Business Daily Manufactured Home Industry Connected Stock Market Updates. Plus, Market Moving Left (CNN) – Right (Newsmax) Headlines Snapshot. While the layout of this business daily report has recently been modified, several elements of the basic concepts used previously are still the same. The headlines that follow below can be reviewed at a glance to save time while providing insights across the left-right media divide. Additionally, those headlines often provide clues as to possible ‘market moving’ items.
Market Indicator Closing Summaries – Yahoo Finance Closing Tickers on MHProNews…
Headlines from left-of-center CNN Business = evening of 7.6.2021
- JEDI canceled
- This picture taken 26 December 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC. The Pentagon, which is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), is the world’s largest office building by floor area, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon.
- Pentagon scraps controversial $10 billion cloud contract given to Microsoft over Amazon
- Dow tumbles as Wall Street’s hot streak cools off
- AMC ditches plans to sell 25 million additional shares of its stock
- Investors are betting against these meme stocks. What happens if they’re wrong?
- Didi shares crash after China bans it from app stores
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- IBM CEO: The biggest challenge holding back our economy right now
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- Why Biden may want to take a page from Trump’s OPEC playbook
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- Subway is making the biggest menu change in its history
- What is the best financial advice you ever got? Share your story
- AUTO ECONOMICS
- Used vehicles for sale at a CarMax dealership in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, June 24, 2021. CarMax Inc, jumps 5.8% in premarket trading after it reported revenue for the first quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
- If you bought a car last year, it could now be worth more than you paid for it
- Tesla recalls nearly 300,000 cars in China
- Car sales rise, even as chip shortage limits supply
- Hertz emerges from bankruptcy
- The Ford Bronco is finally here and Jeep should be worried
- THE COSBY SHOW — Season 1 — Pictured: (l-r) Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Theodore “Theo” Huxtable, Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable, Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff & “Cliff” Huxtable, Tempestt Bledsoe as Vanessa Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad as Clair Hanks Huxtable, Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable
- Why you still won’t find ‘The Cosby Show’ on many TV platforms
- Meghan McCain is leaving ‘The View’
- ‘F9’ nabs the biggest box office opening since 2019
- Spielberg’s production company signs Netflix deal
- Opinion: Late-night TV is back, and so is America (almost)
Headlines from right-of-center Newsmax – evening of 7.6.2021
- Pew Study Shows How Trump Kept 2020 Election Close
- The first Trump-Biden debate of the 2020 presidential campaign, held Sept. 29, 20202, in Cleveland. (Getty)
- Newsmax TV
- Florida Lt. Gov. Nunez: Elsa Looming; Surfside Search Efforts Go On
- Kash Patel: Biden’s Lack of Knowledge on Cyberattack ‘Scares Me’ |
- Rep. Donalds: Rep. Cori Bush’s July 4 Tweets ‘Pure and Utter Foolery’ |
- Eric Trump: ‘There Is a War on This Flag’ |
- Rep. Steube: Biden’s Brain Freeze Shows ‘Weakness’ |
- AG Paxton: Trump Org Charges Continue Political Attack |
- More Newsmax TV
- Searchers at Collapse Site ‘Not Seeing Anything Positive’
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- The Pentagon said Tuesday it is canceling a cloud-computing contract [Full Story]
- Oil Drops Sharply After OPEC Cancels Meeting
- Oil prices tumbled on Tuesday in a volatile session after OPEC [Full Story]
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- IG Urged to Probe CFPB ‘Patronage’ Tactics Under Biden
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- More Finance
- Lack of Sunlight and Vitamin D Linked to Colon Cancer
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Manufactured Housing Industry Investments Connected Equities Closing Tickers
Some of these firms invest in manufactured housing, or are otherwise connected, but may do other forms of investing or business activities too.
- NOTE: The chart below includes the Canadian stock, ECN, which purchased Triad Financial Services, a manufactured home industry lender
- NOTE: Drew changed its name and trading symbol at the end of 2016 to Lippert (LCII).
- NOTE: Deer Valley was largely taken private, say company insiders in a message to MHProNews on 12.15.2020, but there are still some outstanding shares of the stock from the days when it was a publicly traded firm. Thus, there is still periodic activity on DVLY.
MHProNews. MHProNews – previously a.k.a. MHMSM.com – has celebrated our 11th year of publishing, and is starting our 12the year of serving the industry as the runaway most-read trade media.
Sample Kudos over the years…
It is now 11+ years and counting…
Learn more about our evolutionary journey as the industry’s leading trade media, at the report linked below.
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Disclosure. MHProNews holds no positions in the stocks in this report.
That’s a wrap on this installment of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, stock, investing, data, metrics, 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.
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.