Will MHAction Protest Another Manufactured Housing Institute Congress and Expo in 2022? Will MHAction Target MHI’s Orlando Meeting? Facts, Political Insights & Warren Buffett, George Soros Ties


“Residents of public housing, manufactured homeowners and affordable housing advocates disrupted HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s speech to the Manufactured Housing Institute.” So said Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction), touting their pre-planned and organized disruption of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Las Vegas event on April 25, 2018.  That historic factoid of past protest captured on video (see below) frames the headline questions. When considering the possibility of MHAction disrupting yet another MHI spring “Congress and Expo” 2022 meeting in Orlando, one ought to consider an array of factual insights and ponder what they mean to everyday industry professionals, investors, policy makers, and others. Among the topics that bear examination is the source of MHAction’s funding. At the base of the MHAction home page is the name and address of the Tides Center. Per Influence Watch, “The Tides Foundation is a major center-left grantmaking organization and a major pass-through funder to numerous left-leaning nonprofits.” When one examines the politics of MHAction, they too appear to cheerlead leftist or so-called ‘progressive’ causes. Who are two of the top sources for donations to the Tides? As the graphic further below reflects, it is none other than billionaires George Soros and Warren Buffett. Buffett, as thousands of manufactured home industry professionals and millions of others know, is the chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) nonprofit. Berkshire is also the parent company that owns Clayton Homes. This report will examine MHAction’s prior and current roles in the media, public, and policy landscape. Some background information will shed light on why MHAction, its donors, and history at disrupting a prior MHI event could be repeated and why it matters.

Note Influence Watch, which meticulously documents its claims from sources across the left-right media divide and from other information resources, noted that: “The Tides Foundation is controlled by the Tides Network, a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit that acts as a coordinating entity for multiple nonprofits in the Tides Nexus, a catch-all for the numerous organizations operating under the “Tides” umbrella.” In 2017 Tides, per Influence Watch’s research, had: “Revenue: $298,417,689, Expenses: $253,098,945 and Assets: $313,456,165.” One of its funded popup nonprofits used for protesting in favor of various causes is MHAction.


In examining news headlines about various reports, often focused on the communities sector of the manufactured housing industry, MHAction’s fingerprints are involved. Who says? Google news and the various specific news outlets cited. There are currently 137 results for MHAction in the Google news search tab on this date. Under the “all” category search tab that balloons to 44,000 estimated results, per Google. The high-profile HBO Last Week Tonight with John Oliver viral and misnamed “Mobile Homes” video included information attributed to MHAction. Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne cited MHAction in the video posted below. Axne is championing a bill to regulate the manufactured home community sector, as MHLivingNews reported in the linked report below. Love or hate their politics, MHAction is not to be underestimated in their ability to stir up headlines that could prove harmful for independents that have nothing to do with the problematic behavior that often traces back to the same cast of characters that routinely happen to be members of MHI and/or an MHI state affiliate.


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Official Statements by Rep. Cindy Axne on Manufactured Housing Affordability Bill Advanced by House Financial Services Committee, Additional Manufactured Home Living News Insights and Analysis



Per MHAction’s Facebook post with video protesting the investment giant Blackstone shown below, “MHAction is demanding that Blackstone leave our communities. We delivered a “just cause” eviction notice to the home of former Senator and Blackstone Board of Directors Kelly Ayotte.

The eviction notice is being served to remove Blackstone’s predatory business model from our communities!”



Senator Sherrod Brown (OH-D) is featured in the MHLivingNews report linked above and is shown in the photo with Rep. Axne.



MHI member Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds are among those targeted by MHAction for protest.



Reynolds denied that MHAction is working in a dark concert with them.




Such protests might not harm larger operations as much as smaller ones. But to a smaller business the blowback in the public eye could prove to be significantly harmful. Given that many media reports do not go into the nitty gritty of the politics, funding, and tactics of MHAction or other similar groups, the public can be left with a bad taste about manufactured home community living in general. The net effect? Smaller operators with honorable business practices may be unjustly tainted with the actual ‘predatory’ firms. As Sun Communities reported, there is a record pipeline of smaller ‘mom and pop’ firms exiting the industry. While there are many pressure points on independent community operators, the challenges of dealing with new regulations that are fueled by so-called ‘predatory’ behavior are among them.




MHAction Funding

When billionaires such as Soros and Buffett put money into an investment, they expect a return on that investment. As MHAction illustrates, Buffett’s and Soros’ investments are not limited to stock, banking, businesses, and currencies. They include media (arguably by ownership, lending, or influence by advertising), but also may include nonprofits. Buffett, Soros, or for that matter Buffett ally Bill Gates and others of their kind, apparently see value in using nonprofits in a variety of ways to influence discussion, media, public policies, and public perception. These are all methods of obtaining they a return on their money invested.

The Tides Center footer appeared on the MHAction website after MHLivingNews’ exposed the connection, based on insights learned from GSMOL. GSMOL accused MHAction of trying to claim credit and scarf up other advocacy group’s work and members.

A tip from a resident manufactured homeowner leader Michelle Smith at the Golden Stare Mobile-Home Owner League (GSMOL) previously flagged MHAction’s connection to the Tides. That was prior to MHAction posting that footer connecting them financially to the Tides nonprofit.  From GSMOL’s keen insight, MHLivingNews and MHProNews have both documented the so-called “dark money trail” to Buffett and Soros via the Tides to MHAction.

Per GSMOL, with further details in the report linked below, “Recently, the GSMOL Board of Directors received a written complaint from a member about a group called MHAction. After doing some research, we found this group does not have their own non-profit standing but rather, they use other groups’ legal standing to solicit funding. They have been calling and emailing GSMOL leaders, asking for personal meetings, apparently hoping to build their membership from our leaders.

According to the GSMOL member’s complaint, MHAction takes credit from their association with other groups’ accomplishments, then uses those “pirated” accomplishments to apply for grant money under the category of “Education”. Their website shows that they are a New York based group with local leaders in California.”

Restated, GSMOL – which has numbers of volunteer residents and leaders, was complaining against MHAction. Again, the details are found in the report below.



James “Jim” Clyburn (SC-D) is the House Democratic Majority Whip. He played a higher profile role in then candidates Joe Biden’s path to the White House in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary by helping Biden win SC after having lost in prior state primaries that year. But prior to Clyburn’s own political career, he was a history teacher. He has given one of the most compelling reasons to study history. It is quoted below. To Clyburn’s point, what has Buffett said that he reads? The biographical information about certain individuals (a type of history) and the corporate performance information about companies (and by extension, the industries) that they are in. These too are information that are historical in nature.

One may or may not agree with Clyburn’s politics. But the wisdom of this statement by Clyburn is demonstrably true.


MHAction and the MHI Annual Congress and Expo

Ironically to those who are beginning to tune into what’s planned for Tunica, err, the 2022 Biloxi Manufactured Housing Trade Show, Congress and Expo this year will feature a few manufactured homes on display. For years, MHI’s annual events had no such display of actual homes, but featured booths and various presentations with speakers instead.



With that backdrop, recall that a tip came to MHProNews that MHAction would protest an MHI event. That year, the Orlando show was disrupted by a hurricane. But later, in New Orleans, MHAction indeed appeared to disrupt the address delivered by then HUD Secretary Ben Carson, M.D. See that video above.

Some of the mainstream reports by various news and political/policy sources are shown below. These illustrate the ripple effects of MHAction.

Per Influence Watch: “In building out other nonprofits, the Tides entities offer financial services and help with human resources, payroll, risk management, and government compliance. Essentially, the Tides groups (or simply “Tides”) take care of most of the overhead so that the left-of-center nonprofits they help can focus most on their causes. [22] Tides’ integrated services partnership provides clients a “one-stop shop” for “full-service grantmaking capabilities bundled with back-office administrative service,” essentially helping the client with every single step of the nonprofit process. [23] In 1996, the Tides Foundation established the Tides Center, a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to assume its fiscal sponsorship services and form a firewall between its incubation and grantmaking activities. [24]



It is not necessarily MHAction per se that gets the attention in the headlines generated. With John Oliver’s viral and misnamed “Mobile Homes” video, the group that MHAction was involved in that produced the research that Oliver showed and referenced. MHAction videos may get very limited views. But the Oliver video has topped 9 million views. That’s not counting the numbers of reports that Oliver’s video sparked.

What makes this even more vexing, John Oliver’s video obliquely connects every problematic company with the Berkshire brand-backed Manufactured Housing Institute, coincidences?

By accident and/or design, MHAction and others are involved in influencing the manufactured housing business landscape. As MHI member Sun’s Gary Shiffman said, the pace of consolidation is at record levels. Perhaps MHI would secretly welcome another protest by MHAction?  What seems clear for those who carefully follow MHProNews/MHLivingNews reports is this.  The more negative headlines in the communities sector stirs up issues that ultimately have apparent benefit of some consolidators. Those consolidators are often MHI member brands, and/or are members of MHI state affiliates.


MHAction is ultimately benefiting the very people they are protesting against? How is benefiting the ‘predatory’ brands “progressive?” MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews will continue to monitor the actions of MHAction and others and report as deemed warranted. ##

Non-MH Attorney – “Making a Compelling Case for Manufactured Housing,” MHI Tipsters with “Toxic Additives” Analysis – plus Sunday Weekly Manufactured Housing Headlines Review

Mobile and Manufactured Home Living Revolution Revival – “You Can Live Better When Your Living Costs Less.”

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Our son has grown quite a bit since this photo. All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in our manufactured housing industry related concerns. But Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included the Constitution of the United States and other goodies.

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


Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.

Telling Manufactured Housing Story Honestly, Persuasively, Beneficially and Profitably with Facts, Evidence, Bright Line Distinctions – plus Sunday Weekly Manufactured Home Recap

Revealing, Concealing, Teasing, Stealing Proverbial Football-Case for MHI’s Lesli Gooch as Lucy to Charlie Brown – Cartoons, Videos, Parody; plus Sunday Weekly Manufactured Home Headlines Review

USATodayWashingtonPostHousingWireMainstreamNewsManufactured HousingFirstLookSundayManufacturedHomeHeadlinesReportsRecapMHProNews





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