“You’re a Gutless Cheat,” The Sting, and Manufactured Housing


Preface/programming note. This article will tee up a major report that uses at its core several third-party researched items later today. It is also worth noting that while analogies can be useful to make a point that can spark a ‘aha moment,’ all analogies limp to some degree.  With those notices made, let’s dive into the headline topic.


There is no lack of movies that can be watched on cable or streamed that feature some aspect of the big con. A classic that fueled the genre was “The Sting.” It is from that movie that this video clip is shown, and the quote in the headline is from that movie clip.

For some years, MHProNews has done the public mea culpa as well as made amends often about not initially seeing what was happening before the HUD Code industry’s very eyes. There is an expression that sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight. Think about that maxim as you ponder the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their machinations.

Think about The Sting, The Grifters, Ocean’s Eleven, Matchstick Men, or any number of movies about con artists. Then seriously ponder is there an aspect of the big con at play in our manufactured housing industry? Is there an illusion, as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has called it, that keeps the industry underperforming?  How inept can the industry’s so-called leaders be?



Beyond fictional movies, now ponder as well real-world big cons.

For years, Bernie Madoff pulled off a multiple billionaire dollar con job right under the noses of federal regulators. There were warnings, but they were brushed off. About $50 billion was the amount that Madoff made off with, per investigators that finally brought him to justice.





The Echo Chamber in Manufactured Housing

There is another expression. In the world of illusion, misdirection, and propaganda, it is useful to set up an echo chamber. Line up media allies. Or on one level from the vantage point of a big con in manufactured housing, it might be better yet to buy off and/or establish your own network or misinformation in the industry’s bloggers and trade media. Given the scope of the prize, the investment in controlling most industry trade media is peanuts.



Blogger George F. Allen has previously ripped MHI, Clayton, and other big boys in MHVille. Allen warned his readers about the monopolization and consolidation of the industry.


“Monopoly” in Manufactured Housing Alleged by George Allen, MHI Defender’s Turn by former Community-Investor, Self-Claimed EducateMHC Blogger


Now, Allen is muted on those issues, more nuanced, and part-time praises the very people he previously called out. Allen called it conspiracies and monopolies some four years ago.  But after a reported deal some months ago with MHI, Allen’s flip-flopped without explaining why his previous claims were in any way wrong.  Doesn’t Allen and his puppet-masters realize that some profesionals pay attention to details?


More examples of this are below and/or are linked from related reports from this article. Serious investigators should not miss any of it.
Allen, in the quotes above, is de facto pointing to positions that MHARR correctly took, but that MHI held the arguably wrong stance. The purported choice of Allen by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison to be the MHI surrogate is almost comical, because of Allen’s history of attacking the Arlington, VA based trade group. Allen is not a credible surrogate. But Allen’s attacks arguably reveal his flipflops.  One might wonder too, why Senator Todd Young (IN-R) didn’t show at Allen’s event?

In several ways, Allen is arguably the polar opposite of what occurred with MHProNews. While out publisher questioned several oddities in MHI behavior for years, doubting that there was a sinister plot, it did not dawn on our leadership that what was at play in manufactured housing was a big con job backed by various potentially illegal activities. By contrast, if one reads old Allen and then reads his newer stuff, he clearly has flip flopped, per sources, depending on who pays or rewards him in various forms or fashions.


Manufactured Housing Institute Community-Investor ‘Deal,’ News Tip Explored


But let’s note that further below, there are reasons to believe that what is occurring in manufactured housing is more than just a con job that is tending to monopolize the industry. That said, let’s move on.

The industry is fragmented into several camps. There are those who acknowledge that MHI is ineffective, but don’t necessarily think that it has become a de facto front for big boys manipulating the system in MHVille.  That several MHI members, past or present, have called out MHI for misinformation or ineffective leadership is self-evident by quotes like the following.




Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.





Lavin and his wife Pat on their 72′, 3 level, custom Italian cruiser berthed near Miami. Lavin worked with MHI and a GSE for years. His cautionary notes were not always correctly understood.






That lawmakers and feds are investigating various aspects of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis in some form or fashion is evident by the linked reports that follow.








While this article is focusing more on the con angle, let us not forget that state association executives – MHEC members – have told MHProNews on various occasions of pressure placed on them to two the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington party line, though it was phrased differently.

GoldRulesTimWilliams21stMortgageCorpDailyB usinessNewsMHProNews



It takes skill, corruption – or a coy plan – to be as inept as the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is at promoting their own industry.


Monopolization of American Dream, Telling the Inside Story of Home Ownership Gone Awry https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/monopolization-of-american-dream-telling-the-inside-story-of-home-ownership-gone-awry/

Rephrased, there are aspects of this con that could be deemed RICO violations by discerning investigators. Pressure that uses threats is a form of extortion. Misinformation, deception, and threats that are mailed or ‘use the wires’ are covered by RICO and other laws.


There are antitrust issues too, deceptive trade practices, and other legal concerns that MHProNews has raised, inviting leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, MHI and their attorneys to respond publicly. They’ve stood on their right to remain silent, but have deployed other tactics, like using surrogates – one example is George Allen, cited above. When an MHI president has said that the industry could be doing 500,000 new home shipments, and yet is doing less than 100,000, doesn’t that beg the question, what are the reasons for that underperformance?  What costs are there to society, taxapayers, and those who need affordable homes?

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

MHProNews’ publisher has invited senior MHI, Clayton, 21st and a Berkshire Hathaway board member and some of their outside or inside attorneys to engage in a public dialogue, discussion, Q&A or debate on these issues. In the past two years, there have been no takers, but previously these very people praised our publications and routinely responded promptly.




When asking MHI toadies MHInsider or George Allen to debate these issues on behalf of their purported puppet masters, they too decline. If they are so confident, why decline?  Publisher Kurt Kelley, who has his own controversy now, didn’t deny the concerns. Rather, Kelley said his publication is not going to investigate them.


Indeed, Kelley has contributed to MHProNews numerous times over the years, and has commented on political topics too. Kelley’s MHR published an article by Berkshire Hathaway unit manager Joanne Stevens, which without mentioning MHI, was clearly slamming the Arlington based trade group for what her article in MHR saw as a failure of industry preparation for obvious attacks on the industry.


In the absence of direct input from MHI or others, and to provide balance and fact-checks, MHProNews has instead often used lengthy quotes in full context from documents and/or videos by Kevin Clayton, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway, and MHI. These have been scrutinized – the words or claims vs. the outcomes of actual actions. What has emerged is arguably a directly unchallenged picture of an industry that has been enticed, pressured, cajoled, misled, and conned into underperformance that results in consolidation. Arguable antitrust violations are involved too.

Smoking Gun? In a series of direct quotes from Warren Buffett in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, a Berkshire brand in MH Financing, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. MHI publishes an antitrust statement that is used at meetings. Why have they not acted on an apparent example of antitrust violations by their own members? The first half of the report linked below tees up the topic for a general public audience, but then goes into the details noted that ‘make the case’ for alleged antitrust violations by MHI member brands. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/


Allen is among those who has fallen all over himself to attempt to undermine our fact checks, but only through name calling, or demands that we be ‘boycotted,’ which ironically may be deemed an antitrust violation too. Arguably his behaivor is hypocritical – as noted and linked in related reports above – as Allen flipped on these topics, seemingly rewarded by MHI, as sources have told MHProNews. He won’t confirm or deny that, perhaps because of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which MHI insiders have told MHProNews is common. While MHInsider has steered clear of these issues directly, they have praised Allen and promoted him.  Coincidences?


Making the Complex, Simple

It is a tangled web. But it can be made crystal clear in a simple way. It is this. The industry is misunderstood and underperforming. Then why hasn’t MHI taken the advice of its own past Chairman Tim Williams?



Is there anyone who seriously believes that Berkshire Hathaway with all of its assets, and media resources is unable to rapidly turn the fortunes of manufactured housing around if it so desired? Doesn’t that leave the logical conclusion that they want this 10 out of the last 11 months of industry downturn? Why? In a phrase, consolidation at a discounted value is the apparent and logical – if deceptive – benefit.



Is it because Buffett and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis has established a web of misdirection and misinformation so effectively that they can say such obvious truths and yet not expect people to actually notice that they are not doing what they themselves have said need to be done?


Terry’s point is apt. But it also begs the question. Why has MHI failed for so long to break through on issues that would aid public acceptance? Why has MHI tolerated Warren Buffett’s donations to organizations that in turn have embarrassed the industry? Or why has it been a fairly small number of parent companies that are MHI members that routinely spark the bad news that creates headwinds for the industry?

Manufactured Housing Institute Fine New Manufactured Home Industry Promoting Video, Insights & Usefulness


While state AGs and federal officials are lining up against big tech, one must wonder what are the under-the-surface maneuvers surrounding the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis?

Watch for a special report later this morning, laced with new details by third-party research. That research review will only be found in manufactured housing here on MHProNews.

But as you read this, or ponder what is next, remind yourself of this question. What is the point of every con job? Isn’t it to separate the mark or planned victim from something of value?

In an affordable housing crisis, with manufactured housing as the most proven form of affordable housing, few if anything else in permanent construction has proven to be as effective as HUD Code manufactured homes. Berkshire Hathaway could solo fix the misinformation about manufactured homes, simply by using the BH Media group to do something like what Tim Williams from Berkshire brand 21st quoted above said. Debunk every bit of misinformation. Omaha based Berkshire, Knoxville-metro based Clayton, and the Arlington, VA based MHI could each do the same.

Then why haven’t they done so and repeated that practice until their message broke through? Why haven’t the promoted the use of good laws on the books in a robust fashion? Why have they failed to robustly spotlight what HUD Secretary Ben Carson has given them on a silver platter?

Bombshells! Former HUD Manufactured Housing Program Administrator Bill Matchneer, Cavco’s Manuel Santana Statements


The Nature of the Big Con

The Big Think video says that the con starts with getting us to like the con artist.  Many of the people involved in the Omaha-Knoxville- Arlington axis are charming.

The con uses the familiar. People you have seen. People who have shared interests are among those who can be part of a big con, per this Big Think video.

Get your foot in the door. Ask for something small, an easy yes. The door in the face method. Time pressure in exploding offers techniques.  Several of these could be used to describe what happens at various association or other events, couldn’t they?



But let’s look no further than what Kevin Clayton said in the video interview near the end of the report linked here. Warren Buffett, said Clayton, has access to experts of all kinds. Are we to think that they don’t know how an MHI meeting at a nice hotel or resort, pleasant times with industry peers, and seemingly straight forward information doesn’t all tend to influence people in subtle to bold ways?  As Mark Weiss, J.D. with MHARR called it, there is an illusion of motion.  That illusion is part of a big con, in this thesis.  It is worth noting that that column by Weiss has been one of the most read.  Is it because it resonates?

“THE ILLUSION OF MOTION VERSUS REAL-WORLD CHALLENGES” – Spotlighted by Manufactured Home Industry Leader

It is MHProNews’ management’s contention that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis has slowly and steadily been consolidating the industry for years. The reason is simple enough. There is an affordable housing crisis. Manufactured housing is the most proven solution.

Control that, and you can control an industry which may only have done less than $8 billion in business at retail in 2018. But based on needs and the good laws that are lying largely dormant on the books that manufactured housing could be putting to work might just as easily be doing ten times or more those sales levels, if the correct methods and good laws were deployed. Again, ponder Weiss’ and MHARR’s call for Congress to investigate the mishandling by the Government Sponsored Enterprises of the Duty to Serve (DTS).

Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor. While MHProNews often agrees with MHARR, there are times we see it differently, and say so publicly. A recent example of a difference in views is linked here. What Allen has, by contrast, avoided is what are the ways that he is being coached, rewarded, and influenced? In pointing an errant finger, are three pointing back at George’s chest? Note too that MHProNews cites sources from MHI, MHEC members, MHARR, and others. We do so accurately and in their historic context. If our concerns and evidence are in any way weak, then why haven’t they been debunked? Why is this the #1 most read trade media in manufactured housing, if our views are so errant?
Since this infographic was first produced, there have now been 10 out of 11 months of year-over-year declines in manufactured home shipments. This is a direct consequence of the kinds of issues and practices linked from this report. As the report linked below reflects, failure to properly implement the full potential of HUD Code manufactured homes possible under existing laws arguably costs the nation some $2 trillion dollars annually in lost GDP.

Not everyone used in the big con of manufactured housing even had to be aware that they are playing a specific role. A small circle could control dozens by simple instructions or requests.

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies and opportunities.



That’s why the need for public federal and state investigations are necessary. Who says? The community leader linked below, among others.


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There are plenty of reasons for state and federal officials to explore the gutless cheats that are striving to monopolize our once far greater industry. At least some of that should be done publicly with witnesses and documents called in testimony taken under oath.  That’s your first look on this Monday edition of factory-built housing’s most-read source for accountability, fact-checks, and growth-focused manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted 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 and here.

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