As a disclosure for new readers and as detail-minded and longtime readers here know, Manufactured Home Living News takes a dim view of predatory, illegal, and unethical business practices. Then what explains this evidence-based viewpoint on making arguably notorious Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds the new leaders for the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)? Simple. Because birds of a feather flock together.
When the history of the leadership at MHI is examined, it should be shocking to public officials as well as the general public who might mistakenly think of MHI as a typical trade group. While there may be some similarities, there are also clear distinctions, as the following sobering and factual list should reveal. In short, the view is that Rolfe and Reynolds would fit right in.
Let’s see how. That’s a story that the mainstream media has not yet told.
The Sobering, Shocking List and the View – Manufactured Housing Institute Chairmen
- Tom Hodges, Clayton Homes, General Counsel and current MHI Chairman. Clayton has been the focus of numerous scandals and dark allegations starting at about the same time as Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) acquired the firm in 2003. Clayton and Buffett were ripped by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral but errantly named satirical hit video dubbed “Mobile Homes.” See that link for the video and why that speaks volumes about MHI. See this link here for what Clayton insiders have said about their own company. This link tells the Clayton Homes tale from the customer’s vantagepoint.
- Joseph “Joe” Stegmayer, formerly with Cavco Industries, and previously a Clayton Homes division president. Stegmayer stepped down in 2018 from his role at Cavco (CVCO) following word that an SEC subpoena had been served to him and the company. Cavco has reportedly spent millions in battling issues related to that SEC investigation and other legal claims from shareholders that sprang up from it. Yet oddly, Stegmayer never stepped down from his chairman’s role at MHI? Doesn’t that speak loudly?
- Tim Williams, President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp, a Berkshire Hathaway owned brand. The financing at Berkshire owned brands has been the subject of numerous mainstream media, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews exposés. The Seattle Times, members of Congress, Prosperity Now, and their own hometown news station revealed how 21st and their sister brand, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) have purportedly aggressive tactics. Williams has been accused by Samuel Strommen at Knudson Law of a clear violation of antitrust regulations in a report that called it a “felony” case with possible RICO implications. Are you beginning to see the pattern at MHI’s leadership? See the Case Against Clayton Homes to learn more.
- Nathan Smith, partner in SSK Communities which was rebranded as Flagship Communities and taken public. SSK Communities had an “F” Better Business Bureau rating. One of Smith’s stressed out residents was featured in John Oliver’s Mobile Homes video. Several mainstream news, legal action, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews, reports flesh out the picture.
You simply can’t make this stuff up. Yet this list of MHI leadership is all evidence-based. Follow the links to learn more.
A Capitol Hill Democrat told MHProNews that MHI is “anti-consumer.” Hmm…ok…if the shoe fits them…?
The more right-of-center Capital Research Center – without directly addressing manufactured housing – has used the term “Deception and Misdirection” to describe behavior that when examined in the light of the above, just may fit these fine folks to a tee.
Do you see how scandal prone and also often making bad-news headlines and video reports Rolfe and Reynolds would just fit right in? By the way, self-described partners Rolfe and Reynolds are reportedly multi-year MHI members. You just can’t make this stuff up. It is meant for another made for television satirical hit video about MHI and their arguably morally and/or legally compromises members.
That said, it should NOT be assumed that every MHI member is like they are. Some are dual members with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), for example. No similar issues are known to exist with them. Does this mean that every employee at a dark MHI member company is equally compromised? Hardly.
Speaking of you can’t make this stuff up. This next graphic is from Clayton Homes. In a sense, when their own data is made clear, it is a stunning admission. Of course, they dress it up. See the report that follows if you or someone you know is home shopping.
But reports like the ones linked above and below should make it clear that those who stay with such firms after realizing what they are like may have some explaining to do if they try to talk St Peter into letting them into the Pearly Gates. It is this company’s attorney who is now MHI’s chair. Sweet, huh?
By the way. It is pretty common that these so-called MHI ‘black hats’ just happen to do business with one or more Berkshire Hathaway owned brand(s). That applies to Rolfe and Reynolds.
With this list in mind, several things should come to mind for those who already own a mobile or manufactured home, as well as those who are considering one. Learn how to spot a problematic company before doing business with one.
If you have surprisingly found yourself living in a community owned by a company that has developed a poor reputation, learn to organize even a modest size group of fellow resident who are equally concerned. Then reach out to state and federal officials. Ask them to be investigated and prosecuted as necessary. Hold elected and appointed officials accountable.
Here is a partial list of some of the troubling reports MHLivingNews or our MHProNews sister site have done on Frank and Dave in recent years.
Frank and Dave
Some people will need convincing, so there are several evidence-based reports with analysis that are linked below.
What Frank Rolfe is advocating in this next report is the opposite of what should be occurring, as the report will walk readers through, step-by-step.
Considering moving into a property that has ties to one of the “Frank and Dave” operations? Better think twice…or even three or four times…caveat emptor.
Note: we do not condone or encourage the use of the “trailer” term or mobile home, unless it actually applies. A report on that which includes how to shopping tips is linked here.
While each of these shed light on Frank and Dave, what they do not do is identify true solutions. Nor do they say the upside to finding and doing business with ‘white hat’ operations that are not part of a corporate chain. To learn more about such topics, see the related reports linked below.
When you watch enough videos about Frank, Dave, and their business practices, perhaps you will see how they fit right in at MHI. Perhaps too you might see why “caveat emptor” applies to them in a particular manner.
If you are pondering a land-lease, it is a good idea to drive through a community and talk to three people who have lived there for a few years that are owners, not renters. Tell them you are considering the location. Ask them – ‘how do you like the management?’ Watch their eyes and their body language.
While the video above is produced by MHAction, residents may want to see the related report on them too at the link below. While you are not buy MHAction, be cautious about some of their solutions – you have to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Every profession has white hats, black hats, and those gray hats that have not yet figure out which camp they want to be in.
For the sake of all the good people out there who are concerned, MHI along with Frank and Dave should take it to the next level. They should join hands and declare the Rolfe and Reynolds duo to be their next leaders. It would almost be like truth in advertising. Only, as the report linked herein reflect, “Deception and Misdirection” still have to be considered. Always double check your facts, follow the money trail, and when in doubt, do not do it.
Millions enjoy and benefit from mobile and manufactured home living.
But hundreds of thousands are ‘trapped’ in a community like those
run by Rolfe and Reynolds. Who says? See the Frank Rolfe quote above.
But do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The black hats arguably want to drive the white hats out. That’s another story – an important one – for another day. ##
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, 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 MHLivingNews.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
Recent and Related Reports:
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.