Archive for October 3rd, 2013

Setting Bully Stage for ‘Next 20 Years’?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Blog # 266_ Copyright 2013 5 October 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Purpose of this blog. ‘To be a national Advocacy voice, statistical Research Reporter, & communications Resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!

Opportunities to respond. ‘Critiques, reactions, & suggestions for future blog coverage: gfa7156@aol.com or Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.’

Setting the Bully Stage for ‘The Next 20 Years?’*1

– OR –

Sculpting, figuratively speaking, a New Mt. Rushmore in Chicago

Ever get the feeling you’re ‘being played’ by someone, even a friend, perhaps a national advocacy body, for reasons other than those stated or presumably obvious? Well, that’s the sense I’ve been pondering since ending last week’s highly successful 22nd annual Networking Roundtable*2, and now looking ahead to this mysterious Fall Leadership Forum hosted by the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division.*3

To begin with, what national trade body needs ‘yet another meeting’, scarcely two weeks after its annual membership meeting? However, that strange scenario started making some sense, as I read Ken Rishel’s feature, ‘NCC Fall Leadership Forum & the Building of Mt. Rushmore’ in the September issue of his free online newsletter, Manufactured Housing Chattel Finance.*4 Are you a subscriber? You should be!

On The Surface; Rishel suggests industry leaders will “…discuss the future of land lease communities and, in no small part, the future of the manufactured housing industry itself.” Really? I’ve been in receipt of the same promotional mailings as Ken, and nothing seen or read to date, suggests such a grand and timely scheme. So, is he right, wrong, or have something else in mind?

Below The Surface; Ken drops hint after hint of turmoil, disunity, and cliquishness between and among various MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class leaders. He suggests the Fall Leadership Forum might be the place to unify, and bring peace and prosperity back to our collective business and advocacy dealings. I think not; for reasons cited in these paragraphs. Here’s the first one: ‘Have Danny Ghorbani and key members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) been formally invited to participate in this event? Without them, there is no unity!

The full and true story of this Mt. Rushmore – like sculpting saga begins eight months ago, when the NCC chairman convened a ‘closed meeting’ during MHI’s annual Legislative Conference, in Arlington, VA – attended only by his executive committee and a few friends. To date, there’s been NO public disclosure of what transpired during that secret meeting – except for some vague but unrealized plans for the future of the NCC. But it’s obvious; the upcoming Fall Leadership Forum is one expensive fruit of that shrouded session. The forum agenda? Phone MHI and ask; while you’re at it, inquire who the unnamed presenters are, besides Sam Zell?*5 Knowing that, would help some decide whether to attend or stay away. Again, per Ken Rishel’s article, this Leadership Forum might be – could be, akin to preparing the bully foundation for, figuratively speaking, sculpting a new Mt. Rushmore – this time in downtown Chicago.

So, is this grand future planning exercise, if indeed that’s what it is, for the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunities, the sole or dual purpose of the Fall Leadership Forum? Methinks not! Quiet, behind the scenes maneuvering during the past eight months, including a plethora of hot – & – cold personal relationships, suggests something more elusive, even pervasive is afoot. Maybe even eventual usurping of ‘for profit’ LLLCommunity research reporting, resource distribution, print & online communication, peer networking & deal – making opportunities, as well as property management training & certification, by either Chicago area portfolio owners/operators of this unique, income – producing property type – or a national advocacy body. Let’s look further and deeper into these two suppositions, one at a time…

Political influence in the Illinois state capitol, Springfield and beyond? Well, it’s a – happening. First, the (needed) purging of staid, lackluster leadership from the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association. This was accomplished at that body’s annual meeting this Spring. Now political influence is being wielded in a new, refreshing and aggressive fashion, presumably for ‘the good of the manufactured housing industry & land lease lifestyle community asset class’. And what better way to solidify that emerging state of affairs, and sustain lobbying momentum, than to pressure Illinois businessmen and women to participate in this upcoming, extravagantly expensive Fall Leadership Forum? Furthermore; anyone want to bet whether raising money for state and national PAC funds will be part of the three day agenda?

Ensuring LLLCommunity owners/operators, of all sizes, from coast to coast, continue to receive the research reporting, resource distribution, print & online communication, peer networking & deal – making opportunities, as well as the property management training & certification services they’ve enjoyed for the past 30+ years, has become an issue of some importance these past few years. When MHI failed in its’ bid to acquire even a few of those unique products/services (i.e. rights to the annual Networking Roundtable, ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’ Registry, and exclusive 500+/- name portfolio contact data base.*6), all sorts of alternative succession vehicles have been proposed, but not effected to date. Scheduling this Fall Leadership Forum, less than a month after the aforementioned, highly successful 22nd Networking Roundtable, and in the very same host city, is – in this industry observer’s opinion – an obvious indicator the NCC is inclined to at least attempt to usurp this valuable educational, peer networking & deal – making opportunity. What’s next? Depends on the whim of the next elected chairman of that body and MHI.*7

Personally. What’s been most troubling about this quasi ‘sculpting process’, of the past eight months, has been the duplicity exhibited by friend and foe alike, among some within the manufactured housing industry, and a few – though certainly not the majority – of the largest size LLLCommunity portfolio players! But then, I suppose secret proceedings (e.g. Aforementioned February 2013 NCC meeting), behind closed door strategy sessions, and – worst of all, undisclosed personal, corporate, and trade body ‘double dealing agendas’ (e.g. Using elected office for personal or corporate gain, where access to selective resources – legal and otherwise, are concerned) trend in that duplicitous direction. If necessary, reread previous paragraphs.

Historically. This ‘sculpting process’ is NOT the way 19 (then) manufactured home community owner/operator pioneers Set the Stage on 31 August 1993, for national advocacy birthed and matured during the 20 years between 1993 & 2013! So, why do today’s leaders Set their Bully Stage, in the secret manner just described, selectively involving (i.e. by dint of high meeting participation costs) just the wealthiest and most successful businessmen and women from throughout the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class? For a refreshing reminder of how leadership used to function, read Bruce Savage’s The first 20 Years!

Will what transpires at this Fall Leadership Forum sculpt the next 20 years of manufactured housing and its’ land lease lifestyle community component, between 2013 & 2033? OR, will the resulting grand scheme simply implode on itself – or, as a Mt. Rushmore – like sculpture, break apart, per missteps just described?

***

End Notes.

1. A play on the title of Bruce Savage’s new book, The First 20 Years!, published by PMN Publishing, Franklin, IN., 2013. Available via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 for $24.95 postpaid

2. 22nd International Networking Roundtable drew more than 220 land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, & their preferred lenders, from 25 states.

3. NCC annual meeting @ 30 September in Carlsbad, CA., and NCC Leadership Forum in Chicago on 16 – 18 October 2013. For more information, phone (703) 558-0666 – and tell Jenny Hodge, ‘George Allen suggested I call….’

4. To sign up for a free subscription, phone (217) 971-3968 – and tell Ken, ‘George Allen suggested I call….’

5. Besides resource @ end note # 3, phone (703) 558-0678

6. Reportedly, $55, 000 paid over a five year period, and requiring a ‘non – compete agreement for life’ from GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing & George Allen.

7. This blog manuscript was prepared prior to MHI’s annual meeting in Carlsbad, CA., @ 9/30 & 10/1/2013. During that event, attended by 116 MHI members – according to the distributed attendee list, it was formally announced the next annual meeting, in 2014, would occur during the same time frame as the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable….

George Allen, CPM & MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247