MHLeader Praise/Castigated & Politics as Usual…

Blog Column # 288 Copyright 2014 16 March 2014

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities cum ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Reason for this blog. ‘It’s the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Input this blog & affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. ‘COBA7’, via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

I.

INDUSTRY LEADER PRAISED & CASTIGATED

II.

‘DC & MHPolitics as Usual’ + Some Taint this Time

III.

Unfortunate Quote of the Week!

IV.

An Important Reminder for All!

I.

INDUSTRY LEADER PRAISED & CASTIGATED
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Surely you recall the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) ad featured in The Journal, the Allen Letter, and in last week’s blog posting at this website. Well, it’s Five Bullet Points of content spawned a plethora of positive responses and only one negative online response.

By way of review, here’re the Five Bullet Points of content in the MHARR ad:

• Full and appropriate HUD implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. After 13+ years, the MHIA@2000 continues to be ‘a work in progress’, though some more accurately opine, ‘a work in regress’!

• Full implementation of the Duty to Serve (underserved markets), including the securitization of chattel loans.

• Full inclusion by Congress, of all manufactured housing loans in any housing finance reform legislation, e.g. GSE reform; through clear, definitive and mandatory language

• Full and unrestricted homebuyer access, nationwide, to the financing sources and providers of their choice

• Full acceptance of manufactured housing by states, cities, and localities

Once again – there you have it! If YOU agree with this proposed manufactured housing industry agenda, featuring Five Key Priorities, for year 2014, then get in touch with Danny Ghorbani via (202) 783-4087, and volunteer to help achieve these worthy goals!

So, what have blog floggers (readers) been saying about this heady matter during the past seven days? Here’s a lightly edited sampling of email messages received via this website, in response to the Five Bullet Points:

From a portfolio owner/operator of land-lease-lifestyle communities: “Danny’s understanding of the problems in the manufactured housing industry is as focused as a Marine Corps sniper! His extensive experience in the industry makes him the best qualified association executive to monitor issues and propose solutions that only Washington can effect. Right now he gets my support and my Vote of Thanks for all he does. If/when MHARR opens its’ membership to other segments of the MHIndustry, he’ll also get my check!”

From a recently retired HUD-Code manufactured housing executive. “I like Ghorbani’s (Five Point) challenge, since it leaves that which is pertinent to Free Enterprise, to Free Enterprise; and that which is better handled by trade associations, to association executives. Well conceived for sure George. I will enjoy watching folk jump onto Danny’s bandwagon!”

And from a veteran real estate investor with ties to the manufactured housing industry: “I’m an active reader of your blog. You have my respect for staying on course and continuing to state your case as an advocate for LLLCommunities! This particular blog is very encouraging, bringing two things to mind. First, are Danny Ghorbani’s thoughts, intentions, and agenda truly supportive of the broader manufactured housing industry? Secondly, has anyone identified an industry leader/practitioner to be a unifying volunteer point person to lead this initiative forward? Hope this is really the beginning of a move forward.”

The last several sentences in the previous paragraph prompt this commentary:

Yes, Danny is supportive of the MHIndustry, and he’s the sole contemporary salaried MHLeader in Washington, DC. with ‘more than a couple years experience in the industry & its land-lease-lifestyle community asset class’, like 35+ years! So, it’s understandable he’s viewed by many businessmen and women throughout the industry and its’ segments, to be the consensus leader ‘rallying the industry’ via aforementioned ad – and evidently, more to follow!

However, a brewing controversy, underlying the recent appointment of a ‘career’ Administrator for the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs within HUD, is being exaggerated to distraction level, by one element of the online press. Part II of this week’s blog posting summarizes the known circumstances surrounding the subject appointment. It’s too early to tell what effect this appointment may or may not have on the industry.

II.

‘DC & MH Politics as Usual’ + some Taint this Time

During years 2012 and 2013, HUD was pressured to name and seat a ‘non-career’ Administrator for the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.

At the time, the Manufactured Housing Institute’s apparent applicant of choice was ‘direct, dues-paying member’, Pamela Beck Danner, esquire. Ms. Danner, during 2012 & 2013, was the principal of her law firm, Danner & Associates, domiciled in McLean, VA. And during early December 2012, she garnered the express support of Virginia Senator Mark R. Warner, for the ‘non-career’ admin position at HUD.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform had, as its’ applicant of choice, Victor DeRose, esquire – not a member of either MHARR or MHI! Victor, an Indianapolis, IN., resident, is the son of the late manufactured housing industry pioneer, and Class of 1988 RV/MH Hall of Fame member, Robert DeRose. During early July 2013, Vic received the written recommendation of Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, for the ‘non-career’ admin position at HUD.

In the meantime, during late 2012 and early 2013, the notoriously ‘on again – off again’ coalition between MHI and MHARR reportedly agreed on Victor DeRose, esquire, as consensus applicant for the (still) ‘non-career’ position of administrator for the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs at HUD.

Then something troublesome happened! Midway thru 2013, the job title ‘non-career’ administrator for the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs was abruptly changed 180 degrees, (‘Due to the influence of & or by whom?’ This is ‘the core question’ awaiting an answer!) to that of ‘career’ administrator! Hmm. Reflect on the implication(s) of making such a major shift from ‘non-career’ to ‘career’ orientation…

Why is this ‘much-more-than-semantics-change-of-title’ important? Here’re three important reasons couched as questions:

1) Was said change effected in accords with, or in conflict with, provisions of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000?

2) Doesn’t said change negate the presumed autonomy of a ‘non-career’ person functioning in this sensitive and important position, versus a ‘career’ administrator, necessarily responsive to superiors within the Department of Housing and Urban Development?

3) Of the two perspectives, autonomous ‘non-career’ administrator, or governed ‘career’ administrator, which is Best for the manufactured housing industry?

That second question/point, relative to an administrator ‘being subject to influences’ or not, is underscored, some say ‘tainted’, as the president & CEO of MHI publicly boasts:

“…The selection of an excellent candidate to fill this important role is a major accomplishment for MHI and our members.” 3/6/2014. Emphasis added. GFA. In my opinion, this was and is an unwise, unnecessary, biased signal, to the new ‘career’ administrator’s handlers at HUD. Hence the apt title to Part II of this blog posting: ‘DC & MHPolitics as usual + some Taint This Time.’

In closing Part II of today’s blog posting, here’s another email quote submitted by a land-lease-lifestyle community owner, penned after reading the WELCOME letter Danny Ghorbani sent to Pam Danner, esquire, congratulating her on her appointment as ‘career’ administrator at HUD.

“I see nothing wrong with Danny’s Welcome. My one sentence summary? ‘Looking forward to working with you on issues your predecessors wouldn’t/didn’t tackle.’ Danny does a great job following and reporting on issues in DC, that many of us ‘in the field’ don’t and can’t follow. He’s a GREAT asset to the industry!”

This blog posting is a helpful summary of the ‘non-career’ cum ‘career’ applicant cum administrator imbroglio of the past 12 to 24 months. And sad to say, the matter will not be fully settled until these two core questions are answered: 1) ‘Due to the influence of and or by whom’ was this autonomy-stifling change in job title and independent performance made? And, 2) Is the damage irreparable, or can/should it be corrected (i.e. ‘Non-career administrator autonomy restored’) for the good of the manufactured housing industry in general, and full implementation of MHIA@2000 in particular?

III

Unfortunate Quote of the Week!

“We’re the Dollar General Store of Housing.” Rolfe said, adding, with an amiable grin, “If you can’t afford anything else, then you’ll live with us.”

The above ‘unfortunate quote of the week’ is taken from the very end of a lengthy ‘trailer-park business’ expose, titled ‘The Cold, Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U.’, by Gary Rivlin, writing for The New York Times, March 13, 2014. The 12 page article describes, in detail, the land-lease-lifestyle community business model boasted by property portfolio owners/operators Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds.

If you think you recognize one of the names, you probably do. Frank Rolfe is a longtime columnist for the manufactured housing industry’s last surviving print tabloid, The Journal. And during late 2013, Frank Rolfe was a featured presenter at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s inaugural National Communities Council Fall Leadership Forum, held in downtown Chicago. Nuff said. To read the entire article ‘google’ Investigative Fund Nation Institute.

IV.

An Important Reminder for All!

An Important Reminder for all land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators. For a list, by name and home office state or province, of 167 of the known 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators in North America, along with the realty asset class’ benchmark operating statistics – including those of the three REITs (real estate investment trusts), purchase the 25th anniversary edition of the ALLEN REPORT. It’s available for $544.95 from PMN Publishing, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. And when you order the ALLEN REPORT, you’ll also receive an annual subscription to the popular Allen Letter professional journal, be affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, and recipient of the 16th National Registry of Lenders (real estate-secured & chattel capital), ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2014?’ directory of 40+ freelance MHIndustry consultants, and 10 more Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, ‘not available from any other source in North America!’

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George Allen, CPM & MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156.

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