The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Hedge Fund Taking over Mobile Home Parks

Jun 26, 2023

Residents of mobile home parks across Michigan recently got a rude awakening. The hedge fund Alden Global Capital has been snapping up mobile home parks. “These new people that own the park are like a shadow,” said Arnold Musser, who has lived in a park in West Michigan for twenty years. “The only thing they did almost immediately upon taking over the park, they raised the rent $130 a month. That was an increase of almost a third.”

Alden is known for buying up big city newspapers, like the Chicago Tribune or the Denver Post, then laying off big chunks of their staff in order to squeeze out as much profit as possible. Companies like Alden swoop down on a property—a newspaper, a grocer, a mobile home park—and pick the meat off of its bones in order to turn a profit, leading to the term “vulture capitalist.” With its bad reputation, Alden tried to hide its hand: each of three mobile home parks around the state was bought by a separate “shell” corporation, but each of those corporations is in turn owned by the hedge fund.

For the working people who live in these parks, it means higher rents and worse conditions. A park in Berrien Springs has broken water pipes, leading to water shutoffs and sewage in the homes: "absolutely the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” according to one resident.

Terry Batson was evicted from a home in Lincoln Park near Detroit last month, after living there 17 years. The new Alden management raised his rent from $410 to $625—without telling him. He kept paying $410 a month until eviction court papers arrived in April, for a debt of $1409.83. Given the amount of money, and their quick move to evict, Batson commented to MLive: “I don’t know if it’s a money grab, a property grab or all of it all together."