For immediate release – February 7, 2014

Manufactured Homeowners Call Upon Shareholders of Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. to Oppose Sam Zell’s Election to Board of Directors

Citing disparaging remarks made about ELS’ Customer Base, Homeowners petition shareholders to oust Zell

Sam Zell: “1 Percent Earn More Because They Work Harder”

Contact: Kevin Borden, Senior Organizer

Contact Info: kborden@communitychange.org,  202-360-8876

Washington, DC –  A coalition of seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and young families who reside in manufactured home communities owned and operated by Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. (ELS) are angered by disparaging comments made by company chairman Sam Zell about Americans who are not part of the richest 1%.    On February 7 they launched a petition calling for Zell’s resignation as chairman of ELS after comments Zell made earlier in the week during an interview with Bloomberg News in which he declared that “The 1 percent work harder.  The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.”  You can watch the full quote here:

“Sam’s comments divide us further as a country.  They do not bring us together to solve the important issues of economic inequality that affect every segment of our society,” stated Dale Muzzy of Daytona Beach, Fla., and president of the Carriage Cove HOA, an ELS-owned community.   “I’ve worked extremely hard for decades at DHL and also became a full-time caregiver for my wife who was in a debilitating motorcycle accident.   So I’m puzzled as to how Zell’s background qualifies him to know how hard I’ve worked.”

ELS is the nation’s largest corporate owner of manufactured home communities with 380 manufactured home communities (defined as land-lease communities) in 32 states.  ELS serves over 140,000 homeowners, many of which are retirees and seniors living on fixed incomes.

“It is infuriating that someone who makes millions off of monthly rent paid by seniors is questioning our work ethics,” added Bobbie Hemmerich, a homeowner from an ELS Community in Lewes, Del.   “ELS should view these comments as an embarrassment to their customer base.  That’s why we launched a petition demanding Sam Zell’s ouster from the ELS board.”  The text of the petition can be found here:  http://act.retirementsecurityvoices.org/petition-zell

Manufactured homeowners across the country are banding together and calling upon ELS to re-evaluate its business model and management practices.    Homeowners believe that a sensible alternative model for ELS is to put in place long-term lease agreements with fair and balanced rent increases and capital improvement processes.  Additionally, ELS would be able to engender a higher level of customer loyalty by pushing for policies that protect and strengthen our nation’s Social Security and Medicare systems and ensuring that its chairman stop making disparaging statements.