BOARDROOM REPORT: April 10, 2019

Real Estate In-Depth | June 2019

Boardroom Report
Boards of Directors
Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR)
April 10, 2019
HGAR offices, Goshen, New York

HGAR Management, Financial & Membership Reports

President Ron Garafalo presented the President’s Report on various business matters and reported on the status of the Strategic Planning process. He indicated that the Strategic Planning sessions would be held on June 13th and 14th and the location was to be determined. President Garafalo then reported on the addition of Director Alvin Smith as an additional member of the Finance Committee, and the Directors approved the appointment. President Garafalo also reported that the new website,, had launched with relatively few technical issues. Many of the Directors were pleased with the new website.

CEO Richard Haggerty then provided a report on the Manhattan growth initiative. He announced that HGAR had formally engaged Co-Communications, Inc., a leading marketing firm with offices in New York City, Westchester and Connecticut, to assist with the expansion into Manhattan. He indicated that marketing campaigns would begin very soon. He also reported that he and Jeff Doder had productive meetings with the leadership of certain real estate firms in Manhattan. CEO Haggerty also reported that HGAR would be hosting a Data Summit on May 20th, with RIS Media. The purpose of the Date Summit is to convene leaders from major brokerage firms in New York City discuss and highlight the issues relating to the availability of reliable listing and property data in the New York City market.

Various Regional Directors then presented the Regional Directors’ Update. Regional Director Eydie Lopez reported on several events being held in Orange County. It was noted that the “Legal Update” held on Monday, March 25th, at which HGAR President Garafalo, and HGMLS President, Renee Zurlo, spoke, was very successful. It was noted that there were more than 60 attendees. Regional Director Lopez reported on a planned event involving the tour of the Orange County Office Building scheduled for May 9th. It was noted that additional events were also being planned (i.e. outdoor event in Orange County in June and a Wine and Cheese event in September). Regional Director Tony D’Anzica discussed planning an event in New York City (i.e. “Open House for Brokers”) in Harlem for the end of May. Regional Director Clayton Livingston reported on the successful event held in Putnam County at Tilly Foster Farm.

CEO Haggerty presented the Treasurer’s Report on behalf of HGAR including the bank and investment summaries for April 1st, and the Directors approved receipt of the Cash Reports. He then presented the HGAR Audited Financial Statement for 2018, and after extensive review the Directors approved the Financial Statement for filing.

Communications and Member Services

HGAR Director of Communications, Mary Prenon, on behalf of the Communications Council, reported that Members’ Day will be held on October 28, 2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown. Prenon also noted various events, which were annexed to the Agenda, provided to the Directors at the Meeting. Director Rey Hollingsworth reported that additional Broker Owners & Managers events will be announced soon. Hollingsworth noted that the “Risk Management for Brokers, Owners and Managers” presented by Don Cummins and Roseann Farrow on April 2nd was very successful.


Director of Professional Development and Industry Relations, Theresa Hatton, presented the report of Education Council Vice Chairperson Irene Guanill, on her behalf. Hatton, in reading Guanill’s report, noted that it was goal of the Education Council to increase class completions, and to further increase the quality, quantity and marketing for the School of Real Estate. A further goal was to increase Ethics courses since the focus of this year at both the HGAR and NAR level is on Ethics and increased Professionalism in the industry. Another goal was to offer night and weekend classes for the membership.

Legislative, Political and Legal Issues

Director Clayton Livingston delivered a report on behalf of the Legislative Council. He noted that the annual visit to Albany for Lobby Day is going to be on May 7th and that the Lobby Day Agenda was provided to each of the Directors in their meeting packets. He also noted that an Ad Hoc Committee was being formed in order to address and focus on New York City-related issues. CEO Haggerty noted some additional items of concern (i.e. the recent inclusion of Source of Income as a protected class on a statewide basis, and the effect of same on the Westchester and New York City legislation).

Secretary Crystal Hawkins Syska, in her capacity as RPAC Co-Chair, presented the RPAC update. RPAC Co-Chair Hawkins Syska was pleased to report that as of April 1st, 52% of the annual RPAC goal had been met. She reported on the success of several events (i.e. Tilly Foster Farm event and that a new member had joined). She also reported that RPAC would be holding several events throughout the year and applicable dates would be available on HGAR’s calendar of events. One event of note was the upcoming “Winery Day Trips” to be held on June 4th (note: detailed flyer was included in the Directors’ packets). She also indicated that she would be focused on visiting offices and also attending and speaking at HGAR and other events, particularly an upcoming event being to be held in the Bronx at Frankie & Johnny’s hosted by Anthony A. Domathoti, who is also a HGAR Director, to promote RPAC.

Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity

Directors Eydie Lopez and Dorothy Botsoe, in their capacities as Co-Chairs of the Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity Council, reported on several Fair Housing events coming up, with the next event being “Play by the Rules or Pay the Consequences,” at the DoubleTree Hotel on April 29th. The key speakers are Fred Friedberg, Executive Director for the Fair Housing Justice Center, and Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing. The goal is to have at least 100 attendees or more.

Global Business Council

Director Robert Shandley, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Global Business Council, reported on the success of the “Feng Shui” event and that there were more than 70 attendees. Shandley noted that there is an important event sponsored by FIABCI in New York City on April 26, 27 and 28. He further noted that the Global Summit would be held on November 4th at the New York Marriot Marquis.

Professional Standards

CEO Haggerty reported that there were no Professional Standards matters to be discussed at the meeting. He did, however, note that there was one arbitration hearing which required the placement of funds in escrow, and that in relation to same, there was now a new requirement at NAR, that when any funds are to be placed in escrow, a panel of five Directors to discuss same is to be empaneled by the current President in connection with said requirement.

Multiple Listing Service

HGMLS President Zurlo delivered an update concerning New York MLS, LLC. The Rules and Regulations work group completed the new set of Rules and Regulations for New York MLS, LLC, which are currently being reviewed by the Board of Managers and/or attorneys. President Zurlo reported that the new name of the MLS has been chosen but is not yet being revealed. She noted that it has been decided by the Board of Managers that the “reveal date” will be announced when New York MLS, LLC goes fully operational and launches, and not sooner as was reported at the previous HGAR Board Meeting. The branding and logo are still being worked on by the design company and trademark counsel is still vetting the name for legal approval.

Commercial and Investment Division

John Barrett, on behalf of the Commercial & Investment Division, reported on CID’s upcoming events as well. He noted the upcoming event sponsored by CID and Fordham University relating to the Opportunity Zone. He also indicated that on May 9th there would be a follow up to the Gas Moratorium event held by the CID the previous month. Barrett noted that he attended the Westchester County Real Estate Forum where the effect of the gas moratorium was also discussed in detail. He also announced the upcoming CID event to be held on June 6th that will be highlighting Women and Commercial Real Estate.


Women’s Council of Realtors President Angie Primus Gilford reminded and invited all to attend the WCR Empire Chapter “Reach for the Stars” fundraising event on May 9th. A handout detailing the event was also included in the Directors’ packets.

Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation

Director Aimee G. DeCesare presented an extensive report on the HG Realtor Foundation. DeCesare noted that the HG Realtor Foundation’s Fashion Show was very successful. There were more than 24 sponsors and over 280 tickets sold to the event. While the final numbers were not yet available, preliminarily the event raised more than $30,000. Director DeCesare also reported that the HG Realtor Foundation event held at Fortina Restaurant in Yonkers raised over $3,000. She noted that there will also be upcoming events in Rockland County and Orange County. DeCesare was also proud to announce that $1,000 was donated to “Friends of Karen” by the Foundation.