Richard Haggerty | August 10, 2016

Ed Sumber

First, a disclaimer, I am blatantly biased as I write this month’s article. I have been a huge fan of HGAR’s Legal Counsel Edward I. Sumber for more than three decades. In my opinion Ed has been one of the most effective and knowledgeable association legal counsels in the country, and he has earned the respect of his fellow professionals who have benefited from his advice and guidance. So it is with very mixed feelings that I announce Ed’s retirement as he relocates permanently to Florida at the end of this month.

Ed’s first interaction with organized real estate occurred in 1974 when he became legal counsel to a group of individuals who formed the Putnam County Multiple Listing Corporation. In 1975 he was retained by the Westchester County Board of Realtors after the Board received an inquiry from the Justice Department related to price-fixing concerns. He became counsel to the newly formed Westchester Multiple Listing Service in 1976, which was created as a subsidiary of the Westchester Board, and in 1979 he became counsel to both the WCBR and WMLS.  Ed has also served as legal counsel to the Rockland County Board of Realtors as well as the Manhattan Association of Realtors.

During his tenure Ed helped facilitate numerous mergers, including the merger of the Putnam County Multiple Listing Service with the Westchester Multiple Listing Service in 1996, and the Putnam County Association of Realtors with the Westchester County Board of Realtors in 2009. In 2011 he was a key player in the merger of the Westchester Putnam Association, the Rockland County Board, and the Orange County Association of Realtors, which culminated in 2012 with the creation of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. This merger was followed by the merger of the Greater Hudson Valley Multiple Listing Service and the Empire Access Multiple Listing Service to the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service.

While many Realtors know Ed either from meeting him or hearing him speak at Association events over the years, others have come to rely on the keen legal analysis he provided since 1990 in our monthly Westchester Realtor and Real Estate In-Depth publications.

I have known Ed Sumber since 1984 when I was hired by WCBR as the Professional Standards Administrator, and I learned quickly to rely on Ed’s common sense approach and his devotion to the Realtor family. I also learned firsthand his zealous work ethic and tenacity, and this truly came to the forefront last year, just after he announced he was selling his legal practice to his former associate, John Dolgetta. HGAR had finally located a building to relocate our headquarters after a long search, and we were reaching what we thought was the conclusion of the lease negotiations that had dragged on for some time.

I had scheduled a joint Board of Directors meeting to approve the terms of the lease when I was diagnosed with a detached retina, which required immediate surgery and a 10-day period of lying on my stomach with my face down. Ed Sumber led the Board meeting, which resulted in the Directors approving the terms of the lease, and I ended up signing the lease a couple of days after the surgery with John Dolgetta and Ann Garti personally driving the documents to my apartment in Manhattan, only to have the entire transaction almost fall apart.  If not for Ed’s fierce determination and perseverance, I doubt we would have concluded the transaction, which we did a couple of days later with a fully executed lease for our headquarters at One Maple Ave. in White Plains.

Edward I. Sumber has created a tremendous legacy with the Realtor family in the lower Hudson Valley, and I’m sure all of the members of HGAR join me in wishing him all the best in his retirement.


Richard Haggerty