June 30, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-52) asking if you may hold a small percentage ownership in a limited liability company your spouse is forming to provide consulting services in his/her field. As a full-time judge, you say your “role would be strictly passive” and you would have no involvement in the company’s management or operations.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a full-time judge from being a “general partner...or other active participant of any business entity” (22 NYCRR 100.4[D]). However, the Rules do not prohibit a full-time judge from being a limited partner in a business entity. Also, you would not assume “an active role in the management or control of the business” (Opinion 99-73). Under these circumstances, you may serve as a limited partner in the described company.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 13-84; 06-135; 99-73; and 96-143/97-43/97-58/97-66/97-96 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court