September 10, 1998
NOTE: MODIFIED BY RULE 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i)
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct were amended in 1996. Rule 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) now provides as follows:
(b) A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor, or a member or otherwise:
(i) may assist such an organization [an organization devoted to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice or an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit] in planning fund-raising and may participate in the management and investment of the organization's funds, but shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities.
Digest: A recently appointed judge may continue to serve as treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the co-operative apartment building where the judge resides.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(3), Opinion 96-108 (Vol. XIV).
A recently appointed judge lives in a four unit co-operative apartment building and presently is the treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the co-op. The co-op assets consist solely of the apartment building containing the four units. The maintenance payments from the apartments cover the expenses for each year. There are no profits, employees or manager. Each of the four shareholders assists in the operation of the co-op. The judge, as the treasurer, pays monthly bills, occasionally speaks with vendors, and deposits monthly maintenance checks. In addition, the co-op's tax returns prepared by an accountant are signed by the judge as treasurer. The judge asks if it is permissible to continue serving is such capacities.
The Committee has previously expressed the view that service as president or as a member of the Board of Directors (without compensation) of "an apartment cooperative is permissible provided it does not interfere with the judge's judicial duties and will not involve the judge in litigation or rendering legal or investment advice or controversial matters likely to lead to litigation." Opinion 96-108 (Vol. XIV).
Based on the information provided, it does not appear that serving as treasurer for this particular co-operative would involve the inquirer in rendering legal or investment advice. Nor does it otherwise appear that serving in that capacity or as a Board member is likely to "interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties" or is otherwise "incompatible with judicial office." 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(3). Accordingly, the Committee perceives no ethical barrier to the judge continuing as treasurer and board member.