Opinion 07-51

April 19, 2007



Digest:         A full-time judge may remain a shareholder of a family corporation that owns rental real estate, but may not serve as an officer of the corporation.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(3); Opinions 05-130(A); 99-12 (Vol. XVII); 95-55 (Vol. XIII).


         A full-time judge asks if it is proper to serve as an officer of a family corporation that collects rents from family-owned real estate investments. The judge, the judge’s brother, and the judge’s nephew are the sole shareholders of the corporation.

         In accordance with section 100.4(D)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, this Committee has previously determined that a full-time judge may serve as (1) a general partner in a family partnership engaged solely in the investment of the financial resources of the judge and members of the judge's family, and as (2) a limited partner in a partnership that manages and owns a multiple dwelling residence. Opinion 99-12 (Vol. XVII).

         The Rules, however, specifically prohibit a full-time judge’s service as an officer, director, manager, general partner, advisor, employee or other active participant of any for-profit corporation or business entity subject to a few exceptions, inapplicable under the present circumstances. 22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(3); Opinions 05-130(A); 95-55 (Vol. XIII). Therefore, although the judge may remain a shareholder (or a limited partner) in this particular business entity, the judge may not serve as an officer.