PROPERTY OWNERS CORPORATION
Opinion No. 108 (1987)*
QUESTION: May a judge ethically serve as an officer or director of a
non-profit corporation which collects maintenance fees from subdivision property owners
and uses the money to maintain roads and parks in the subdivision? The corporation is
controlled by subdivision property owners, and the subdivision is not located within the
geographical area assigned to the court over which the judge presides.
ANSWER: The answer to the question is determined by whether the corporation is a "publicly owned business" or a "civic organization." Canon 5B(2) prohibits a judge from being "an officer, director or manager of a publicly owned business." Canon 5B permits a judge to serve "as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of a .... civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to" the limitations set forth in Canon 5B(1), (2), and (3).
The committee is divided five to four on the proper classification to be given to the
corporation, but the majority of the members of the committee are the opinion that the
corporation is a publicly owned business. Thus, if a judge serves as an officer or
director of the publicly owned corporation, it would be a violation of Canon 5B(2).
*Canon 5B(2) was amended effective December 19, 1989.