State Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum spent his 14 years on the bench allegedly making “improper” and “abusive personal demands” of his staff, and threatening to fire them if they did not comply, according to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.
MORE THAN A DECADE OF ABUSE
Rosenbaum, who was relieved of his judicial duties and vacated his office after the state launched an investigation in allegations of personal misconduct against him, has officially resigned.
In an agreement signed by Rosenbaum and the administrator for the commission and publicly released Wednesday, Rosenbaum consented to never seek judicial office again. The agreement was dated January 13.
The agreement noted that the commission was “investigating a complaint alleging that, from June 2005 through 2019, (Rosenbaum) made improper and at times abusive personal demands of court staff, directly or indirectly conveying that continued employment required submitting to such demands, and creating a hostile workplace environment.”
“A judge may not make abusive personal or professional demands on court staff or otherwise create a hostile workplace environment,” Commissioner Administrator Robert Tembeckjian said in a prepared statement.
ABUSIVE JUDGE KEEPS BAR LICENSE and PRACTICE LAW:
“The matter against Judge Rosenbaum was of such magnitude that, notwithstanding his resignation, it was important to make sure he would never return to the bench,” Tembeckjian said.
Rosenbaum, 55, was made aware of the nature of the complaint against him in January 2020, according to the agreement, although the Office of Court Administration announced on December 28 that he had been relieved of his duties.
He subsequently agreed to vacate his office, to which he had been elected to a 14-year term in November.
The agreement effectively ends the commission’s investigation into Rosenbaum, although the Office of Court Administration is conducting its own probe of him.
Any criminal findings unearthed by investigators could be forwarded to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office for consideration, although none have been thus far.
Rosenbaum followed in his father’s footsteps when he was appointed to the bench in 2005 and then elected to a full term that year. His seat is in the Seventh Judicial District and covers eight counties, including Monroe, Cayuga, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates.
His father, Richard Rosebnaum, who served as a Supreme Court justice, died last year.
Rosenbaum being stripped of his judicial duties late last year sent shockwaves through the area’s legal community. In 2018, he had been named Jurist of the Year by the regional New York State Supreme Court Judge’s Association.
JUDGE HID RULINGS; COVERED FOR FRIENDS
Among his more controversial moves as a judge occurred in 2015, when he signed an order sealing a civil lawsuit that accused the late Assembly member Bill Nojay of embezzling $1 million from a longtime friend, ensuring there was no public record of the case.
Nojay would later take his own life on the day he was turn himself in on a federal fraud charge.
David Andreatta is CITY’s editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.