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Rosenbaum accused of abusive conduct, creating hostile work environment

Jan 29, 2020

Former state Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum
Credit courts.state.ny.us

More information was released on Wednesday about why State Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum abruptly left office in December, not two months after he was re-elected to another term.

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct says it received a complaint that Rosenbaum had abused court staff and created a hostile work environment.

"The complaint was that from 2005 through 2019, which is essentially the entire tenure of Judge Rosenbaum as a Supreme Court Justice, he made improper and at times, abusive personal demands of court staff, directly or indirectly conveying that continued employment required submitting to such demands," said commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian.

Tembeckjian says the commission's strict confidentiality requirement prohibits him from disclosing the details of the complaint.

But he did say the matter was of such magnitude, that the commissioned asked, and Rosenbaum agreed, to resign and to never seek or accept judicial office again.

"And although I can't speak for him," said Tembeckjian, "evidently, he determined that agreeing to leave office and never return was preferable from having to defend himself in a protracted disciplinary proceeding."

In comparing the Rosenbaum case to last year’s removal of Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio stemming from her actions following a drunken driving arrest, Tembeckjian said the commission “achieved the same result in a much shorter time, without the same detailed record that would have been amassed in a full disciplinary hearing.”

Rosenbaum's attorney did not immediately reply to our request for comment.

The State Office of Court Administration has been conducting its own investigation into the complaints against Rosenbaum.