Law Office of John J. Tormey III, Esq. – Entertainment Lawyer, Entertainment Attorney
John J. Tormey III, PLLC
1636 Third Avenue, PMB 188
New York, NY 10128 USA
(212) 410-4142 (phone)
(212) 410-2380 (fax)

"'With Whom Am I REALLY Doing Business?': How To Find A Limited Liability Company (LLC) Or Corporation, And Its Available Data, On-File With Any Of The Fifty (50) States Of The Union" – Written By New York Entertainment Attorney John J. Tormey III, Esq.
© John J. Tormey III, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

This article is not intended to constitute, and does not constitute, legal advice with respect to your particular situation and fact pattern. Do secure counsel promptly, if you see any legal issue looming on the horizon which may affect your career or your rights. What applies in one context, may not apply to the next one. Make sure that you seek individualized legal advice as to any important matter pertaining to your career or your rights generally.

My New York entertainment, media, and arts law practice requires me to interact with limited liability companies (“LLCs”) and corporations throughout the fifty (50) United States and beyond, on a regular basis. To this day, I am still often surprised to hear from individuals seeking legal assistance on a proposed transaction who have received a draft proposed agreement from an entertainment company, usually an LLC - but who have yet to discern the names or identities of the individuals who actually own or manage the LLC as its principals.

To wit:

ARTIST: "I just received a ".pdf" of a recording contract from Acme Records, LLC".
MUSIC LAWYER: "That’s great. Who owns 'Acme Records, LLC?' Who are they, really?"
ARTIST: [Silence].

Perhaps more surprising is the notion that an artist, author, or other individual will sometimes commence negotiations with a media or entertainment company without actually yet knowing the state of the union (or commonwealth) in which that company has been organized and filed – or sometimes even without knowing the state or (commonwealth) in which that company maintains its principal place of business. After all, much initial communication is handled via e-mail these days, or even by text message. It is surprising how many purportedly-legitimate companies do not even bother to indicate their street address or even their mailing address on their own e-mail signature. They certainly don’t do it when using text messages.

The fact of the matter is, this initial lack of knowledge, this initial uncertainty about a new friend or co-venturer’s identity or location, is not always someone’s fault. True, some companies, not operating on the level, do take pains to actively conceal the names of their principals and the state in which their LLC has been filed. However, other companies may simply fail to do so through inattention or laziness. The easiest way to break through the other side’s inattention or laziness, is to just ask. Yet why ask, alone, when you can verify, as well?

In theory, since LLCs and corporations are publicly-filed, it shouldn't matter when an LLC or corporation "forgets" to volunteer their org-chart or location to you at first contact. Yet it does matter.

Many folks assume that all corporate and LLC records are public records and therefore easily and freely accessible.

Not so fast.

Historically, certain states like Delaware and Nevada, for example, have made it considerably more difficult for individuals to obtain information from their respective "public records" regarding LLCs and corporations filed there. Historically, filers preferring more “privacy” when filing their LLCs, would often consciously and deliberately elect to file in Delaware and Nevada for that very reason. More recently, some other states have imposed somewhat-cumbersome on-line screening procedures, and even modest fees in some cases, upon individuals seeking corporate and LLC information. If challenged over their cyber-practices in these regards, these states would probably indicate that they are doing so to combat misuse of the data and the websites. Yet the fact of the matter is that the cyber-obstacles these states impose, do have the net effect of limiting public access to the LLC and corporate data.

Perhaps more problematically, certain states have historically "held back" on some corporate and LLC information, while at the same time freely publishing other information on the Internet regarding the same LLC or corporation. This approach then requires the citizen requester to separately write-in to the Secretary of State or Department of State with a mailed check or credit card number in order to retrieve "additional" LLC or corporate documents – assuming that the requester actually knows to do this in the first instance. You can consider this a real trap for the unwary. You can end up with a half-file, thinking that you have a full file - and that can be a dangerous thing in the world of law and commerce. By requiring that a full set of documents be obtained by a two-step process as opposed to a one-step process, a state's requirement of this two-step process also has the net effect of limiting public access to the LLC and corporate data. After all, a lot of people forget to requisition the second half of the LLC file.

Mindful of these recurrent themes, I decided to compile and publish the following list of links which I regularly use, when seeking to discern whether a specific LLC or corporation is in fact on file with a specific state or commonwealth here within the United States of America. Some of these links are less helpful than others, because some of these states are less helpful than others. Again, a number of the fifty (50) states of the union differ as to their definition of what constitutes a "public record" – that is, what information regarding an LLC or corporation is considered public information as opposed to private information. (I also added some references to jurisdictions and territories beyond the fifty [50] states, particularly if anyone ever wants to use this same list when formulating and drafting a territorial grant for a license agreement or the like – but no, I do not expect that the Midway Islands will have their own "Secretary of State" anytime soon!).

When researching the status of a specific corporation or LLC in one of the fifty (50) states, therefore, I would urge that no one simply takes the state Internet website's "word for it" alone. Instead, the web-gleaned information should be triangulated with additional information obtained by direct contact by phone, fax, e-mail, or mail with the same state office that administers the Internet database. That’s why I list additional contact-information below, beyond just the Internet links. As you will see from clicking on the links in the below link-list, these state governmental authorities are usually called something like a "Secretary of State", "Department of State", "Division of Corporations", "Corporation Commission", "Department of Commerce", "Business Services Division", "Business Entities Division", "Bureau of Corporations", or words and phrases to similar effect. Sometimes a state will regulate LLCs and corporations through its tax authority. One state, Utah, overtly declares that it does not have a "Secretary of State". Perhaps someday, the name of the state authority governing LLCs and corporations, will actually be unified across all fifty (50) states in a consistent manner. For now, "Secretary of State" appears to be the most common variant, and the search-term to which Google most reliably responds.

The link-list is here, and I hope that it proves helpful to you:

Alabama Secretary of State, Executive Division
State Capitol Building - Suite S-105 - 600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130 USA
(334) 242-7200 (phone)
(334) 242-4993 (fax)

State Of Alaska, Department Of Commerce, Community, And Economic Development
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1535
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3587 USA
(907) 269-8100 (phone)
(907) 269-8125 (fax)

State Of Alaska, Department Of Commerce, Community, And Economic Development
333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor - State Office Building
Juneau, Alaska 99801 USA
(907) 465-2500 (phone)
(907) 465-5442 (fax)

Arizona Corporation Commission
Phoenix, Arizona 85007 USA
(602) 542-3026 (phone)
1 (800) 345-5819 (toll-free phone, in Arizona only)
(602) 542-3414 (fax)

Arizona Corporation Commission
400 West Congress, 2nd Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701 USA

Arkansas Secretary of State
State Capitol - 500 Woodlane Street, Suite 256
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 USA
(501) 682-1010 (phone)

California Secretary of State
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, California 95814 USA
(916) 653-6814 (phone)
(916) 653-4795 (fax)

Colorado Department of State
1700 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, Colorado 80290 USA
(303) 894-2200 (phone)
(303) 869-4864 (fax)

The Office of Secretary of the State, State of Connecticut, Commercial Recording Division
30 Trinity Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106 USA
(860) 509-6200 (phone)
(860) 509-6069 (fax)
(860) 509-6209 (fax)

State of Delaware, Division of Corporations
John G. Townsend Building
401 Federal Street, Suite 4
Dover, Delaware 19901 USA
(302) 739-3073, option 2 (phone)
(302) 739-3812 (fax)

Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations
Clifton Building - 2661 Executive Center Circle
Tallahassee, Florida 32301 USA
(850) 245-6000 (phone)

Office of the Georgia Secretary of State, Corporations Division
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive - Suite 313
Floyd West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1530 USA
(404) 656-2817 (phone)
(844) 753-7825 (toll-free phone)
(404) 656-0513 (fax)

Business Registration Division
King Kalakaua Building - 335 Merchant Street, Room 201
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813 USA
(808) 586-2744, (808) 695-4620 (phone)
(808) 586-2727 (phone)
(808) 586-2733, (808) 695-4618 (fax)
(808) 587-1234, (808) 441-3100 (fax on demand, e-fax)

Idaho Secretary of State’s Office - Business Entities Division
700 West Jefferson Street, Room E205
State Capitol Building, Second Floor, East Wing
Boise, Idaho 83720-0080 USA
(208) 334-2301 (phone)
(208) 334-2080 (fax)

Idaho Secretary of State’s Office - Business Entities Division
450 North 4th Street - State Library Building
Boise, Idaho 83720-0080 USA

Office of the Illinois Secretary of State
213 State Capitol
Springfield, Illinois 62756 USA
(217) 785-3000 (phone)
(800) 252-8980 (toll-free phone, in Illinois only)
(217) 785-0358 (fax)

Indiana Secretary of State, Business Services Division
302 West Washington Street, Room E018
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 USA
(317) 234-9768 (phone)
(317) 233-3387 (fax)

State of Iowa, Secretary of State
First Floor, Lucas Building - 321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319 USA
(515) 281-5204 (phone)
(888) 767-8683 (toll-free phone)
(515) 242-5953 (fax)

Kansas Secretary of State
534 South Kansas Avenue, Suite 1210
Topeka, Kansas 66603-3434 USA
(785) 296-4564 (phone)
(785) 296-5059 (phone)
(800) 452-6727 (phone)
(800) 4KANSAS (800-452-6727) (toll-free phone)
(785) 296-5059 (phone, Topeka area)
(785) 296-5563 (fax)

Office of the Kentucky Secretary of State
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 152
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601 USA
(502) 564-3490 (phone)
(502) 564-5687 (fax)

Louisiana Secretary of State
8585 Archives Avenue
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70809 USA
(225) 922-2880 (phone)
(225) 922-2003 (fax)

State of Maine, Department of the Secretary of State
Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0101 USA
(207) 624-7736 (phone)
(207) 624-7752 (phone)
(207) 287-5428 (fax)

State of Maine, Department of the Secretary of State
Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions
Burton Cross Building - 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor
Augusta, Maine 04333-0101 USA

Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation
301 West Preston Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201 USA
(410) 767-1184 (phone)
(410) 974-5521 (phone)
(410) 974-5190 (fax)
(888) 246-5941 (phone, outside the Baltimore metro area)
(800) 735-2258 (phone, Maryland relay)

State of Maryland, Office of the Secretary of the State
16 Francis Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401 USA

Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Corporations Division
McCormack Building - One Ashburton Place, 17th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02108 USA
(617) 727-9640 (phone)
(617) 727-7030 (phone)
1 (800) 392-6090 (toll-free phone, within Massachusetts only)
(617) 742-4528 (fax)
(617) 742-4538 (fax)

State of Michigan
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations Division
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
Ottawa Building, 611 W. Ottawa - P.O. Box 30004
Lansing, Michigan 48909 USA
(517) 241-9223 (phone)
(517) 241-0290 (fax)

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55103 USA
(651) 296-2803 (phone)
1 (877) 551-6767 (phone, greater Minnesota area)
(651) 297-7067 (fax)

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
180 State Office Building
100 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155 USA

Secretary of State, State of Mississippi
125 South Congress Street - P.O. Box 136
Jackson, Mississippi 39201 USA
(601) 359-1633 (phone)
1 (800) 256-3494 (toll-free phone)
(601) 359-1607 (fax)

Missouri Secretary of State, Corporations Unit - James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102 USA
(573) 751-4153 (phone)
1 (866) 223-6535 (toll-free phone)

Missouri Secretary of State, Corporations Unit
600 West Main Street
Missouri State Information Center, Room 322
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101-0778 USA

Montana Secretary of State, Business Services
P.O. Box 202801
Helena, Montana 59620-2801 USA
(406) 444-3665 (phone)
(406) 444-3976 (fax)

Montana Secretary of State, Business Services
1301 East 6th Avenue
Helena, Montana 59601 USA

Nebraska Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4608 USA
(402) 471-4079 (phone)
(402) 471-3666 (fax)

Nebraska Secretary of State
1201 N Street, Suite 120
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508 USA

Nebraska Secretary of State
PO Box 3395
Omaha, Nebraska 68103 USA

State of Nevada, Secretary of State
Nevada State Capitol Building
101 North Carson Street, Suite 3
Carson City, Nevada 89701 USA
(775) 684-5708, option 9 (phone)
(775) 684-5725 (fax)

New Hampshire Department of State, Corporation Division
107 North Main Street, Room 204
Concord, New Hampshire 03301 USA
(603) 271-3246 (phone)
(603) 271-3247 (fax)

New Hampshire Department of State, Corporation Division
State House, Room 204 - 107 North Main Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301-4989 USA

New Hampshire Department of State, Corporation Division
State House Annex, Room 317 - 25 Capitol Street, 3rd Floor
Concord, New Hampshire 03301 USA

State of New Jersey, Department of State
Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services (DORES)
225 West State Street, 2nd Floor
Trenton, New Jersey 08646-0303 USA
(609) 292-9292 (phone)

State of New Jersey, Department of State
Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services (DORES)
33 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608 USA

State of New Jersey, Department of State
Division of Revenue & Enterprise Services (DORES)
PO Box 450
Trenton, New Jersey 08646-0303 USA

Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State, Corporations and Business Services
Attn: Corporations Bureau
325 Don Gaspar – Suite 300
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA
1 (800) 477-3632 (toll-free phone)
(505) 827-3614 (phone)
(505) 827-4508 (phone)
(505) 827-3611 (fax)
(505) 827-4387 (fax)

New York State Department of State – Division of Corporations, State Records & UCC
99 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Albany, New York 12231 USA
(518) 473-2492 (phone)
(518) 473-1654 (fax)

North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601 USA
(919) 814-5400 (phone)
(919) 807-2081 (fax)
(919) 807-2063 (fax)

North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State
8108, 4701 Atlantic Ave #116
Raleigh, North Carolina 27604 USA

North Carolina Secretary of State
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, North Carolina 27626-0622 USA

North Dakota Secretary of State
600 East Boulevard Avenue, Department 108
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505 USA
(701) 328-2900 (phone)
1 (800) 352-0867 (toll-free phone)
(701) 328-2992 (fax)

Ohio Secretary of State
180 East Broad Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215 USA
(614) 466-2655 (phone)
1 (877) SOS-FILE (877-767-6446) (toll-free phone)
(614) 644-8820 (fax)

Oklahoma Secretary of State, Business Division, Business Filing Department
Colcord Center, 421 N.W. 13th Street, Suite 210/220
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73103 USA
(405) 521-3912 (phone)
(405) 522-2520 (phone)
(405) 521-3771 (fax)

Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division
Public Service Building, 255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 151
Salem, Oregon 97310-1327 USA
(503) 986-2200 (phone)
(503) 378-4381 (fax)

Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
206 North Office Building, 401 North Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120 USA
(717) 787-1057 (phone)
(717) 705-0927 (fax)

State of Rhode Island, Secretary of State, Department of State
148 West River Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02904-2615 USA
(401) 222-3040 (phone)
(401) 222-1356 (fax)

South Carolina Secretary of State
Edgar Brown Building - 1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, South Carolina 29201 USA
(803) 734-2158 (phone)

South Dakota Secretary of State
Capitol Building - 500 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 204
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-5070 USA
(605) 773-4845 (phone)
(605) 773.4550 (fax)

Tennessee Secretary of State, Division of Business Services
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Snodgrass Tower, 6th Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243 USA
(615) 741-2286 (phone)
(615) 532-2892 (fax)

Texas Secretary of State, Corporations Section
James E. Rudder Building, 1019 Brazos Street, P.O. Box 13697
Austin, Texas 78711-3697 (78701) USA
(512) 463-5555 (phone)
(512) 463-5709 (fax)

(Note: "The state of Utah does not have a Secretary of State office. Those functions are performed by various state agencies and offices").
Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
PO Box 146705
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6705 USA
(801) 530-4849 (phone)
(877) 526-3994 (toll-free phone, within Utah)
(801) 530-6438 (fax)

Utah Secretary of State, Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
Heber M. Wells Building
160 East 300 South, 1st Floor
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 USA

Utah Secretary of State, Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
160 East 300 South, 2nd Floor (160 East Broadway)
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 USA

Vermont Secretary of State, Corporations Division
128 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05633-1101 USA
(800) 439-8683 (toll-free phone)
(802) 828-2363 (phone)
(802) 828-2496 (fax)

Commonwealth of Virginia, State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, Virginia 23218 USA
(804) 371-9967 (phone)
1 (800) 552-7945 (toll-free phone)
(804) 371-9240 (fax)

Commonwealth of Virginia, State Corporation Commission
Tyler Building, 1300 E. Main St.
Richmond, Virginia 23219 USA

State of Washington, Office of the Secretary of State, Corporations & Charities Division
801 Capitol Way South, PO Box 40234
Olympia, Washington 98504-0234 USA
(360) 725-0377 (phone)

West Virginia Secretary of State
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305 USA
(304) 558-8000 (phone)
(304) 558-6000 (phone)
(866) 767-8683 (toll-free phone)
(304) 558-0900 (fax)

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, Wisconsin 53705 USA
(608) 261-9555 (phone)
(608) 261-4334 (fax)

Wyoming Secretary of State, Business Division
2020 Carey Avenue, Suite 700
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002-0020 USA
(307) 777-7311 (phone)
(307) 777-5339 (fax)


American Samoa
Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
Minor Outlying Islands
Bajo Nuevo Bank
Baker Island
Howland Island
Jarvis Island
Johnston Atoll
Kingman Reef
Midway Islands
Navassa Island
Palmyra Atoll
Serranilla Bank
Wake Island
Palmyra Atoll


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If you, the reader, need any assistance in any LLC, corporate, contractual, transactional, or advisory matter, then you are welcome to contact me, Attorney John J. Tormey III, Esq., at:
(212) 410-4142
All matters are handled by me, personally. I am admitted to practice law in New York, California, and the District of Columbia. Artist, media, and entertainment matters originating from all seven (7) continents of the world, including even Antarctica, have presented themselves to my New York law practice over the years.

If, after reviewing the above comprehensive list of LLC and corporate state government links, you believe that any of those links should be modified or updated, then I would be happy to hear from you, and I will consider modifying this list accordingly. I can be reached at: John J. Tormey III, PLLC
The Law Office of John J. Tormey III, Esq.
(212) 410-4142

Click the link at:
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My law practice as an entertainment attorney includes all transactional and advisory matters including recording agreements, A&R (artist & repertoire) matters, demo project placement work or "demo-shopping", publishing, copyright registration, licensing, distribution, and all other matters in the fields of music, video production, film, theatre, performances, touring, and entertainment and media generally. If you have questions about legal issues which affect your career, and require representation, please contact me:

Law Office of John J. Tormey III, Esq.
John J. Tormey III, PLLC
1636 Third Avenue, PMB 188
New York, NY 10128 USA
(212) 410-4142 (phone)
(212) 410-2380 (fax)