Brodkorb legal flap costs Minnesota taxpayers another 77k


Another legal bill has arrived for the Minnesota Senate as it attempts to conclude the wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former staffer Michael Brodkorb.

The Star Tribune reports the nine-page bill amounts to $77,500 from the Senate lawyers. It's for the months of September through December.

At the end of September, the lawsuit ended after Brodkorb agreed to drop the suit for $30,000. As a condition of the settlement both sides agreed to pay their own legal fees.

The Associated Press reports that the Senate Rules Committee will vote Monday on whether to approve the final payment to Minneapolis-based law firm Larkin Hoffman.

The lawsuit may be settled, but the legal fight hit Minnesota taxpayers in the pocket.

All totaled, the two nearly two-year legal fight cost the state's taxpayers nearly $400,000. The $77,000 dollar legal bill will add to about $320,000 that taxpayers have had to shell out so the Senate could defend itself against the lawsuit.

Brodkorb had served as the Senate GOP's communications chief. He was fired in December 2011 after it was revealed he had an affair with then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. Koch resigned her leadership position and chose not to seek re-election.

Broadkorb had been asking for $500,000. He claimed that he had been treated differently than female staffers who had similar romantic relationships with male senators. The Senate insisted his termination was legal and did not admit any wrong doing in the settlement.

The kicker is, the case settled for the same amount of money that Brodkorb was offered in a severance package before the legal battle.

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The legal matters stem from an affair between former leader Amy Koch and fired Senate communications chief Michael Brodkorb. The Star Tribune reports the Senate is paying a Minneapolis attorney for legal advice to prepare its defense against claims in Brodkorb's lawsuit. Current Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem was pressured to disclose the information even though it's not required.

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Michael Brodkorb is a former staffer for Minnesota Senate Republicans whose lawsuit claims he was wrongfully fired. Majority Leader Dave Senjem says the suit has no merit and the Senate will prevail in court. Some DFLers fear the bills could climb to $1 million and want Republicans to set up a legal defense fund instead of using state money to pay the attorneys.

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