Updated:
Original:

Ex-Senate staffer Brodkorb's 'secret recordings' surface in lawsuit

Author:

The Star Tribune has obtained secret recordings made by fired Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb two years ago. The 2011 recordings made by Brodkorb are part of the high-profile lawsuit he filed after revelations of his romantic relationship with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch stunned observers at the Capitol.

The Strib says the recordings -- made without the knowledge of others -- reveal bitter divisions between his GOP bosses over how they responded to the extramarital affair Brodkorb had with Koch.

Minnesota law only requires that one party to a call be aware that it is being recorded.

The paper's coverage centers round one recording Brodkorb made in a conversation with Sen. Michelle Fischbach, who now defends Brodkorb’s dismissal. The then-Senate president is heard on the tape telling Brodkorb that her fellow GOP senators who orchestrated his firing, “messed this up every possible way they can … I am just flabbergasted that anybody can make decisions so poorly.”

The recorded conversation is part of other evidence submitted in the case that is not public. The "profanity-laced" conversations between Brodkorb and Fischbach were obtained by the Star Tribune from a source who requested anonymity and who is not directly part of the lawsuit, according to the paper.

The lawsuit claims Brodkorb was improperly fired, the paper says, in part because previous affairs involving female staffers and male politicians did not result in any dismissals. The suit, scheduled for trial next summer, has already cost state taxpayers more than $200,000 in legal fees.

In what has played out as a true St. Paul soap opera, the Strib goes in for the juicy bits. To wit:

Brodkorb and Fischbach, in their conversationon the tape, alluded to similar romantic relationships in the Capitol where the employee was not fired. “I think there has been an incredible double standard here,” Fischbach said in the recording, according to the Strib.

Koch, who resigned her leadership position after other senators confronted her about the affair, told the Star Tribune last week that she wishes Fischbach had spoken out at the time about her displeasure over the way events unfolded.

“There’s a fair amount on there that Senator Fischbach says that I agree with,” Koch said of the tapes. “In the position she held, she had an obligation to speak up. I don’t recall her ever saying any of this publicly.”

After Senators from her own party made the affair public, Koch stepped down as Majority Leader, quietly served out her term and did not seek re-election.

Fischbach, who declined to be interviewed about the tapes, said in a statement that she was only trying to console someone she considered a friend.

“My comments to Michael Brodkorb were made as a friend trying to be supportive of someone in a difficult situation, who was losing his job and possibly losing his family,” the Paynesville Republican said in a statement. “I now understand that staff members can be lawfully discharged under such circumstances.”

The paper details a good cycle of Capitol scheming and double-crossing, and nearly portrays Bordkorb as a victim in the whole affair.

Brodkorb last week released a statement to the Star Tribune through his attorney, Greg Walsh: “We believe the statements from then-Senate President Michelle Fischbach, which include her stating that Mr. Brodkorb was ‘wrongfully terminated’ supports, as do other statements and documents, Mr. Brodkorb’s legal claim that he was wrongly terminated from the Minnesota Senate.”

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Wild, Kaprizov agree to to 5-year deal

The contract will keep the star forward in Minnesota through the 2025-26 season.

Dunn County WI homicide suspect

Charges: Man who killed 4 friends, drove bodies to WI said he 'snapped'

Charges filed Tuesday reveal more details about the grisly case.

Edison high school wikimedia commons

Mpls. school goes to distance learning after students exposed to COVID

In-person classes will resume next month, the district said.

Mike Zimmer

Does Mike Zimmer's coaching style mesh with the Vikings' strengths?

Time for Zimmer to put all of his faith in the offense and try to win shootouts?

gray wolf

6 Wisconsin tribes sue to end upcoming wolf hunt

They cite treaty rights and a "disastrous February hunt."

St Paul Grill steak facebook

St. Paul Grill, closed since March 2020, announces reopening date

The dining room will open to all visitors again next month.

police lights

Charges: Man fled police at 127 mph, caused crash that injured officer

The Sept. 16 incident led to a police chase going the wrong way on Hwy. 169 near St. Peter.

Bar beer

3 Minnesota teens 'pistol whipped' at bar in Sioux Falls

Police are investigating the incident, including why the teens were at the bar.

Ben Simmons

The latest Ben Simmons drama 1 week from the start of training camp

Training camp opens Sept. 28, at which point things could get really crazy.

court gavel

Judge finds man guilty in Hibbing Christmas Day murder

Jerome Spann fatally shot Jeryel McBeth on Christmas Day 2018.

Related

Ex-Senate employee Brodkorb files suit against Senate, state

Former Minnesota Senate employee Michael Brodkorb is filing suit against the state, the Minnesota Senate and the Secretary of the Senate, stemming from his firing late last year, the Star Tribune reports. Brodkorb was fired after then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch stepped down from leadership. She resigned after senators confronted her about the affair she was having with Brodkorb. In his suit, Brodkorb claims he was fired because he is male, "and therefore a member of a protected class based on his gender."

Fired Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb hires law firm

Brodkorb has hired employment law specialist Phil Villaume to handle possible legal action against the Senate. Brodkorb lost his job with the Republican caucus shortly after allegations surfaced that former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch had an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

Minnesota Senate braces for another Brodkorb case legal bill

The Minnesota Senate still hasn’t paid the $46,000 bill for its defense lawyers' initial work in the Michael Brodkorb wrongful termination case, and another big bill is on the way, MinnPost says.

Brodkorb won't comment on meeting with top Senator; lawyer calls it 'a problem'

Michael Brodkorb's threatened lawsuit has prompted the Minnesota Senate to spend $85,000 preparing a defense. The former Republican staff member, who says he was wrongfully fired, met with Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem in a St. Paul coffee shop Monday. Brodkorb's lawyer says he was blindsided by the meeting and calls it a chance encounter he would not have authorized.