A former Minnesota Senate staffer filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court today saying he was wrongfully fired. Michael Brodkorb, once a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, claims he was fired because he was having an affair with Koch. In his suit against the Senate and the state, he contends female employees who had similar relationships in the past were not fired.
He also said the Senate’s top administrator Cal Ludeman violated his privacy rights, and Brodkorb is suing him for defamation of character and slander. Brodkorb’s attorney Phil Villaume said his client is seeking $50,000 in damages but the total award could be more than that. He said they want a jury trial.
“We’re very optimistic that we have a strong case. We feel we’re going to fare well in the proceedings,” Villaumse said. “We’ve got a long ways to go. It will probably take a year at the least to get a resolution. We have a long ways to go but we’re very optimistic.”
Villaume said he would have preferred to settle the case out of court, but Senate leaders declined his offers to negotiate. GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem has said that Brodkorb worked on an at-will basis and was terminated because he was no longer needed after Koch resigned her position as Majority Leader.
The Senate has approved nearly $85,000 in legal fees through June.
Uodate: Senjem released this written statement:
“Our attorneys will defend the Minnesota Senate and the Secretary of the Senate from this lawsuit, which we believe is without any merit whatsoever. Along with our attorneys, we will do everything in our power to protect the interests of the taxpayers. The Minnesota Senate is and always has been responsible in its employment procedures and practices.
“I believe the Senate has done nothing wrong. In fact, the Senate has acted carefully and appropriately in regards to this employment issue. I am not interested in a mediated settlement, and I believe the Senate will prevail in court.”
Here’s a copy of the suit: