Minnesota Senate panel approves Brodkorb payment

Members of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Rules and Administration consider a resolution for a $30,000 payment to Michael Brodkorb. (MPR Photo/Tim Pugmire)

A Minnesota Senate panel today approved a $30,000 payment to former Republican staffer Michael Brodkorb, who agreed last week to drop his wrongful termination lawsuit.

Brodkorb lost his job in 2011 in the wake of his sexual affair with then-GOP Majority Leader Amy Koch, The payment approved by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration comes after the Senate paid $319,000 in legal bills for the Senate’s defense. Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said those bills would have kept growing if the case went to trial. Newman said the resolution was a fiscally responsible decision.

“You’ve got to remember that when someone or a company or an entity is sued, you really don’t have much choice but to defend, and you have got to hire a lawyer,” Newman said. “So you kind of get stuck, and the Senate got stuck here in dealing with this individual.”

Senate leaders said they offered the same $30,000 severance to Brodkorb before he filed the lawsuit. They insist the payment is not a settlement, because Brodkorb ackowledged that the facts in the case do not support the gender discrimination claims in his lawsuit.

The payment will be made once all parties sign off on a formal, written agreement that ends the lawsuit. Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St.Paul, wanted assurances that the agreement will prevent Brodkorb from ever trying to get the Senate to pay his legal fees.

“I just want to make sure it’s absolutely airtight and there is no ability in now way to have this revisited,” Cohen said.