The Minnesota Senate is spending $330 per hour for legal advice to deal with a possible lawsuit from ex-employee Michael Brodkorb, it disclosed Friday.
The Senate disclosed the rate and the private attorney's representation agreement on Friday after repeated questions about the arrangement.
The Senate hired attorney Dayle Nolan to deal with Brodkorb's threat to sue the Senate over his firing late last year. Brodkorb, a former communications director, was fired in the wake of former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch's resignation from leadership after she was confronted about an affair she had with Brodkorb.
Nolan has attended at least six hours of ethics committee hearings related to the Senate's handling of the affair as well as a more than two-hour hearing over the rejection of Brodkorb's unemployment insurance claim.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Friday afternoon that he did not know how much her services had cost the Senate.
"I'm not sure we've gotten a bill yet, to be honest with you," Senjem told reporters.
The Star Tribune and other news outlets had formally requested access to any contract or invoices that Nolan had signed with the Senate. Cal Ludeman responded to the newspaper on Wednesday that while the Senate was required to provide the Star Tribune with copies of invoices, "to date, we have not received an invoice(s) from Dayle Nolan or her firm." Senate officials have said they do not have a contract with Nolan.
But late Friday, the Senate disclosed a two-page letter from Nolan confirming her representation of Senate in the Brodkorb matter. The agreement, dated Jan. 23, says she will receive a rate of $330 an hour and will bill the Senate "monthly for fees and costs incurred," as well as for ancillary costs.
The late Friday release of information came after months of questions from the media and from senators about the arrangement with the attorney.
Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, also asked Senjem about any contracts the Senate had with Nolan on the Senate floor on Friday.
"I'll be happy to visit with Sen. Rest off line, but we are limited in what we ought to be talking about in that particular area," Senjem said.
"With all due respect, I believe the body has a right to an answer," Rest responded.
"As far as I'm aware that's, at this point, privileged information. I'm not going to be able to help," Senjem said.
"I object strenuously to Sen. Senjem's behavior," Rest replied.