The Minnesota Senate has settled a lawsuit with Michael Brodkorb for $30,000, far less than the former GOP spokesman was seeking.
“I am glad to have this over with,” Brodkorb said Thursday. "This is about putting this matter behind me and allowing me to get my life back and wake up tomorrow with this not on my shoulders."
The Senate Rules Committee will need to approve the payment before it is final.
“We are pleased to have successfully resolved this matter in the best interests of taxpayers and the institution of the Minnesota Senate," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. "This agreement permanently dismisses Mr. Brodkorb’s claims in their entirety while providing the limited severance pay that was offered to him before he commenced litigation against the Senate.”
Brodkorb was fired late in 2011 after then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch admitted the two were having an affair. Both were married to other people at the time. Koch resigned her leadership position and then the interim head of the GOP caucus ordered Brodkorb be fired.
A longtime political operative, Brodkorb filed a wrongful termination lawsuit seeking $500,000. He argued that he had been treated differently than female staffers caught in similar romantic relationships with elected officials. Brodkorb threatened to bring those other relationships to light to prove his case, which had the potential to creating political and personal problems for current and former legislators.
Over the last couple weeks, Senators and staffers had been deposed in the case.
Former Senate GOP leaders confronted Koch in a secret meeting at the Minneapolis Club and, she has said, gave her a choice: Resign from leadership, or they would expose the affair. GOP leaders in the room that night have said they were merely there to confront Koch about rumors of the relationship and plot a course forward.
With Koch out, then-Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman surprised Brodkorb in a restaurant where he was having lunch with a colleague and told him he was fired.
Koch and Brodkorb were widely credited with helping Republicans win control of the Minnesota Senate for the first time in 40 years. After Koch’s fall and Brodkorb’s dismissal, Democrats won back control in 2012 election.
The lawsuit has hung over the Capitol for about a year, with a trial set to begin next summer.
Koch and her husband divorced and she did not run for re-election. After leaving office, she bought a bowling alley in Maple Lake. Brodkorb still lives with his family in Eagan and maintains a political blog.
"This has very hard on my family and I greatly appreciate their support throughout this," Brodkorb said.