Brodkorb not fading away quietly

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2012 - 9:08 PM

Attorneys for the former Senate Republican staffer say he will seek damages for wrongful dismissal.

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Michael Brodkorb, former high-ranking State Senate Republican official, is seeking damages over his firing.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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Michael Brodkorb, the ousted Republican Senate staff member, is back -- with a vengeance.

Brodkorb, who lost his job last month a day after Amy Koch resigned as Senate majority leader, will seek monetary damages for wrongful dismissal, an attorney for the former Senate communications chief said.

"If they think my client is going to quietly go away, that's not going to happen," said Philip Villaume, one of two attorneys who were announced Monday as representing Brodkorb. "This is not going to go away easily."

Koch stepped down from her leadership post after admitting to having an inappropriate relationship with an unidentified male staffer. She continues to serve as a senator, though she has said she will not seek re-election in November.

Villaume declined to discuss any role Brodkorb might have had in the scandal that toppled Koch and said the case at hand is about how Brodkorb was dismissed from his job.

Koch's sudden political fall -- along with Brodkorb's mysterious ouster -- created an extraordinary controversy for Senate Republicans, who only a year before had gained majority control of the chamber for the first time in more than a generation.

When Republicans took over the Senate, Brodkorb quickly emerged as a formidable and controversial figure at the Capitol. At one point, he served not only as the Senate Republican communications director but also as Koch's executive assistant and deputy chairman of the state Republican Party.

Before legislators convened last week for the 2012 session, new Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said Republicans were eager to move forward and would not further investigate what occurred.

"All directions now look forward, not back," Senjem said after a lengthy closed-door meeting in late December in which Senate Republicans selected him to replace Koch.

Senate hires attorney

Secretary to the Senate Cal Ludeman said Monday that the Senate had hired a private attorney regarding the "Brodkorb employment issue" and that he was confident the Senate would prevail.

He acknowledged that Brodkorb's moves to hire attorneys "certainly are disruptive, there's no question about it.

"Are we prepared? Yes," Ludeman added.

Koch was ousted after she was confronted regarding the relationship by a group of Senate Republican colleagues, including Sen. Geoff Michel of Edina, her former deputy majority leader.

Koch said later that she had been questioned about the relationship by her former chief of staff in late September, but that she never heard about it from her fellow senators until a group of them -- including her leadership team -- approached her at the Minneapolis Club in mid-December.

At the State Capitol, Brodkorb's salary was less than $54,000 when he was the Senate Republican communications director. When he added the duties as executive assistant to the majority leader, his pay rose to $94,000.

Villaume said Monday that Brodkorb's legal team would not target Koch in any legal proceedings, but might target other GOP senators who played a part in ousting Brodkorb.

But he added: "As to any inference that there was a relationship between my client and Senator Koch, all I can say is I'm not discussing his private life.

"This is not about any of that situation," he added. "This is about the way he was terminated from his job."

Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

  • related content

  • Michael Brodkorb, left, meeting in early December with GOP officials, including then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, seated.

  • Attorneys for Michael Brodkorb, shown in a June photo talking to the press about a meeting between Republican legislative leaders and the governor, refuse to discuss anything regarding the Koch scandal.

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