Senate's legal tab in Brodkorb case: $85K

That's tally through May in case of fired GOP staffer.

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Michael Brodkorb

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On the eve of a meeting to approve a $46,150 legal bill, the Minnesota Senate has released a second $38,533 bill to pay for legal services regarding ex-employee Michael Brodkorb's firing.

The now $84,683 bill for a private firm's work includes all charges through May. Brodkorb has yet to file a lawsuit regarding his December termination but has taken steps to do so.

Brodkorb, a former communications director for the Senate's Republican caucus, was fired the day after former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned from leadership. The two had been having an affair. Senate officials have said Brodkorb's services were no longer needed after Koch resigned.

Brodkorb, a longtime Republican insider, says he was treated differently from female legislative employees who have had affairs with lawmakers. He has threatened to sue over his firing, claiming sexual discrimination, and has said he was defamed in the wake of his firing. He is seeking more than $500,000 in damages.

On Wednesday, the Senate Rules committee will meet to approve payment of the $46,150 bill. If the bill remains unpaid beyond Thursday, it will start to accrue interest. That meeting may also deal with approval of the additional $38,533 in charges.

The cost of the legal fees has already surpassed what Brodkorb would have been paid through this point in the year had he been kept on staff.

The latest invoice includes time spent on numerous consultations between Senate staffers and two $330-an-hour attorneys, Dayle Nolan and Christopher Harristhal, at the Larkin Hoffman firm.

It also bills for more than a dozen hours in legal fees regarding Brodkorb's unemployment insurance benefits claim. He applied for unemployment insurance after his dismissal, but the state rejected the claim. He appealed and the Senate weighed in on that appeal.

According to Kim Isenberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Employment and Economic Development, there has been a decision in that case but the decision is not public information.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Twitter: @rachelsb

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