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The legal bill has come due for the Minnesota Senate.
Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman said Wednesday that the Senate had received an invoice for legal services to defend it against potential litigation over the dismissal of communications director Michael Brodkorb. Ludeman said he was not quite ready to make that bill public.
Brodkorb was fired after he had an affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. He was terminated in December the day after Koch stepped down from leadership in the wake of senators confronting her about the affair.
The aftermath of the affair hung over the august Senate throughout the session, as Brodkorb prepared his case and Sen. Geoff Michel, who had served as deputy majority leader, was brought up on ethics charges over his handling of the matter. After hours of debate, which the Senate's private attorney watched, an ethics committee deadlocked on whether Michel violated the standards of the Senate.
Although Brodkorb has yet to sue, the bill from private attorney Dayle Nolan ticked up.
The Senate disclosed last month that it was paying Nolan $330 an hour for advice about the Brodkorb situation. Although her original agreement bespoke of monthly bills, until Tuesday Senate officials said they had not received any invoices.
Ludeman said the Senate received the bill on Tuesday. He said he would not release it publicly until Senate leaders authorize him to pay it. He said he was awaiting signatures on that and "we are about a day away."
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Wednesday that he had not yet seen the bill.
Settle or contest?
Asked whether he was more inclined to settle with Brodkorb than fight it out, Senjem said: "How do you weigh it? In the end, it is probably lawyers' fees versus [settlement]. ... It's just how much time do you put into something like this versus how much do you get out of it?"
Brodkorb threatened to sue over his termination, claiming sexual discrimination because he said female Senate employees were treated differently when they had affairs. He has said he will seek more than $500,000 in damages and legal costs.
Last month, he filed his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a precursor to formal litigation.
Separately, he also warned the Senate that he planned to sue for defamation and demand damages of more than $500,000. He claims that Ludeman defamed him when he told the media that Brodkorb was trying to "blackmail" and "extort payment from the Senate" through his legal case.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Twitter: @rachelsb