Bend over, taxpayers: Senate to approve $46,150 payment for Brodkorb-related legal fees
The Senate is stuck between Rock-korb and a hard place.
After June 21, the Larkin Hoffman law firm will begin charging the Senate late fees on a $46,150 tab stemming from work performed through mid-March related to ex-staff Michael Brodkorb's potential defamation and gender discrimination lawsuit. On one hand, it really sucks to spend nearly $50,000 of taxpayer money on the Brodkorb boondoggle. But on the other, it sucks even more to be charged $700 a month in late fees, which is what the Senate is facing if the bill doesn't get paid by next Thursday.
So the Senate will almost assuredly pay the bill before the deadline, but Minority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, is insisting a public hearing be held beforehand.
The Senate's rules require both the majority and minority leaders sign off on the expenditure.
"I will not sign off on this bill until there is a meeting of the rules committee," Bakk said. The Star Tribune reports that meeting will happen June 20.
Sure, $46,150 rifled from taxpayers' collective wallet hurts, but the pain has just begun -- the bill to be considered by the Senate only includes legal fees incurred through mid-March, and plenty of legal "work" has been done since then.
Bakk wants to make sure Brodkorb-related legal fees don't escape taxpayers' attention.
The fees in the current bill covered only the period ending in the middle of March. They do not cover the hours [Larkin Hoffman attorney] Nolan sat in a Senate ethics hearing involving Sen. Geoff Michel's handling of the Brodkorb dismissal. It later was revealed that Brodkorb was the unnamed staffer who was involved in a personal relationship with his supervisor, then Republican Majority Leader Amy Koch.
The Michel hearings in late March and April ended without a decision. They incurred a minimum of 10 hours of legal time, followed by subsequent legal work. Nolan's hourly rate is $330.
Furthermore, the Senate is only authorized to cover legal fees of up to $50,000. The rules committee, an 11-member panel chaired by Senjem, would need to authorize another appropriation to cover the second bill, which the Senate expects to receive shortly.
And Brodkorb's lawsuit hasn't even been filed yet! In other words, brace yourself for a protracted, slow-motion taxpayer robbery, Minnesota.
How much does Brodkorb want, anyway? Couldn't the $50,000-plus we're about to spend on legal fees but put toward a settlement?
Previous coverage of Brodkorb-gate:
-- Michael Brodkorb lawsuit costs state $46,150 so far
-- Unemployed Brodkorb seeks government bailout, gets denied, alleges invasion of privacy [UPDATE]
-- Michael Brodkorb plans to sue Minnesota Senate for defamation
-- Michael Brodkorb lawyers up, may pursue legal action
-- Michael Brodkorb alleges gender bias, hilarity ensues [UPDATE]
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