Cal Ludeman refusing to disclose publicly funded Brodkorb-related legal fees
Ludeman and his publicly funded attorney won't talk about how much taxpayers are paying her.
Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman has retained an outside attorney to help handle a forthcoming lawsuit from former employee Michael Brodkorb, but won't disclose how much the attorney is being paid for her services.
In many cases, because of the attorney-client privilege, Ludeman's nondisclosure wouldn't be an issue. But the Associated Press reports that attorney Dayle Nolan's services are being paid for with taxpayer funds, raising the question of whether citizens have the right to know how and how much of their money is being spent to help the Senate fend off Brodkorb's impending lawsuit.
The AP reports it has asked both Ludeman and Nolan repeatedly for information about their arrangement, only to be rebuffed.
Whether Ludeman is obligated to disclose information about the rates the Senate is paying to Nolan seems to fall into a legal gray area, but even if neither of them talk, it seems likely that information about the arrangement will emerge sooner or later -- earlier this month, Ludeman told the AP he expects that the fees paid to Nolan will exceed $10,000, forcing a disclosure of invoices.
Perhaps in response to the controversy, the House yesterday took a step toward mandating greater disclosure related to claims brought against the legislature by former employees. Representatives unanimously approved an amendment stating: "The complete terms of any contract or other arrangement to retain counsel to defend the house of representatives, senate, or the legislature as a whole against a claim brought by a former employee is public." The amendment has not yet been taken up by the Senate.
So while the Amy Koch-Brodkorb scandal has given us richer and richer ironies over the past few months, for the time being it also continues to take away an as-of-yet-unknown amount of our tax dollars. And some, including government watchdog group Common Cause Minnesota, believe Ludeman should be telling taxpayers more:
The level of secrecy at the capitol is disturbing. Senate won't disclose attorney contract: bit.ly/IXXHFO (1/2)-- Common Cause MN (@commoncausemn) April 17, 2012
Why wouldn't Ludeman disclose what the Senate is paying Nolan unless there's something to hide?
-- 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]
-- The Amy Koch Affair
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.