Michael Brodkorb files lawsuit against Minnesota Senate
--The Amy Koch Affair
--Michael Brodkorb created a hostile work environment, GOP senator says
--Michael Brodkorb wants to settle invasion of privacy lawsuit with Senate
--Michael Brodkorb's attorney "blindsided" by meeting with senators
--Michael Brodkorb domestic dispute
Minnesota Republicans' worst nightmare has arrived.
Michael Brodkorb filed his lawsuit alleging 10 counts of gender discrimination, defamation and invasion of privacy against the Minnesota Senate today. In the filing, Brodkorb claims he was illegally fired over his "intimate relationship" with Amy Koch.
The lawsuit recounts the Amy Koch affair, beginning in December 2008 when Senate Minority Leader David Senjem hired Brodkorb as communications director for the Republican caucus. After the party took control of the legislature in 2010, Koch was elected majority leader, and Brodkorb transitioned into that role for the new majority.
Last September, former Koch Chief of Staff Cullen Sheehan "became aware that Brodkorb was involved in an intimate relationship with Senator Koch." Word spread to Sen. Geoff Michel. That led numerous Republican senators to confront Amy Koch last December 14. They demanded her resignation and that Brodkorb be terminated, according to the complaint.
Senator David Hahn "specifically stated at the meeting that Brodkorb would need to be terminated from his position," Brodkorb claims, "and that [Cal] Ludeman, Secretary of the Minnesota Senate, would be contacted after Senator Koch resigned so that Ludeman could terminate Brodkorb."
Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman fired Michael Brodkorb
The next day, December 15, Koch resigned. The day after, Brodkorb was fired at Moose Country, a restaurant in Mendota Heights.
Brodkorb claims Ludeman told him, "This is off the record Michael, but those... there's two issues that related to the events of yesterday and the question has been posed as early as last night about your status..."
Those two issues, Brodkorb claims, are the "intimate relationship" with Koch and her resignation the previous day.
Ludeman didn't offer Brodkorb "the opportunity to transfer to a different position or accept a different position," Brodkorb claims. That, coupled with the fact that "similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators," leads Brodkorb to conclude that he was illegally fired.
"Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender," the lawsuit claims.
The document goes on to claim that Ludeman defamed Brodkorb by accusing Brodkorb of "trying to extort a payment from the Senate."
In a statement accompanying the lawsuit, Brodkorb's attorneys criticize the Minnesota Senate for not settling out of court.
"Mr. Brodkorb continues to be disappointed that this lawsuit needed to be filed," the statement reads. "Considering that the Minnesota Senate has already spent nearly $100,000 in legal fees simply 'preparing' for a lawsuit to be filed must raise significant questions for the taxpayers."
Brodkorb's claim of gender discrimination has been controversial. This spring, a Republican state senator told us Brodkorb created a hostile work environment before he was fired according to and should've been let go long before he was fired. (Brodkorb denied the senator's claim.)
Brodkorb's lawsuit has been hanging over the state Republican party, and it'll be interesting to watch how events unfold through the fall elections.
Check out Brodkorb's full lawsuit on the next page
Here's a copy of the lawsuit, uploaded to the web by Brodkorb.
Brodkorb Lawsuit - July 23, 2012
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.