Michael Brodkorb's wrongful termination case strengthened by secretly recorded phone call
Fischbach put her MNGOP colleagues on blast while commiserating with Brodkorb about his firing.
In late 2011, shortly after he was fired from his job as MNGOP Senate spokesman in a move engineered by a group of Republican senators, Michael Brodkorb chatted on the phone with then-Senate President Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville. Their conversation was secretly recorded.
The Star Tribune recently obtained a copy of recording, and according to Baird Helgeson's report about it, Fischbach was sympathetic to Brodkorb's plight. She told him the MNGOPers who fired him after news of his affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch went public "messed this up every possible way they can ... I am just flabbergasted that anybody can make decisions so poorly."
Alluding to the notion that a female Senate staffer involved in an affair with her boss might not have been fired, Fischbach told Brodkorb, "I think there has been an incredible double standard here."
Brodkorb, of course, later went on to sue the Senate for wrongful termination due to gender discrimination. He's seeking at least $600,000 in damages, and taxpayers are already on the hook for more than $200,000 in legal fees associated with the case, which is scheduled for trial next summer.
During the call, Fischbach characterized the Republicans behind Koch's ouster and Brodkorb's firing -- a group including then-Sen. Geoff Michel and still-Sen. David Hann -- as "so [expletive] righteous" and said she had "a major problem with why these guys think this is good for the caucus... Why is this good to drag all this [expletive] through the public eye?"
Though her comments seem to bolster Brodkorb's case, in a statement released to the Strib, Fischbach backed away from the profanity-laced, blunt comments she unwittingly made on tape more than a year and a half ago.
"My comments to Michael Brodkorb were made as a friend trying to be supportive of someone in a difficult situation, who was losing his job and possibly losing his family," she wrote. "I was not speaking on behalf of the Senate, but only talking to someone who I then thought of as a friend in need of emotional support and who I didn't think would secretly record the call."
"I now understand that staff members can be lawfully discharged under such circumstances," she added.
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