Reporting Susie Jones
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — A fired Minnesota Senate GOP staffer is threatening to expose adulterous affairs by other legislators as part of a potential lawsuit over his firing, according to a document made public Thursday.
Michael Brodkorb’s legal strategy was laid out in a “notice of claims” document his attorneys filed with the state Tuesday. He was fired in December over an affair with his boss, then-Majority Leader Amy Koch.
In the document, attorney Philip Villaume wrote that Brodkorb is the victim of gender discrimination because female staffers who’ve had affairs with male legislators weren’t fired.
“He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination,” the notice said.
The notice did not say how many female staffers Brodkorb believes had affairs with male legislators.
Brodkorb is demanding more than $500,000 in damages, the notice said. It also threatens invasion-of-privacy claims against three former members of the Senate GOP leadership and a current and former Senate staffer.
Villaume responded to allegations he says were made by Cal Ludeman, a Senate official who he says lied about and “smeared” Brodkorb.
“We are shocked and dismayed at press release issued by Ludeman,” said Villaume.
Villaume refuted each claim made in the statement. He said claims that Brodkorb doesn’t have a case are wrong. He said they gave counsel details of the case. Villaume said Brodkorb was going to mediate the suit, when session is done, never having intented to upset senate actions.
Plans were in the works to mediate the case, but because of the press release, now mediation is off the table. Talks broke down Tuesday between Brodkorb’s attorneys and Senate officials.
Villaume said they are filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He says they will take depositions from other senators and staff, past and present, to see if there were other affairs where no one was fired.
Koch abruptly resigned her leadership position in December. Brodkorb was fired one day later without a public explanation. She later acknowledged she had had an improper relationship with a staffer, but wouldn’t reveal his identity, which went unconfirmed until Villaume acknowledged Wednesday that it was Brodkorb.
Koch was in her first term as majority leader but was regarded as a rising star in the party. Brodkorb was paid more than $90,000 a year for serving as her executive assistant and as the Senate GOP’s communications director, where he was known as an aggressive and effective spokesman.
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