ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Legal costs are mounting at the public’s expense even before former high-ranking state Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb sues over his dismissal.

The Senate has hired an outside attorney to protect the institution’s interest and defuse fallout from Brodkorb’s admitted extramarital affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. But officials are so far refusing to disclose the contract or the hourly rate of Dayle Nolan, who works for a large Minneapolis law firm.

And Nolan’s fees are probably just the start.

Threatened lawsuits by Brodkorb, who until his December firing was a senior Republican caucus aide, could pull more than a half-dozen lawmakers and his former colleagues into court. Some of those defendants could be entitled to state-paid legal expenses, too.

“I imagine there are people looking right now at what their legal rights and privileges may be,” said Minneapolis lawyer Marshall Tanick, who handles employment law cases. “I imagine some people are consulting with lawyers right now. The Brodkorb dragnet sweeps pretty broadly.”

Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman told The Associated Press last week that he believes the Nolan contract is covered by attorney-client privilege rules permitting him to keep it private. He said he is in regular contact with Nolan, and she was in the room consulting with an in-house Senate lawyer during an ethics hearing last month.

“There is no compulsion for her to submit a bill yet. She has not done so. I have not asked her to submit a bill yet,” Ludeman said, adding that he expects it to exceed a five-figure threshold that would force disclosure of invoices.

Brodkorb’s legal team is moving toward a federal gender discrimination claim against the state, arguing he was treated differently than other employees embroiled in workplace affairs. His lawyers have also said they might file separate state lawsuits against Ludeman, four senators and two GOP caucus staff members, one of whom blew the whistle on the affair.

Most are being accused by Brodkorb of “invasion of privacy” but Ludeman could face a defamation lawsuit for publicly calling Brodkorb’s legal pursuits akin to extortion.

Brodkorb attorney Philip Villaume said last week it’s “more likely than not that those claims will be brought.”

Minnesota law presumes the state will cover expenses, attorney fees, fines and settlements for public employees facing litigation connected to their jobs as long as they weren’t willfully neglectful or guilty of malfeasance.

Tanick said he suspects other employees and senators who are deposed or called to testify in any case could hire lawyers — and seek reimbursement — as well.

It’s not a given that employee legal bills will get paid. The law requires the employer to certify someone was acting within the scope of their duties. The attorney general has the power to overrule such a determination. A judge can also weigh in, particularly as it relates to elected officials.

Minnetonka lawyer James Sherman, who specializes in employment law, said the fight over who gets reimbursed for what could turn into a “big contested mess” that spawns a separate round of lawsuits.

“It’s a legal gray area as to whether or not the coverage could be extended,” Sherman said. And, he noted, “on the political end, it’s an election year.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (36)
  1. scott says:

    I love it when the GOP has trouble. I love it when they squirm a little bit too. But this, this doesn’t have anything to do with that now. This has to do with a person that has been hurt by his own action, and now he wants revenge. And he believe we are to blame for his pain. Not him. Not his actions of what he did. Now he believes he has been wronged and with black mail he figures justices will be severed.

    1. Hey Zeus! says:

      Misery loves company. Soon other philandering politicians will be miserable as well after Brodkorb gets done with them.

  2. steve says:

    It’s time to grow up Brodkorp. Your poor ethics got you into this. Don’t cost me and my fellow taxpayers money because you can’t be a man and own up. YOU made the bed, LIE in it.

    1. desert eagle .50 says:

      Brodkorp can lie in the bed he made because there’s not enough room. Koch is taking up the whole thing.

      I am being specific.

      1. Coyote Ugly says:

        I’d rather be known as the one armed politician than to ever admit I’d “done that”.

  3. Exp says:

    I find it funny that he’s suing over this. Aren’t Republicans the figureheads for At Will Employment, saying an employer can fire you for any reason? If it was a Democrat who was suing, they’d be tearing him apart for abusing the legal system for personal benefit.
    Ahhhh…. Hypocrisy… Smells like Republican.

    1. Nica says:

      They want At Will Employment for everyone but themselves!

      1. Matt says:

        Thats how Republicans are on every issue.

    2. christine says:

      Yup. Just like all of their other ideas, it’s good for “us” but not for “them”. At-will employment, health care, etc.

      1. politicianSUX says:

        considering the democrats pretty much wrote all laws in this state for the past 32 years, lets be a little more specific on who gave who special priviledge. And of YOUR president, why has he not answered if he will sign up for Obama care and take his family off of the cushy HMO no out of pocket expenses plan they have now? I mean the democrats created Obama care, so why are they not the first to drop their coverage in the hosue and senate and sign up for it? You can call republicans hippocryts all you want (I do it as well), but remember YOUR party is not perfect either.

  4. Ha! says:

    Oh, I don’t know. Money is wasted every second of every day in MN. This…is like watching a car wreck. You just don’t wanna look but certainly can’t help yourself. If it brings a few down, they deserve it. In the end, they will have to borrow beg and steal from the public to pay for the typical per dium so why not kick in some fun. I know I’ll be reading like a voyeur. WI can’t have all the fun.

  5. Thanks for wasting our money says:

    You would think if you were associated with the “lovely” Amy Koch you wouldn’t want to bring extra attention to yourself. Grow up Brodkorp you pig..

    1. Tax Deduction says:

      Just think of the expense this poor man had while conducting his affairs with Amy….flour is not cheap!

  6. john says:

    I find it amusing that the former GOP attack dog is now on the other end of the leash . The Republicans wanted to take him off the leash out in the country and let him deal with the elements . After figuring out that he had been used for several years , Brodkorp decided he would get his payout . I am now waiting for the “new” Republican Party Cannibal mascot logo . Of course there will be a tiny print disclaimer that the costs are being borne by the residents of the state of Minnesota .

  7. xxx says:

    Good grief. No way should the MN taxpayer pay a single penny for anything related to behind the doors bed bouncing by anyone in the state house!!

  8. xxx says:

    No court in MN should hear of any case, suit or anything else to do with these meandearings.
    It does nothing for the state. Does nothing for the legislature, and does nothing for any person except a bunch of money hungry lawyers.

    Mr/Mzz judges are you listening?
    Don’t accept any of these cases. Throw them out as trivial and not worth a minute of anyones time.

    1. Brian says:

      This will likely never see the inside of a court room. Brodkorb, who has been crying about fiscal responsibility and arguing for employers’ rights for years, is looking for a payout because he was fired for misconduct. He doesn’t want his job back, he wants some cash. Ahh the GOP hypocrisy….

  9. MrCD says:

    GOP or DFL, doesn’t matter, anything our state legislators do will cost us money, always does and always will!

    1. Sharzzie says:

      Agreed Mr CD, but the democrats only say it doesn’t matter when it is their filthy politicians…otherwise it is front page news in the liberal-bigot media.

      1. Brian says:

        Yeah actually, both the DFL and GOP do that….and both make front page news. This just happens to be the GOP’s turn swimming in the sewer. Take a look at the names Kevin mentioned below. They were all front page news.

  10. KEVIN says:

    Do the names Clinton, Edwards and Corzine ring any bells?

    1. FU says:

      Yep. Which one of them were MN politicians? Nothing makes a statement like comparing apples and oranges…idiot.

      1. orrest says:

        Which one of the democrat’s concubine’s sued?

  11. June says:

    To put things in perspective, he was only schtuping one person.

    The Democrats are schtuping the whole state!

    1. orrest says:

      And you are taking it all from the GOP in the butt and too stupid to realize it.

    2. justwondering says:

      What makes you think it was only one person?

      Have you decided which social program to cut to pay for this? Or perhaps this is a cause worth enough to raise taxes!

  12. Whatever.... says:

    Perhaps only Amy Koch’s constituents who elected her should pay Brodkorb. After all, they elected her, and she was part of this twosome and used very bad judgment in conducting this affair. AND, she hired Brodkorb. She should be liable, thus, her constituents. Maybe if this type of accountability would happen, we would all look more closely at the track record and ethics of the people we elected. Whatever….

  13. jimmy says:

    I wish they would ask Ludeman about this 5 figure slush fund he has. I would like to know how big it is.

  14. christine says:

    Amy thought she had herself a real man – turns out he is just a whiny, little b** ch and now the taxpayers are footing the bill for their tryst. Disgusting!

  15. jackactionhero says:

    Michael Brodkorb hit me in the head with an aluminum baseball bat 30 years ago this Summer. Not on purpose, but it gave me a big lump on the head for a few days. 😉

    1. desert eagle .50 says:

      Too bad he didn’t knock sense into you, Captain Incontinent.

      Why did he hit you in the head?

      Please be specific.

    2. Louisville Slugger says:

      I heard that’s how he had to subdue the big woman too! Brought her to her knees.

  16. KEVIN says:

    Hey FU, did I hit a sore spot? And how about Obama and his transparency in his term as president. He refuses to hold and press conferencesopen to questions even with our liberal media in this country. I will call Obama an idiot just like you.

  17. Llp says:

    why do people stick their noses up other people a**es instead of their own.