Senate pays $90K bill in Brodkorb fight

It’s not like it’s coming out of their personal accounts … . MPR’s Tim Pugmire says certain senators have met and decided to pay another $90,000 to sustain their fight against Michael Brodkorb: “A Minnesota Senate panel is pledging to continue its court battle against former Republican staffer Michael Brodkorb, even though the legal costs have reached nearly $200,000.
Members of the Senate rules committee met today to approve payment of the latest $90,000 bill from the outside attorney they hired in the wake of Brodkorb’s firing a year ago. … DFL Senate leaders, who take charge in January, also support the continued defense. Although Sen. James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, raised concerns during the meeting about the mounting costs. ‘About two months ago I believed that this thing could cost the Minnesota taxpayers about a half million dollars,’ Metzen said. ‘We’re at $200,000 already, and as far as I know there’s been no depositions, no trial. The meter really runs when you get into that area’.” Do I hear $750,000? Anyone?

Oh, but this is encouraging … According to Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib: “The most recent bill includes thousands of dollars for charges for court-ordered settlement talks that went nowhere. It also includes hundreds of dollars of fees to prepare a press release that was never released. If the case ends up in trial, the costs could rise even more quickly. Republican officials said that the cost is worthwhile because they are winning. ‘Assuming the Senate continues to prevail, to win,’ the Senate could actually recoup its legal fees from Brodkorb,  Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said.” After this last election, I have almost no faith in the GOP’s powers of prediction.

At leftMN, Steve Timmer can’t resist: “As the senators lined up for their latest blood donation in L’affaire Brodkorb — $90,000 this time — outgoing chair of the Rules Committee and Majority Leader Dave Senjem remarked that it was time for the Senate to dig in its heels and put some cement around them. (Go and read the story at the link if you don’t believe me.) … From the Department of Inapt Metaphors, this bit of completely unintended irony will stand as the epitaph of Senjem’s leadership of the Senate, and two years of Republican majority ineptitude, too. Interestingly, not among those quoted as being in for a penny, in for a pound was Tom Bakk, the incoming Majority Leader. Bakk recognizes, or should, that Michael Brodkorb and Amy Koch are presently Republican problems, but will cease to be the longer the case drags out.” Actually Steve, Senjem’s metaphor was more apt than not.

How … was this guy out again? The AP says: “A Minnesota man with 27 drunken driving convictions is back behind bars just 40 days after leaving prison. Danny Bettcher of New York Mills is being held at the Wadena County Jail for allegedly violating the terms of his release. Sarah Berg of the Minnesota Department of Corrections told the Forum newspaper that Bettcher was apprehended Saturday after he was allegedly seen in an establishment that serves alcohol, and was consuming alcohol.”

Dang. Now what am I going to do with my weekends? Jennifer Brooks of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Racing Commission Thursday rejected a request by Running Aces Harness Park to add electronic games to its card room. Commission members were sympathetic to Running Aces’ argument that electronic blackjack tables would be a high-tech lure to draw new gamblers to the northern Anoka County track. ‘I think everyone sitting here would like to approve this,’ said Commissioner Jacqueline Duncanson. ‘We would like to have racino. We would like to be able to have our racetracks have more ways to generate money for larger purses. We would like to support this. But what I would like in life is not always what is right or what is legal.’ ” Oh reeeally? Tell us more.

At Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen is loving the candidate field for the next state GOP chairman: “MN conservative tweeps are excited that Marjorie Holsten (Bluestem’s #1 choice for the job) is announcing today. Scroll down to watch her video clips, including one where she appears as the concerned anti-porn prom mom on the Daily Show. … Between her Tea Partying potbellied pig Taylor Swine and her appearance on the Daily Show objecting to Mike Stone’s ‘porn prom’ date last spring at Oakdale’s Tartan High, what’s not for readers to love? Holsten reeks of content. She’s also a well-respected Republican activist and attorney who won election as a Hennepin County Soil and Water Board Supervisor in November. Holsten also has an incredible video presence that we believe is intentionally comic.” Sally Jo, too, bemoans the lack of anyone with Tony Sutton’s unique collection of hyper-partisan characteristics.

Sally Jo references Briana Bierschbach’s coverage at Politics in Minnesota. Briana writes: “The meeting [in Blaine last weekend] also did little to make clear the path ahead for the Minnesota GOP. The party is still facing about $1.5 million in debt, a number that has slowly ticked down from about $1.9 million since the start of the year. Current party leadership has earned high praise for its work to right the ship since former chairman Tony Sutton suddenly resigned this time last year, leaving the party on the hook with more than $2 million in debts. … [Marianne] Stebbins, who is considered the leader of the libertarian wing of the party, says political funds are already in the works to support candidates directly through the primary election, with no consideration of the endorsement process at all. ‘We are hearing rumors of Norm Coleman going straight to a primary for governor,’ Stebbins said. ‘While I think that the party needs to try and uphold its endorsement the best it can, I think you are going to see candidates going straight to the primary.’ ”

Speaking of hat tips … here’s one to KFGO host Mike McFeely for catching both the headline and copy on Amy Chaffins’ story in the Alexandria Echo Press. The headline? “Cougar caught on camera in Osakis area.” The lede … ? “With glowing eyes, the curious creature looked directly at the camera and crept forward slowly with a slinky gait. Where it ventured from there remains a mystery. A cougar captured on trail camera video has people buzzing about where it came from and what it was doing in the Osakis area. It was on Jerry Kuhlman’s property that the infrared camera caught the 20 seconds of video. ‘I was shocked when I saw it,’ he said. ‘The proof is in the pudding that they’re out there.’ ” I’m a believer. Heck, Friday night I saw at least three at Pittsburgh Blue in Edina.

I hope some editor gives Janet Moore a bonus for trying to cover the Strib’s land sale with no cooperation from her employers: “Financial services giant Wells Fargo & Co. is working with Ryan Cos. to explore development of land in downtown Minneapolis that is now owned by the Star Tribune, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations. … One scenario apparently involves building a campus for Wells Fargo, a park, and perhaps residential housing, said a source familiar with the plans who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations. … Star Tribune spokesman Steve Yaeger declined to comment. Russ Nelson, a broker with Minneapolis-based Nelson, Tietz & Hoye who was hired by the Star Tribune to handle the newspaper’s real estate dealings, also declined comment on Wednesday.” Not even off the record?

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/14/2012 - 09:07 am.


    Stupid clients make for rich attorneys. Obviously this should have been settled long ago, it is almost certainly the case that Brodkorb would have settled for much less than the attorney fees accrued so far, and are yet to be accrued, but for some reason, clients just don’t think in those terms. As Chief Dan George observed in a different context in the movie “Little Big Man”, this makes them strange to me.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 12/14/2012 - 10:38 am.

      Anatomy of a lawsuit.

      Disgruntled employee (DE), engaged in extramarital affair with boss, is fired by the old boys club of which he was himself a member. Unwilling to take this insult lying down, DE seeks counsel, who advises that there are multiple claims that can be made, regardless of their merit on the facts and law, and a good deal of leverage to be had by threatening to out some of the other good old boys (GOBs), who were smart enough to have their affairs with subordinates or employees who were not under their direct control.

      When DE sues, the GOBs take the time-honored tack of “millions for defense, not one cent for tribute”, an early 19th century response to another band of pirates. Hiring the most costly of their brethren to defend against DE’s claims and using other’s funds, the GOBs press their defense at substantial cost, fortunately not their own. Due to the vicissitudes of the political world, however, the GOB’s find themselves about to lose control of both the purse strings and control of the defense.

      Will they fight to the end of their reign, leaving their fate in the hands of their rivals or surrender their principles and settle the case so as to relieve their constituents of the on-going financial burden and deprive their opponents of political fodder for the next campaign season?

      Tune in next month.

  2. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 12/14/2012 - 10:15 am.

    Republican’s are Fiscal Conservatives – Phooey!

    They are about as fiscally conservative as a third grader. It is okay to spend money as long as it isn’t their own money. The self proclaimed Republican title of “Fiscal Conservative” is about as disingenuous as the Republican’s can get. The entire Republican philosophy is myth based. Five years ago Tim Pawlenty was asked who the Republican leader is? His answer, “We have many leaders”. They still have many leaders, which only leads to chaos. The Republican’s are not any closer to having a leader today than they were five years ago. Dave Senjem had a chance to change the direction of the party when he was elected majority leader after the Borkorb/Koch affair. He has failed miserably. The Republican’s are many years away from knowing who their leader is. They can’t have the same failed philosophy that has led them to defeat in the last two elections and expect different results. The rich white boys club will be running out of voters pretty soon. They have alienated the Hispanics, their war on women continues, and the voters sent them a strong message in the last election. They have the wrong message and the wrong messengers. Continue to flounder Republican’s it is good for the Democrats.

    • Submitted by Elizabeth Halvorson on 12/14/2012 - 11:09 am.

      Fiscal conservatives, Phooey!

      Well said! And the public should not be picking up a nickel of the cost of this intra-family squabble .

  3. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 12/14/2012 - 02:07 pm.

    EEO Complaint

    The average cost for a private company to respond to a complaint like Brodkorbs is about 3000 dollars. As a HR Consultant I can’t even imagine how it is possible to run up 5000 much less 200 thousand. Don’t these guys carry errors and omission insurance? Any business I have ever done business with carries insurance for these types of things.

  4. Submitted by Fluffy Rabinowitz on 12/14/2012 - 04:56 pm.

    Kudos to Janet Moore

    Janet is a hardworking, thorough and excellent reporter. Nice to see her acknowledged in Minnpost!!

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