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Brodkorb settles $500,000 Senate suit for … $30,000

I’m really bad at math, but I think this is like six cents on the dollar … The MPR story by Tim Pugmire on Michael Brodkorb’s settlement with the Senate (i.e., taxpayers) says: “The Minnesota Senate will pay former Republican staffer Michael Brodkorb $30,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit. The settlement announced [Thursday] heads off a trial that was set to begin next year. It was also far less than the half million dollars in damages that Brodkorb had been seeking. … Senate leaders from both parties maintained all along that the termination was legitimate, because Brodkorb was an at-will employee. The Senate has already spent more than $300,000 in legal fees for its defense. A joint statement, Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said the Senate previously offered Brodkorb $30,000 as a severance payment.” I suppose this means we’ll never get to read all those juicy depositions …

For KMSP-TV, Tom Lyden reports: “Terms of the agreement outlined by the chamber say that Brodkorb acknowledges that the facts of his case do not support a sex discrimination claim, nor do any of his other claims. The Senate will withdraw the pending motion for sanctions and will not look to regain attorney fees incurred in the case. … His attorney Greg Walsh now admits they didn’t have the goods. ‘We took some depositions and realized there were problems meeting the elements of a gender discrimination claim,’ Walsh said. … Brodkorb said he’s lucky to be walking after a drunk driving crash in January, and at 39, he still believes his best years are ahead. For those who care about soap operas, it sounds like the affair is over, and Brodkorb’s happy to have his family’s support.”

At the end of Baird Helgeson’s Strib story, a commenter with a dry, ironic touch says: “The low amount clearly indicates that it was never about the money, but rather about standing up for what’s right. We will all benefit from this fine man fighting the good fight. As a result of this action, everyone of us will stand a better chance of being treated equally in the workplace. If [another commenter’s]  speculation is correct (and it probably is) Mr. Brodkorb will find himself in the service of one of the finest employers there is. The Koch brothers have always been social activists and true agents of change. There is so much to look forward to.”

In Winona, Tesla Rodriguez of the Daily News reports: “The … Winona fire earlier this month that destroyed two downtown buildings began between the ceiling and roof of the Winona Islamic Center and was not set intentionally, according to officials. Winona Assistant Fire Chief Jim Multhaup said Thursday that the Winona Fire Department, the state’s fire marshal office, federal investigators along with private investigators and electrical engineers all reached the same conclusion, two weeks after the early-morning blaze that destroyed the Islamic Center and the Brosnahan Law Firm building and damaged several other neighboring properties. Multhaup said throughout the investigation there was no evidence of foul play.”

Ouch. Calling it “Walmart U” is hitting pretty low … Alex Friedrich of MPR reports: “Union clerical workers at the University of Minnesota rallied on Northrop Plaza [Thursday] to protest proposed rate increases to their employee health care plans. About 200 people gathering in front of Morrill Hall, the main administration building — some carrying signs saying, ‘Stop cost shifting to employees’ and ‘Wal-Mart U / Rolling Back Benefits.’ They opposed a move the union says will save the U $1.8 million by, among other things, forcing employees to pay higher insurance premiums, copays and deductibles. Many of those, they say, are employees who can afford it the least.”

The GleanThe mystery of what happened to Anarae Schunk hasn’t been resolved by details in the police complaint. In the Strib, Pat Pheifer says: “Anthony Lee Nelson, also known as Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, shot Palagor Obang Jobi eight times in the parking lot of Nina’s Grill in Burnsville early Sunday morning after the two argued in the bar about Jobi talking to Nelson’s girlfriend, according to criminal charges filed in Dakota County District Court. The argument continued in the parking lot after Nelson left the bar with the girlfriend — Ashley M. Conrade — and Anarae Schunk, the 20-year-old University of Minnesota student who has been missing since that night. … he and the women went to Conrade’s home in the 14500 block of Shannon Parkway in Rosemount, where Nelson stayed until his arrest. Neither the complaint against Nelson nor the one against Conrade says when Schunk left or what happened to her.”

A “signing bonus”? Graydon Royce of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Orchestra sweetened its offer to locked-out musicians Thursday, after an 11th-hour fund-raising effort led by Marilyn Carlson Nelson, one of Minnesota’s wealthiest people. The latest proposal in the bitter year-long dispute includes a $20,000 one-time bonus to each musician, to help offset a pay cut that would reduce base salaries over three years, ending at 25 percent below current levels. Money for the bonuses would come from the Carlson Family Foundation, 14 other Minnesota foundations and the community group SOS: Save Osmo. … The $20,000 bonus mitigates dollars lost in the contract by the musicians. The orchestra board says the proposal would mean a net 17.7 percent reduction in average salary.

Elsewhere … a cruel mocking of Our Favorite Congresswoman … by the president himself. Kevin Diaz of the Strib says: “President Obama’s speech in Maryland Thursday defending his health care overhaul from a host of GOP critics homed in on an utterance of one of his biggest detractors, Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann. ‘I mean these are quotes,’ Obama said. ‘I am not making this stuff up. And here’s one more that I’ve heard. I like this one. We have to, and I am quoting here. We have to ‘repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.’ Now I have to say that that one was from six months ago. I just want to point out that we still have women. We still have children, and we still have senior citizens.’ The president was quoting a speech Bachmann gave on the House floor six months ago … .” You don’t have to make it up, sir. She’ll take care of that.

Finally, the Strib editorial board risks annoying its exurban readership by saying: “The doubleheader of a crisis now playing out as Congress tries to avert a partial federal government shutdown over the weekend and then begins talks to raise the debt ceiling by mid-October isn’t just irresponsible. It isn’t just reckless. It isn’t even government by tantrum, which is what some observers have begun to call the maneuvers by some in the Republican Party to derail the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at any cost. Instead, these maneuvers deserve to be called out for what they are: congressional malpractice. It’s a harsh but an apt descriptor for the current Republican strategy of bowing to extremists within the party.” Shall we check endorsements the Strib made in favor of some of those local “extremists”?

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Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2013 - 06:08 am.


    The ones I feel sorry for are Brodkorb’s lawyers. They took an incredible hit on this case.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/27/2013 - 08:12 am.

      I hope that was sarcasm.When

      I hope that was sarcasm.

      When you are paid on the basis of winning, you better make sure there is a legal basis for the main claim.

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/27/2013 - 09:58 am.


        My guess is that Brodkorb was not well served by his lawyers. But there is no doubt his lawyers took a major hit on this case.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/27/2013 - 09:33 am.

      Incredible hit

      They deserve to take one.

      In fact, I’m a little disappointed that the Legislature is not pursuing sanctions here. If Mr. Brodkorb’s attorney admits they didn’t “have the goods.” the complaint was filed in bad faith. Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was made for this kind of situation, and the state is entitled to recover its legal fees.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/27/2013 - 07:35 am.


    Those at the extremes enjoy the greatest leverage. – Mech. Eng. 101

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/27/2013 - 08:22 am.

      So what story does this comment relate to?

      Brodkorb’s suit?

      The Koch brothers?

      The Winona Islamic Center fire?

      The Uof MN employee benefit protest?

      The mysterious disappearance of a woman?

      The continuing orchestra strike?

      The addition of an “sweetner” by the uber-wealthy?

      Comments by Obama?

      Comments by Bachmann?

      Comments by the Strib?

      Actions by Congress?

      Congratulations Mr. Tester–the universal anodyne commenter of the day!!

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/27/2013 - 10:52 am.

        Last paragraph

        “It’s a harsh but an apt descriptor for the current Republican strategy of bowing to extremists within the party.” I guess you got distracted.

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/27/2013 - 11:17 am.

        It is easier to make an ambiguous comment

        than a real one.

        That way you don’t have to put up with the slings and arrows of honest refutation.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/27/2013 - 08:29 am.


      True, as long as they’re willing to abandon all ethical considerations of responsibility to the country they have vowed to be acting in the best interests of.

      I was looking up definitions of “treason” the other day, and I think a case could be made that some of the actions of these extremists you so admire could fit the definition considering the damage they’re doing with their single-minded self-serving excuse for “governing”.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/27/2013 - 09:51 am.

      Those at the Extremes

      Have the greatest leverage,…

      right up until whatever they’re using for a lever breaks.

      If you’re going to manipulate a heavy object using an extremely long lever (necessitated by how far away from that object those at the “conservative” extreme are),…

      you need a VERY strong lever – made of something which will never bend or break.

      Furthermore, in moving way, way out to the extreme, you may be able to move that heavy object, but you’ll have to accomplish a huge amount of movement at your end of the lever to move that heavy object even a fraction of an inch.

      I doubt that the rest of the nation and all our government entities are a strong enough lever to long support the efforts of those way out at the extremes to continue to move the entire system in the directions only they, themselves, desire.

      As we can see in Washington, the Republican caucus is already beginning to bend. It will eventually break at which point those at the extremes will have ZERO leverage.

      National attitudes have long since begun to bend away from the “conservative” extreme (as proven by the last election). It’s likely that in upcoming elections, especially if the Republicans shut down the government, the attitude of the general public will break away from the “conservatives” quite completely.

      In fact, it’s likely that lever has already broken (except in the Republican caucus in Washington and certain, isolated, conservative enclaves scattered throughout the country).

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/27/2013 - 01:21 pm.

        The lever analogy also brings to mind another amusing thought…

        Where will conservatives stand to use their lever? On Mars?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/27/2013 - 01:56 pm.

          As Archimedes may have said . . .

          . . . if he had been a Republican, “Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will repeal Obamacare.”

  3. Submitted by jason myron on 09/27/2013 - 08:37 am.

    Extremists Redux

    Apply too much torque on the wrench, and the bolt breaks – Any mechanic worth a damn..

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/27/2013 - 10:28 am.


    The Republicans are paid to go to Congress and do a job, not to throw temper tantrums like a two year old. So they don’t like ACA. Yeah, we get that already. The solution then is to work with the other side and find a compromise that both teams can live with. That’s how representational democracy works. You don’t get everything you want, the other guy doesn’t get everything he wants, but you both have something you can live with.

    Quite frankly if I had employees who behaved as the GOP does they would all be fired inside of five minutes. They’re being paid to do a specific job and that’s to represent the people in their district. ALL the people–not just the ones who hold their narrow ideological view. At that they’re failing and should consequently be fired.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/27/2013 - 02:18 pm.

      It’s fair to assume

      that republican congresspeople were elected by people who share their views and therefore they ARE representing the people in their district. I certainly don’t expect Betty McCollum to represent my views in congress. She’s representing the thousands of big government nanny-statists who put her there.

      The “job” of republicans in congress, as their constituents see it, is to preserve their liberties against a democrat-run government and the forces who want to destroy this formerly-free society, as best they can, however they can, whenever they can.

      • Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 09/27/2013 - 02:58 pm.

        Saved by the phrase “as their constituents see it” from being a completely despicable sentence.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/27/2013 - 03:12 pm.


        The Republicans just represent a few people in their districts, not everyone. It would be nice if they broaden their scope to more than just a handful of extremists on the far right.

        Democrats are much more for freedom than Republicans are. ACA represents freedom to

        -Access affordable healthcare.
        -Ability to start a new business without worrying about health coverage.
        -Freedom from being turned down due to a pre-existing condition.
        -Freedom from lifetime dollar limits.
        -Free coverage of preventive care.
        -Coverage for children up to 25.

        Now if we could just go the next step and get universal single payer coverage then we’ll make some real progress!

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