The University of Minnesota will have a famous – some might say, infamous – student on campus later this spring. Michael Brodkorb, the former communications director who is suing the state and the Senate Republican caucus for wrongful termination, will enroll Tuesday to complete his degree in political science.
“I’ve always wanted to go back and I have the flexibility to do it,” Brodkorb said in an interview. “I look forward to feeding that side of my brain.”
Brodkorb said he left the U of M to work on the Rudy Boschwitz Senate campaign in 1995. Except for a brief return to his studies in 2002, there was always a campaign or conservative cause that was more important than a degree, until now. His notoriety, stemming from the lawsuit and his admitted affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, has stunted his career as a top-flight political operative. For the foreseeable future, any political work will be limited and deep behind the scenes.
On the U of M campus, though, starting in May, Brodkorb won’t be in hiding. “At the university, I will be walking the halls. I will be out on the campus,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to be in poli sci class. My goal is to always be the guy to throw off the curve. I will be the annoying student who sits in the front row and asks too many questions.”
Brodkorb said he’s considering adding a journalism major to his degree and then moving on to law school. “My dad has always said I would be incredibly dangerous with a law degree,” he said.
A law degree would be useful considering the legal action Brodkorb’s been piling up. Last week, he supplemented his wrongful termination complaint with a notice to the state that he intended to file a claim of defamation against Cal Ludeman, secretary of the Senate, for a statement made in a news release last month.
Ludeman’s statement that Brodkorb was trying “to extort a payment from the Senate” amounted to defamation per se, according attorney Phil Villaume. “Any time you accuse anyone of a crime and its false, it’s pure defamation,” Villaume said.
Villaume says Brodkorb remains open to mediation to settle all his claims but the Senate has not responded to the requests. Asked whether mediation might take place after the end of the legislative session, Villaume replied, “It’s possible.”
By then Brodkorb expects to be the classroom.