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Minnesota Senate to get hit with another Brodkorb defense legal bill

Attorney Greg Walsh and Michael Brodkorb
MinnPost photo by Brian HallidayAttorney Greg Walsh and Michael Brodkorb

The Minnesota Senate still hasn’t paid the $46,000 bill for its defense lawyers’ initial work in the Michael Brodkorb wrongful termination case, and another big bill is on the way.

DFL Minority Leader Tom Bakk, who, along with Republican majority leader Dave Senjem, must sign the check, is responsible for the delayed payment on the first bill.

“I will not sign off on this bill until there is a meeting of the rules committee,” he said again Wednesday.  The rules committee has jurisdiction over the Senate’s internal management.

Furthermore, he said, “I have to believe there’s an interest clock running on the late payment.”

There will be. According to the terms of the agreement with the Larkin Hoffman law firm and attorney Dayle Nolan, the bill increases by 1.5 percent a month — about 700 dollars —beyond the June 21 due date.

Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman agrees. “It’s probably going to take a rules committee meeting, but if it gets done by the 21st of June, we don’t need to worry about the interest fees.”

The Senate, though, will need to worry about the next legal bill.

The fees in the current bill covered only the period ending in the middle of March.  They do not cover the hours Nolan sat in a Senate ethics hearing involving Sen. Geoff Michel’s handling of the Brodkorb dismissal. It later was revealed that Brodkorb was the unnamed staffer who was involved in a personal relationship with his supervisor, then Republican Majority Leader Amy Koch. 

The Michel hearings in late March and April ended without a decision. They incurred a minimum of 10 hours of legal time, followed by subsequent legal work. Nolan’s hourly rate is $330.

Furthermore, the Senate is only authorized to cover legal fees of up to $50,000.  The rules committee, an 11-member panel chaired by Senjem, would need to authorize another appropriation to cover the second bill, which the Senate expects to receive shortly.

All of those factors lend force to Bakk’s demand for transparency in what taxpayers will end up paying.

  In January, Brodkorb and his attorneys began tryuing to negotiate a settlement of his dismissal. He has yet to actually file a legal claim, waiting to get a go-head from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

But, Bakk has no doubt that Brodkorb will, and he foresees the legal wrangling dragging on for years. 

So Bakk is demanding a vote from the seven Republican and four DFL members. “I want the rules committee to approve the bill,” he said.  “There needs to be a process.”

You can expect the committee to meet in the next week.

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 06/14/2012 - 10:02 am.

    Nice of Brodkorb and Senjem to keep this in the news, and remind people that actions, not words should be looked at come election time.

    For a party that likes to scream about fiscal restraint, family values, and frivolous lawsuits, this circus is an embarrassing trifecta.

    I’m surprised the republican caucus hasn’t come up with a way to pay this bill with some sort of legal-fund that they could fill from donors. Perhaps there’s no way to do so, or perhaps the party is in such terrible fiscal shape that no donor funds can be spared, but it’s terrible for their image to be using tax-dollars to fend off a legal attack from their former favorite pit-bull. I certainly don’t mind them being exposed as hypocrites, but the state could do without this expense.

  2. Submitted by Barbara Gilbertson on 06/14/2012 - 10:54 am.

    Hmmmm. How shall we spend the taxpayers’ money — you know, the dollars excoriated by arch-Republican Grover Norquist? Shall we spend those dollars on infrastructure, education, health care, people in poverty and/or with special needs, or, OR shall we spend them defending the Senate against arch-Republican and alleged philanderer Michael Brodkorb’s frivolous lawsuit(s)? Time’s up, class. And the answer is…..?

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/14/2012 - 03:37 pm.

    No need to worry

    This is republican “Fiscal Conservatism” at work and eventually they will claim it has created jobs, lowered your taxes, and as a side benefit it will lead to additional deregulation. They will say the democrats are responsible for the whole mess. I wonder if they have paid the back rent on their own headquarters yet? This is a prime example of how republicans operate. Forget the term “Fiscal Conservative” because it doesn’t at all reflect the republican way of operating. Voters the choice is yours in November.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/14/2012 - 04:31 pm.

    There is the lawyer’s billing. There are the per-diems for the legislators. And on and on.

    And hey, won’t it be fun have first bill of the next session relate to paying the legal fees associated with this?

  5. Submitted by Daniel Olson on 06/14/2012 - 06:25 pm.

    Time for a new analogy…

    Dimitri said, “…but it’s terrible for their image to be using tax-dollars to fend off a legal attack from their former favorite pit-bull.”

    Danie said, “Watch your fingers when you feed the pitbull. You LOVED Brodkorb attacks until he bit the hand that fed him.”

    I agree with the points you’re making, but must you denigrate pitbulls? Pitbulls are loving, loyal, sweet, and have excellent temperments. Brodkorb shares none of these qualities. Even those pitbulls who are sadly trained to fight are aggressive towards other dogs, but will not “bite the hand that feeds them.” In fact, throughout pitbull fighting history, it has been customary for handlers to wash their opponent’s dog before a fight to insure there’s no poison on their fur that could harm their own dog. It would be impossible for a stranger to give a human-aggressive dog a bath. If a fighting pit bull ever bit a person, it was instantly put down — so human aggressiveness was very effectively weeded from the gene pool.

    Of course most pitbulls are not trained to fight other dogs, but are loving family dogs (like Petey from Little Rascals!). Their strongest quality is loyalty, and they get along great with both dogs and cats.

    I understand the rhetorical imagery of an attack dog turning on its handler is useful here. It’s just that pitbulls face an uphill battle of discrimination and prejudice, and now they must be compared to scum like Michael Brodkorb?

  6. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 06/14/2012 - 06:46 pm.

    Stop your complaining, and

    look at the bright side.

    Exhibit A – Jobs
    We’ll be keeping many lawyers (and some journalists) employed. Then there is the downstream benefit of all the attendant services such as printing, messengers, etc. I finally see where the GOP’s focus on jobs is coming to fruition.

    Exhibit B – Tax Revenue
    We can expect some small percentage of the money we’re forced to pay lawyers (not to mention any settlement or civil liability) to return to the state as tax revenue. Probably 6-10 cents on the dollar. This is entirely in keeping with the concept of trickle down economics.

    Exhibit C – Entertainment
    We’ve heard how much the Vikings and the new stadium will benefit all of Minnesota. Well, until it’s built, we have the Brodkorb affair (pun intended). Perhaps we can be even more creative and sell this to Hollywood as a reality show. Or, maybe sell naming rights for a sign on Brodkorb’s forehead.

  7. Submitted by Max Galati on 06/19/2012 - 12:34 am.

    Speaking as a conservative, the GOP deserves this.

    They knew what they were getting when they hired him, and now the first senate GOP majority in a generation will go down in history as one created and destroyed single-handedly by Michael Brodkorb. All of the MNGOP’s 2012 electoral failures will be – at least in part — because of this elephant (and RINO protector) in the room, and any of the successes will be inspire of his dead weight. Whatever the outcome, the GOP best not repeat the same mistakes in 2014 with MB or the next gung-ho ideologically slippery “republican” operative that comes looking for a job.

  8. Submitted by Annie Grandy on 06/20/2012 - 05:52 pm.

    Scandalous law suits – the new GOP way to minimize government

    Just use tax dollars to pay the bill. And the GOPs have nominated as their senate candidate in SD44, David Gaither, who as I recall, just like Newt Gingrich, cheated while married to his first wife with his second and then left the Pawlenty administration under a cloud of scandal having something to do with the MOA. Seems GOPs have found a new way to bankrupt the state and destroy government; open ended legal defense spending to deal with the aftermath of their scandalous behavior.

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