“I’m prepared for the process and disappointed that I needed to come here.”
With that statement, Michael Brodkorb delivered his first public words in more than three months.
He spoke outside the Federal Building in Minneapolis Wednesday after filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as the first step of a lawsuit that would charge the Minnesota Senate with gender discrimination.
Brodkorb’s filing capped a week of events that have managed to top the previous three months of political drama that followed his firing as Senate Republican communications director.
Last week, for example, a filing by Brodkorb’s legal team confirmed for the first time that he had been having an affair with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, who was demoted from her leadership the day before his termination.
Brodkorb, who had been trying to mediate a settlement, upped the ante last Thursday after a blunt statement from the secretary of the Senate, Cal Ludeman, that broke off mediation and accused Brodkorb of extortion.
Brodkorb fired back with an announcement through his attorneys that he intended to sue because he was treated differently from other staff members who had affairs with their bosses. And he said he would name names to prove it.
In announcing the EEOC action, attorney Greg Walsh also said Wednesday that based on the extortion comment, Brodkorb would be suing Ludeman, the Senate and the state of Minnesota for defamation in separate litigation.
“Extortion is a crime, and for Mr. Ludeman to say that Mr. Brodkorb was committing a crime as a state employee that has a legitimate grievance against the state and the Senate, that’s pretty outlandish and we believe it’s defamatory,” said Walsh.
Ludeman’s office returned a call today by saying that he would have no comment on the complaint.
Both Walsh and Brodkorb, who limited himself to a brief statement, expressed their desire to continue to work toward a mediated settlement.
“I know the wheels of state government move slowly, but my attorneys and myself have made every attempt to work in a productive way with the Senate to mediate this issue out, to have positive discussion toward this, and I’m disappointed that I have to be here today,” Brodkorb said.
“That’s been our goal all along to get quietly to the table,” Walsh said. “Unfortunately the Senate has not allowed us to do that. They haven’t rejected the calls for mediation — they’ve delayed it. They just keep pushing the deadline out. We can’t allow that to continue.”
Filing a complaint with the EEOC will not necessarily be a speedier process.
The EEOC may decide to investigate the claim, which could take as long as 90 days or it may issue a letter within weeks giving Brodkorb the right to sue. In either scenario, Brodkorb and his attorneys made it clear, they will not let up the pressure and will drag the claims into election season, if necessary.