MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Senate agreed Thursday to pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former staffer who was fired over an affair with the chamber’s majority leader.
It’s the same amount that Senate leaders say Michael Brodkorb was offered as severance before he filed his lawsuit. Brodkorb had been seeking more than $500,000 over his December 2011 firing.
Brodkorb was dismissed after Senate leaders discovered he was having an affair with then-Majority Leader Amy Koch. Brodkorb sued for wrongful termination, arguing that he was treated differently than female staffers who had carried on affairs at the Capitol.
Senate leaders had argued they acted properly and had refused to settle. But legal costs had piled up to nearly $320,000 as of earlier this month.
“It’s a tremendous load off my shoulders, and I feel like I have my life back,” Brodkorb said.
In a statement, Senate leaders said Brodkorb had admitted he couldn’t prove any of his claims. They agreed to drop a motion for sanctions against him and his attorneys for an accidental release of sealed documents. And they dropped any attempt to recover attorney fees.
The settlement leaves in place a court-ordered seal on documents filed in the case. That’s significant because Brodkorb’s legal case included allegations of other affairs carried out at the Capitol by past and present lawmakers. The document accidentally filed publicly by his attorneys earlier this summer named several past and present lawmakers and aides he accused of doing just that.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, a Democrat, issued a statement that said the settlement was in the best interests of taxpayers.
Minority Leader David Hann, a Republican who was among the leaders who confronted Koch over the affair, said he was “pleased that this agreement acknowledges that the facts of the case do not support any of the claims against the Senate and that the case has been dismissed.”