— By Cyndy Brucato
Another bill is on the way to the Minnesota Senate for legal services related to the firing of Michael Brodkorb, former communications director for the Republican caucus. Paying that bill will be an order of business when the Senate Rules Committee meets Dec. 13.
The office of the secretary of the Senate says it hasn’t yet seen the invoice from the Larkin Hoffman Daley and Lindgren law firm. But given that the legal services covered some actual court action in the case, the bill will be in the five figures, possibly as high as $50,000.
The Senate has already paid $103,000 for legal work that began early this year after Brodkorb sued the Senate, claiming his dismissal, for his affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, constituted gender discrimination. Brodkorb claims that female employees involved in other similar relationships were not fired but transferred to other posts.
The Senate will have some extra funds to cover the bill. During the meeting, likely the last under the Republican majority, the Rules Committee will consider how to use a $2.6 million surplus in the Senate's budget.
On a two-year budget that hovers around $40 million, Steve Sviggum, the Republican caucus communications director, describes the amount as “a significant carry forward. It’s a result of some pretty good management by the Senate.”
According to Sviggum, reducing the per diem payment by $10, travel restrictions and a salary freeze led to the surplus.
The surplus will move forward into next year, as will the Brodkorb legal fees. Both sides are waiting for a ruling from federal magistrate Arthur Boylan on whether to dismiss some of the motions in the case.