Capitol: A Love Story
Well, things at the State Capitol are getting uglier by the day. Stadium? Right to Work? Voter ID? Meh. Mere child's play compared to what is sure to be a bitter legal battle involving a disgruntled former employee.
Former Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and intends to prove other employees who had trysts with legislators were allowed to continue working.
“Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators. It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender,” the legal document said.
In preparation for the lawsuit, Brodkorb's legal team is prepared to dig deep into the romantic lives of legislators and staffers.
Yowzers!!!! Could this be aptly characterized as a "scorched earth" strategy? Also, Brodkorb has been one of the most partisan Minnesota political figures for the past decade, especially when you consider his most infamous endeavor at the blog which he founded, Minnesota Democrats Exposed (He quit writing there in June 2009 when he was elected MNGOP vice chair). That said, this current battle may well be the most bipartisan Michael Brodkorb we'll ever see.
“He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination,” his attorney said in the document setting up Brodkorb’s reason for a possible wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
His attorney, Phil Villaume, said that those depositions would be done in private to protect the identity of those involved. Vallaume said the depositions were not a threat but a legal necessity.
First off, how would Brodkorb have any knowledge of who was diddling whom? I would think confirmation of "inappropriate relationships" would not be something which would fall under the purview of a "communications director." Sounds to me that any names he would give to his legal team would be little more than conjecture.
Second, these depositions damn well better be done in private, otherwise Brodkorb might be guilty of slander in a situation where an allegation of an "intimate relationship" is utterly false. Again, unless he has access to incontrovertible documentation of "intimate relationships" I don't see how this particular set of depositions will yield the desired result which Brodkorb seeks.
Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman said Wednesday that Brodkorb was attempting to “blackmail” the Senate, disrupt its work, and “extort” payment.
“The Senate handled Mr. Brodkorb’s termination properly,” Ludeman said.
Brodkorb’s legal document says that Ludeman told Brodkorb he was fired because Koch resigned as majority leader and because Brodkorb had an affair with her.
On Thursday, Ludeman repeated that Brodkorb had been an "at will" employee and was dismissed because Koch was no longer in leadership and it had nothing to do with the affair he had with Koch.
Brodkorb's legal document said that Ludeman said precisely that when he fired Brodkorb on December 16.
Ludeman said "I did not," mention that connection.
"There was no conversation or no word uttered by me about that at that event," Ludeman said.
Ludeman said that he does not know of any other Senators who have had affairs with other staffers.
"I don't know of any," said Ludeman.
Ah, so it appears this would be a high stakes game of "chicken." Unfortunately for the parties involved, I don't see a desirable scenario where even one side could come out looking like a winner.
I know many people who've dealt with Brodkorb in the past, and a fair majority of them characterize him as a "bully." As such, I would hard pressed to see any acquiescence of Brodkorb's behalf.