A former Minnesota Senate staffer who claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is now saying he intends to expose female staffers who had affairs with legislators and were not fired as part of a potential lawsuit.
Michael Brodkorb's lawyer, Phillip G. Villaume, filed a notice of claims seeking more than $500,000 in damages along with attorneys' fees for illegal termination on the basis of gender discrimination. The notice also "reserves the right" to include invasion of privacy claims against three members of the Senate GOP leadership and two Senate staffers.
"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," wrote Villaume in a letter dated March 13. "It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender. He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated inintimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination."
Villaume said the depositions would be kept private. "I'm sure a judge would order us to keep that information confidential," he said. He declined to say how many staffers and legislators had affairs.
Koch abruptly resigned from her leadership position on December 15, 2011 and announced she would not seek re-election. She claimed her resignation was because the state GOP could not afford a "lame duck leader in negotiations next session." One day later, several GOP colleagues said publicly that she only quit after they confronted her about allegations of an "inappropriate relationship" with a Senate employee.
Koch later apologzied for the affair. In response to the incident, a gay Minneapolis resident penned a tongue-in-cheek letter on behalf of all gays and lesbians in Minnesota apologizing for the affair, as Koch authored an unsuccessful bill to amend the Minnesota Constitution to say that only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized.
The document claims that Brodkorb was fired at a "public restaurant" by Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman on December 16, 2011 over the affair, and that Brodkorb was not offered a transfer or a different position. Brodkorb's identity was not publicly known until Wednesday, when his lawyer acknowledged it.
Ludeman issued a statement defending the firing. "Despite Mr. Brodkorb's efforts to disrupt the work of the Senate in the current legislative session, to distract members of the Senate, to extort a payment from the Senate, and to try his so-called claims in the media, the Senate will not allow that to succeed," he said.