Legal bills in Brodkorb suit near $200K as Senate vows to defend - New York News

Legal bills in Brodkorb suit near $200K as Senate vows to defend

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Their affair cost Amy Koch and Michael Brodkorb their careers in the Minnesota Senate, but the cost to Minnesota taxpayers is still adding up as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle vow to defend the chamber's actions.

"To cave in to a settlement is not only precedent-setting to the Senate, but also can be perceived as some kind of cover-up," explained current Senate Majority Leader David Senjem.

Brodkorb's suit claims the Republican strategist was improperly terminated after an affair with his boss, who was Senate Majority Leader at the time. So far, the tab to try and settle the case has ticked up to nearly $200,000 -- more than double Brodkorb's annual salary.

Senate leaders say the suit must go forward in an open court session, and the Committee on Rules and Administration approved a $90,000 invoice from a private law firm on Thursday. The bill covers three months' worth of expenses related to Brodkorb case -- including $132 to review an interview with FOX 9's Tom Lyden and nearly $1,000 to handle the media fallout of Brodkorb breaking his silence.

"It was a palace coup," Brodkorb told FOX 9 News. "It was an attempt to take over the Senate leadership."

An accounting of Senate expenses estimates the chamber will come in about $2.5 million under budget. That money can carry forward to the next budget cycle, or the surplus could get sucked into defending an already costly lawsuit.

"There is not a basis or a good merit for a lawsuit here," said Secretary of the Minnesota Senate Cal Ludeman. "The Senate didn't initiate the lawsuit. We defend it, so that's what we're willing to do."

Senjem added that although settling may be less expensive, he said it could end up being costlier in the long run.

"I personally believe -- if you settle now for whatever amount of money it is -- you're going to have many claims going down the road," he said.

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