Minn. Senate agrees to settle lawsuit from fired staffer

The Minnesota Senate agreed Thursday to settle a lawsuit brought by a former staffer who was fired after he was found to be having an affair with the chamber's majority leader.

The Senate agreed to pay Michael Brodkorb $30,000, an amount that chamber leaders said was equal to severance offered Brodkorb before he was fired in December 2011. He had been seeking more than $500,000.

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 of the case 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.

Senate leaders issued a statement saying Brodkorb had admitted he couldn't prove any of his claims. They said they had agreed to drop a motion for sanctions against Brodkorb and his attorney for an accidental release of sealed documents earlier in the case. They also dropped any attempt to recover attorney fees.

Brodkorb was the Senate GOP's communications director when he was fired. Koch resigned from her leadership post immediately and left the Legislature following her term.