Ex-Minn. Senate leader Koch speaks out on downfall
MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch on Sunday struck back at top Republicans over her 2011 resignation after an affair with a staff member, accusing them of pledging to give her time to talk to her family and then promptly leaking word of the affair to media.
Koch confirmed what was first reported by the Star Tribune: She believes she was the victim of a power grab by other Senate GOP leaders whom she once considered allies.
Koch, who did not seek re-election and now owns a bowling alley, told The Associated Press she decided the time was finally right to tell her side of her downfall after more than a year of relative silence.
"My first priority was to get things straightened out in my personal life. I'm not going to expand on that, but you can imagine," she said.
"I had other priorities I had to deal with, but I think I was forthright and apologized for the mistakes I made. I think it's healthier for everyone to admit mistakes were made and wipe the slate. Really, that's the only way to move forward," she said.
The Buffalo Republican had been seen as a rising star in her party before she abruptly resigned in December 2011 after other Senate leaders confronted her about her affair with Michael Brodkorb, the Senate GOP's communications director, who was soon fired. Brodkorb's lawsuit over his dismissal is pending, and he was back in the news last week when he was critically injured in a car accident in Mendota Heights.
Koch made no mention of her affair when she first announced she was stepping down, which was the morning after the confrontation. But WCCO-TV reported on the affair later that day.
Koch said Sunday she didn't learn where that leak came from until months later when she met with Ron Rosenbaum, an attorney and public relations consultant. She said Rosenbaum told her he was the source of the leak. She said Rosenbaum also told her that Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel instigated the leak, in an effort to limit the political damage.
Rosenbaum declined to confirm Koch's account about his role Sunday.
"Everything was in the Strib story," he said, declining to elaborate. "I have nothing to add. I'm just a bit player in this story."
Michel, who also did not seek re-election, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Sunday. The Star Tribune reported that Michel didn't dispute the reported leak.
Koch also confirmed Sunday that she had her husband are divorced and that she bought a house a couple of blocks away so their 17-year-old daughter can spend time with both of them. She said she now owns the Maple Lake Bowl in Maple Lake, where she sometimes runs the grill.
She wouldn't discuss whether she and Brodkorb are still involved.
"I know you have to ask, but I don't answer that question either way," she said.