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Former Governor Terry Branstad slips out of $1.5 million discrimination settlement after Supreme Court rules in his favor; taxpayers still crushed by legal fees


This news story was published on July 6, 2021.
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Former Gov. Terry Branstad

DES MOINES – A gay, former state official who sued former Governor Terry Branstad in court for discrimination after Branstad slashed his salary and won a $1.5 million settlement from a jury in the case has lost on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court handed down an opinion that former Workers Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey failed to prove discriminations against his former boss and Governor, Terry Branstad. Godfrey has been awarded $1.5 million in the case back in 2019.

After Branstad was re-elected to office in 2010, while transitioning into office, Governor-elect Branstad sent a form letter to thirty executive branch officers appointed by prior Democratic administrations and requested each submit a letter of resignation.  Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey received a form letter and refused to resign.  Court documents claim that Branstad heard many complaints about Godfrey from certain Iowa businesses as he ran for his new term in office, and that Godfrey had actually resigned from a state position in the past when he received a letter from a new, Democratic incoming governor.

After Godfrey refused to resign, the Governor reduced Godfrey’s compensation within a range fixed by statute, nearly 35%.

Godfrey

Godfrey, who is gay, sued the State, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, members of the Governor’s staff, and other state employees for, among other things, sexual-orientation discrimination and retaliation under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA), Iowa Code §§ 216.1–.21 (2011), and violations of Godfrey’s constitutional right to be paid a particular salary. A jury found in favor of Godfrey and awarded the settlement.

The Supreme Court ruling is a win for Branstad, but Iowa taxpayers remain on the hook for his defense, which The Des Moines Register claims, “paid nearly $3 million so far to outside attorneys to defend itself and its officials.”

Christopher J. Godfrey now lives in the Washington D.C. area and serves as the director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor. He was sworn in on January 20, 2021.

 

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7 Responses to Former Governor Terry Branstad slips out of $1.5 million discrimination settlement after Supreme Court rules in his favor; taxpayers still crushed by legal fees

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 7, 2021 at 10:20 am

    BUMstad!!!!!

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 7, 2021 at 9:18 am

    The dems are still pizzed that Branstad gave and still in effect – Property tax relief to SMALL INDEPENDENT BUSINESS OWNERS – Dem only want to tax everyone to death and even that. Socialist PIGS !

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 6, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    never did like branstad.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 6, 2021 at 11:11 am

    It’s called “found innocent” No basis for suit. Not slipped out. That’s what Democrats do.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 6, 2021 at 11:23 am

      No it is not called “found innocent.” No court says that, anywhere. The verdict might be “not guilty,” but that’s not the case here either. It’s insufficient evidence, because Branstad’s cronies manufactured enough dirt on people to get them to destroy evidence or refuse to testify against him.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 6, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Actually it’s 1.5 mil because the state did not have to pay the settlement – cheap price to get rid of a socialit democrat – notice where he flew to -yep the marxist swamp and hired immediatialy by the craps in power – ps – phony title to boot.