Al Franken Finally Wins Battle Against Norm Coleman, His 2005 Workers' Compensation Woes Notwithstanding

July 11, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

After a drawn-out legal battle that consumed much of the political oxygen in Minnesota for over half a year, Al Franken was finally sworn-in as the junior senator from Minnesota this week, giving Democrats a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes in the U.S. Senate. Franken beat Coleman by a nose, notwithstanding obstacles such as a 2005 claim from the Workers’ Compensation Board of New York that Franken’s company, Alan Franken Inc., had failed to pay for workers’ comp insurance for three years. (Similar North Carolina workers’ compensation claims often beset small business owners in NC.) The charges against the former comedian came in the midst of a heated battle for the Democratic Party’s nomination and nearly cost Franken the election.

Franken’s troubles began in 2005, when New York’s Department of Labor noted that Alan Franken Inc. had employed up to 17 people as independent artists and writers. The NY Workers’ Compensation Board sent Franken a number of notices, to which neither he nor his company responded, after which the state issued a judgment against the comedian. Following the public revelations of his workers’ compensation insurance mishap, Franken quickly paid off monies owed.

Local politicos embroiled in North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance problems similar to Franken’s would do well to take heed of this cautionary tail and manage their insurance issues prior to launching their campaigns.

Franken faces $25,000 workers’ comp penalty, Star Tribune, March 12, 2008

New York State Fines Al Franken’s Corporation $25,000 for Not Carrying Workers’ Compensation, FOX News, March 5, 2008

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