Now, Pacific Mayor Cy Sun is facing allegations of corruption and incompetence from the city's former police chief and four officers fired or forced out by the mayor.
Filing a civil lawsuit, the Pacific officers contend Sun threatened to kill a police lieutenant and claimed the FBI had "bugged" his home. They also assert he may be living under an assumed name and have asked a King County judge to reinstate them and order Sun to pay them for their trouble.
Elected as a write-in candidate, Sun has been awash in scandal since taking control of the town that straddles the Pierce County-King County border in January 2012.
Sun was the subject of several "no confidence" votes by the City Council in the months after he was elected, in part because he appointed a friend and former mayor to review permit applications. He was arrested for attempting to force his way into the city clerk's office.
An attorney for ousted Police Chief John Calkins and four other officers claims that even Sun's name and citizenship are in question, and that Sun may be living under an assumed name. A recall effort is also currently under way.
Writing the court, officers' attorney Joan Mell said Sun has made law enforcement nearly impossible in the town of 6,700. Mell said Sun's ill-considered cuts to public safety and illegal firings have left the police afraid.
"Mayor Sun has caused the families of these officers to fear for their safety given his behavior indicating he is at war and intends to 'kill his enemies,' and (his) regular and routine disregard of the law," Mell said in court papers.
"Mayor Sun has left Pacific vulnerable without its command staff and without needed officers," she continued. "He refuses to recognize the limits of his office and is interfering with public safety in Pacific."
Responding to similar allegations levied in an earlier lawsuit brought by the Pacific city attorney and City Council, Sun contended his political foes have unfairly maligned him.
"On many occasions, I have been obstructed from performing my executive duties by the City Council under the apparent influence and legal advice of the city attorney," Sun said in a sworn declaration filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
The listed phone number for the Pacific Mayor's Office appeared to be out of service Wednesday afternoon. Sun did not return an emailed request for comment.
Shortly after taking office, Sun froze all hiring for the police department and canceled an order for new vehicles. He then placed Chief Calkins on leave and, according to the lawsuit, threatened to fire anyone who objected.
Through the lawsuit, the police officers contend Sun attempted to run the city's response to a January 2012 ice storm out of a self-styled "control room" at Pacific City Hall.
The officers described it as a space "he took over to run Pacific in a militaristic fashion where he could issue the orders and everyone was expected to comply as he ordered." He's alleged to have destroyed public records to make space for the control room.
According to the lawsuit, Sun interfered with several police investigations, including an inquiry into allegations that a city councilman had obtained a confidential criminal history report on another member of the council.
Sun also fired two Pacific police officers who arrested him after he attempted to force his way into the city clerk's office. At the time, the area was cordoned off by King County investigators; the Pacific officers were directed to secure the city's personnel files and public records.
Beyond that, Sun implied he would kill a police lieutenant he wrongly believed had been spying on a property Sun owns in Oregon, Mell told the court.
"I kill my enemies," Sun told a police sergeant he had tasked with investigating the spying allegations, according to the lawsuit. The officers claim Sun also believes the FBI has bugged his home, office and "control room."
As at least four officers and staff members left the small department, Sun refused to hire replacements and left the department dangerously understaffed, the attorney continued. The mayor's behavior has left the city's police concerned for their physical safety.
"They feel threatened and unsafe in their own homes," Mell continued. "None of these officers or officials have engaged in any misconduct that warrants the ongoing scrutiny and threats of the mayor. They are civil servants who have a right to certainty in their employment and freedom from political gamesmanship and sabotage."
On March 22, Sun presented letters to Calkins and a lieutenant placing both on paid administrative leave.
Defending the move, the mayor previously told the court he did so because another Pacific employee told him he had a dream he would harm the officers. Sun described the employee as a "whistleblower" who claimed he'd been harassed by police, and noted that employee was also placed on leave.
Writing the court, Mell said Sun fired the officers as well as well as Calkins, the police lieutenant and a police sergeant without conducting legally required hearings. Those firings were later reversed by the city civil service commission, a hiring board meant to ensure police personnel matters are handled ethically and legally.
Sun has ignored the civil service commission's orders, prompting the commission to ask a King County Superior Court judge to intervene in the matter.
Writing the court on the matter, Sun faulted the civil service commission for keeping the police leaders on the job while he conducted an "unbiased investigation."
"The employees could interfere with the investigation, intimidate witnesses, or create the appearance of prejudgment," Sun said in a statement filed with the court.
The officers have asked for court orders reinstating them to the positions Sun fired them from and compelling Sun to abide by state civil service laws. They've also asked that he be barred from interfering with police work in the city, and that they be awarded financial compensation for the harm they claim to have suffered from his actions.
The lawsuits filed in King County Superior Court by the officers and civil service commission follow a separate, ongoing lawsuit brought against Sun in Pierce County.
Filing that suit in October, the City Council and city attorney sought to force the mayor to fill eight long-vacant positions within the city - including public works director, police evidence custodian and city clerk - with candidates chosen by the council. They've also asked the court to throw out the hiring freeze put in place by Sun that has left the city police department understaffed.
The mayor's failures have left the city in jeopardy of being forced to repay $800,000 in state funding for a road project derailed because of a lack of city staff, according to the lawsuit. The council and city attorney contend Sun has also put at risk the city's insurance.
Responding to the allegations, Sun has contended the council and city attorney have simply been interfering with his lawful efforts to run the city.
A hearing in the lawsuit brought by the City Council is scheduled Friday morning before Pierce County Superior Court Judge Garold Johnson. An initial hearing in the other two lawsuits has not yet been scheduled.