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Rep. Leezah Sun responds to ethics complaint filed by Arizona House Democrats

Embattled West Valley legislator Leezah Sun has responded to an ethics complaint filed against her by her fellow Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives. 

In their complaint, House Democratic leadership claimed allegations that Sun harassed Tolleson city officials and intervened in a court-ordered custody transfer on behalf of a friend constituted a concerning pattern of behavior.

In a response filed by her attorney, Garrick McFadden, Sun admits to intervening in the custody transfer but denied a second allegation that she claimed to represent Attorney General Kris Mayes during the altercation. 

McFadden included an audio recording and transcript of part of that altercation with the court-appointed supervisor overseeing the transfer. The Arizona House of Representatives declined to provide the audio, because it includes the names of minor children involved in the incident.

A copy of a transcript provided by House attorneys did not show any mention of Mayes. But McFadden admitted the recording did not capture a conversation between Sun and the supervisor that allegedly took place after the children left.

The response also addresses allegations that Sun harassed and intimidated several city of Tolleson employees during a confrontation earlier this year, and that she told other attendees at the a conference that she would throw a Tolleson lobbyist off a balcony “to kill her” if the lobbyist showed up at the conference.

McFadden claimed it would be impossible for Sun to intimidate Tolleson City Manager Reyes Medrano, because Sun is physically smaller than Medrano. 

“I submit I do not know what type of trauma, if any, Mr. Medrano has suffered in the past that would make him susceptible to fearing for his life from the glare of a 52-year-old unarmed 5'4" woman who weighs 140 pounds,” McFadden wrote. “Not to be flippant, but his fear, given the circumstances, is unreasonable.”

And McFadden denied that Sun threatened to throw a Tolleson lobbyist, Pilar Sinawi, off a balcony. He admitted Sun said she would slap the lobbyist, but said the statement was meant to blow off steam.

“At no point was Ms. Sinawi ever in jeopardy of being b-tch-slapped by Rep. Sun,” he wrote.

McFadden wrote that it was not a credible threat.

“If Rep. Sun would have said she is going to shoot Ms. Sinawi the next time she sees her and Rep. Sun owned a firearm, that could be a credible threat,” McFadden wrote. “If she said she was going to run her over with her car when Ms. Sinawi showed up for work, that could be considered credible and actionable.”

Rep. Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale, who chairs the House Ethics Committee, will now decide how to proceed with the ethics complaint. A spokesman for House Republicans said no further information was available on if or when Chaplik would convene an ethics committee.

In a letter to other members of the committee, Chapli only said he will “follow up regarding scheduling matters as appropriate.” 

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.