Petetit and Belsher’s money woes widen
September 15, 2016
By KAREN VELIE
John Belsher and Ryan Petetit have lost water rights key to their plans to build an assisted living and Alzheimer’s care facility in Templeton. Their failure to fund the purchase of the property could cost the pair hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted on Jan. 28 to approve the Templeton Medical Plaza contingent on the developers having an agreement in place to purchase the water rights needed for the project to move forward. Belsher and Petetit had planned to build a 90-bed assisted living facility, a 67-unit independent living building and 40 independent living units on a property off of Las Tablas Road near Twin Cities Hospital.
However, Belsher, 62, and Petetit, 29, did not close escrow on the property on June 1 as required, according to a June 29 letter from developer Burton Caldwell to county staff. Because of the failure to close, Caldwell exercised his right to cancel the contract to provide the project with meters for 28 water credits, according to the letter.
Even though the project was approved by the Planning Commission, senior planner James Caruso said Belsher and Petetit will be unable to get permits to move forward unless they are able to secure water rights.
If they fail to move forward, it is likely the developers will lose several hundred thousand dollars in option money. Belsher and Petetit have spent three years working on the project.
Since becoming partners in 2012, Belsher and Petetit have been under fire for reportedly not paying subcontractors, bouncing checks, commingling investor funds, diverting investment monies and utilizing shell companies.
Affiliates of Belsher and Petetit claim SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill works as a paid consultant for the developers. Even though Hill identifies himself on documents filed with the state as the “managing member” of a limited liability corporation tied to Belsher and Petetit, Hill has repeatedly denied that he works with the developers.
While Belsher and Petetit have secured tens of millions of dollars from private individuals, banks and hard money lenders to fund more than a dozen projects they have started, they have never completed a project, said Rush Sheppel, a partner in several of Petetit and Belsher projects.
Hard money lenders specialize in short-term loans, which are collateralized through real estate, at interest rates of generally around 10 percent. If a development takes longer than a year to complete, the project generally will not pencil out.
In the past few years, Belsher and Petetit have been sued for breach of contract and for failure to pay contractors.