SLO developer takes stand over allegations he swindled an investor

October 23, 2023

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit-Wright


After five years of legal wrangling, San Luis Obispo-based developer John Belsher is answering questions under oath about what he did with funds from projects he and his partner developed in SLO County.

The Jeffrey Chase and Debora Chase Revocable Living Trust accuses Belsher and his partner Ryan Wright (formerly known as Ryan Petetit) of bilking them out of more than $2 million in three projects using promises of high returns from the developments, according to the 2018 lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges Belsher violated State Bar rules of professional conduct.

“Defendant Belsher intentionally and maliciously violated his fiduciary duties of loyalty and due care owed to his client,” according to the lawsuit. “Defendant Belsher’s conduct was despicable and malicious, entitling The Chase Trust to punitive damages.”

In response to questions regarding capital accounts tied to Chase’s investments, Belsher testified he wrote checks for multiple unrelated expenditures, including checks written to his son-in-law.

Belsher, who is representing himself, testified he was entitled to the monies he pulled from the capital accounts.

Belsher repeatedly changed his answers to questions regarding disclosing risks to Jeff Chase, with Chase’s attorney Kurt Wilson asking, “Is that your final answer?”

Wright is attending the trial via Skype. However, he is unable to testify because he claimed the fifth repeatedly during his deposition.

In an attempt in late 2021 to crush the deposition request, Wright’s attorney argued his testimony, under oath in the civil case, could be used against him in a criminal trial.

Wright learned from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that he was the target of an FBI investigation into “wire fraud and money laundering, ‘among other charges,’ ” in June 2020, his lawyer said in 2021.

Belsher and Wright are connected with SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill, who committed suicide during an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption.

In 2014, Hill served as a paid consultant for Belsher and Wright’s PB Companies, exclusively reported by CalCoastNews in 2015.

John Belsher, former SLO mayor Jan Marx, Adam Hill and Jody Belsher

Last month, Wright asked the court to delay the trial so he could secure a new attorney. Roy Ogden withdrew as Wright’s attorney in June. Superior Court Judge Michael Kelley denied Wright’s request.

Belsher is currently representing both himself and Wright in the trial that is scheduled to continue today in the Paso Robles branch of the SLO County Superior Court.

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So still NO real answers, and why would there be? He wrote several checks? Of course he did! Why would he even bother to throw his son in law under the bus? Is HE also culpable? or Jody his wife? They spent that $ somewhere! But good luck getting answers. Their association with Hill tells a lot! Next time you want to invest $2M, check to see who their friends are. Hmm, who else was close to Hill back then?

LinnieB, the question “who else was close to Hill back then?” is really important because as time passes and given the way Hill was eulogized, people forget. So, let’s name them. Grover Beach Mayor Karen Bright appeared faithfully on TV with glowing accounts of how wonderful he was every time he ran for office, former Grover Mayor Jeff Lee, Arroyo Mayor Caren Russom-Ray, Supervisors Bruce Gibson, Dawn Legg, & Jimmy Paulding, Former SLO Mayors Jan Marx & Heidi Harmon. Who else?

My concern that is the way Adam Hill and the way developers influence public agencies the exception or the rule? I think it’s somewhere in-between. And I think it will continue to a significant extent with Bruce and Jimmy in charge. Both pure political animals.

Let’s just call this a #2 story and flush it. My opinion is that we need to move on and expose other liars and thieves that use talking heads rather than factual documentation to get their marketable entitlements created.

corruption investigations should be opened for anyone ever appearing in a picture with Adam hill in which he is smiling.

Just as every vote regarding pot or other items Hill was taking bribes for should be null and void, but we are told many of these votes would not have changed even if his vote was different, but we know when it comes to votes some vote one way just so they show a sign of majority when they know the final vote won’t go their way, they dont want to appear too often in the minority.

You’re entitled to the PROFITS from the investment of the capital accounts. You are not entitled to any monies, offered or directed specifically, for investing.

You’re a thief, liar, and proud student of the Adam Hill School of Grift.

Careful, he is still a lawyer and would probably love a good libel suit or two to attempt to get his finances back on track.

The picture of Belsher & Petetit must of been taken after they cashed the check that fleeced Chase out 2 million.