San Luis Obispo attorney accused of chicanery, sanctions requested

November 28, 2023

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit-Wright


A San Luis Obispo based attorney is facing thousands in sanctions – monetary punishments – for repeatedly thumbing his nose at court procedures during an ongoing civil trial in Paso Robles in which he is accused of defrauding investors in multiple development projects.

Attorney John Belsher repeatedly texted a co-defendant during his trial testimony, left the courtroom amid proceedings without informing the judge and failed to properly file motions. Belsher’s roles include co-defendant, attorney for himself and legal counsel for his co-defendant Ryan Wright.

Belsher and his former business partner Wright (formerly known as Ryan Petetit) are fighting allegations they bilked Jeff and Debora Chase out of more than $2 million they invested in three of the developers’ projects.

After Debora Chase noticed Belsher texting while testifying, she insisted her attorney Kurt Wilson question Belsher about his behavior, according to court records.

On Oct. 26, Belsher admitted to texting Wright while testifying. He claimed the texts are protected under attorney client privilege.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kelley then ordered Belsher to turn his phone off.

On Nov. 9, Wilson filed a motion asking the court to admonish Belsher while seeking $11,000 in sanctions and an order to produce screenshots of all texts made and received while Belsher was on the stand.

“Defendant Belsher’s conduct is patently unethical and undermines the integrity of the trial process and search for the truth,” according to the motion. “Unfortunately, defendant Belsher’s conduct is part of his prior and ongoing overt disrespect for the civil justice system, professional ethics and basic fairness.”

In another failure to follow courtroom decorum, while Wilson was questioning Jeff Chase on Nov. 22, Belsher walked out of the courtroom. After discovering Belsher’s absence, Judge Kelly temporarily paused the trial.

About five minutes later, when Belsher returned, Judge Kelly reminded Belsher he needs to inform the court if he needs a break.

During a pause in the trial, on Oct. 30, FBI agents arrested Wright at his home in Grover Beach and then transported him to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center. Wright is suspected of paying nearly $100,000 in bribes and gifts to former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill.

Wright’s alleged antics have already led to multiple delays in the civil trial. While attending the trial via Zoom, on Nov. 20, Wright failed repeatedly to respond to the judge, leading to a half-day delay.

On Dec. 22, 2022, the court ordered Belsher to pay $8,500 in sanctions for bad faith actions regarding settlement discussions in the civil trial.

Last week, Judge Kelly ordered Belsher to file an opposition to Wilson’s motion for sanctions before the trial resumes on Dec. 7.


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Why would anyone give that kind of money to someone else to spend for them? Even banks sell annuities then drag their feet and spring a pile of paper work for you to perfectly complete when it come time to cash them in. Oh know they don’t explain that part to the investor, they just tell you about the interest income and that is a great selling point to the elderly. The same mindset here, including the investors, I’m sure they were focused on the profits, not the ethics. Ethics would require trust and verify.

Maybe for the same reason that the average person gives half a million a year to their elected representatives to manage and never pays attention to how the millions their family invests are stewarded by those they elect.

i wonder if he will break out the OJ playbook and file for bankruptcy to avoid the eventual judgement. Hopefully Adam Hill’s estate still has some cash these folks can recover as the bribes were likely paid in part with their money (as are the fines being levied). At least petitit didn’t get his Pablo Escobar private prison, the victims would be paying for that as well.

There is a reality here that’s not being seen by the other party or this article… The VAST majority of civil cases are settled out of court. Belcher knows this and doesn’t care about anything under 50k probably. Just riding it out unitl the other party is tired of paying attorney fees and going to court etc. Now the bribery thing is different lol. He is gonna have to face that and will probably do so “professionally” :/

Both of them are still children, rebelling against parental authority.

I suggest a public spanking.

Children steal cookies. Stakes are a bit higher with these two.

This pompous arrogant shit show just continues to drag on.

Belsher definitely has a fool for an attorney. On the serious side, he is victimizing the Chase family all over again with his courtroom antics.