Wright held without bail in SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill bribery case

November 5, 2023

Former-supervisor Adam Hill


A developer who allegedly bribed former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill is being held in a federal jail without bail because of concerns he will flee and continue to obstruct justice, according to court records.

Federal agents arrested Ryan Wright, 37, formerly known as “Ryan Petetit,” on Oct. 30 at his home in Grover Beach and then transported him to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jean Rosenbluth ordered Wright detained until his trial.

Judge Rosenbluth also ordered Wright to be kept “separate, to the extent possible,” from other inmates.

Because of evidence discovered during the federal instigation, including Wright’s past criminal history and his failure to cooperate with investigators, the court detained him without bail.

Court findings determining flight risk:

  • Won’t reveal assets
  • Says he can’t locate passport, although one was seized by agents
  • Recent and extensive foreign travel
  • Bail resources insufficient

Court findings determining issues with the safety of any person or the community:

  • Two outstanding orders of protection
  • Prior conviction for violence and arrests for violence
  • Committed some of the offenses while on probation
  • Ongoing and lengthy allegations concerning economic fraud

John Belsher and Ryan Wright

Wright and his partner and co-conspirator John Belsher’s business, PB Companies, allegedly paid nearly $100,000 in bribes and gifts to former SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill, who advocated for the company’s projects. Wright was arrested on a three-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, falsification of records and obstruction of justice.

CalCoastNews exclusively reported on Wright, PB Companies, Belsher and their links to Hill beginning in 2015.

In Wright’s Oct. 4 indictment, prosecutors describe multiple instances in which Wright bribed Hill in exchange for assistance with his projects:

On July 14, 2014, in a text message exchange, Wright told Hill that PB Companies would pay him “$5,000 up front and $1,700 a month thereafter, and would provide Hill with a leased car from a Volvo dealership.”

On July 19, 2014, Hill leased a four-door Volvo Wagon valued at $43,020 after Wright agreed to pay the lease payments.

On July 31, 2014, PB Companies wrote Hill a check for $2,500, memo line noted, “Invoice # 101 – Retainer.”

On Sept. 5, 2014, Hill deposited a $6,400 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account. The check, signed by Wright, was made out to Adam Hill or San Luis Consulting.

On Oct. 8, 2014, Hill deposited a $4,950 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

In an Oct. 14, 2014 text message exchange, Wright said Hill could make $250,000 per year and have “on going income for ever.” Hill texted, “I think Belsher is starting to understand my value.”

On Oct. 16, 2014, using PB Companies funds, Wright flew himself and Hill on a semi-private jet to San Francisco to watch Game 5 of the Major League Baseball’s National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. Wright also paid for their premium seats, which were in the first row along the third baseline and cost approximately $1,032 per ticket. Wright also paid $754 for luxury hotel rooms.

On Nov. 7, 2014, Hill deposited a $4,950 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

On Dec. 18, 2014, Hill deposited two checks from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account: one for $4,950 and one for $3,084.

On Dec. 31, 2014, Hill deposited a $4,950 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

On Feb. 2, 2015, Hill deposited a $4,950 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account. Signed by Wright, this check noted, “consulting services” in the memo line.

In a March 19, 2015 email, a PB Companies employee asked an investor to write two checks, each for $2,500, to Hill’s re-election campaign. Wright wrote the investor in an email, “We’re giving Hill 25k in total this time around the other funds are coming from us personally or one other entity. If we loose [sic] him it’s bad for us Down town.”

On May 4, 2015, Hill deposited a $10,000 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

On June 10, 2015, Hill deposited a $10,000 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

On July 14, 2015, Hill sent an invoice to Wright and a PB Companies employee that stated, “San Luis Square approval at ARC (Architectural Review Commission) & CHC (Cultural Heritage Committee): BONUS” with the amount of $15,000 under it and the amount of $4,900 for July invoice, for a total amount due of $19,900.

On July 21, 2015, following a five-month investigation, CalCoastNews published the first of dozens of articles about Wright, Belsher and PB Companies’ alleged financial misconduct: “Developers practices draw questions, complaints.”

On Aug 5, 2015, Hill deposited a $25,000 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

On Oct. 14, 2015, CalCoastNews wrote its first article alleging PB Companies was paying Hill, who in turn was openly promoting the company’s developments: “Supervisor Hill’s 2 jobs raise conflict of interest.”

On Oct. 19, 2015, CalCoastNews wrote that Hill was lobbying San Luis Obispo City Council, commissions and committees on behalf of developers who were giving him money: “Lobbying raises question: Who does Hill work for?”

Following the CalCoastNews articles detailing what appeared to be pay-to-play, PB Companies did not pay Hill’s consulting firm for more than a year.

In an Aug. 30, 2016 text message exchange, Wright told Hill he would get him a campaign donation of $10,000 from his “buddies wife.”

In a Sept. 4, 2016 text message exchange, Hill asked Wright for more money for his campaign. Wright responded that he was “funneling money” to Hill through another person, and that he and Belsher planned to give $10,000.

In a Nov. 17, 2016 text message exchange, Hill wrote “$10,000!” to Wright after complaining about his need for money, and noted the check should be written to San Luis Consulting.

In a Nov. 18, 2016 text message, Hill asked Wright to buy the Volvo for him because the lease was coming due and he could not afford to buy it himself. Wright responded, “You earned it.”

On Nov. 23, 2016, Hill deposited a $10,000 check from PB Companies in his San Luis Consulting account.

Hill committed suicide in 2020 during an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption.

Wright’s trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 26 in Los Angeles federal court.

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BREAKING – Next UP- Heidi Harmon, Christine Dietrick, Megan Souza, and Eric Powers. They rigged the weed store selection process and it wasn’t free. Compliments of Helios Dayspring and Co. @sayhighmom :) #cityofslo #corruption

SLO County would be a much different place without CalCoastNews. Few would think

better, the rest of us would live in fear. I am getting burned out by all of the bad news but this very big ship will slowly turn (thank you Karen) and we will have smoother waters ahead.

When is Belsher going down?

So what about Belsher and the other County Supervisors and City Council? Thank you Karen! Your tireless efforts for our county should be publicly aknowledged. How dear readers do we properly thank her?

So when will we be hearing about the corruption tied to ASH Management? They have had their way with corruption in this county for a few decades.

What strikes me about this the most is all of the voters who continued to support Adam Hill even in light of a lot of this information coming out years ago. Yet these voters continued to pull the lever for him…You know who you are out there, shame on all of you!

As a former progressive, I used to be one of those people. I look back at that time of my life and shake my head. I would vote for a Democrat even when I knew that they were corrupt/incompetant just so the evil Republican wouldn’t win. Insane.

About 15 years ago, I had an epiphany and could no longer defend the direction my party was going. Now I vote for the candidate, not the party.

I’ve always done the same. The problem is that often the opposition puts up an alternative who is a real wacko. The California Republicans would have my vote over Dems pretty often if they picked more pragmatic candidates who care more about good government and compromise than ideological purity.