Belsher, Wright’s legal woes reveal justice system theater

December 19, 2023

John and Jody Belsher


The ongoing legal battles of San Luis Obispo County developers John Belsher and Ryan Wright reveal a multitude of ethical lapses, including ordering witnesses not to comply with subpoenas and allegedly suborning perjury.

Belsher and his business partner Wright (formerly known as Ryan Petetit) are fighting a civil lawsuit alleging they bilked Jeff and Debora Chase out of more than $2 million they invested in the developers’ projects. Belsher’s roles in the civil trial include co-defendant, attorney for himself and legal counsel for his co-defendants Wright and Jody Belsher.

During the last full day of trial, on Dec. 14, Belsher called one of his former CPAs, Brian Portesi, to the stand. Belsher then argued that the judge should allow Belsher to admit financial records that he had failed to produce during discovery.

When the Chases’ attorney Kurt Wilson asked about a subpoena for records he was served, Portesi said he had given the records to his attorney Roy Ogden, who also previously represented Belsher and Wright.

“I produced them to my attorney,” Portesi testified. “Now, whether or not my attorney gives them to you, I have no idea. My understanding is some of these items on this list not only did he object to them but also Mr. Belsher and Mr. Wright objected to them.”

Portesi testified that Ogden also told him not to comply to a subpoena to bring records to court.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kelley offered to enforce the subpoena, but Wilson declined. Judge Kelly then allowed Belsher to submit some documents as evidence while sustaining Wilson’s objections to multiple records.

Judge Kelley ordered Belsher and Wilson to submit their closing arguments as briefs before setting a short hearing for March 8, when he plans to rule on the case.

Judge Kelley is also slated to rule on Wilson’s motion for sanctions against Belsher for texting while testifying. Belsher repeatedly texted a co-defendant during his trial testimony.

In his opposition to the motion for sanctions, Belsher argues there is no law against texting a co-defendant while testifying.

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.

During the trial, on Oct. 30, FBI agents arrested Wright at his home in Grover Beach and 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. Belsher is listed as a co-conspirator, according to Wright’s indictment.

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

Wright is being held in federal jail without bail because of concerns he will flee and based on his past violent criminal history, according to court records.

Since Belsher and Wright founded PB Companies in 2012, prosecutors have charged Wright with at least seven misdemeanors and six felonies. Eight of the charges are related to assaults on girlfriends and family members that occurred in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

On Jan. 1, 2013, Wright, Michelle Jewsbury and Jon Westbay were celebrating at the Cliff’s Resort in Pismo Beach when Wright threw a drink in Jewsbury’s face because he thought she was flirting with another man.

Outside the club, Wright grabbed Jewsbury by the throat, and slammed her head into a concrete bench. Wright then smashed her head several more times into the concrete.

“I thought he had killed her,” Westbay said.

Pismo Beach police arrested Wright for a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury. Wright, and his attorney at the time, asked Westbay to claim that his line of sight was obstructed, Westbay said. Westbay, who was in business with Belsher and Wright at the time, refused their request.

Regardless, the charge was eventually dropped.


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A while back there were lots of post by the Belshers and Wright with many local public officials, including judges, city council members and top ranking city and county staff. Got to wonder when the gavel in LA will fall and so many jobs at SLO County and City will open up.

Very sad that a person can bash another persons head into a concrete bench several times and only be charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. Even sadder that the charges were eventually dropped which can only mean the victim refused to press charges or refused to testify. Sadder still that a woman can think so little of herself that she would not pursue justice for a violent assault.

These are the close friends of Jan Marx, Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson. Disgusting.

Great reporting Karen!

Belsher is just a cheap bully. He backs down immediately if challenged. He once threatened my then fiance’ with all kinds of lawsuits and problems if she did not withhold finanial records in response to a subpoena (she was his client’s accountant). When I called and told him she was my fiance’ and that she is officially represented by me (I am also an attorney) and my next call would be to the state bar, he immediately backed down. He was talking real tough to a young woman. I find him disgusting and hope that his indictiment is coming soon.

Lots of dirty players in this game. Since Belsher is listed as a co-conspirator why isn’t he sitting in jail holding Wrights hand.

This case sure does shine corruption on a few of our local attorneys. Imagine trusting the legal advice of an attorney who advises you to hide evidence, lie and not abide by a subpoena!!!!

Westbay’s assertion about “…Wright’s attorney at the time” suggesting perjury certainly warrants a closer look. Typical SLO County corruption. Who is that attorney?