SLO County developer’s partner offers $100,000 for bail

March 27, 2024

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit-Wright


As part of San Luis Obispo County developer Ryan Wright’s third attempt to bail out of jail, his partner, attorney John Belsher, penned a check for $100,000, according to court records. A bail review hearing is set for 3 p.m. today.

Wright, who allegedly bribed SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill, is being held without bail because of concerns he will flee, harm others economically or physically and continue to obstruct justice. Federal judges have twice denied Wright’s motions for release.

Claiming he is indigent, Wright secured a public defender who is actively trying to get his client out on bail. In an interesting twist, Belsher now argues he has held $100,000 of money for Wright since Sept. 2023.

Belsher contends, PB Companies received a $270,000 settlement in Sept. 2023 concerning ownership of the Tank Farm Center project in San Luis Obispo, of which Belsher owes Wright a capital distribution of $100,000. The payment was to settle Taylor Judkins’ lawsuit that also accused Belsher and Wright of fraud.

However, federal prosecutors argue the Judkins settlement specifically excluded Wright. His defense attorney claims that as a 50% owner of PB Companies, Wright is entitled to half of the proceeds, according to court records.

A year earlier, in Aug. 2022, Belsher and Wright entered into a settlement agreement in which the 68-year-old Belsher secured a $4 million life insurance policy with Wright as the beneficiary to make up for the imbalances in their capital accounts and Wright’s payments to attorneys.

According to the Wright and Belsher’s settlement agreement, Wright tendered $1,075,000 to pay into a proposed settlement to the Chases, a couple who filed a lawsuit alleging fraud by PB Companies.

The Jeffrey Chase and Debora Chase Revocable Living Trust accuses Belsher and 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 is currently winding slowly through the court system.

“It appears from documents filed in the Chase lawsuit/trial and information provided by Chase that the Defendant and Belsher defrauded the Chases of $350,000 which they used to obtain PB Companies’ financial interest in the Tank Farm deal thereby reneging on promises to pay the Chases $550,000 for their investment and reaping the financial benefit contained in the Judkins settlement, including the $270,000 in cash which is the source of the offered bond,” according to a declaration filed on March 26 from Assistant United States Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien.

In addition, prosecutors included an email in filing from a former close friend of Wright, Jonathan Westbay, who sued Belsher and Wright for fraud.

“I’m really glad you contacted me, I was actually about to write a letter to the judge asking her not to release Ryan. He is loyal to nobody. His friend Trevor is a fool for pledging his house as collateral for the surety and so are his mother and brother,” Westbay says in his email. “Ryan was about to run before the Feds got him and will definitely run if he gets out. He will betray friends and even family to save himself.”

Wright’s first attempt for release on bail failed after prosecutors found issues with several people who were offering to post portions of his bond, including Anne Cyr, Wright’s trust attorney. Cyr has refused to comply with a subpoena from the government to obtain billing records and trust documents related to a trust in which Wright is a beneficiary.

San Luis Obispo developer Ryan Wright’s clandestine texting backfired and he lost second bid to get out of jail. Inmates are barred from sending private texts from a federal jail, but that apparently didn’t stop Wright, according to court records.

Before the Jan. 2 hearing, prosecutors filed multiple documents detailing their reasons Wright should remain in jail until his trial, including evidence that he sent clandestine texts from jail and that he appears to have access to $250,000 through a trust.

FBI agents arrested Wright, 37, on Oct. 30 on a three-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, falsification of records and obstruction of justice. Wright and his partner and Belsher’s business, PB Companies, allegedly paid nearly $100,000 in bribes and gifts to former SLO County Supervisor Hill.

A superseding indictment filed on Dec. 20 includes 18 additional charges related to a proposed development in Texas, including wire fraud, bank fraud and access device fraud. His trial is set for Oct. 29, 2024.


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My crystal ball tells me that John Belsher and Heidi Harmon will soon be in handcuffs.

Who knows how wide the net will spread, but I’m predicting at least one former SLO council member, one prominent developer, and a judge who suddenly retired.

Ginger is already off the hook. She likely met with the FBI who gave her the option to go away quietly and she agreed.

Why isn’t Belsher in jail or at least out on bail???

As bad as Ryan is, Belshe is worse!!!

Little slime and big slime:(

I wonder what Wright’s public defender thinks now that his clilent has been shown to have adequate resources to hire a private lawyer, not one paid for by taxpayers. Perjury, maybe?

Yeah, I’d be paying his bail too.

i would sleep with one eye open if a certain someone would get $1M upon my death.

It will soon become obvious that this story is intricately woven into the widespread criminal conspiracy involving some of the most recognizable scumbags in the county who are currently under Justice Department investigation. You’ll read about it all first on CalCoastNews.

“There is no honor among thieves.”

Wow!! You just can’t make this stuff up, Belsher going to bail out Wright-Petetit, SMH!

Great reporting Karen, these two swindlers and their shit show never seem to go away.