Crime

SLO developer accused of assault will step down as CEO, partner says

Ryan Petetit, CEO of PB Companies, was arrested on suspicion of several felony domestic violence charges.
Ryan Petetit, CEO of PB Companies, was arrested on suspicion of several felony domestic violence charges. Courtesy Photo

Note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Petetit’s attorney.

San Luis Obispo developer Ryan Petetit will step down at least temporarily as CEO of the high-profile PB Companies LLCafter his arrest last week for allegedly battering a girlfriend, Petetit’s business partner announced online Tuesday.

Petetit, 28, was arrested Thursday, four days after Arroyo Grande police say the violence occurred.

As of Tuesday, no charges related to the incident had been filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, according to Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham. Arroyo Grande police Cmdr. Beau Pryor said his department expects to forward the results of its investigation to the District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday for consideration of formal charges.

On Tuesday, John Belsher, co-owner of PB Companies, posted the following in the comments section of a Tribune article reporting Petetit’s arrest:

“PB Companies’ partners and employees understand the seriousness of the charges alleged against Ryan Petetit, its chief executive officer. Mr. Petetit is stepping down from his work responsibilities for an unspecified period of time to concentrate on resolving the accusations recently reported. PB Companies and its affiliates are led by longtime SLO County residents, attorney John Belsher and Dr. Russ Sheppel, who will continue to manage the day-to-day affairs of the business.”

Belsher told The Tribune later Tuesday afternoon that the company is not naming an interim CEO and that Petetit will continue to be a managing partner in the company.

Details of the alleged abuse are scarce, and The Tribune has been unable to obtain Arroyo Grande Police Department reports of the incident. Because charges have not been filed, no public records of the incident exist at San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

But Arroyo Grande police Officer Shane Day said Sunday that officers received a report from staff at a hospital outside the county on Nov. 22 of suspected domestic violence of a patient in its care. Police interviewed the alleged victim, identified as Petetit’s girlfriend, on Nov. 25; she reported that Petetit had assaulted her before she could flee to a family member’s house, Day said.

During the alleged abuse, Petetit prevented her from calling 911, Day said.

The alleged victim was granted an emergency protective order from a San Luis Obispo judge, Day said.

Petetit was arrested at a relative’s Arroyo Grande home on Thanksgiving night, arrest records show, and he was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of domestic violence, battery causing serious bodily injury and false imprisonment, all felonies, as well as misdemeanor disabling a wireless device. Jail logs show he was booked about 7:30 p.m. and was released about 24 hours later on Friday, after he posted $50,000 bail.

Petetit’s attorney, Patrick L. Fisher, issued a statement late Tuesday saying his client “is adamant that the accusations against him are completely false.

“Mr. Petetit is hopeful that the Arroyo Grande Police Department will conduct a complete investigation before deciding whether to forward this matter to the District Attorney’s Office,” Fisher said. “Mr. Petetit is confident that full consideration of all of the facts surrounding the accusations will lead to a rejection of the claims made against him. Mr. Petetit is eager for investigators to know all facts so that he may be vindicated.”

Court records reveal that Petetit has a separate pending misdemeanor case as well as a past allegation of inflicting corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, though the latter was dismissed before trial.

Petetit is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a trial-setting conference in an ongoing case filed in October 2012, in which he is accused of public intoxication and resisting or obstructing a Pismo Beach police officer.

In January 2013, prosecutors filed a single misdemeanor charge of inflicting corporal injury, though the charge was dismissed for unspecified reasons in June 2014, according to court records.

He also has five small claims and other civil cases filed against him that are either active or have been settled since 2011. Two additional misdemeanor charges for insufficient funds on bank drafts were dismissed in May after Petetit completed a court-mandated program for writing bad checks, records show.

PB Companies has several development projects in various stages in San Luis Obispo, including a mixed-use development at Marsh and Nipomo streets downtown; an adjacent mixed-use restaurant, retail and residential building; the San Luis Obispo Public Market at Bonetti Ranch at South Higuera Street and Tank Farm Road; and four two-story homes on Grand Avenue. The company also is involved in two residential projects in Templeton.

Belsher declined to say how involved Petetit has been in those projects but said his hiatus as head of the company “should not affect the progress of those projects.”

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