SLO County-based real estate development company executive arrested on a federal grand jury indictment
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — A San Luis Obispo County supervisor is facing a recall after a citizen’s group launched a recall campaign. District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson was served with an intent to recall last week.
The papers, which were hand-delivered to the clerk recorder’s office, state, “Gibson has abused his powers as a supervisor by getting rid of county administrative officer Wade Horton and replacing him with a political contributor.”
The citizen’s group that organized the petition also accused Gibson of betraying the trust of voters by repealing the 2022 district boundaries in an effort to ensure his re-election. Gibson won re-election for the supervisor seat last year by 13 votes against contender Bruce Jones.
In a press release from the group, the Committee to Support the Recall of Supervisor Bruce Gibson (Committee), it says Gibson was served on Friday, Oct. 27. The Committee says it is a group comprised of “San Luis Obispo County concerned citizens and forgotten taxpayers from all walks of life and party affiliations. The Committee firmly believes that a change in leadership is necessary to restore the values and integrity of San Luis Obispo County.”
At the Tuesday, Oct. 31, SLO County Supervisors meeting, several residents voiced their support for the recall.
Creston resident Greg Grewal expressed his support for the recall during public comment and read a petition that was drafted by supporters, “We, the people of Northern San Luis Obispo County, believe that our elected supervisors should represent our interests in the Paso Basin. Bruce Gibson, the 2nd District supervisor, used his dictatorial powers to remove the first and fifth district supervisors from the Paso Basin cooperative committee and then put himself in that committee.”
Grewal also said the petition was signed by over 600 people who walked by and read the petition.
Gibson told reporters in a statement, “I’m not at all surprised they’d try this, given their track record …This petition notice is full of distortions and lies — exactly like the campaign they ran against me just last year …Voters in this county are smart and I expect this stunt will fail.”
The Committee’s press release also alleges that Gibson violated “his Oath of Office to the Constitutions of the United States and California State, violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, a sense of contempt and disregard for the forgotten taxpayers of SLO County, verbal abuse and mockery of public speakers during Board of Supervisors’ meetings, and most recently, the misrepresentation of SLO County’s legislative platform at the State level.”
Gibson and the rest of the supervisorial board did not comment on the recall attempt during the Tuesday board meeting.
The rest of the Committee’s press release reads as follows:
At a Press Conference in Sacramento, held on Aug. 17, 2023, Bruce Gibson spoke in his capacity as the “2nd District Supervisor for the County of San Luis Obispo” and as the 1st Vice President of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). Mr. Gibson strongly expressed his support of California ACA1, an amendment that would lower the voting threshold for raising taxes from a required two-thirds majority vote to a mere 55 percent majority vote. This is in complete opposition to the SLO County Board of Supervisor’s unanimous vote in February, 2023 to continue its support of Proposition 13 as a part of its state legislative platform. California taxpayers have enjoyed property tax protections under Proposition 13 since 1978. ACA1 would destroy that.
The recall effort will involve a vigorous campaign to collect the estimated 7,500 registered voter signatures required in District 2. This campaign will be a rallying cry for citizens who seek a new direction — one that truly represents the needs and aspirations of our vibrant community.
For more information, contact the Committee to Support the Recall of Supervisor Bruce Gibson, info@RecallBruceGibson.com.
The San Luis Obispo County Clerk’s office has set up a webpage dedicated to the recall efforts. You can follow updates on the recall at slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Clerk-Recorder/All-Services/Elections-and-Voting/Current-Recall-Efforts.aspx
In other supervisorial news, an executive at a San Luis Obispo County-based real estate development company executive has been arrested on a federal grand jury indictment alleging he paid a local politician more than $95,000 in bribes and gifts in exchange for official acts benefiting the company’s development projects and then covered up the bribery scheme by forging documents.
A press release, issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California on Monday, Oct. 30, states that Ryan Wright, 37, aka “Ryan Petetit,” of Grover Beach, was arrested this morning on a three-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, falsification of records, and obstruction of justice. The indictment was returned on Oct. 4 and was unsealed.
Wright is scheduled to make his initial appearance and be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. He faces multiple federal charges related to a conspiracy to bribe an elected official and the subsequent cover-up of those bribes.
According to the indictment filed against Wright, the alleged criminal activities span from at least June 2014 to May 2017. During this period, Wright is accused of conspiring with his business partner, referred to as “Co-Conspirator 1” in court documents, to offer financial benefits, totaling over $95,000 to an elected official identified as “County Supervisor 1.” In return for these bribes, County Supervisor 1 is alleged to have advocated for Wright’s real estate development company’s projects and potential projects with City of San Luis Obispo officials. County Supervisor 1 also purportedly voted in favor of Wright’s company’s projects on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.
To conceal the illegal transactions, Wright, Co-Conspirator 1, and County Supervisor 1 allegedly used County Supervisor 1’s consulting company to funnel and hide bribe payments. County Supervisor 1 is also accused of providing false information on his 2015 and 2016 annual state conflict of interest disclosure forms, failing to report the income he received from these bribes. As part of the scheme, Wright is said to have paid bribes to County Supervisor 1 and even arranged for a private jet trip to a Major League Baseball playoff game hosted by the San Francisco Giants, County Supervisor 1’s favorite team.
In an attempt to obstruct the investigation, Wright is alleged to have caused his development company to produce falsified records in response to a federal grand jury subpoena served on the company by the FBI.
It is essential to remember that an indictment contains allegations of criminal activity and that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted on all charges, Wright could face severe penalties, including a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy count, a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for the obstruction of justice count, and up to 20 years in federal prison for the falsification of records count.
The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation are jointly investigating this matter.