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Who are Karl and Holly Peterson? The rich San Francisco couple mired in pickleball controversy

Aerial view of urban buildings with a tennis court, green spaces, and cars on the street, marked by "Google Earth" at the bottom right.
An aerial view of the Petersons' house in Presidio Heights shows a 20-room mansion with a pickleball court in its backyard. | Source: Courtesy Google Earth

Holly Peterson, the San Francisco homeowner who petitioned to halt pickleball play at her neighborhood courts, despite having a pickleball court in her backyard, also owns three other properties around the country with her venture capitalist husband.

The couple are longtime Presidio Heights residents, have an entrepreneurial background and are active in local politics, The Standard learned through public records and interviews with the couple’s Compass real estate agent, Steve Mavromihalis.

Holly began a campaign last Thursday against the noise from pickleball courts in a nearby park, claiming the sounds are decreasing property values and harming local wildlife. The petition has since been taken down.

Two men face off in a match of pickleball on a sunny day in San Francisco.
Stone Barnett, left, and Jack Vincent play a game of pickleball at the Presidio Wall courts. | Source: Eddie Sun/The Standard

The 56-year-old and her husband, Karl, are listing their 20-room mansion for sale with an asking price of $36 million. They originally purchased the home in 2007 for $16.65 million and gave it a $10 million remodel, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Petersons also own a condominium in Nob Hill, as well as properties in South Bend, Indiana, and Aspen, Colorado. Karl’s home state is Indiana, according to public records.

Karl co-founded the travel website in 2000 and served as its CEO for four years. The 52-year-old is currently a senior partner at Texas-based TPG, a private equity firm. He is also a board member of the casino games operator Accel Entertainment and all-inclusive hospitality company Playa Hotels & Resorts. 

“Playa Hotels & Resorts is the leader in luxury all-inclusive oceanfront resorts in the Caribbean, Jamaica, and Mexico,” its website states.

Holly grew up in the Central Valley and received a business degree from California State University Fresno, according to Mavromihalis and her LinkedIn profile.

She worked as a real estate agent before starting Fite in 2016, an apparel company that makes “luxury tee shirts by women, for women,” Holly’s LinkedIn page says. Links for Fite’s website and social media profiles no longer work.

Mavromihalis, who originally befriended Holly through their shared work in real estate, described her as philanthropic and charitable. She is listed as a Meals on Wheels delivery driver and volunteer at the Tenderloin District’s Glide Memorial Church on her LinkedIn page. A Glide representative said they couldn’t find a record of Holly in its database but would check with department heads.

Mavromihalis added that Holly is politically active, “loves San Francisco deeply and is loathe to see what’s going on around the city.” 

Records show Karl is currently a registered Republican voter.

Karl declined to comment for this story, and Holly did not respond to requests for comment.