Environmental 'fine' adds US$2.5m to cost of Sean Parker's Big Sur wedding
Associated Press in San Francisco
Facebook billionaire Sean Parker's US$10 million California wedding just got even more expensive.
The California Coastal Commission and Parker on Monday said they have reached a US$2.5 million settlement to pay for coastal conservation after the Napster co-founder was caught building a movie-set-like wedding site in a protected coastal area without proper permits.
Parker, the 33-year-old former president of Facebook who was portrayed by Justin Timberlake in the movie The Social Network, married singer-songwriter Alexandra Lenas on Saturday in a ceremony with gowns and sets made by a designer for the Lord of the Rings films.
Officials were tipped off that Parker had built a cottage, fake ruins, waterfalls, staircases and a huge dance floor near iconic redwoods and a stream with threatened steelhead trout without getting permission. The construction occurred at a campground that had been closed.
When staff inspected the site, they found the temporary structures had already been built and allowed the wedding to proceed.
Commission staff will oversee the breakdown of the vast set so no damage is done to the environment. The commission said no major damage had yet been done.
The commission said the settlement money would be used to purchase public easements and hiking trails and as grants for coastal conservation groups. Parker also had to produce and distribute a public education video or create a mobile app aimed at helping to identify areas where the public could access the coast.
Parker said he was excited to support conservation-related projects.
"We always dreamed of getting married in Big Sur, one of the most magical places on earth," Parker said. "In continuing my foundation's mission, we are excited to support these important conservation-related projects for and with the local community."
Parker's representative during negotiations with the commission, Rick Zbur, said Parker worked diligently to address the issue. "So as soon as he was made aware of the Coastal Commission's concerns, he immediately stepped forward to discuss how he could protect the coastal area and resolve these issues," Zbur said.
Parker asked his guests, many of them wealthy entrepreneurs and celebrities, to donate to Save the Redwoods or the California League of Conservation Voters in lieu of giving gifts, according to a wedding programme.