Update 6/6: Sean Parker responded to the criticisms below in an email to The Atlantic, disputing some of the specifics of the CCC report.
Hey, if a billionaire couple wants to spend $10 million on their wedding, it's neither all that surprising nor interesting, as far as I'm concerned. So, when news and statistics started to trickle out about Sean Parker's wedding here in California -- namely that it'd cost millions of dollars to create Kardashian-level over-the-topness -- I was ready to chalk it up to the standard excesses of crazy rich people.
But that was before I read the California Coastal Commission's report on the Parker wedding's destructive, unpermitted buildout in a redwood grove in Big Sur. Parker and Neraida, the LLC he created to run his wedding, ended up paying $2.5 million in penalties for ignoring regulations. (Move fast. Break things.)
Here's what the CCC says happened. Neraida cut a deal with The Ventana Inn, which is a private company that manages both a higher-end inn and a lower-end campground. The campground runs along Post Creek under massive redwood trees. While not wild, it is an ecologically sensitive area: Steelhead run through the creek and the trees are ancient. In 2007, the Inn closed the campground because of septic issues, though it kept all of its high-end units open. Pursuant to a 1980s deal that let the Inn expand, they were also required to maintain a public parking lot at Cadillac Flats, which offers a good jumping off point for hikers and backpackers. But they'd stopped doing so, using the lot as overflow parking for the Inn. You with me so far? Basically, what was supposed to be a facility that people of all incomes -- including the general public -- could visit had become a high-end resort with no camping or public parking. Still, it remained a beautiful place. It looked like this: