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APNewsBreak: Mogul to pay $2.5M in settlement

Jason Dearen (via AP/SMH) | June 4, 2013
Facebook billionaire Sean Parker's lavish, $10 million Big Sur wedding got even more expensive.

Facebook billionaire Sean Parker's lavish, $10 million Big Sur wedding got even more expensive.

The California Coastal Commission and Parker said Monday they have reached a $2.5 million settlement to pay for coastal conservation programs after the Napster co-founder built a large movie-set-like wedding site in an ecologically sensitive area of Big Sur without proper permits.

The parties reached the agreement after officials were tipped 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.

The commission learned about the construction at a closed campground owned by Ventana Inn & Spa after a county investigation spurred by neighbor complaints. The Ventana is negotiating a separate settlement for allowing the construction to occur.

"Despite the continued unauthorized closure of the campground to the public, earlier this year, the property owner entered into an agreement giving Sean Parker exclusive use of the campground for several months to construct a sizeable wedding venue," the commission's staff wrote in a report.

Ventana spokesman Francisco Carrasco did not return a call or email seeking comment.

The Ventana is located within the coastal zone, an area regulated by the commission, an independent state agency that oversees coastal development. Any significant construction within the zone has to be permitted.

When staff inspected, they found the temporary structures had already been built, but they allowed the wedding to proceed anyway.

The commission started negotiating a settlement with Parker and his representatives instead of shutting the event down.

"Mr. Parker has been extremely cooperative and actively involved in working with Coastal Commission staff to reach this resolution which both addresses our Coastal Act concerns and will result in greater coastal access and conservation in the Big Sur and Monterey Peninsula areas," Charles Lester, the commission's executive director, said in a statement.

Parker, 33, the former president of Facebook Inc. 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.

Rick Zbur, Parker's representative during negotiations with the commission, said Parker worked diligently to address the issue once it came to his attention.

"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 in an email.

Parker also asked his guests, many of them extremely 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 program.


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