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Sean Parker rearranges a Big Sur site for his wedding (pictures)

Sean Parker pays $2.5 million for building a movie-set-like wedding site without permits in California's Big Sur forest.

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Charles Cooper
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A front-end loader in Big Sur

Sean Parker is best known as one of Napster's co-founders as well as one of the financiers behind Facebook. He's back in the news this week as the face of Silicon Valley excess after spending $9 million on his wedding last week in California's Big Sur.

He also wound up in trouble with state conservationists for unauthorized changes carried out to the campground hosting the festivities.

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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View of Parker's artificial pond and stone bridge

In January, Parker's emissaries struck a deal with the Ventana Inn and Spa to have exclusive use of the area between March and June 1, the date of his wedding. That's when the fun began.

According to California's Coastal Commission, Parker arranged through Neraida, the LLC he used for his wedding, to build a gated cottage, fake ruins, bridges, and ponds, and a specially constructed dance floor decorated with imported plants on a campground leased from the Ventana Inn. One problem: The construction took place without proper permits.

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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Rock walls, stairways, potted trees, seating, generators, etc.

The commission got wind of the unpermitted construction in May. Parker's people put down their shovels for about a week before starting up again. After commission staffers learned that work was still underway, they issued a warning to the developers that they "did so at their own risk of being determined to have violated the Coastal Act's permit requirements."

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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Elevated platform adjacent to Post Creek

Post Creek, which runs through the Ventana property site, provides one of Big Sur's only significant steelhead trout habitats. The California Coastal Commission's report found that "several elevated platforms" had been created, some adjacent to Post Creek.

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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Development abutting Redwood tree

Work done preparing for the wedding party inflicted "damage to the structural integrity of redwood trees and the ecosystem they support by the placement of cement and structures immediately against existing redwoods," according to the California Coastal Commission's report.

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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The grove before Parker's unpermitted construction

In the end, Parker paid a $2.5 million settlement to resolve the complaint. A spokesman told the Associated Press that Parker moved to resolve the issue once he was informed there was a problem. "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," according to the spokesman.

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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California's Big Sur

The location of the property along California's coast. The ecologically-sensitive parkland, about 120 miles south of San Francisco, offers stunning vistas and features many rare and endangered species.

Editors' note: Be sure to read the postscript to the saga in this story from June 14, "Sean Parker on his wedding, redwoods, and death threats."

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