back to article Facebook's Sean Parker fined $2.5m for tasteless eco-trashing wedding

"Move fast and break things" is the unofficial motto of Facebook engineers, and for original Facebook president Sean Parker that philosophy apparently even applies to centuries-old redwood forests – at least where planning his wedding is concerned. The California Coastal Commission has ordered Parker and property owners WTCC …

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Facepalm

Wow

What a complete Berk.

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Meh

Rich

Rich people think that Laws are made to control the little people...

The fine should have been more that just pocket change and a spell in prison might make him realise what an ar*e he is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow

What a complete Bark you mean.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow

Similar to his character in that FB movie...

Anyone know what work exactly he contributed to Napster?

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Trollface

Re: Wow

Beyond that. He is a total douche nozzle. He deserves to die penniless. His fortune and claim to fame are largely based on stealing other people's stuff / ideas.

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I believe he contributed "ideas" and presumably did some of the coding but I think one of the Fanning bros. had the original idea/concept.

Vanity Fair did a pretty decent article about him right around the time that The Social Network premiered.

He's rich because of Facebook though not Napster.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rich

@LarsG - They don't think it, they know it. By any objective measure they're right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow

As he is being made to pay to fix it, I couldn't care less. Sounds like a load of bs anyway - 'erosion' from one wedding ? Even if a few hundred people trampled through some wildlife of note, it will grow back...

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Mushroom

Re: Wow

"He is a total douche nozzle" - I thought that was Michael Douglas's claim?

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Gav
Megaphone

Re: Wow

Except where it won't grow back. Or maybe not for another two hundred years when he and his bride are long dead and forgotten. What a fitting memorial that'll be for them.

They are not talking about erosion from wedding guests, they are talking about erosion from the fleet of bulldozers etc that it took to build this vulgar circus of a wedding.

Otherwise this is just fine. Rich people can get what they want and ignore the laws the rest of us have to live by, just as long as they say sorry afterwards and throw some pocket change. He'll produce an app? Great! Here, kids, be nice to the environment. Do as I say, not as I do, because I'm special.

He should be fined every single day until the entire area is back exactly as he found it. Then another massive fine to round it off for being an arrogant knob head.

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Devil

Re: Gav Re: Wow

"......He should be fined every single day until the entire area is back exactly as he found it......" Can I suggest a more fitting punishment would be that he be forced to work as part of the crew doing the actual digging, replanting, etc., until the work is completed. With handtools only. Making him cough up cash is a minor irritant, but making him sweat and grow callouses whilst preventing him earning any new cash would be much more of a lesson.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rich

"@LarsG - They don't think it, they know it. By any objective measure they're right."

So he gave 2.5M for no reason?

No it's a fine because he broke the law!

W O W!

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Meh

Re: Rich

"Rules are made for people who aren't willing to make up their own."

- Chuck Yeager

"War has rules, mud wrestling has rules - politics has no rules."

- Barack Obama

"The rules are there are no rules."

- Aristotle Onassis

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rich

@obviously - <sigh> and the cost affected his behaviour exactly how ? Rules are designed to govern behaviour. Rich people don't follow the rules because they know they can pay the cost of the fine from what they find down the back of the sofa. If you bother to ink, you'll realise that, with a few notable exceptions line norway and switzerland, fines have no relationship to wealth and therefore are irrelevant to the rich.

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Unhappy

Re: Rich

problem is they appear to be right most the time.

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I sure the fine is pocket change for him.

If he'd done this construction in a place where it could remain for other people to use, it might have been cool. But messing up a piece of land just because he has the money makes him look like the typical rich jerk.

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$9m for a wedding and a $2.5m clean-up bill ?

That's almost "throw another endangered animal on the barbie" territory !

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Happy

Re: $9m for a wedding and a $2.5m clean-up bill ?

These panda-burgers are delicious! I must get them for my next dinner party...

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Anonymous Coward

Shocking

And by that, I mean that they thought $2.5m was a suitable fine after the amount he'd already spent.

If someone can afford $9m for a wedding, adding on another 25-30% in order to break whatever laws they feel like is hardly a deterrent to others or even something that will make them look back and reconsider whether they should have done it in the first place. Although financial penalties can't undo his actions, making his reckless and selfish actions double or treble the expected cost of his wedding would have been far more appropriate.

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Facepalm

My Big Fat Californian Wedding

What are these facebooks dudes doing swimming in riches instead of doing honest coding work at normal salaries? Oh, I know, the never-ending central-bank diarrhea of monetized debt has to end up somewhere, but still...

I want to go back to pre-Nixon. Without Vietnam.

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Stop

Excellent article about this...

..., the utterly isolated lifestyle of Silicon Valley tech society while killing out everybody else around them (doubling rents etc) in last week's New Yorker by George Packer:

"Change the World - Silicon Valley transfers its slogans—and its money—to the realm of politics"

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/27/130527fa_fact_packer

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Should have stopped the wedding

or arrested him at the altar. Or both.

He should be made to work as a labourer on the restoration work until it is all back the way it was. Then shot.

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Unhappy

Re: Should have stopped the wedding

I'm actually kind of surprised he didn't have to work on the mitigation/restoration team. It is not unheard of for violators of this sort to have to do that. He probably isn't capable of any sustained physical labor though so he just gets a fine.

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Anonymous Coward

rich people

often have this... feebleness of mind (some might apply harsher terms). Can be inherited, can be acquired, seems fairly commonplace. So - forgive them, cause, like, they don't know what they're doing, Jesus.

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Ohh noooooz you built some big bad fake rocks and a pool and planted some pot plants haha.

I dunno, seems like they are getting their panties in a twist over something pretty harmless. It's not like he was dumping toxic waste.

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Toxic waste

No ... Worse than ..... If for example the non-native plants were predatory and voracious. With a knock- on effect on diversity of local fauna. And so on. You can guess the rest (I hope).

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Yeah because everyone plants the little shop of horrors for their wedding right!!

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FAIL

Oi! Regulator. You're either retarded or a troll. Can't decide which is more appropriate.

Look up "invasive alien species" and you won't find a single, ten-eyed laser wielding UFO piloting creature among them. Predatory and Voracious are not just terms used for Hungry Crocodiles.

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Happy

A search for invasive exotics will yield results with fewer ET conspiracies and more plants...

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Paris Hilton

>...either retarded or a troll. Can't decide which is more appropriate.

Knock yourself out, be greedy. Have both.

<-- Predatory, voracious, need I say more...

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I vote retard

He probably has a carer doing the typing for him. Unfortunately idiots like this do exist, and frequently run tech companies.

Tiddy boom.

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Oi! Regulator. You're either retarded or a troll.

I'm voting for "ten years old".

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Mushroom

He's been working with us....

The hell he has!

Strange that the Commission stopped the work after the wedding. If they really had teeth they would have stopped the whole thing that day. Just at the point where the official says "does anyone have any objections to this couple..." That would have made him choke on his $9M

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Magic. Or something like it.

"We always dreamed of getting married in Big Sur, one of the most magical places on earth..."

So "magical" that they felt the need to "improve" it and, generally, shit all over it.

One has to think that he sat down with his wedding planners and lawyers, told them what he wanted, and they told him what the consequences would be and how to minimize and avoid them, and how to handle the public relations side of the matter so as to emerge with no ill consequences other than being fined a sum of money that will never, ever have any sort of impact on him or his life, and which could simply be conceived of and treated as a rental fee for the scenic location.

That's the magic.

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Re: Magic. Or something like it.

They brought in potted trees for fuck's sake. Into a forest full of giant redwoods!!! Just for lack of taste that requires a fine measured in the billions. That's before the risk of species contamination.

And I though David and Victoria Beckham's golden thrones and goblets was vulgar. I'd never realised they were just amateurs...

Yuck! The whole thing becomes even ickier when you read the obviously agreed by lawyers as part of the settlement language of the press statements. Bring back public flogging and the stocks!

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So that's why..

He created an LLC to put on the event. Shield himself from the ravages of the Coastal Commission (which at times is VERY overreaching).

But if a $9M wedding is nothing, $2.5M is just a little less, and the price of doing business.

If the Coastal Commission didn't like it, they never should have allowed the event to start in the first place!

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Re: So that's why..

at least CC occasionally does something! dlnr in hawai'i is fecking useless. Call them about someone illegally netting a bay and you get to leave a voicemail.

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Stop

why all the Sean Parker bashing?

I mean by all means, the guys a douche, but what has he actually done wrong here? Spent a load of money on an extravagant party? What evidence is there here of actual environmental damage? We've got a single paragraph claiming the development somehow causes erosion in the nearby stream, but there's no investigation that's taken place. I see a load of claims about the risks of erosion and how it can damage this endangered species, but no supporting documents, no research, no evidence. Just claims.

They're basically guessing that the development work may have damaged trees and may have caused soil erosion, because they want some money from him. Who's really being d*cks here?

Also, the article is rather misleading to start with, and the mainstream on the whole is being a bit disingenuous here. On the face if it, it looks like Sean Parker has caused a public campsite to be closed... omg! But here's the actual quote..

"Upon staff investigation, it was determined that the public campground has in fact been closed

since September 2007 as a result of a Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Order

to replace the property’s failed septic systems, and an order to close the campground and limit

Inn capacity issued the County Department of Environmental Health. However, the Ventana

Respondents had failed to request or obtain an amendment at any time over that six-year period."

So it wasn't Sean Parker that closed it, it was closed anyway, and they're annoyed the owner didn't fix it. Having the public campground open was part of the original permit for building.. but there is a question mark around if that was even a legal requirement. Check this case:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nollan_v._California_Coastal_Commission

Similar situation, and CCC loses because the requirement was nothing to do with the work that was being carried out. If the property were built on a public campsite it might be reasonable, but from what I can gather in my limited research, they built on existing private property, expanding it, and the CCC wanted to get something out of it. Then some other government agency comes along and orders the campsite to be shut down, and the owner didn't fix it. Unless part of the agreement was that the owner provides repair work to maintain the campground, I see no reason that he should have been required to fix it.

To me, the real douche's in this story are the CCC. I see little in the way of evidence of environmental damage, all of the work done was cleaned up after, and I see no evidence of Sean Parker having breached any laws. The landowner may have, but under questionable circumstances involving what appears to be a bullying government agency.

CCC's jurisdiction isn't just reliant on a permit not having been sought, they also have to prove initial and ongoing resource damage. To me, this document provides very flaky evidence of damage. So realistically Sean Parker could have saved a lot of money by hiring an environmental expert and a decent lawyer. He wouldn't of course, because the public backlash would be very damaging. So instead he pays the unreasonable fine to make them shut up.

Hmm, not quite as simple a story as it was made out to be.

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FAIL

Re: why all the Sean Parker bashing?

So they've just fined him $2.5M speculatively, hoping he will pay? You should do yourself a favor and stop trying to interpret legal documents.

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Re: why all the Sean Parker bashing?

No, they blackmailed him, saying they'd issue the cease and desist order -before- the wedding, if he didn't pay up. Or are you really naive enough to think they issued the order after the wedding to be nice?

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WTF?

Re: why all the Sean Parker bashing?

Hahahaha. A better question would be why all the Sean Parker loving? He's a class AAA+ douche and goes through life just trashing whatever he pleases then paying his fine. Why would you even bother to defend an ass like him?

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Re: why all the Sean Parker bashing?

I'm not defending him, I'm attacking the CCC. They saw a chance to hold a billionaire to ransom, and they did it, milking him for whatever they thought they could get. Direct quote from the commission:

"The commission allowed Parker to proceed with his wedding plans on the condition that he pay the $2.5 million"

He may be a douche, but so are they.

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FAIL

@Paul 185 - Re: why all the Sean Parker bashing?

Paul185 wrote :- "what has he actually done wrong here? .. What evidence is there here of actual environmental damage?"

You do ot need any such environmental evidence. The evidence is that he broke planning laws. The commentary about environmental damage is to show context.

Moreover, the "evnvironment is not just about endangered species and air quality as many seem to assume. It is about visual aspects too - I do not want to go to what should be a natural forest and see someone's wedding tat built there, or the scars of its presence even if removed.

Laws need to work this way otherwise enforcement would become impractical. There is no doubt he did environmental damage, but to prove it to the satisfaction of a court of law you would need hire a team of experts who would need to conduct extensive studies that could go on for years (such as whether the endangered trout were affected long term).

It is much more effective and efficient to have a law that simply says in effect "Just don't fucking mess with this place!" because it can easily been seen and proved if you have done so (eg building things) - you don't need a highly paid consultant to prove it.

It is good to see a guy's arse get a kicking over a planning matter. What usually happens (in the UK) is that the authorities roll over because the guy promises he won't do it again.

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Re: @Paul 185 - why all the Sean Parker bashing?

If you turn up to an environmentally protected area, that has endangered species in it and think fuck it lets get some bulldozers in so I can be totally indulgent to my own whims, without once caring about any possible impact. You should expect people will talk about you like you're a wanker.

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Stop

@Nuke

You don't need any environmental evidence? Please read the report.

Quote:

"The Commission can issue a Restoration Order under section 30811 of the Coastal Act if it finds that development 1) has occurred without a CDP, 2) is inconsistent with the Coastal Act, and 3) is causing continuing resource damage."

You're sure they'll be scars? How do you know that? Also, why are you wandering around this guys private property? The public campsite was shut down in 2007 and never reopened, due to an order by a separate government agency. Should it still be open? Maybe, but that's a matter for the landowner, not for Sean Parker.

I'm highly dubious about the risk to a threatened species that is claimed, I'm quite interested in the mechanism quoted as causing soil erosion, and distances involved between the river and the objects causing the "damage". You may not be interested in this, you may just be interested in seeing a billionaire getting his arse kicked by some authority, but personally I like to verify something wrong has been done before I start making judgements. You may think it's more efficient to have a law that just says "don't fuck with this place" - but someone still needs to define what "fucking with this place" means - and in this case, that means causing lasting damage. Which you then need to prove..

Seriously as well, if you think UK planning is lax, you should try putting through a garage expansion or something through planning. If you don't get planning, they will order it taken down. If you want to get planning, they will be dicks about it and order several modifications to your proposal, costing you thousands in fees to the planning industry, until you have a pathetic representation of the original proposal.

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Flame

Re: @Nuke

Added point on the endangered thing, There are 10 threatened Steelhead Trout DPS', and 1 Endangered. None of these DPS' are found in the area designated, according to this:

http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=E08D

Of course, that tool isn't for an official species list. This IPaC wizard is. Here's the link:

http://ecos.fws.gov/ipac/wizard/chooseLocation!prepare.action

Fill it out, draw a polygon around the Big Sur River. Steelhead Trout aren't listed as being present. Interesting, perhaps there are Steelhead Trout there, but the particular DPS present isn't considered Threatened?

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Unhappy

Fancy tat is still tat.

All that for a wedding. One struggles to comprehend the cold, empty void that must be devouring him from the inside.

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Joke

Give the guy a break

Isn't being married punishment enough?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give the guy a break

> Isn't being married punishment enough?

Only for his new wife.

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Bah!

He should be birched.

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