Journey Guitarist Sues SF Over Wedding Permit Fees

Neal Schon, Michaele Salahi say they were punished for pay-per-view wedding
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2015 1:29 PM CST
Journey Guitarist Sues SF Over Wedding Permit Fees
Journey's Neal Schon and Michaele Salahi.   (PRNewsFoto/Neal Schon and Michaele Salahi, Rick Diamond)

Journey guitarist Neal Schon and White House gatecrasher Michaele Salahi aired their wedding on pay-per-view, and in a new lawsuit, Schon says San Francisco charged him "outrageously high" permit fees as punishment for the PPV plan. He and his wife, now Michaele Schon, are suing both the city and the county, along with three top Parks and Recreation officials, Courthouse News reports. Schon says the city didn't want the couple's wedding at the "historic venue" of the Palace of Fine Arts to be broadcast, and thus boosted the fees: $35,000 in rental fees, a $100,000 "premium reservation fee," and a $50,000 "park regeneration fee." Being "extorted" caused the couple to suffer "emotional distress," the lawsuit claims.

The total is "more than 200 times the next highest fee ever paid for the use of the Palace of Fine Arts," according to the lawsuit. Schon says he was also charged $25,000 for a filming permit, even though Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was only charged $1,200 to film. The lawsuit says the heightened fees are illegal, and notes that the couple was discriminated against for exercising "their free speech rights." It also claims those aforementioned rights were violated when the city did not allow them to use a room in the Exploratorium they had named "Sexy" to fit the wedding's theme of "Royal, Sexy, Magic," because the defendants "expressed distaste for the stated theme of the room." As for why the couple still held their wedding at the venue despite the high fees, the San Francisco Chronicle explains that Schon's lawsuit accuses the city of raising the agreed-upon $58,000 in fees to a total of $240,000 at the last minute. (More Neal Schon stories.)

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