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A prominent tech investor and former beauty queen have come under fire for allegedly trashing a picturesque Utah landmark by hosting their wedding there — and are now deleting all evidence of the event.
Andrew Chen, a tech investor for hedge fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Emma Waldron, a former Miss Ireland, tied the knot at Castleton Tower near the city of Moab on Labor Day weekend.
The couple posted photos and video from the celebration on social media, in posts that have since been deleted.
One such video showed the bride in an off-the-shoulder dress sitting at a long table overlooking the desert and red rock formations.
In a since-deleted post on X, Waldron also said “it was so special to take our families to our favorite place in the world to get married,” according to Evoke.
But just one day after the wedding, on Sept. 3, Castle Valley Councilwoman Pamela Gibson said she found the desert a mess — and was left shaking by the sight.
She said there were “effectively four days where the public could not enjoy what it should be able to enjoy because of these people that have no qualms about misrepresenting something just so they can have their pretty little wedding.”
Gibson said she saw movers from a Fullerton, Calif.-based rental company boxing up furniture in a massive truck, which had pummeled vegetation and left treads on the soil.
Bags of trash and food were also left scattered around the ground, she told the San Francisco Gate.
When she returned to the area the next day, Gibson said the furniture was gone, but the site was scattered with ripped-open trash bags, broken glass and cardboard.
She is still finding broken glass around the area more than two months after the nuptials, Gibson added.
Bureau of Land Management rangers eventually had to collect the “abandoned property and refuse,” officials wrote in an email to Gibson and Castle Valley Mayor Jazmine Duncan on Sept. 7.
It said the couple received permission from the agency to host a “simple wedding ceremony with one small tent” at the base of Castleton Tower.
But Gibson and other residents say the “extravaganza” was much larger, pointing to the now-deleted photos Chen and Waldron posted online.
By Oct. 2, Duncan, Gibson and other council members sent a letter to the bureau imploring it to never allow wedding receptions at the base of Castleton Tower again, writing that expectations of any engaged couple could “easily expand” into the “Waldron/Chen extravaganza.”
They argued that in Chen and Waldron’s petition to use the site for their nuptials, they omitted that they would be using a generator, contracting a catering service that would set up tables and chairs, erecting a 24-foot cabana, lining the road with glass candles, installing a toilet facility service and leaving behind the refuse.
If the bureau could not forbid weddings at the site, the council members requested that letters of agreement for use of the site should include more stringent time specifications; require deposits and fines for violations and make catering companies liable for damages.
The bureau should also forbid fires, glass candles, tents, generators, most furniture and large vehicles, the letter said, according to The Times-Independent.
“It was a commercial event — small by LA standards, I’m sure, but still it should not have happened,” Gibson told the San Francisco Gate.
“And they’re not being responsible for it, that’s what really galls me.”
Chen is considered an influencer in the video game and metaverse investment industry, while Waldron won Miss Ireland in 2010 and now helms an AI startup called Spuddie, which promises to develop a digital “best bud” that would “tend to your emotional intelligence and intellectual nourishment,” according to its website.
The couple could not be reached for comment.
The Post has also reached out to the Bureau of Land Management for comment, after officials told city council members they would follow up with the couple “in partnership with BLM Law Enforcement.”