Yacht party’s surprise midnight pyrotechnics rattled residents of Marina del Rey and beyond

By Gary Walker

Khloe Kardashian Photo by Kevin Winter/thinkstockphotos.com

Khloe Kardashian
Photo by Kevin Winter/thinkstockphotos.com

An eight-minute professional fireworks display launched outside the Marina del Rey breakwater at 11:59 p.m. last Tuesday as entertainment for a Kardashian family yacht party has local leaders asking which government agency should have been keeping up with the Kardashians — as in keeping them quiet.

The surprise series of explosions during reality TV personality Khloe Kardashian’s Aug. 25 birthday party for NBA-star boyfriend James Harden woke up, startled and confused residents up and down the L.A. coastline, prompting noise complaints from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes and as far inland as Mar Vista.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this Tuesday to investigate how the fireworks display was able to happen and whether the incident points up a need to revise interagency cooperation protocols.

“I’m interested in finding out where the process broke down. We want to see if there’s something that we could look at and improve in the notification process,” said L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents Marina del Rey and called for the probe last week.

Knabe called on L.A. County Fire Chief Darryl Osby to present a strategic plan detailing better coordination among county, city and federal agencies “to ensure that an event of this nature is not repeated.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has also opened an investigation into the Kardashian fireworks show to determine whether it violated any local ordinances, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

“There are no local ordinances which specifically regulate the use of legal fire- works in waterways outside of the lines or demarcation offshore. However, loud disturbances are addressed in section 415 of the California Penal Code,” Nishida said.

U.S Coast Guard Senior Chief Brenda Doris said the federal agency typically requires permits for events in open waters if they could have an impact on public safety or travel lanes, but nothing about the Kardashian’s plans triggered the federal permit process.

“We were notified by the pyrotechnics company about the event, and that’s usually who we deal with,” Doris said. “Unfortunately, we have no jurisdiction over noise ordinances. There were no violations as far as any federal statutes were concerned.”

Nishida said event planners notified the Sheriff’s and county Fire departments about the party, but neither had jurisdiction to control an event outside the breakwater.

“The Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station and Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors would be the agencies responsible if there was a request for a fireworks event inside the lines of [L.A. County] demarcation or inside the Marina del Rey breakwater. The [Sheriff’s department] does not have legal standing to approve or deny fireworks applications or permits outside the breakwater,” Nishida said.

TMZ has reported that Kardashian clan matriarch Kris Jenner’s Boulevard Management produced the party. An employee at Boulevard Management said the production company wasn’t taking any calls about it. The Argonaut is still seeking to identify the pyrotechnics company.

The Kardashians rented their party boat from Marina del Rey-based FantaSea Yachts, but the fireworks were launched from a different boat without the companies blessing or knowledge, FantaSea owner Daniel Ginsberg told The Argonaut.

“We specifically told them: ‘No fireworks,’” Ginsberg said. “This came as a surprise to us, and I’m not surprised at all that people are mad. I’m angry too.”

Ginsberg said the company, located in the marina for 35 years, has been taking heat from locals over the Kardashian fiasco.

“We love Marina del Rey and we’ve always been very careful with our parties. It was a normal party until the fireworks,” he said. “This was the fourth party that we’ve done for James Harden, but this time the Kardashians were involved.”

TMZ and other news outlets have reported that some Marina del Rey residents are planning to sue Khloe Kardashian and Jenner’s production company in small claims court for emotional distress due to the fireworks. A search of county court records at press time did not turn up any evidence that any such claims had been filed.

L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who had quickly decried the Kardashian fireworks show on Twitter as “#stupidrude,” praised Knabe for launching the county investigation.

“I’m very grateful that Supervisor Knabe is trying to reform whatever glitches may exist in the system. I would certainly like for city officials to get a heads-up and the courtesy of knowing when an event like this is happening,” Bonin said.

“No matter the occasion,” Knabe said, “the decision to launch fireworks at mid- night — especially on a weekday — shows a lack of common sense and civility.”