Texas judge postpones ruling in beauty queen flap

Texas judge postpones ruling in beauty queen flap

February 17th, 2011 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

By PAUL J. WEBER

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - The reigning Miss San Antonio, who says her crown was stripped over allegations that she gained weight and broke rules unbefitting a beauty queen, said Wednesday she was hopeful she would be able to reclaim her sash by way of a Texas courtroom.

Domonique Ramirez said she still thinks of herself as Miss San Antonio 2011 - and insisted again that she hasn't gained a pound - after a state district judge told attorneys she'll decide Friday whether to consider granting a temporary injunction that could let Ramirez keep her title for now.

"I'm going to continue to represent the city as long as I can," Ramirez said.

Ramirez, 17, is suing organizers of the Miss San Antonio pageant, whose winner gets a shot at becoming Miss Texas and possibly Miss America. Pageant officials removed Ramirez as Miss San Antonio last month after telling the teenager she violated numerous rules of her contract.

Dominating that list are allegations that Ramirez didn't heed event schedules and missed appearances. But grabbing the most attention: that the 5-foot-8, 129-pound college student was punished for adding a few inches to her size-2 figure since being crowned in April.

Pageant officials have sought to minimize the influence Ramirez's measurements made in their decision - particularly as the weight issue has catapulted a flap within a local pageant into a tabloid story that has reporters calling from far away as Australia.

Stephanie Alanis, a spokeswoman for pageant organizers Miss Bexar County Organization Inc., said after the hearing the group would have no comment until the judge rules Friday. Linda Woods, the organization's president, has repeatedly said Ramirez's weight wasn't the determining factor.

Still, a portion of Ramirez's contract stating that a "baseline for my weight and measurements will be established" is among the violations listed in a counterclaim filed by the Miss Bexar County group Wednesday. Woods has also said Ramirez became "an inch or two" larger in her waist and hips.

"I haven't gained any weight," Ramirez said Wednesday.

A model since she was 13, Ramirez appeared to have fun Wednesday with the attention about her clothes allegedly fitting slightly more snug: she laughed while cameras shot her eating a glazed donut during a lengthy wait in the Bexar County courthouse for the hearing to begin.

The pageant's counterclaim accuses Ramirez of appearing late to events - like grocery store openings - or failing to show up altogether. It also claims she violated portions of her contract that require her to write thank-you cards and returning phone calls within eight hours to pageant board members and chaperones.

Included in the filing is a copy of a November 2010 reprimand that lists eight infractions over a two-week span, including showing up late to events and making a salon appointment for a non-pageant appearance, which pageant organizers said jeopardized the salon's sponsorship. Ramirez signed the formal warning.

"She doesn't have clean hands" in the dispute, said Ben Wallis, an attorney for the pageant.

Ramirez denied committing numerous violations.

"There are one or two cases where I was late," Ramirez said. "But as far as the numerous accounts they say I was late to, it's untrue."

Ramirez was told Jan. 25 that she had been removed as Miss San Antonio. The pageant then announced the first-runner up, Ashley Dixon, as the new Miss San Antonio before a judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the pageant from promoting Dixon as the winner.

Dixon appeared at the courthouse Wednesday but left before the afternoon hearing.

State District Judge Cynthia Stryker said she'll decide Friday whether to grant Ramirez's attorney the chance to argue for a temporary injunction next week. If Stryker doesn't, the temporary restraining order is set to expire, clearing the way again for Dixon.