Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How Accounting Error Created New Miss California

LOS ANGELES (AP) ― An accounting mix-up led to the wrong woman being crowned Miss California USA, and she's relinquished her crown to the rightful winner, organizers said Monday.

Christina Silva, 24, was declared the winner of the annual state beauty pageant, but she gave up the title to Raquel Beezley, who was originally named the second runner-up. Beezely, 21, will represent the state at the Miss USA pageant next April.

The pageant's state director, Keith Lewis, said several judges questioned the results of the Nov. 25 competition at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. Lewis said the error was discovered the next day after the ballots were opened and recounted.

"It was a simple human error," Lewis said.

Silva has hired an attorney and is weighing her legal options, according to her manager, Tony Brewster.

In a news release, Silva said she felt pressured to step down.

"They never could explain their accounting error, but told me that if I didn't give up my crown to Miss Barstow, my personal integrity could be questioned, and my career could potentially suffer," she said.

The contestants were scored by five celebrity judges who independently ranked them. The mix-up occurred when the points were reversed, with the lowest point given to the winner and the highest to the fourth runner-up, Lewis said.

Roger Neal, who represents the Miss California USA pageant, said Beezley is the rightful winner. The pageant allowed Silva to keep her crown, sash and necklace and returned her $1,500 entry fee after the error was discovered, Neal said. Duplicates were being made for Beezley.

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