Former Miss Austin ordered to pay Miss USA pageant
NEW YORK — A beauty queen who claimed this year’s Miss USA contest was fixed has been ordered to pay the pageant organization $5 million for defamation.
In a decision signed last week, an arbitrator found that the comments from Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin were false, harmful and malicious. Monnin had alleged that the five finalists had been selected in advance of the pageant’s live telecast. Monnin was the 2006 Miss Austin winner and placed in the top 15 of Miss Texas in 2007.
Monnin, of Cranberry, Pa., resigned her Pennsylvania title after the pageant. Her allegations on Facebook and NBC’s “Today” show cost the pageant a $5 million fee from a potential 2013 sponsor, said arbitrator Theodore Katz.