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Video: Texas court re-crowns teen beauty queen

  1. Closed captioning of: Texas court re-crowns teen beauty queen

    >>> in texas, a judge and jury gave a teenage beauty queen her crown back after pageant officials dethroned her allegedly because she gained too much work. she said she got an e-mail after a swimsuit photo shoot pageant officials telling her to lay off the tacos. the pageant's response to the queen winning her lawsuit?

    >> i think it sets a bad precedence everywhere. it could destroy the pageant if they're allowed to sue over everything.

    >> it's not everything. dominique was dethroned. good to see you.

    >> good to see you too.

    >> i know a lot of people are probably watching, wondering why you fought so hard for a beauty contestant's title? can you explain what was at stake if you weren't miss san antonio ?

    >> i didn't fight for the crown. i fought for the principle of the fact. they gave me an e-mail saying your privileges are revoked. my mom came up to me one day and showed me the e-mail. i was totally shocked. i had no idea what was going on. and it was just about that. how unfair they were to me. it wasn't all about the weight. i mean even though the issue did come up, it was the principle of the fact and how they did it and how they went about it.

    >> okay. but there were real consequences for you not being the title winner. there were scholarships at stake. you have a few months left in your term. but now in the time from now until september you have to work with these same pageant officials who you fought in court. i mean awkward. dwlou manage that?

    >> i know. the pageant's actually in july and there's actually -- it's a power struggle going on right now. there's one board going on saying that're the real board and this board is saying it's a board. right now i don't know who i'm going to work with. it's like a soap opera . one firestorm comes in and then another. crazy. i'm in the clear right now but i don't know what's going to happen with the board or the two boarding snoom best of lung. i think it was incredible that you were able to go into court and get your crown back. we're eager to see what happens with you this summer.

Image: Domonique Ramirez
TODAY
Immediately after her court victory, Domonique Ramirez went to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to place her reclaimed crown on its altar as a gift to the patroness. "I just wanted to send a message I'm very grateful and she has answered my prayers," Ramirez said.
updated 3/24/2011 8:11:59 PM ET 2011-03-25T00:11:59

A Texas jury ruled Thursday that a 17-year-old beauty queen allegedly told to "get off the tacos" after gaining weight was wrongly stripped of her crown and has had it returned by a judge.

Domonique Ramirez won her lawsuit against the Miss San Antonio pageant, Luis Vera Jr., her attorney, told The Associated Press.

"She won 100 percent," Vera said.

Judge Barbara Nellermoe then restored Ramirez's crown, clearing the way for her to compete for Miss Texas and Miss America, according Court Clerk Grace Montalvo. After deliberating 11.5 hours over two days in the weeklong trial, the Bexar County jury of five men and seven women found that pageant officials, not Ramirez, breached the contract.

"It's a sad day for us. We think the judge and jury made a huge mistake," pageant director Linda Woods said. "It's an injustice for the city of San Antonio, it allows young kids to breach contracts and violate authority without any consequences ... It sends the wrong message."

Consequently, Woods said she would not personally promote or support Ramirez in her bid for Miss Texas.

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"I'm sorry, there's no way I would represent her as talent. She's trouble," Woods said.

The size-2 teenager was fired in January over allegations of weight gain and bad behavior. Pageant officials testified that Ramirez showed up to a bikini photo shoot overweight and made pictures "unusable."

But pageant officials claimed weight wasn't the issue. Instead, they said the 5-foot-8, 129-pound teenager was unreliable, chronically showing up late for events such as grocery store openings, and violated her contract in ways ranging from not writing thank-you notes to blowing off a physical fitness program and vocal lessons. It all added up to insubordination and breach of contract, they said.

Video: Beauty queen dethroned for her weight? (on this page)

Ramirez denied gaining weight or being late.

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After the verdict, pageant attorney Ben Wallis told the San Antonio Express-News that the verdict would cause confusion and that the Miss Texas pageant could refuse to invite Ramirez. He declined to say if the pageant would appeal, only saying that the pageant has "contingency plans."

Jury foreman Jesse Sanchez told the Express-News that the verdict was "a hard decision" and that jurors found interest in the case "overwhelming." He declined to say why damages and fees weren't awarded to Ramirez.

There was no immediate word on what would become of Ashley Dixon. Ramirez's runner-up was crowned Miss San Antonio in a courtroom last month after a judge refused Ramirez's efforts to obtain a temporary injunction stopping the pageant from naming a new winner.

Judge Nellermoe suggested that community donors provide college scholarships for both Ramirez and Dixon, who have each had their crowns taken away in this dispute.

Video: Beauty queen in ‘tacos’ fight: ‘I’m still the same weight’ (on this page)

Immediately after the trial, Ramirez went to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to place the crown on its altar as a gift to the patroness.

"She's the queen of all queens, the keeper of all crowns. I wanted to give my crown to her," Ramirez said, adding that she could buy a replacement crown for the upcoming Fiesta and Miss Texas appearances that go with the title. "I just wanted to send a message I'm very grateful and she has answered my prayers."

Asked if she had any advice to other young women, Ramirez cautioned them to always carefully read any contract they sign and, she added jokingly: "Don't go eating tacos in the morning."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Beauty queen scandals

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  1. Miss Delaware Teen USA

    They may be beautiful, but the competition can get ugly. From blackmail to sabotage, check out the underside of the pageant circuit.

    First up: Melissa King, Miss Delaware Teen USA, resigned her crown on Feb. 26, 2013, after a sex video featuring a woman resembling her surfaced online. (@Melissa_M_King\Twitter) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Called Miss USA 'rigged'

    After Miss Pennsylvania 2012, Sheena Monnin, spoke out on Facebook against the Miss Universe organization in June, calling it "trashy" and "rigged," co-owner Donald Trump threatened a lawsuit. (Miss Universe Organization) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Facing DUI charges

    Former Miss USA Rima Fakih, pictured here on April 11, 2012 as she faces DUI charges in district court in Highland Park, Mich. Fakih pleaded no contest in the case, and on May 9 she was sentenced to probation and community service for driving under the influence and getting pulled over with an open Champagne bottle in her car. (AP, Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A transgender Miss Universe?

    Jenna Talackova, a transgender beauty queen, protested the decision by pageant representatives to drop her from the Miss Universe Canada competition. She was finally given the green light to go by the Donald Trump-led Miss Universe Organization. The 23-year-old will, however, need to prove that she meets the "legal gender recognition requirements of Canada," according to local media. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Miss California 1992

    They may be beautiful, but the competition can get ugly. From blackmail to sabotage, check out the underside of the pageant circuit.

    First up: Miss California 1992 Shannon Marketic, center, was accused of stealing almost $90 in beauty products from a Target store in August 2010. Marketic, 38, denies stealing the items and says they rolled in the cart and landed underneath her purse. (AP, Denton Police Department) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Former Miss California USA 2009

    Hosts Billy Bush and Nadine Velazquez listen as Miss California Carrie Prejean makes her highly publicized answer to a question from judge Perez Hilton about legalizing same-sex marriage during the Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas on April 19, 2009. The controversy grew in ensuing weeks when Prejean became the spokesperson for a national group opposing same-sex unions, after which racy photos of her surfaced. Prejean blamed people opposing her views for the release of the photos. She eventually surrendered her crown after pageant officials accused her of missing events, an allegation she denied. (Eric Jamison / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Miss Universe 2008

    Crowned Miss Universe in July 2008, Venezuela's Dayana Mendoza kept her crown despite risque photos that showed the beauty queen topless, though covering most of her chest. The Miss Universe president said that Mendoza’s photographs had "artistic beauty." (Evan Agostini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Miss Washington 2008

    Elyse Umemoto, Miss Washington and second runner-up in this year's Miss America pageant, was shown flipping off the camera while wearing her crown, playing beer pong, posing in her bra and making suggestive hand signs on TMZ.com. (Jacob Andrzejczak / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Miss South Florida Fair 2008

    Jessica Wittenbrink, who was crowned Miss South Florida Fair 2008, says her evening gown was smeared with lipstick during the competition. (Uma Sanghvi / Palm Beach Post via Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Miss Puerto Rico 2007

    Ingrid Marie Rivera smiles during a beauty pageant in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Rivera beat 29 rivals to become the island's 2008 Miss Universe contestant, despite applying makeup and wearing evening gowns that had been coated with pepper spray, pageant spokesman Harold Rosario said. (Ricardo Daz Serrano / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Miss New Jersey 2007

    Amy Polumbo was crowned Miss New Jersey 2007. An anonymous person threatened to reveal "scandalous" photos of the beauty queen, but Polumbo refused to cave in to the blackmail. She took the incident public and revealed the photos herself on TODAY. (Donald B. Kravitz / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Miss USA 2006

    Tara Conner, representing Kentucky, won the Miss USA title in 2006 and moved to New York City where she partied in clubs and drank despite being underage. Donald Trump gave her a reprieve, allowing her to retain the title after she agreed to enter rehab and undergo drug testing. (Chris Gardner / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Miss South Carolina Teen USA

    Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina, became a Internet sensation with her nonsensical answer to a question during the Miss Teen USA competition in August 2007. The 18-year-old got a chance to redeem herself on TODAY when she was again asked why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map. (Patrick Prather / Miss Universe via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Miss France 2008

    Despite racy photos that appeared recently in a gossip magazine, Miss France 2008 Valerie Begue will keep her crown, but will not compete in the Miss World or Miss Universe pageants. (Francois Mori / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Miss Nevada USA 2006

    Katie Rees was stripped of her title in 2006 after racy photos of her appeared on the Internet. Some of the photos showed her kissing other young women, exposing her breasts and pulling down her pants to show her thong underwear. Afterwards, Rees signed a two-year, $2 million-plus deal to host a variety show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. In April, Rees agreed to pay fines for five misdemeanor traffic violations in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge of resisting arrest. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Miss New Jersey USA 2007

    Ashley Harder held the title of Miss New Jersey USA 2007 and was set to compete in the Miss USA pageant before she became pregnant and voluntarily stepped down. Runner-up Erin Abrahamson assumed the title. (Marcin Szczepanski / Courier-Post via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Miss California USA 2008

    Christina Silva, 24, was declared Miss California USA in November only to have her crown revoked days later. Pageant official say a mix-up in tallying the votes led to the wrong woman being crowned. Silva, who is Hispanic, is suing the pageant, alleging rigging and racial bias. (Damian Dovarganes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Miss Great Britain 2006

    Danielle Lloyd was stripped of her title after it was revealed that she had posed nude for Playboy and amid accusations that she was dating one of the judges at the time of the contest. Lloyd went on to star in the British reality show Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 where she and other contestants were accused of bullying and making racist comments about Indian actress Shilpa Shetty. (Guang Niu / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Miss United States Teen 2003

    Former Miss Oregon Teen USA Kari Ann Peniche was stripped of her title in 2003 after she posed nude for Playboy magazine. Peniche appeared as a patient on the VH1 television show Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew but was involuntarily discharged.

    In 2009, a racy video of Peniche, "Grey’s Anatomy" star Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart was leaked. The 12-minute video was said to be shot inside Peniche’s apartment, and within it, Gayheart said she was high. (Albert L. Ortega / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Miss Louisiana Teen USA 2008

    Miss Louisiana Teen USA 2008 Lindsey Evans was stripped of her crown 10 days before completing her reign. She and her friends skipped out on a $46 restaurant bill, and Evans left behind her purse, which contained a bag of marijuana. The women were arrested for theft and drug possession when they returned to retrieve the purse. (Splash News) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Miss Universe 2002

    Former Miss Russia Oxana Fedorova was fired less than four months into her reign for missing too many events. She was a law student at the time and complained that being Miss Universe interfered with her education. "I never had any intention of abandoning my university work," she said.

    The pageant president said contestants know Miss Universe is a full-time job and that winners spend 80 percent of their time traveling as goodwill ambassadors. (Dita Alangkara / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Miss America 1984

    Vanessa Williams, representing New York, became the first black Miss America. She had to resign when nude photos taken before her beauty contest victories were published in Penthouse. The crown was given to Suzette Charles, who's also black. Williams later became a successful singer with such hits as "Save the Best for Last," and "Colors of the Wind." Some of her movie credits include "Eraser," "Soul Food" and "Dance with Me." She currently plays the scheming fashion editor on "Ugly Betty." (Yvonne Hemsey / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Miss World 1973

    Marjorie Wallace was dethroned about four months into her reign, after she was accused of dating too many high-profile men, including professional soccer player George Best and singer Tom Jones. The organizers said the first woman from the U.S. to win the title hadn't maintained Miss World's reputation. She later became a television host for "Good Morning Los Angeles" and "Entertainment Tonight." (Evening Standard / Everning Standard via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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