Jury deliberating dispute over booted beauty queen

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The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 11:16 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- A dethroned Texas beauty queen who claims pageant organizers harassed her about her weight was stripped of her crown in January because of her "lackadaisical attitude," an attorney for the pageant told jurors Wednesday.

Jurors began deciding Wednesday night whether to restore the Miss San Antonio title to Domonique Ramirez. They deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before asking the judge to stop for the night, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The five men and seven women will resume deliberations Thursday morning.

Ramirez wants her crown restored so she can compete for Miss Texas, and if the 17-year-old wins there, Miss America. The size-2 Ramirez contends she was harassed about her weight and at one point told her to "get off the tacos."

But pageant officials contend weight wasn't the issue. Instead, they say 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.

"Personally, I think that when Dominique gave up the crown, after a while she thought, `Well, wait a minute. I really miss that. It has some perks.' Yet when she was wearing the crown, she didn't feel the responsibility to do much of anything. As most of the witnesses testified, she had a lackadaisical attitude," pageant attorney Ben Wallis told the Bexar County jury in closing arguments Wednesday.

Ramirez's attorney, Luis Vera Jr., told jurors that an unflattering modeling picture of his client and her participation in a wedding fashion show "started this whole firestorm."

Final witnesses included pageant executive director Caroline Haggard Flores, who testified Tuesday that Ramirez's tardiness at events or failure to appear at all reflected poorly on the pageant organization. She also said Ramirez has been fame-seeking and glamor-seeking in her interviews given to reporters and have "degraded the crown."

Ashley Dixon, who was runner-up to Ramirez, was crowned Miss San Antonio in a San Antonio courtroom last month after a judge refused Ramirez's efforts to obtain a temporary injunction stopping the pageant from naming a new winner.

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Information from: San Antonio Express-News,http://www.mysanantonio.com


© 2011 The Associated Press

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