Trial to reclaim Miss San Antonio crown begins

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas beauty queen who accused pageant organizers of harassing her about her weight returned to court Wednesday to ask a jury to restore her title, weeks after a judge denied her efforts to temporarily forbid a new Miss San Antonia from taking her place.

An attorney for Domonique Ramirez, Luis Vera Jr., told jurors during opening statements that his client’s case attracted global attention after a pageant official said the 17-year-old girl had been warned to “get off the tacos.”

The pageant has said it wanted to encourage better eating habits, but Ramirez called the official’s comment a slur on her weight.

Ramirez is suing sued Miss Bexar County Organization Inc., the Miss America affiliate that runs the Miss San Antonio pageant. The pageant alleges she violated her contract by breaking rules, such as showing up late to events and not writing thank-you notes.

Vera contends organizers harassed the girl over her weight before yanking her title based on what he told jurors were “outright fabrications.” Ramirez is 5-foot-8 and weighs 129 pounds.

Pageant attorney Ben Wallis Jr. said Ramirez signed a contract with the pageant organization. “One of the provisions says that Miss San Antonio is never late. That’s a given,” he told jurors. “I daresay if any of you were late for work on a regular basis, you wouldn’t be working for that place.”

The trial resumes Thursday.

Ramirez, who was crowned Miss San Antonio 2011 last April, was stripped of her crown in January. First runner-up Ashley Dixon was crowned in a courtroom after state District Judge Cathleen Stryker denied Ramirez a temporary restraining order last month. That prompted Ramirez to seek a jury trial.

A portion of Ramirez’s contract stating that a “baseline for my weight and measurements will be established” is among the contract violations listed in a countersuit filed by the Miss Bexar County group. Most of the allegations, however, accuse Ramirez of being chronically tardy for appearances, such as grocery store openings, or skipping them altogether.

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