Beauty Queen Sues to Regain Title
HONOLULU (AP) _ Beauty queen Tina Marie Machado, stripped of her Miss Hawaii USA crown after pageant officials said she was too old at 25, has filed a $5 million lawsuit in an effort to reclaim the title.
Miss Machado, who was crowned Feb. 22, turned 25 on Nov. 11. Pageant rules said contestants can’t be 25 until at least May 1.
She claimed in her suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, that pageant officials were aware of her age. Her attorney, John S. Edmunds, said his client was even introduced during the televised contest as ″the 25-year- old Miss Machado.″
The suit was filed against pageant officials Gay Zuercher and Phil Ritz, and the contest’s parent companies, Miss Universe Inc. of New York and Gulf & Western Inc.
In addition to the money, the suit sought the return of the Miss Hawaii USA title, the crown, $2,000 in prize money and the right to represent Hawaii in the Miss USA pageant May 13 in Lakeland, Fla.
Miss Machado’s title went to first runner-up Toni Leimomi Costa, 18.
A woman who answered the telephone at the Miss Universe headquarters in New York refused to give her name and said the person in charge was not in the office Friday.