Published June 08, 2011
Rima Fakih only has a week-and-a-half before surrendering her Miss USA tiara, but she's not going quietly.
FOX411’s Pop Tarts was alerted that the 25-year-old, who has been in both New York and Las Vegas for official duties with the 2011 contestants ahead of next Sunday’s Miss USA pageant, was suspected of having an all-night bender last week. Her attempts to “lie and cover up” the incident apparently prompted the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) to ask for security tapes to uncover the truth.
The organization’s President Paula Shugart confirmed that Fakih’s recent behavior has been questionable, to say the least.
“There was one night last week where she had some interviews the next day. First we thought she wasn’t at the apartment [which she shares in Manhattan with Miss Universe, who was out of town] and someone [from the publicity team] was trying to get her to the interview. She was sound asleep, and looked like she’d been out all night,” Shugart told us. “She made the interviews, but we did ask about the security tapes, as it is a serious business especially after Tara Conner.”
Indeed the reins have been seriously tightened on titleholders ever since Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner came under fire for alleged drug use, underage drinking and sexual indiscretions.
“I want to make sure that the girls are reflective of society but we put a lot of steps in place so things like Tara don’t happen again," Shugart explained. "Their apartment is next to the office so it is hard for them to get out and do things without us knowing about them."
And sneaking out at night is a massive Miss USA no-no.
“We usually like to keep a handle on them. We have talent managers to keep track, and they are supposed tell us when they go out,” Shugart continued. “Rima is definitely a high spirited, fun person. If she went out that night it wouldn’t surprise us. But she will be crowning off her successor very soon maybe she went out to blow off some steam. I don’t know if I’ll ever know where she went, or when she got in.”
Yet it’s not the first time Miss Fakih has been a cause for concern.
“Earlier in the reign she missed an interview when we were establishing the rules,” Shugart admitted. “That night she did have a night out and was caught. She has followed the rules ever since. Rima sent an apology out to everyone promising she will be on-time for the rest of her reign.”
According to our insider, the biggest concern over Fakih initially was what she potentially got up to during these unscheduled escapades, and whether it could bring embarrassment to the organization. But unlike the Conner case, Shugart said there is absolutely no evidence to indicate any type of substance abuse problems. Nonetheless, Fakih was still made talk to Conner, who was forced by pageant-owner Donald Trump to enter rehab during her 2006 reign as a condition for keeping her crown.
“Rima said [talking to Tara] was really helpful. Keep in mind, whoever wins goes to New York and their entire world is packed up and they live no expenses for a year. You meet a lot of famous people and you can get caught up in that,” Shugart said. “So I had Tara call her and give her some advice. Rima said it helped her learn you can’t fool all of us, and Tara said it makes it easier if she just tells the truth.”
From day one, Fakih has been raising red flags within the Miss Universe Organization. The Michigan native hit headlines immediately after her big win when photos emerged of her pole-dancing for a promotional event conducted by Detroit morning radio show "Mojo in the Morning." But after some investigation by MUO, it was determined that she didn’t breach any moral code of conduct, and thus she was not stripped of her sash.
“Rima has definitely been a headstrong title holder," Shugart said. “She’s high strung and I’m not going to deny she was definitely caught trying to stay out a lot later than she should have during her reign and didn’t tell the truth of her whereabouts. But she has been an incredible titleholder; she goes 100 percent on everything whether it be social or business. She definitely keeps you on your toes.”