LOS ANGELES – There's a new Miss California USA — less than a week after one was erroneously crowned.
Christina Silva, 24, was declared the winner of the annual state beauty pageant, but she relinquished the title to the second runner-up after organizers discovered an apparent accounting error that led to a shake up in the order.
Miss Barstow, 21-year-old Raquel Beezley, will represent the state at the Miss USA pageant next April.
The error, first reported by the celebrity TV show "Extra," is the latest problem to beset Donald Trump's Miss Universe Organization that controls the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pageants.
The pageant's state director, Keith Lewis, said several judges questioned the results of the Nov. 25 competition at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. Lewis said the error was discovered the next day after the ballots were opened and recounted.
"It was a simple human error," Lewis said Monday.
Silva has since hired an attorney and is weighing her legal options, according to her manager Tony Brewster.
In a statement, Silva said she felt pressured to step down.
"They never could explain their accounting error, but told me that if I didn't give up my crown to Miss Barstow, my personal integrity could be questioned, and my career could potentially suffer," she said.
The contestants were scored by five celebrity judges who independently ranked them. The forms are then given to an accountant who assigns a point value based on the rankings, and the results are confirmed by an auditor. The mix-up occurred when the points were reversed, with the lowest point given to the winner and the highest to the fourth runner-up, Lewis said.
Silva, Miss Los Angeles, was crowned the winner on stage followed by Miss Woodland Hills Brandi Williams, Beezley, Miss Greater San Diego Carrie Prejean and Miss Palos Verdes Nicole Chiu.
As a result of the recount, Beezley became the reigning Miss California, followed by Prejean, Silva, Williams and Chiu, organizers said.
Roger Neal, who represents the Miss California USA pageant, said Beezley is the rightful winner. The pageant allowed Silva to keep her crown, sash and necklace and returned her $1,500 entry fee after the error was discovered, Neal said. Duplicates were being made for Beezley.