A Texas beauty queen lost her title after controversy erupted when it was found out that the brunette beauty has a criminal record.
Caitlin Cifuentes, winner of the first-ever Miss Corpus Christi Latina, was stripped of her crown this week after it was discovered that is currently under "deferred adjudicated probation" – basically meaning she pleaded "guilty" or "no contest" to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and driving while intoxicated.
While the pageant’s local director, Kayla Alvarez, let Cifuentes take part in the June 11 competition – despite being ineligible because of the pending criminal charges – her victory drew backlash from fellow contestants and an admonition from officials at the Organization of Miss America Latina, Inc.
Six contestants filed a lawsuit claiming that Alvarez allowed Cifuentes to participate despite her record. They seek $100,000.
"Kayla Alvarez willfully and knowingly violated countless terms of the contractual agreement by allowing Caitlin Cifuentes to participate in and ultimately win the pageant," the lawsuit states.
Alvarez, who is in her first year as the pageant director, defended the pageant’s decision involving Cifuentes.
"Just because you have a bad background ... doesn't mean that should hold you back from accomplishing your goals," Alvarez told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "She's worked very hard and the judges saw that and she won fair and square."
Despite Alvarez’s defense, Acirema Alayeto - the founder and president of the Organization of Miss America Latina, Inc. – said that Cifuentes should have been removed from the competition weeks ago, especially because part of her probation stipulates that she isn't allowed to leave the county to further compete without explicit permission.
"The Organization of Miss America Latina, Inc ... will NOT honor Ms. Cifuentes' application as a candidate for our National Pageant," according to a news release from Alayeto. "In addition, (the organization) does not recognize Caitlin Cifuentes as the winner of the Miss Corpus Christi Latina Pageant held on June 11, 2016. Cifuentes does not have the proper credentials to hold such a title."
The newly named Miss Corpus Christi Latin – runner-up Valeria Barrera – is one of the women suing Alvarez.