Trump Lets Miss USA Keep Her Crown - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/19/06-New York City

Trump Lets Miss USA Keep Her Crown

Donald Trump said Tuesday he will allow Miss USA Tara Conner to keep her title.

Miss USA Tara Conner had come under fire amid reports she has visited bars, though she is not yet 21.

Conner turned 21 on Monday, the legal drinking age in New York.

In a statement last week, Paula M. Shugart, the president of The Miss Universe Organization, owned by Trump and NBC, said officials would evaluate Conner's "behavioral and personal issues to see what we can do to work with her and what we will do about her reign going forward."

The Miss Universe Organization is owned by Trump and NBC.

Trump said at a news conference Tuesday that though Conner had made bad mistakes, she deserves a second chance. She would undergo therapy for her problems, Trump said.

Miss USA is considered a role model, and her conduct must reflect that, Miss Universe Organization spokeswoman Lark-Marie Anton said last week. Behavior such as underage drinking is clearly prohibited, she said.

Conner, a 5-foot-5 blonde, has been competing in pageants since age 4. After winning the Miss USA title in April, she finished fourth in the Miss Universe pageant in July.

"I am an easygoing, down-to-earth girl," Conner said in her contestant profile. "Throughout my life, hardships and different experiences have made me a very humbled, yet strong individual. It is because of these life lessons that I have become the person I am today."

In 2002, Miss Russia Oxana Fedorova won the Miss Universe pageant but was stripped of her title after violating her contract. Trump said Fedorova didn't show up for some photo shoots and charity events. It was the first time a titleholder had been ousted in the contest's more than 50-year history.

"We had a Miss Universe from Russia that was a total disaster, and we fired her, and Miss Panama took over, and she did great," Trump said. Fedorova denied she was fired and said she gave up the title voluntarily.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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