Pageant Queen’s Rap Sheet Stirs Runners-Up

           (CN) — The winner of the 2016 Miss Corpus Christi Latina Pageant is just settling into her tiara, but six rivals claim in court she’s not worthy because her criminal record should have disqualified her.
     Caitlin Cifuentes, 25, won the pageant on June 11, besting 16 other competitors, according to court records.
     In the weeks leading up to the event, Cifuentes promoted her candidacy all over Corpus Christi, Texas.
     She appeared as a “special reading guest” at a bookstore’s summer reading program kickoff event, sang the national anthem at a baseball game for mentally disabled kids and attended a radio station promotion at a cellphone store, as documented on Facebook.
     The pageant and its sister event, the Miss Corpus Christi Teen Texas Latina, are the preliminaries for state contests scheduled for August. The winners of the state competitions qualify for the Miss U.S. Latina and Miss Teen U.S. Latina pageants.
     Six miffed contestants sued the Corpus Christi pageants’ organizer Kayla Alvarez this week in Nueces County Court.
     Their attorney, Marisol Carvajal-Garcia, said in a statement to Courthouse News: “The contract that was signed between Kayla Alvarez and the contestants CLEARLY STATES that the contestants must not have any PENDING criminal charges against them. Although Cifuentes is not a convicted felon, she has a PENDING charge against her because she is serving a 10-year deferred adjudication probationary sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.” (Emphasis in original.)
     Nueces County prosecutors charged Cifuentes with four counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor DUI for an Aug. 8, 2013, crash that injured four people, court records show.
     She pleaded guilty to the DUI charge and is on probation for it until September 2017.
     The four aggravated assault charges were reduced to one, and she struck a deferred adjudication deal with prosecutors under which she must abide by the deal’s 10-year term, ending in September 2025, for the charge to be dismissed.
     The pageant rules also state that contestants must, “Be single, born female, never have been married or given birth to a child.”
     Cifuentes married in November 2011 and got a divorce, according to the complaint, which is still being processed by the court but was provided to Courthouse News by Carvajal-Garcia.
     Alvarez defended Cifuentes in an interview with the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
     “Just because you have a bad background…doesn’t mean that should hold you back from accomplishing your goals. She’s worked very hard and the judges saw that and she won fair and square,” Alvarez told the newspaper.
     Alvarez told the Caller-Times she didn’t plan to revoke Cifuentes’ title because her deferred adjudication probation isn’t a conviction, and although the teen pageant prohibits contestants who have been married, divorced women can enter the adult contest.
     But Carvajal-Garcia accused Alvarez of “making up rules” and stood by her claim that the rules disqualify anyone facing pending criminal charges, including deferred adjudication.
     The attorney said she had printed out the contest rules.
     “It states that ‘You cannot have been married.’ It doesn’t say, but that’s only for the teen division. It doesn’t say that. These people are making up rules as they go,” she said in an interview.
     Cifuentes addressed her critics on Facebook, reportedly posting, “Please understand that this was a competition and the judges made their own final decision. I forgive those who choose to be hateful. Overall we all did awesome and we are all beautiful.”
     Carvajal-Garcia said she plans to amend the lawsuit to add more contestants as plaintiffs.
     The six contestants in the original complaint sued Alvarez for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, seeking to recoup their pageant entry fees and money they raised for the event.
     Alvarez insists Cifuentes deserves the crown.
     “1. She is not convicted of any criminal offense. 2. No criminal charges are presently pending. 3. The contract states I AM NOT MARRIED…. Meaning not married at the present time. 4. No one is making up rules,” Alvarez wrote in an email.

%d bloggers like this: