The former Miss Florida USA who was stripped of her title for violating the competition rules is suing the organization.
Genesis Davila is suing pageant organizers Grant Gravitt, Tel-Air Interests Inc., and IMG Universe LP for $15 million, claiming its allegations that she cheated—claims she has denied—has defamed her character.
“We believe Gravitt acted maliciously and intentionally, to defame and hurt my client,” Davila’s attorney Richard Wolfe during a press conference on Aug. 1 in Miami. “My client has done absolutely nothing wrong. She was unjustly stripped of her crown and it is our job to get it back for her.”
Davila, 24, was crowned as Miss Florida and was shortly dethroned after it was claimed that she violated the rules by using a professional hair and makeup stylist, which would give her an advantage over her competitors.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy on rules,” Gravitt told Local 10 in Miami. “Whether it’s something major or minor, it’s all about keeping an equal and level playing field. Unfortunately, our title holder sought an unfair competitive advantage, and that’s just not acceptable in our system. She made a poor life choice.”
According to Gravitt, the revelations came after hearing complaints from fellow competitors, eyewitnesses, and seeing a photo upload onto Davila’s Instagram page that showed a makeup artist applying makeup to her face. However, according to Wolfe, the photo was taken days before the pageant and was instead for an unrelated professional photo shoot.
“Mr. Gravitt made the first false allegation and which we believe is the nature of his malice in which he claimed that my client is not a U.S. citizen,” said Wolfe. “My client is in fact a citizen of Puerto Rico.” Puerto Rico is U.S. territory.
According to Wolfe, Gravitt then made another allegation against Davila. Gravitt allegedly doctored an Instagram photo—removing the date—to make it seem as if Davila used a makeup artist during the competition.
“We have a smoking gun,” said Wolfe, in reference to the photo. “I’ve never seen such a strong smoking gun to show one man’s malice.”
Wolfe is also asking that Davila’s title be reinstated.
Davila then said a few words at the press conference.
“I would first like everyone to know that I am innocent. All these false allegations have taken me completely by surprise. I have faced many challenges in my life, but nothing like this. I am honest, hardworking, who was raised in ideals and principals. I am putting all my faith in my attorney and the legal system to prove my innocence and save my reputation.”
Currently, runner-up Miss Sunny Isles Beach USA Linette De Los Santos has been crowned the new Miss Florida USA 2017.
“I’m just excited to have this opportunity,” De Los Santos said, according to Local 10. “I didn’t think it was going to happen, especially like this.”