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Miss California officials bypass no-show title holder

May 11, 2009 | 12:01 pm

Carrie Prejean, the controversial Miss California, was neither fired nor embraced today by local pageant officials. Instead, frustrated officials said at a news conference in Beverly Hills that they would simply circumvent her and appoint first runner-up Tami Farrell as "our official Beauty of California ambassador."

In effect, they created a shadow Miss California to fulfill the appearances they claim Prejean has been unavailable to do. The co-executive director of the pageant, Keith Lewis, described the local pageant as little more than helpless passengers “on this runaway train.”

He added: “But that ends today.”

The local pageant does not have the authority to fire Prejean as Miss California. Only Donald Trump and the Miss Universe organization can do that. Pageant officials said they would be willing to work with Carrie Prejean, but every time they reach out to her, they are confronted by an army of her handlers and haven’t been able to talk with her.

“Up to now, it’s been very difficult to get in touch with her," said Shanna Moakler, executive director of the California pageant.

-- Carla Hall