Local News

Miss N.C. Case Heads Back To Arbitration

Posted April 7, 2003 5:55 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina crown controversy will go back to arbitration.

An arbitrator will decide the breach of contract lawsuit filed by Rebekah Revels against the Miss North Carolina organization, a judge ruled Monday.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Narley Cashwell previously had ordered arbitration in Revels' lawsuit against eight individuals, including five pageant board members.

Revels' attorney, Barry Nakell, objected to Cashwell's order, but said after the hearing he was satisfied with the judge's decision. He said he hoped arbitration could begin in late May or early June, allowing a decision before the next Miss North Carolina pageant.

That would be "in time for the new pageant so she could be celebrated as Miss North Carolina 2002 at the pageant and then crown the new Miss North Carolina," Nakell said after the hearing.

Harley Jones, attorney for the state organization, sought the arbitration order after Cashwell denied his request to dismiss Miss North Carolina as a defendant in one of two lawsuits that Nakell has filed in Wake and Robeson counties.

Revels won the crown last June but resigned in July after an ex-boyfriend told state pageant officials he had topless photographs of her. She later said she was forced to step down.

Her successor, Misty Clymer, represented North Carolina in the Miss America pageant, but Revels was invited to represent the United States in the Miss World competition.

After the Miss America pageant, Cashwell ruled that neither woman could claim she was Miss North Carolina until the matter was settled.

Revels' case against the Miss America Organization is still scheduled to go to trial in Robeson County, Nakell said. Last month, Cashwell denied a motion by the Miss America Organization to send that lawsuit to arbitration.

The Miss America pageant has declined to send the case to an arbitrator except in Atlantic City, N.J., where it's based.

"We're going to have a trial against the Miss America Organization, which is what we wanted. And we have arbitration against Miss North Carolina, which is satisfactory," he said.

If Revels doesn't agree with the arbitrator's ruling, then Nakell said he could go back to court and challenge the decision to send the case to arbitration.