Okay readers, although Donald Trump is a renowned New York developer and contractor, we understand this post has only marginal relevance to construction. Nevertheless, arbitration is a very common dispute resolution vehicle, and we could not pass up the opportunity to feature a picture of Miss Pennsylvania on these otherwise mundane pages of construction related topics.

Sheena Monnin of Cranberry, Pennsylvania was Miss Pennsylvania USA in 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Service and a Master’s Degree in Psychology. Miss Pennsylvania accused the Miss Universe Organization (owned and run by Donald Trump) of fixing the Miss USA 2012 pageant. While it has always struck me as creepy that a multi-billionaire, known for his comb-over Davy Crockett cap, would have an interest in a young-womens’ beauty pageant, Trump taught this woman a lesson in arbitration she will not likely forget.

When Monnin entered the Miss USA 2012 competition, she signed an entry form that barred her from harming the pageant’s reputation until the day after the Miss USA 2012 had been selected. Ms. Monnin, likely no Ms. Congeniality and perhaps misunderstanding or misconstruing the form she signed, decided to post a rant on Facebook criticizing the pageant as “fraudulent,” “lacking in morals,” “inconsistent,” and “in many ways trashy,” on the very evening the winner of the pageant was crowned. Apparently Miss Pennsylvania’s “talent” was not reading comprehension.

Then, Ms. Monnin appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and repeated her accusations. In an interview Monnin claimed that another contestant, Miss Florida USA saw the names of the top five on a telecast paper in the same order in which they were called out. When questioned by the Miss Universe Organization officials, however, Miss Florida expressed shock over Monnin’s claim. Rather, Miss Florida said that she saw the list used in the rehearsal in which all of the contestants participated, that she never identified to Monnin the names on the list, and that the names that she did see did not correspond to the names of the five announced finalists. Indeed, the actual winner of the Miss USA Pageant-Miss Rhode Island-was not on the list seen by Miss Florida.

Regardless, Monnin stated she knew Miss Florida had been truthful with her because Monnin “had many years of psychological training” and she could tell when someone is joking or being serious. Seems like that Master’s Degree in Psychology really paid off.

Donald, upset with Monnin’s antics and particularly with Monnin’s allegation that the competition was “f – ing rigged,” did what any bored billionaire/contractor/developer would do, he sued the virtually judgment proof[1] contestant as the Owner of the Miss Universe Organization.  Rather than bringing the suit in superior court, however, he filed for arbitration in New York.

The arbitrator concluded Monnin’s statements were false and malicious because Monnin lacked evidence and had made no attempt to verify her allegations. Monnin claimed the Pageant was rigged within minutes of being passed over as one of the 16 semifinalists and before she had any purported factual basis for her allegations of rigging.  The arbitrator continued, “[i]n addition, Monnin had a dual motivation for malicious statements: (1) she was a disgruntled contestant who failed to make it past the preliminary competition; and (2) she strongly disagreed with the Pageant’s decision to allow transgender contestants to compete, and had considered dropping out of the Pageant even before the Miss USA competition had begun.” Ultimately, the arbitrator ordered Monnin to pay $5 million for the economic loss caused by her defamation!

Comment: As far as Monnin is concerned, we guess that you can have beauty and brains, but maybe not both. As far as Trump goes, he is probably trying to figure out how he can fire someone who has already quit.



[1] Since debtor’s prisons are things of the past, a person is “judgment proof” when they lack funds to pay a potential judgment.

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