Pageant Evaluating 'Personal Issues' Of Miss USA Tara Conner

NEW YORK (AP) - The organizers of the Miss USA pageant issued a statement Thursday denying reports that the reigning pageant winner has been dethroned, but acknowledged they are evaluating her "behavioral and personal issues."

"Miss USA Tara Conner has not been dethroned," Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said in a statement.

The statement comes on the heels of a report that Conner, 20, had engaged in conduct unbecoming of a Miss USA.

Shugart did not say what the Kentucky native had done to prompt the evaluation.

"The Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Donald J. Trump will be evaluating her behavioral and personal issues to see what we can do to work with her, and what we will do about her reign going forward," Shugart said. "Mr. Trump will make a determination and announcement within the coming week."

Lark-Marie Anton, a Miss Universe Organization spokeswoman, declined to elaborate on any problems that Conner might be having.

Donald Trump and NBC co-own Miss USA. The pageant is part of the Miss Universe Organization.

Trump did not immediately return a phone call left with his assistant.

Conner has been competing in pageants since age 4. She won the title of Young Miss Russell County in Kentucky at the county fair when she was 13 and by 2002, she was second runner-up in Miss Teen USA.

She finished fourth in the Miss Universe pageant.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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