Controversy dogs Trump’s Miss USA

Miss USA’s traditional media blitz just got very interesting.

One day into Rima Fakih’s reign as Miss USA, raunchy videos of her on a stripper pole surfaced on the Internet after she arrived in New York City for the media blitz.

Donald Trump’s Miss USA organization can’t seem to shake controversy.

Last year, it was Miss California Carrie Prejean, who was stripped of her state crown after scandalous photos of her surfaced after a firestorm erupted over her response to a gay marriage question asked by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

Two years ago, it was the bizarre behavior of Luxor headliner Criss Angel, who flipped out the night of the Miss USA finals. First he flipped the bird to an NBC camera after his girlfriend, Miss Nevada USA Veronica Grabowski, was eliminated in an early round. Afterward Angel sprinted after an eye-patched gossip columnist to deliver a profane tirade while airing some grievances.

Three years ago, Miss USA Tara Conner and Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees were girls-gone-bad poster girls. Conner nearly had her title revoked late in her reign after published reports of her underage drinking, testing positive for cocaine and heroin and kissing Miss Teen USA Katie Blair of Montana. Trump gave her a second chance, and she entered a drug rehab program.

Rees’ problems arose shortly after she won the Miss Nevada USA crown in late 2006. Ten weeks later, she was forced to return the crown after raunchy photos of her hit the Internet with reports that she worked for what was described as a quasi-legal escort service.

Fakih joins Regis and Kelly today (CW cable, Channel 6, 9 a.m.). The pole dancing video was from a radio show contest she entered three years ago. It was shot during an all-girl fitness stripper class held by a Detroit radio station.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Look for an announcement this week that CBS has picked up the Las Vegas-set show called “The Defenders,” starring Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell. It’s set for the fall and is loosely based on the lives and law practice of local defense attorneys Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese.

Steve Grogan has launched “Grogan’s Tavern” on KLAV-AM, 1230, radio every Thursday, 7-8 p.m. A member of the Las Vegas Arts Commission and a mystery writer, Grogan said he named the show after a pub because he wants it to break away from the traditional talk-show concept and be as breezy as bar talk, and he’s the “gadfly bartender.” He plans to feature “intellectual gossip and camaraderie,” restaurants, chefs and “characters.” He’s invited me to join him tonight at 7. He’s the author of “Vegas Die” and his next one, “Captain Cooked,” comes out in July. Both feature treasure-hunt components.

SIGHTINGS

Newly single Steve Wynn, on stage chatting with Miss USA runner-up Morgan Elizabeth Woolard of Oklahoma on Sunday after the pageant. … At Le Reve (Wynn) on Sunday: Olympic gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Cathy Rigby-McCoy, with other International Gymnastics Hall of Fame members including Nadia’s husband, Bart Conner, and Russia’s Yuri Korolev. … At Strip House (Planet Hollywood Resort) on Sunday: Soccer World Cup players Tim Cahill of Australia and Mikel Arteta of Spain in a large wedding party. Arteta was Cahill’s best man for the nuptials. Both are standouts on the Everton club that played for England’s FA Cup last year for the first time in 14 years. The club is owned by Planet Hollywood creator Robert Earl, who was at the restaurant after the Miss USA Pageant to greet his lads.

THE PUNCH LINE

“For the first time, an Arab-American, Rima Fakih, won Miss USA. Rima is very excited and she hopes this will help get her name off the no-fly list.” — Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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