Pageant owners probing Miss Ja Universe
The principals of Miss Universe Jamaica pageant, yesterday said it had suspended payments to 2015 winner Sharlene Radlein, as they are investigating her for breach of contract.
"The matter is now before the court so there is not much I can divulge, but since her return to Jamaica in January this year, after competing internationally, we decided to suspend all payments to her. She is very much aware of why the payments were suspended, but apparently she couldn't wait until our investigation was completed," Karl Williams told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Williams, fellow Miss Universe Jamaica manager Mark McDermoth, and Uzuri International Designs are the registered holder of the Miss Universe franchise, and are being sued by Radlein.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in the Supreme Court on July 20, R%0dlein alleges that the defendants are in breach of an agreement to award her a prize package valued at more than $2 million, and in further breach by not paying over the cash prize portion of the prize due since January. R%0dlein was due to receive 12 equal monthly installments of her cash prize, to be paid on the 25th of each month.
In the lawsuit, R%0dlein stated that, in addition to the cash, the defendants have not honoured the agreement to provide a scholarship to the New York Film Academy, eye-care products from Eye Q and spa treatments courtesy, of Face Place.
Williams said that if after their investigation R%0dlein is proven innocent, her salary would be handed over to her. "There was no issue with us paying her. It had nothing to do with not having the cash. She is under investigation by us. We wanted to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen again," he said.
Williams did not say whether their investigations surround a clause in the agreement for the title winner to be in Jamaica at least 21 consecutive days each month following the pageant. The court documents filed by R%0dlein indicates that she lives in New York in the United States.
Meanwhile, with the 2016 competition just a few weeks away, Williams sought to assure contestants that all prizes will be honoured. The 2016 pageant is scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 27, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
"Contestants have nothing to fear as it relates to receiving payment. Coming out of this, all contestants should have a commitment to perform and stand by their contract. They should also be in Jamaica to execute their duties. They should do things to enhance the brand in a positive way, they should also bring value to the brand," Williams stated.
The defendants have 14 days to acknowledge the claims that have been served on them, and 42 days to file a counter-claim outlining the facts on which they will be relying.
Attempts by THE WEEKEND STAR to speak with R%0dlein's attorneys, Reid, Burrell and Company, proved futile up to press time last night.