New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Miss New Jersey vowed Monday to fight for her crown as it was revealed her blackmailers call themselves ``The Committee to Save Miss America.''
Perfectly coiffed and impervious to the wilting heat smothering the city, Amy Polumbo spoke out for the first time since revealing that somebody with purportedly comprising pictures was trying to get her to step down.
``I deserve to keep the crown,'' the 22-year-old beauty queen told the New York Daily News when asked what she will say when she goes before the local chapter of the Miss America Organization on Thursday.
But as Polumbo made the talk show rounds to defend her reputation, her tormentors had already sent another batch of potentially embarrassing photographs to the pageant organizers — and claimed to have two dozen more sets of pictures ready to go.
``Mailing two of 26 has already been sent,'' they said in an e-mail to the head of the pageant's Garden State chapter, according to board member Mark Soifer.
``If they were so concerned, they would just call her up and say these photos don't reflect positively on Miss America,'' Soifer said. ``I think they're a little cuckoo, myself.''
A 22-year-old senior at Wagner College in Staten Island, Polumbo says the photos were lifted from her private Facebook Web page — and are less revealing than the red bikini she wore in the Miss New Jersey competition. She said captions were added to make them seem lewd.
``I am not doing anything illegal'' in the pictures, Polumbo said on the ``Today'' show. ``They're not bad. I'm a normal college girl.''
Polumbo said it never occurred to her that someone could try to use the images to derail her Miss America bid — and did not rule out the possibility another contestant was behind this.
``Whoever this is, I think they're a very miserable person and I really feel bad for them,'' she said.
Polumbo had difficulty explaining to NBC's Matt Lauer how she could be blackmailed with photos that don't show her drinking, taking drugs or showing skin.
``It's still being investigated,'' she said.
Polumbo's lawyer Anthony Caruso said the New Jersey attorney general's office is investigating the alleged blackmail but a spokesman would not confirm that.
Krista Richman, one of the runners-up in the Miss New Jersey competition, said Polumbo is worried because local pageant officials hold them to ``a higher standard'' and could decide she's not fit to represent the Garden State in the Miss America competition.
``We are put on a pedestal,'' said Richman, 23. ``And pictures like these can be taken out of context, especially if there are captions that make them look worse.''
Polumbo said that before the scandal broke, her mother saw the pictures and ``was mad at me for maybe 10 minutes.''
``She said, maybe you might want to remove them because someone will look at them a different way,'' she told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.
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