Miss America 2015 Scandal: Miss Illinois Scholarship Director Abused Beauty Queens?

Amalia Schwerdtmann is at the center of a Miss America 2015 scandal. As the head of the Miss Illinois Scholarship Association, Schwerdtmann and her husband, Glenn, are being accused of having a “dark side” which includes abusive treatment. If any beauty queen dares object, then it is alleged the Miss Illinois scholarship director would “threaten to withhold their money” even though they are forced to live on $1,000 a month, which is right at the poverty level.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the new Miss USA 2015 upset some pageantry fans because she seemingly violated the Miss USA contract by appearing naked on film. When Olivia Jordan’s nude scene was brought up in interviews, she defended her actions because ” nudity is sometimes necessary to tell a story.”

When it comes to Miss America 2015, scholarships have always been at the forefront of the beauty pageant. While Miss USA was launched by Catalina Swimsuits in order to promote the company, Miss America was founded as a scholarship program. So, if the scholarship program is abused, it is considered quite a Miss America scandal.

This new Miss America 2015 scandal apparently goes back nine years. Amalia Schwerdtmann, and her contractor husband Glenn, have been running the Miss Illinois Scholarship Association from their home all this time, but some are claiming they have ruled with an “iron fist.” It is claimed the beauty queens are forced to cut off ties to others, and their personal cell phones and messages are seized.

Doug Black, a former board chairman, explained the level of control exerted by the Schwerdtmann’s.

“What you have is one person in charge, chairman of the board, filling all of the operations,” Black said, according to WGN. “That same person has inserted herself as the business manager of Miss Illinois, controls all of the appearances and the rates for all of the appearance fees. And then her husband is the treasurer. So they’re basically controlling all the operations and all the money within one household.”

Paul Buchheit is the father of Miss Illinois 2014 Marisa Buchheit, and he claims the Miss Illinois director gave a dark side to the Miss America beauty pageant.

“[Marisa has] always been upbeat, confident, positive, a happy person,” Buchheit explained. “But there is a terrible dark side when she has to deal with, well, Amalia or anybody on the board, it’s demeaning. It’s deceiving often times. It’s dehumanizing.”

Image consultant Stephanie Pillar claims the details of the abuses go back for years. More than 70 people have resigned their voluntary positions since the Schwerdtmann family took over. Pillar says Megan Ervin, Miss Illinois 2012, was warned to behave via a threat.

“[Amalia Schwerdtmann] takes their phone. She goes through their personal messages. It’s brutal stuff,” Pillar said. “Amalia did cut some pieces, some tassels and strings off one of Megan’s favorite shirts and left it on the bed for her. And was told briefly, ‘When you are bad, I will punish you.’”

In response to the controversy, the Miss America Organization fired Amalia Schwerdtmann “because of breaches of the licensee agreement.” Since the license was “terminated,” Miss America also said any money should be “turned over to MAO because the Illinois Organization … has no authority to operate as part of the Miss America program.”

According to the Cook County Record, the former Miss Illinois director is appealing the decision, and she is even suing Miss America for $69,205 in ticket sales and other money. The Miss America lawsuit is also demanding punitive damages against the Miss America organization.

Writing from the Miss Illinois message boards, some have questioned whether the beauty queens who competed for Miss Illinois 2015 should be able to sue.

“With this lawsuit being filed I have a question? Why could the contestants from this year not file a lawsuit of their own for damages. There was a lot of money spent not just by the contestant but her family and friends. Hotel, food, tickets all add up fast and then they suffer through a week of hell and then a questionable end result.”

What do you think?

[Image via Pete Hudeck Photo]