Miss California was forced to give up her crown after accounting errors accidentally mixed up the rankings of the winner with the runners-up.

Miss Los Angeles, Christina Silver, at first won the crown, but the next day she had to give up her title to the second runner-up, Miss Barstow, Raquel Beezly, after she was informed of the accounting error. Beezly will represent California at the Miss USA contest in April.

An accountant took the ranking forms from the five celebrity judges and assigned a point value to each contestant, with the result confirmed by an auditor. But the points had been mistakenly reversed, with the lowest number of points among the four runners-up mistakenly going to the winner.

Silva is allowed to keep her crown, sash and necklace, and the contest organizers will return her $1,500 entry fee, but she has hired a lawyer and called for an investigation.

“They never could explain their accounting error, but told me that if I didn’t give up my crown to Miss Barstow, my personal integrity could be questioned, and my career could potentially suffer,” said Silva in a statement.

Even the first runner-up, Miss Woodland Hills, Brandi Williams, is confused by the accounting error. “I was notified by phone after it all took place that there was a supposed mix-up in the ballots and that Christina gave up her crown,” said Williams in a statement. “Somewhat in shock, I thought as the first runner-up I was to take the title, if for any reason Miss California USA 2008 was asked to relinquish her crown. My heart breaks for Christina and something is terribly wrong here. This just isn’t adding up.”

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