Beauty queens caught in ugly legal battle over Mrs. World pageant cash

A former Mrs. New York and a one-time Mrs. Montana are locked in an ugly battle of beauty queens.

Alice Lee Giannetta, 37, a stunning Manhattan attorney with multiple titles under her satin sash, claims Mrs. World pageant official Tana Johnson, 44, wrongly accused her of being a “liar and a thief” and misappropriating pageant cash.

Giannetta was named Mrs. New York in 2016, became Mrs. Hong Kong in 2017, and was crowned Mrs. World in 2018. The Chinese immigrant to the US was the first Asian woman to win Mrs. New York and the first Chinese woman to win the Mrs. World title.

Johnson, a gorgeous pharmacist mother of four, won her Montana tiara in 2017 and is now vice president of the Mrs. World organization.

Calling Giannetta a “disgraced ex Mrs. World” who’d been “sacked,” Johnson claimed in a May press release and Facebook post that Giannetta refused to return an unspecified amount of cash she took from sponsors while working to set up the 2021 Mrs. World competition in Sri Lanka.

“If any of you paid monies to her for any purported Mrs. World related purpose — that’s money stolen! … She had no authorization from Mrs. World to accept revenues for any reason,” Johnson wrote.

The release also railed against Giannetta for questioning the health of Mrs. World founder David Marmel, and slammed her “lack of character.” Marmel, 84, died of cancer on Sept. 1.

In reality, Giannetta claims in court papers, she was working closely with Marmel to bring the competition to Sri Lanka in 2021 via her business contacts in that country; had been “clearly authorized and licensed” to do work on Mrs. World’s behalf, and was even offered an “ownership percentage” of the organization.

She sued Johnson, Mrs. World and Marmel in California in July, and filed a new, $3 million defamation and libel case against Johnson in Manhattan last week.

She called herself “one of the most prolific title holders in the history of the pageant,” who “tirelessly” did charity work and promoted Mrs. World.

Giannetta asserts that it was Marmel who asked her to get more involved in the Mrs. World organization, and said she’s been “irreparably” harmed by Johnson’s “malicious” words.

“I would never file a federal lawsuit unless I was confident of the truth,” Giannetta told The Post. 

“We believe that, at the end of the day, the allegations will be proved erroneous and that the case will be dismissed,” said Johnson’s lawyer, Leonard Steiner.

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