That Donald Trump. Just last week, there was all this attention about his hotel planned for Soho hitting a snag - well, actually many, many human remains - when a graveyard was found. The Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order and community groups criticizing the 45-floor Trump Soho Hotel rejoiced for the moment. And then Tara Conner happened.
After a weekend of salacious gossip about Miss USA's wild behavior - underage drinking! kissing Miss Teen USA! making out with Travis Barker! dating clubbers! reports of snorting coke in club bathrooms! - Trump, a co-owner of the pageant, got to play benevolent savior and allow Conner to keep her tiara, as long as she completes rehab and stays clean. (And then when she leaves her title next April, Conner can do whatever she wants!)
Within hours of Trump's decision, while pageant officials mulled what sort of counseling to get for their star, Conner was already backtracking - telling MSNBC, "I wouldn't say that I have a big drinking problem."
She seemed to equate rehab with the luxury gift bags given out at the flashy parties she attended on the job: "Anytime anyone gives you free anything, like therapy or rehab, you take it."
It's also pretty wild to see the tabloids label her a "drug-snorting, man-eating Miss USA" (Post) or describing her as "drinking hard, snorting cocaine and hooking up with a long string of men" (Daily News). And if you think we're the only people suspicious about this, CBS News' Public Eye wonders about Trump's year-end publicity grab (though no mention of the Trump SoHo is made) - hey, lovely bikini clad ladies make good copy and video!
At any rate, the conspiracy buff in us thinks this seems like the perfect thing to get people's minds off a graveyard that's situated at a controversial building site. Which leads us to wonder what's been happening at the Trump SoHo site lately? Did construction resume? Or has it been dead (hee!)? And for TiVoing: An E! special about "The Hidden Lives of Miss USA" from this past year's pageant - TMZ.com reports that once Conner moved to her Trump Place apartment on the Upper West Side, she says, "I want to soak up everything that I can." (Hee hee!)
Update: The NY Sun has news on the Trump Soho: The Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation "is asking Mayor Bloomberg to investigate whether the site of the Trump SoHo condo hotel was a stopover on the Underground Railroad. Currently, excavation is stalled on the site..." Nice move, Andrew Berman!
Top photograph of Miss USA Tara Conner weeping at her press conference yesterday by Rick Maiman/AP; bottom photograph of the Trump Soho site, taken in November when work was happening, by Neil Epstein