The majority of Miss America 2018 Cara Mund’s allegations of bullying and belittling by Miss America Organization leadership were unfounded, according to a report issued less than 12 hours after the crowing of her successor.
“To the extent that Ms. Mund alleged behaviors that fall under the umbrella of general disrespect and ‘bullying,’ none of the information gathered indicates that she was treated in a way which would be considered inappropriate either in a typical business setting or in this particular work context,” according to a report by Texas-based human resources consulting firm Employment Practices Solutions, Inc.
According to the report, Mund declined to be interviewed until after the competition, but the investigation continued anyway, using allegations referenced in a five-page letter Mund released on Aug. 16.
Mund’s attorney Roger Haber, who previously called the investigation “flawed” and “rushed,” said the report was “dishonest” and a “complete whitewash.”
“It contains a series of unsupported conclusions, without any factual basis. It was what we expected when the MAO decided to proceed without speaking with Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, the person who raised the allegations in the first place,” Haber said in a statement Monday.
“It was clear from the outset that the MAO sought to dismiss the allegations and brush off the matter, just as it had ignored Cara’s concerns for the past nine months.”
A representative for Mund’s lawyer said they are not commenting on any further legal actions at this time.
In her letter, Mund accused MAO board chairwoman Gretchen Carlson, President and CEO Regina Hopper and several staff members of bullying her during her time as Miss America.
“I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future,” Mund wrote.
In response, attorneys representing the Miss America Organization hired the firm to conduct a neutral “fact-finding” review of Mund’s claims.
Haber wrote a letter asking to suspend the investigation, as the interviews were conducted while Mund was in Atlantic City for the 2019 competition.
In the report, Stephanie Davis, president of Employment Practices Solutions, said she conducted interviews between Aug. 27 to Sept. 5 with 14 witness believed to have first-hand knowledge of Mund’s allegations.
“While we were hopeful that Cara would have participated in the investigation, the board accepts the report and its findings,” the Miss America Organization said in a statement.
The report acknowledged that the leadership changes and “tumult” in the transition was “compounded by dramatic changes to the organization and its branding, and ineffective communication about direction and guidelines, all of which engendered confusion, frustration, and distress among multiple witnesses.”
But it said the behavior does not describe intentional disrespect.
“This would indicate an issue to be addressed but does not rise to the level of intentionally inappropriate behavior,” the report said.
The same day the report was released, the new Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin had her first public appearance since her crowning Sunday night — the iconic toe dip on the Atlantic City beach.
With Franklin was Hopper, who declined to comment or take questions Monday afternoon. She referred to the official statement released from the organization.