Former West Hollywood Mayor and convicted embezzler Valerie Terrigno spared the organizers of the Gay Pride Parade an uncomfortable decision this week when she opted not to ride in a restaurant-sponsored parade vehicle.
Terrigno, who has spent the last month in a Hollywood community treatment center as part of her sentence for embezzling $6,969 in federal Emergency Management Agency funds, was the winner of a recent "Ms. Gay" contest sponsored by Palms, a West Hollywood restaurant.
The winner of the contest customarily appears in the Gay Pride Parade and rides in a convertible rented by the restaurant.
Instead, said Sue Morris, a bartender at the restaurant, Palms will be represented by Cindy Gettig, a former bartender and one of eight contestants. According to a recent article in The News, a lesbian-oriented publication, the contestants were judged on their personality and poise.
Terrigno, 32, could not be reached for comment at the Sun West Community Treatment Center, where she is serving a 60-day sentence for her federal embezzlement conviction. Mack Allen, the program manager at the center, which receives inmates on contract from the federal Bureau of Prisons, said Terrigno is working in a cafe management job as part of a work-furlough program.
Dave Richards, vice president of Christopher Street West, the sponsor of the Gay Pride Parade, said the group had hoped Terrigno would not force the issue, but was prepared to block her appearance. "There's no way she would go down that parade route," he said, adding: "She would disgrace herself if she tried."