Breaking News in Newport Beach

Local water polo star injured in South Korea balcony collapse

U.S. water polo player Kaleigh Gilchrist was among the injured early Saturday morning when a balcony and staircase collapsed at a nightclub in Gwangju, South Korea. Gilchrist is a former star player for Newport Harbor High School and USC. She was also a 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

Gilchrist was in the Coyote Ugly nightclub following the U.S. team’s gold medal victory in the FINA World Championships.

She suffered a serious laceration on her left leg and required surgery. Two people were killed in the incident and more than a dozen others were injured.

The accident happened around 2:30 a.m. in the club that was located near the athletes’ village. Some 370 people were inside the nightclub at the time.

On Friday night, the U.S. defeated Spain 11-6 to win their third consecutive World Championship gold medal.

Two other athletes from the men’s water polo team were also injured in the incident.

Former hospital administrator in trouble again

Former Corona del Mar resident Michael D. Drobot, 74, has agreed to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity and criminal contempt of court.

Drobot, who previously operated Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, is currently serving a five-year sentence in Taft Correctional Institution in Kern County for orchestrating the largest fraud in California history.

He now faces an additional maximum sentence of 50 years for the new charges when he’s arraigned in the coming weeks in U.S. District Court. 

In 2014, Drobot pleaded guilty to paying some $50 million in bribes to doctors and other professionals in order to have patients’ spinal surgeries and other procedures directed to his hospital. Thousands of patients were affected, and many have outstanding lawsuits against Drobot still pending.

At the time of Drobot’s sentencing in 2014, he was ordered to forfeit $10 million, including some collector cars, but failed to do so.