Official denies bullying guard

A Corona del Mar High School security guard says Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle threatened to have him deported or fired for trying to enforce a school rule, an allegation Daigle denies.

Daigle said Thursday the guard misunderstood her response when he ordered her off the school track last spring.

"He said to me, 'I'm going to kick you out,' and I mimicked what he said to me," she said.

Daigle said it took her by surprise to be told she couldn't jog on the track. The school policy was unclear and no signs were posted to explain it, she said.

"In my case I've been running at the track for several years and everybody there is very friendly," she said. "It's used frequently by the community."

As Daigle described it, security guard Fernando Ospina chased her in a golf cart and intimidated her, after which they exchanged words.

"All of a sudden this guy pulls up on a golf cart and tells me that I can't be there," she said. "I think anyone would have a reaction to that."

Ospina has a slightly different story. Of the four women jogging on the track that day, three left agreeably after he and another guard explained they needed permission from the principal to be on campus during school hours.

It's a long-standing policy that hadn't been enforced until last year, he said.

The fourth woman "just didn't want to hear it, said that she was City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and didn't we know who she was," Ospina said Thursday.

She didn't want to follow the rules and became hostile, so Ospina said he'd have to call the police if she wouldn't leave, he said.

After she asked his name, Ospina said, "Then she said, 'You must live in Costa Mesa. I'll have you deported. I'll have your job.' "

Finally Daigle and Ospina went to see the school principal, and Daigle apologized for the "miscommunication," Ospina said.

Two of Daigle's supporters, Mayor Don Webb and Councilman Tod Ridgeway — who have endorsed Daigle for election — stood by her and said they're surprised by Ospina's accusation.

"I would say I find it hard to believe she would do what the security guard has said that she did," Webb said. "I feel that she's doing a good job on the council and this really surprises me to hear that type of allegation."

Ridgeway said council members must always remember their humility, and even he has on occasion thrown his weight as a councilman around.

Even if what Ospina alleges is true, Ridgeway said, "Does the incident impugn her integrity and her ability to be a councilperson? No."

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