Missing Florida GOP Executive Director ‘Deeply Sorry’ After Being Found at a Resort Under the Influence of Alcohol

Using pings from his cellphone, police located Mr. Riley on April 12 in Lake Buena Vista.
Missing Florida GOP Executive Director ‘Deeply Sorry’ After Being Found at a Resort Under the Influence of Alcohol
A public notice announcing that missing person, Florida resident George Riley, Jr., had been recovered in good health. (Courtesy of Osceola Sheriff's Department)
Patricia Tolson

A Florida GOP leader who had been reported missing for two days has been found at a resort, under the influence of alcohol.

George Riley Jr., the executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, was reported missing on April 2 to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office after family members were unable to contact him for four days.

Mr. Riley had told his family he would be traveling to Kissimmee for work. He checked into the Hampton Inn on March 28 and extended his reservation to March 29. However, that was the day all communication with his family stopped.

Investigators were told that the 43-year-old GOP executive had been kicked out of the Hampton Inn in Kissimmee on April 3 after he trashed his room and purchased all of the alcohol available at the hotel store, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Mr. Riley allegedly “urinated and vomited throughout” the hotel room and broke the electrical blinds, according to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

While Mr. Riley tried to extend his reservation a second time on April 3, the hotel staff refused his request due to his “extensive drinking and damage caused to the room,” the report said, according to the Times.

The assistant general manager at the Kissimmee Hampton Inn told investigators that Mr. Riley purchased so much alcohol from the hotel’s convenience store that he had to keep ordering more to keep up with his numerous purchases, according to the sheriff’s report.

In addition to having his request to stay longer denied, the hotel charged Mr. Riley an additional fee to clean the vomit and urine from the room as well as a fee to replace the broken blinds. Employees told police that Mr. Riley did not object to the additional charges.

After speaking to the hotel staff at the Kissimmee Hampton Inn, Osceola deputies began searching for Mr. Riley at other hotels in the area.

Using pings from his cellphone, deputies located Mr. Riley on April 12 at the B Resort and Spa in Lake Buena Vista.

“He was located in good health however was under the influence of alcohol,” the investigators wrote in a follow-up report, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

However, because deputies determined that Mr. Riley did not meet the criteria to be detained under the Baker Act or Marchman Act, Florida statutes that empower authorities to involuntarily commit individuals struggling with mental illness or drug addiction and are determined to be a threat to themselves or others, he was released.

After being released, Mr. Riley was reunited with his family.

He later apologized for his behavior in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

“I’m deeply sorry. I have been dealing with alcoholism and mental health issues,” Mr. Riley told the local paper. “I will pay for any damages that were caused. I apologize to the employees for my bad behavior and I will be seeking help soon.”

“I’ll be seeking help so I can be a better father, a better person, and a better all-around employee,” he added.

Mr. Riley began his career with the Florida Republican Party as a field staffer in Tampa in 2008, according to the website.

Over the years, he has served as a regional field manager, the director of party development, and worked as the political director during the 2014 election cycle.

He first served as the executive director from 2016 to 2019. Since 2020, Mr. Riley served as Executive Director for Conservatives for Clean Energy-Florida and as a Senior Advisor to Florida’s Republican Party. He was reappointed to the position of executive director by Florida GOP Chairman Evan Power on March 8.

“George Riley is a tremendous asset to our Party, and I’m pleased to have him serve as Executive Director as we continue to make Florida a Republican stronghold,” Mr. Power said at the time.

Mr. Riley currently lives in Tallahassee with his two daughters.

Patricia Tolson is an award-winning Epoch Times reporter who covers human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights. Ms. Tolson has 20 years of experience in media and has worked for outlets including Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]
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