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Florida GOP leader apologizes for trashing hotel room and says he’ll seek help for alcoholism

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — A leader of the Republican Party of Florida has apologized for being excessively drunk and urinating and vomiting all over his room at a hotel last week, saying he has been dealing with alcoholism and mental health issues.

George Riley, executive director of the state GOP, said Tuesday that he was deeply sorry for his behavior during a stay at a hotel in Kissimmee, near Orlando.

“I have been dealing with alcoholism and mental health issues,” Riley, 43, told the Tampa Bay Times. “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.”

Riley’s behavior is the latest black eye for the Florida GOP. Earlier this year, the party ousted its chairman, Christian Ziegler, following an investigation into a rape accusation. Police later cleared him.

The party’s current chairman, Evan Power, didn’t immediately respond to a Wednesday text message seeking comment about Riley, whose phone number was blacked out in the investigation report.

Riley’s sister reached out to Osceola County sheriff’s deputies on Friday because she was worried that she hadn’t heard from in a week and knew he was traveling on business to Kissimmee. She and Riley’s father told deputies that Riley suffers from a medical condition, which was redacted in an incident report, and that he needs to take medication.

Deputies went to the hotel where Riley’s sister told them he was staying and spoke to a front desk associate and two managers. They told the deputies that they had refused to extend Riley’s stay in the middle of last week because of his excessive drinking and damage he had caused to his room, including broken electric blinds, according to the incident report obtained through a public records request.

One hotel manager told deputies that Riley had bought so much alcohol from a store in the hotel that the manager had to order more. After being denied an extension of his stay, Riley packed up and left.

Using pings from his cellphone, deputies on Saturday located Riley at another area hotel, where he was under the influence of alcohol, the report said. Deputies examined him and determined that he didn’t pose a risk to himself or anyone else and didn’t meet the criteria to be forcibly committed for evaluation.

The Associated Press

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