Las Vegas, NV – A veteran investigative reporter was murdered, and police have charged a Clark County official who had blamed the journalist’s reporting for his Democratic primary loss in June.
Investigative reporter Jeff German, 69, had been with the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 12 years and covered courts, politics, labor, government, and organized crime, the Associated Press reported.
German most recently spent several months covering allegations of administrative bullying and favoritism in the office of Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles.
He also reported on Telles’ relationship with a subordinate staffer who ran the county office that handles the estates of people who die without wills or family contacts, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Telles, a probate and estate law attorney, was elected to office in 2018.
Ahead of the June primary, German reported that Telles’ office was “mired in turmoil and internal dissension” between longtime employees and those hired by the new county administrator, the Associated Press reported.
Co-workers secretly filmed Telles with the employee in the backseat of her car in a parking garage, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Telles claimed reports of his relationship with the female employee were greatly exaggerated and blamed “old timers” whom he said also made false claims that he mistreated them.
“All my new employees are super-happy and everyone’s productive and doing well,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal ahead of his failed primary bid. “We’ve almost doubled the productivity in the office.”
Telles denied allegations of an inappropriate relationship and claimed the subordinate employee was just someone he “could lean on” while trying to change the atmosphere in the public administrator’s office, the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
But the damage had been done by the series German reported in May and Telles placed third in his party’s primary.
Telles complained about German’s reporting on social media and called him a bully who was “obsessed” with him after his failed Democratic primary bid for re-election in June, the Associated Press reported.
He posted a scathing letter on his campaign website that blamed the Las Vegas Review-Journal for his loss and claimed the allegations were false.
Some employees also though the letter contained a threat of retaliation against those who had reported Telles.
But German didn’t stop investigating the county administrator after he lost the primary election, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
In fact, the journalist had recently filed a public records request for emails and text messages between Telles and Las Vegas Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid, consultant Michael Murphy, and estate coordinator Roberta Lee-Kennett, the woman with whom the county public administrator had been accused of having an “inappropriate relationship.”
German was found stabbed to death outside his northwest Las Vegas home on Sept. 3, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has said investigators believe German was murdered during an altercation a day earlier.
The Clark County coroner determined that German was killed by “multiple sharp force injuries” and ruled his death a homicide, the Associated Press reported.
Robert Telles, a Democrat official in Nevada who recently lost a primary, is being investigated over the murder of reporter Jeff German.
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) September 7, 2022
Police released a surveillance video image that showed a suspect in construction attire and a red GMC Denali, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Telles was photographed the next day next to the same car in his driveway less than six miles from where German was murdered.
LVMPD Sheriff Joe Lombardo said investigators served search warrants on Telles’ home and vehicles on Wednesday and then SWAT officers arrested the public official at his home hours later, the Associated Press reported.
“We are relieved Robert Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official,” Glenn Cook, the executive editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said.
Las Vegas Justice Court records showed that Telles was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday afternoon.