November 5, 2022

USA: Award Winning Investigative Journalist Was Murdered In Las Vegas After Exposing A Democrat Nevada Politician's Corruption Who Blamed Him For Losing Reelection. Judge Denied Bail.

KTLA5 published September 8, 2022: Prosecutor: Official's DNA in slain reporter's fingernails. The DNA of a jailed elected official who was angered by past and upcoming newspaper stories was found on the hands of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who fought for his life while being stabbed to death outside his home, authorities said Thursday.
KTLA5 News, Los Angeles local
written by Ken Ritter
Thursday September 8, 2022

The DNA of a jailed elected official who was angered by past and upcoming newspaper stories was found on the hands of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who fought for his life while being stabbed to death outside his home, authorities said Thursday.

County Public Administrator Robert Telles stood handcuffed in court with bandages on his wrists and police officers at his elbows while a prosecutor told a judge that Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German’s death was a planned attack by an assailant who left his own cellphone at home and waited in a vehicle outside German’s home.

“The published articles regarding a public figure, the public administrator’s office, ruined his political career, likely his marriage, and this was him lashing out at the cause,” Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney Richard Scow said of Telles.

Scow said German was stabbed seven times. His body was found Saturday.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham called a police report detailing the attack “chilling,” including the discovery of wounds on German’s arms and DNA believed to be from Telles in German’s fingernails.

“He was fighting for his life,” the judge said of the 69-year-old longtime journalist. “It appears from this report that Mr. Telles was waiting … and called (German) over to the side of his own home.”

Graham ordered Telles, 45, jailed without bail pending arraignment next Tuesday on a murder charge.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson called German’s death “brutal and meaningless” and the case against Telles important for the community. Wolfson said a decision about whether to seek the death penalty will be made in coming months.

Earlier Thursday, police officials described Telles’ arrest late Wednesday after a brief police standoff at his home.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Telles was hospitalized for what the sheriff called “self-inflicted” wounds, hours after investigators served a search warrant and confiscated vehicles in the criminal probe of German’s killing.

Telles had been a focus of German’s reporting about turmoil, including complaints of administrative bullying, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a subordinate staffer in the county office that handles property of people who die without a will or family contacts. Telles, a Democrat, went on to lose his bid for reelection in the June primary.

“This has been an unusual case from the beginning,” Lombardo told reporters at a news conference, “the murder of an investigative journalist, and the main suspect an elected official here in Clark County.”

Lombardo is the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and is running as a Republican for governor. He said Telles was quickly identified as a suspect with the help of media, including the Review-Journal.

“Every murder is tragic. But the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” Lombardo said.

Telles was identified early in the investigation as a person “upset about articles that were being written by German, as an investigative journalist, that exposed potential wrongdoing,” Las Vegas Police Capt. Dori Koren said.

“Telles had publicly expressed his issues with that reporting,” Koren said. “We found out later there was additional reporting that was pending.”

In addition to Telles’ suspected DNA at the crime scene, Koren said investigators serving a search warrant at Telles’ home found shoes and a distinctive wide straw hat.

Koren said the items matched those worn by a person captured on security camera video wearing a blaze orange shirt and walking toward German’s home. He showed photos of the shoes and the hat and said they had been been cut up.

A murder weapon has not been found, but Lombardo said police have “distorted” video that shows the attack. He said investigators were attempting to enhance it.

Investigators said a distinctive maroon GMC Yukon Denali SUV was seen driving around German’s neighborhood Sept. 2, the morning of the killing, stopping several times. That vehicle, registered to Telles’ wife, departed Telles’ home around 9 a.m. and returned around noon, Koren said.

Police believe German was attacked about 11:15 a.m., and his garage door was open.

Telles was questioned by police Wednesday and then returned home, where he ignored reporters’ questions as he entered and did not respond to officers at his door until SWAT units and an ambulance arrived in the evening.

German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter who covered courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.

In a statement, German’s family called him “a loving and loyal brother, uncle and friend who devoted his life to his work exposing wrongdoing in Las Vegas and beyond.”

“We’re shocked, saddened and angry about his death,” the statement said. “Jeff was committed to seeking justice for others and would appreciate the hard work by local police and journalists in pursuing his killer. We look forward to seeing justice done in this case.”

Glenn Cook, executive editor of the Review-Journal, said the newsroom had mixed emotions following Telles’ arrest.

“We are relieved Robert Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official,” the statement said. “Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”

“Hopefully, the Review-Journal, the German family and Jeff’s many friends can begin the process of mourning and honoring a great man and a brave reporter,” it said.

Telles, a lawyer who practiced probate and estate law, won his elected position in 2018, replacing a three-term public administrator. He lost his June party primary to Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid, who faces a Republican challenger in November. Telles’ term expires Dec. 31.

Clark County officials said Thursday that Telles was suspended and banned from county offices or property pending a review of his position as an elected official.

“County employees of the administrator’s office are currently working from home, and the office will remain closed until a determination is made about when it can reopen,” the statement said.

In the weeks before the June 14 primary, German bylined reports about an office “mired in turmoil and internal dissension” between longtime employees and new hires under Telles’ leadership.

Telles blamed “old-timers” for exaggerating the extent of his relationship with a female staffer and falsely claiming that he mistreated them.

Telles later posted Twitter complaints about German, the Review-Journal reported, including claims in June that German was a bully who was “obsessed” with him.

German, widely known and respected for his tenacity, was working on follow-up reports, the newspaper said Wednesday. He recently filed public records requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials, including Reid and consultant Michael Murphy.

Murphy, the former Clark County coroner hired to address complaints about leadership in the public administrators’ office, did not immediately respond to a telephone message. 
Today published September 8, 2022: Nevada Politician Arrested In Connection With Murder Of Journalist. Police have arrested Nevada politician Robert Telles in connection with the killing of veteran Las Vegas Review journalist Jeff German. Authorities say Telles was the subject of German’s investigative series and recently lost reelection after the stories were published. NBC’s Erin McLaughlin reports for TODAY.
FOX5 Las Vegas October 19, 2022: Man accused in death of Las Vegas reporter denied bail. Robert Telles appeared to pray and cry as his attorney requested a "reasonable" bail or release for the man accused of killing reporter Jeff German.
8 News NOW Las Vegas published October 26, 2022: Ex-politician Robert Telles enters 'not guilty' plea in Las Vegas reporter's killing. Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in the murder case against former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles who is accused of killing Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German.
KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas published October 27, 2022: County employees complained about Rob Telles' behavior and alleged inappropriate relationship. Employees say Telles' alleged affair with that subordinate created an imbalance of power and a toxic, hostile work environment in the Public Administrator's office.

KTNV News, Las Vegas local
written by Darcy Spears
Thursday October 27, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Before former Public Administrator Robert Telles was charged with the murder of Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Jeff German, county staffers who worked for Telles asked for help.

As 13 Investigates found, the responses they got may shock you.

"The first year he was in the office, he had episodes of what I would call pure rage," says Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid. "And it would be the smallest little thing that would set him off. And it was totally unfounded and, you know, unprovoked."

Reid voted for Telles in 2019. This year, she ran against him and won in the Democratic primary. Reid says her about-face was directly due to Telles' behavior.

"There were signs that he might do something harmful," she says.

Running for the elected position to lead the office wasn't Reid's idea. It was a last resort after she says employees' complaints to the County about Telles fell on deaf ears.

"Somebody in H.R. said, 'Well, maybe somebody should run for office.' And we were....that was really disheartening. We were hoping to make it better without that kind of a huge leap."

Video on the Review-Journal's website shows Telles and a female subordinate getting out of the backseat of her car in a mall parking garage. Employees say Telles' alleged affair with that subordinate created an imbalance of power and a toxic, hostile work environment in the Public Administrator's office.

They say Telles was a bully who ruled the office through fear and intimidation, often behaving irrationally and preventing employees from doing the public's business.

When they filed complaints with the County, they were hoping for intervention and a simple outcome.

"Couldn't somebody just let this person know this is not proper behavior?" asks Reid. "It's not professional, it's not appropriate."

Investigator Janelle Lea started working at the Public Administrator's office in 2020.

"I found it to be very solemn," says Janelle. "And I thought, well, maybe that's just the nature of the job and what we're dealing with."

But during her training, Janelle says she realized employees were living in fear after she tried to question a co-worker.

"And she's like, 'no, we can't talk. We're not allowed to talk. I'll get in trouble. Please don't talk to me.'"

She says that wasn't an isolated incident.

"I watched people shake when he would come to work," Janelle explains. "And I befriended a couple of them and they confided in me and I thought, you know, I don't need this. And I left the job for a while."

A few months later, she felt compelled to return. She supported her co-workers as they turned to Jeff German to expose Telles after they say their complaints to the County went nowhere.

Darcy Spears: "What were employees expecting when Jeff German's articles started to be published?"

Janelle: "I think they expected the County to step up and take heed. That maybe with some public, you know, awareness, that that might force their hand to take a closer look at what was really happening," Janelle says. "We lost Jeff because nobody listened."

"I wish the county people would have done their job as human resources," says local attorney Christian Gabroy who specializes in employment law. "I wish the county people, who we paid for, would have stepped in because then this predator could have had his head cut off like a snake where it belongs."

Gabroy says the County failed, likening its response to an ostrich with its head in the sand.

"We see nothing. We hear nothing. We know nothing," Gabroy explains. "But in all actuality, there is information that is provided. There is knowledge that is provided. There is documentation that is provided. But that institutional failure that occurs with these type of predators is pervasive."

Janelle says she gave first-hand accounts to a Clark County H.R. representative about Telles getting aggressive with staffers and about his bizarre and threatening social media posts.

"And their response to me was, 'Your best bet is to make sure he doesn't get reelected.'"

Darcy Spears; "And as far as your experience was, you didn't see anything change?"

Janelle: "No. I saw it get worse."

Darcy: "Got worse?"

Janelle: "I saw employees get more depressed and scared."

Rita says Telles' attitude towards the citizens his office was supposed to serve was also problematic. She recounts one incident when she asked Telles for permission to accommodate a man traveling from out-of-state who's mother had passed away.

"He refused to let me come in on a Saturday--at no additional cost to the taxpayers--to meet this man, to turn over his mother's property," Rita explains, forcing the man to risk his new job by staying in Las Vegas through the following Monday. She recalls Telles' callous comment from later that day. "'See? I told you he could do it if you just made him.'"

Rita explains, "We had the tools to make a very difficult situation better for him and his family. And we were not allowed to do it."

She told the County about that, too. Their response?

"He's an elected official in the county. There's not much they can do," she says. "I was told that my options were, you know, 'How close are you to retirement?'"

"If the institution protects that type of individual, we're no better than a Venezuela. We're no better than a Cuba. We're no better than a Russia, because that allows that corrupted official to harm those individuals," says Gabroy. "No elected official and no person is above the law in the United States."

We asked Gabroy about something else the County reportedly told employees--that Telles' behavior didn't rise to a level of discrimination or retaliation where intervention was possible.

Gabroy says the allegation of Telles having an affair with a subordinate should have been enough.

"The after-effects that flow from that and permeate from that--the fruit of the poisonous tree in the employment sector--it creates that type of environment and creates that type of division that the law is supposed to protec," says Gabroy. "And it's a shame. It's a real shame, the harm that's been done."

Citing confidentiality needs with their H.R. reporting process, Clark County declined our request to talk on-camera about these issues for this report.

They provided the following statement instead:
"On behalf of the 10,000 employees of Clark County, the organization has a formal reporting process for employees to raise workplace concerns. In doing so, Clark County's Human Resource and Office of Diversity departments thoroughly investigate each report and provide the appropriate follow-up action, including discipline, if deemed appropriate. Due the confidential nature of this process, the County is unable to comment on the specific allegations raised by some employees in the department of Public Administrator, though these employees are able to share their personal perspectives. While it is true that Clark County is not able to remove an elected official from office unless a judge or a grand jury finds cause for removal, the County's role to ensure all employees are able to work in a safe and productive environment allows for appropriate measures to be taken, when determined to be necessary, even if the department head is an elected official. Clark County has taken the appropriate steps when complaints were received through our formal reporting channels to investigate and address the complaints as appropriate."
The county's statement continues:

"2020 - a report was received by an employee in the department of Public Administrator. The report was thoroughly investigated and the report was addressed with the applicable employees in the office, including Mr. Telles. No other complaints were filed."

"2022 - no complaints were filed prior to the Review Journal reporting on conduct and behavior in the department of Public Administrator. A third-party contractor was brought in by the County to sever the reporting relationship between Mr. Telles and the employees in the department of Public Administrator. Following the RJ story, some employee complaints were received. The complaints received by Clark County's Human Resource's department have been investigated and addressed as appropriate with the applicable employees. The County continues to investigate complaints made to the Office of Diversity."

"To date, no reports of workplace violence have been alleged or received through formal reporting channels. As part of the investigative process, employees are reminded of their rights, including that they are protected from retaliation and that they can request to be added to the organization's transfer list to be moved into another department and position for which they are qualified."

Rita Reid sent this response to the above statement from Clark County:
The County’s public comment that you shared with me yesterday did not come as a surprise. This has been another difficult week of reminders of a horrific crime and painful loss - an unnecessary loss - of Jeff German, an individual who was willing to hold a light up to the darkness and take a close look inside to see what may need to improve. It took courage to do what he did and maybe all of us can learn from his final acts of service to our community. I and others will continue trying to live by Jeff’s example and be as courageous as possible, even at times of disappointment.

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