Police arrest county official Robert Telles in murder of Vegas reporter Jeff German

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Las Vegas police arrested a county official Wednesday night on suspicion of murder in the death of a journalist he previously accused of waging a “smear” campaign against him.

The arrest of Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, a 45-year-old Democrat who oversees securing the assets of deceased persons, followed an hour-long standoff after Telles barricaded himself in his home. It also came hours after police first carried out a search warrant at Telles’ home and almost a week later. Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German was found dead on Friday outside his home.

Telles was loaded out of his home on a stretcher and into an ambulance, according to a Review-Journal journalist. A press conference is program for Thursday morning.

Telles’ potential connection to German’s death came to light after some of German’s colleagues saw cops arrive at Telles’ home on Wednesday morning. Detectives at the scene confirmed that the search was linked to the murder of German, the Review-Journal reported.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Las Vegas Review-Journal Editor Glenn Cook said “Robert Telles’ arrest is both a huge relief and an outrage to the Review-Journal newsroom”.

“We are relieved that Robert Telles is in police custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for whistleblowing an elected official,” Cook added. “Journalists cannot do the important work that our communities need if they fear that reporting the facts will lead to violent reprisals. We thank the Las Vegas police for their urgency and hard work and for immediately recognizing the terrible significance of Jeff’s murder. »

Cops have yet to release the motive for the German’s murder. They said the 69-year-old was found dead outside his home on Friday, fatally stabbed in an “altercation” they say took place the day before.

Detectives had released grainy photos of someone wearing a straw hat, gloves and an orange long-sleeved shirt who they believe was involved. Police also described an interesting vehicle: a 2007-2014 red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali with chrome door handles and a sunroof.

The journalists of Review-Journal staked out Telles’ home this week, claiming to have spotted him in his driveway with an SUV that matched one described by police on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the car was towed away just after noon.

Rita Reid, a senior supervisor under Telles who defeated him in the June Democratic primary, said she had faith in law enforcement and “they must have seen something worth seeing.” ‘go forward”.

She declined to further discuss Telles’ arrest on the porch of her Henderson home on Wednesday night. The lights were out inside his home around 8 p.m. She answered a knock on the door only after peeking through her front door shutters and asking for ID.

“I suspected [the knock was a reporter] and I was hoping it wasn’t something else because right now we’re still pretty uncomfortable,” she said before praising German for his reporting, which she says helped the administrator’s office to begin to better serve the county. German was an advocate for workers in a “divided” office, Reid said.

“He was ready to speak truth to power and it cost him his life,” she said.

Telles did not hesitate to publicly declare his hatred for the late journalist and had just been defeated in a re-election primary race, for which he blamed the German.

Most of Telles’ vitriol comes from a series of stories published by the Review-Journal this summer who claimed he was an abusive boss who had an inappropriate relationship with another county official at work.

To understand the story, German spoke to people who worked under Telles. They described him as a hostile boss who played favorites. These workers also claimed that property coordinator Roberta Lee-Kennett had special powers in the office because of her personal relationship with Telles.

Workers said they took video of Lee-Kennett and Telles, who is married and has children, hanging in the back of his car at work, the Review-Journal reported. Telles, 45, denied every charge, and Lee-Kennett also denied any type of inappropriate relationship.

The last story German published about Telles was to announce that he had conceded in the primary race, after placing third.

With his days as a county official numbered after his loss in June, Telles took to Twitter and his website to express his anger towards the German, while claiming that Lee-Kennett was not a mistress but someone he “could lean on” while trying to change the mood of his office.

A Tweeter de Telles accused German of having prepared “false smear No. 4”.

‘I think it’s crazy that I didn’t crawl into a hole and die,’ read another Tweeter.

In a rambling post on his former campaign website, titled ‘THE TRUTH’, Telles alleged that German had cost him the election with the ‘right’. Review-Journal.

“You may believe I betrayed your trust,” Telles wrote. “You may think I’m not the man I’ve always presented myself with. Some of you may not know all the good work I’ve done for Las Vegas. I hope that at the bottom of this page you will see what I know to be true The article was wrong.

After his loss in June, Telles announced that he would return to practicing probate law.

Telles, who was seen returning home on Wednesday in some sort of white jumpsuit, could not be reached for comment by The Daily Beast via messages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and text. He did not answer a number listed in his name, and local reporters reported that he did not respond when police returned to the scene and attempted to knock on his door in the late afternoon.

The editor of the Review-Journal said German never raised concerns about his personal safety or threats made against him.

“The Review-Journal the family is devastated to lose Jeff,” editor Glen Cook said in a statement. “He was the gold standard of the news industry. It’s hard to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today without his many years of lighting up dark places.

Benjamin Donlon, a former Nevada Assemblyman candidate, told The Daily Beast that he was not shocked by the news of the search warrant, saying “it seems like anyone who gets on the wrong side of Such have problems”.

“Such is a job,” he added.

Donlon, like German, was the target of Telles’ public anger, as he was accused of impersonating an employee of the office in succession matters. The failed Republican candidate for Assembly District 16 has denied the claims, insisting he works for a company that works with attorneys to find heirs for estates to see if they need help. be represented.

Telles’ office is responsible for securing the property of recently deceased residents and tracing next of kin.

The departmental public administrator website currently features a banner that reads: ‘Please note that a man named Benjamin Donlon has contacted the families of deceased persons. He claims he is a representative of this office. Benjamin Donlon is not, and has never been, an employee of the Clark County Public Administrator.

For his part, Donlon believes the banner is still on the county’s website because Telles was “a bit concerned” after his re-election loss.

He added that although he didn’t know German, he knew the journalist had an “excellent reputation in town”.

Indeed, German was praised early and often after his death by colleagues who admired his spirit and dedication to his work.

“Jeff was a tenacious journalist and he had been doing this kind of work for 40 years,” Geoff Schumacher, a former colleague of German’s told the las vegas sun. “He wanted the public to know about things that were wrong or injustices that were happening.”

Schumacher is now vice president of exhibitions and programs at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. He said that over the years German’s reporting had rubbed some people the wrong way.

“People whose secrets or weaknesses were revealed in his reporting were certainly not happy with him,” Schumacher said. “Jeff is someone who wouldn’t have been afraid for something like this to happen. He was fearless and stood his ground when he felt a story was right. He was willing to face the consequences. But I don’t think not that he ever imagined it would lead to something like this.

Nonetheless, the German was dedicated to his craft, Schumacher said.

“I think he had ink in his veins,” Schumacher said, “He was going to be a journalist from birth to death.”

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