Jeff German was an award-winning investigative journalist at the Las Vegas Review-Journal who is being remembered for his tenacity after he was stabbed to death outside his home Saturday, September 3, 2022. Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was arrested in German’s murder.
Among German’s articles was one published in May 2022 on allegations made about the Clark County Public Administrator’s Office. It said Telles’ office was “mired in turmoil and internal dissension over the past two years, with allegations of emotional stress, bullying and favoritism leading to secret videotaping of the boss and a co-worker outside the office.” Read more about the suspect here.
He worked in the industry for decades and was remembered by his colleagues as “fearless,” Anastasia Hendrix, the newspaper’s managing editor, said in a Las Vegas Review-Journal article.
“Jeff was an amazing reporter and an even more amazing person,” she was quoted as saying. “His passion for his craft never wavered, his energy for stories was infectious, and his ability to reinvent himself was limitless.”
German, 69, was not married and did not have children, but had surviving siblings, according to the Los Angeles Times. Authorities told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that German had an altercation with someone the day before his murder. A private funeral service is scheduled for German Wednesday, September 7.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. German’s Work Investigating the 1998 Death of a Mob Boss Resulted in His Book, ‘Murder in Sin City’
German was the man who revealed the truth behind one of Las Vegas’ most notorious murders, the death of 55-year-old Ted Binion, a Las Vegas casino boss and heir to the Horseshoe Club fortune. Binion died under mysterious circumstances, and as a local newspaper reporter, German was making calls every day for months to find out whether foul play may have been involved, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The case became the subject of German’s book, Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss. The Review-Journal, where German had worked for 12 years at the time of his death, wrote that he would call the Clark County District Attorney daily for eight months to ask about Binion’s death.
“There weren’t a lot of things I wanted to talk about,” former District Attorney David Roger told the Review-Journal. “Every day and every afternoon, Jeff would call me.”
“There is one person who had the inside of the entire case, and that was Jeff,” Roger added. “He just would not give up.”
2. German Was the Reporter Who Revealed the Mandalay Bay Shooter Targeted Jet Fuel Tanks
German was the reporter who broke the news that the Mandalay Bay shooter targeted jet fuel tanks in the 2017 mass shooting in the city. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, fired more than 1,000 shots, killing 60 people and wounding more than 400 others on October 1, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
Las Vegas Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook told the Los Angeles Times that German had not told newspaper leaders about any safety concerns.
“It is shocking and incomprehensible for everyone in our newsroom. It’s a huge blow. Jeff was a beloved, looked-up-to, trusted and incredibly valuable person in our organization,” Cook said in an interview with the Times. “And it goes without saying that we are going to miss him terribly and it’s simply not going to be the same coming back into the newsroom and him not being a part of it.”
Cook told the Times the newspaper will be continually reporting on developments in the case. No arrests had been reported as of noon September 5.
“We are going to be intensely reminded of his killing for a long time. And that’s hard,” told the Times.
3. Among German’s Cases Was ‘The Angel of Villa Cordova,’ a 2006 Case Involving an Unidentified 2-Year-Old Girl
German worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 12 years following “a lengthy, award-winning career at the Las Vegas Sun,” according to his Review-Journal bio. At the Sun, he worked as a columnist and reporter covering courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.
One of his columns, “On the tireless efforts to solve girl’s death,” poetically described a vigil for a 2-year-old girl in 2006. Her body was found with signs of foul play. The girl had not been identified, and became known as “The Angel of Villa Cordova.”
From a distance the mass of candles, stuffed teddy bears, flowers and candy hearts looks out of place in front of a dirty parking lot Dumpster at The Fountains at Villa Cordova apartments.
As you get closer, you see computer-generated photos sprinkled throughout the makeshift memorial to the 2 1/2- year-old girl whose body was dumped here last week, clad in the kind of soft and brightly colored clothing you would expect any girl of her age to be wearing.
German earned a masters degree from Marquette University.
4. German Was ‘The Embodiment of the First Amendment,” Said an Attorney Who Knew Him for Decades
Tom Pitaro, a criminal defense attorney who knew German for decades, described the journalist as “the embodiment of the First Amendment” in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Quite truthfully, he was a fearless reporter,” Pitaro told the Review-Journal. “If a story was there, he didn’t care who it was. Christ, look at the people he went after, that he’s written stories about. Let’s face it, there was no one he would back off. … He was sort of the embodiment of the First Amendment. To have a vigorous First Amendment you need vigorous reporters.”
George McCabe, a longtime friend, told the Review-Journal that German stood up for society’s underdogs.
“He had a strong sense of right and wrong,” McCabe said. “If he thought someone was wrong or wronging the little guy, it was part of his DNA to go after it guns blazing.”
5. German Hosted Season 2 of Podcast ‘Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas’
Among German’s most praised work toward the end of his life was the podcast, “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas,” hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. German hosted Season 2 of the show, which discussed the rise and fall of organized crime in the city as seen through the eyes of singer Wayne Newton, the newspaper says.
“It was an unforgettable era in the fight against organized crime in Las Vegas. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mafia crime families wielded hidden control over more than a third of the Strip’s casinos, and federal and state agents were waking up to the enormous task of pushing them out,” the season description says.
The eight-part true crime series also looks at the death of Jimmy Hoffa and other high-profile cases in the city’s tangle with mob ties and corruption, which served as the heart of German’s early work.
Telles is married with three children, he wrote on his campaign page.
“Rob is a family man with a beautiful, intelligent wife and three usually wonderful children,” he wrote.