Robert Telles, the Clark County public administrator, was arrested September 7 and charged in the murder of longtime investigative journalist Jeff German, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper, where German had worked for more than a decade, was the first to report the name of the suspect.
German, 69, was found with fatal stab wounds outside his home on Saturday, September 3, 2022. 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.”
“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.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Telles Lost the Election Shortly After German Reported on Complaints Made About the County Official
Shortly after German reported on complaints made against Telles regarding his time in office, he lost the election, according to the Review-Journal. Telles, a Democrat, placed third in the primary, falling behind his office’s top supervisor, Rita Reid. Telles time in office ends in January, the Review-Journal reported.
Telles posted a lengthy rant on his election page saying the article was false. He specifically named German on the page, along with Reid, his opponent, and former Clark County Public Administrator John Cahill, who endorsed Telles and did not seek re-election.
“The article was intentionally gut-wrenching,” Telles wrote on his election page. “It was so ugly that you almost had to believe it was true. I can understand why you might have, with the writer’s skill at pushing buttons. Also, the timing of the article was very convenient for my opponent, Rita Reid. My hope now is to present the facts to you so that you may reconsider your opinion if you believed the article to be true.”
German reported that he interviewed six current and former employees who alleged they had experienced a “hostile work environment” that was “fueled by the elected administrator,” Telles. It further cited sources saying Telles had an “inappropriate relationship” with a staffer that interfered with their ability to work with the public and oversee the estates of residents who died.
“It’s official,” he wrote. “County Public Administrator Robert Telles has lost his reelection bid. County commissioners certified the primary results on Friday.”
2. Telles Was Arrested After His Home Was Raided on the Same Day as German’s Private Funeral Service
Police arrested Telles, 45, at his Las Vegas home Wednesday afternoon, according to the Review-Journal, four days after German’s death. German was laid to rest in a private funeral service the same day. Sheriff Joe Lombardo identified the suspect to the Review-Journal, who broke the news of the suspect’s name.
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.
The Review-Journal reported that police served search warrants at Telles’ home Wednesday morning, hours before the arrest. The county administrator lived in a two-story home in the Peccole Ranch neighborhood of Las Vegas on Wednesday morning. The newspaper cited property records, which said Telles purchased the four-bedroom home for $215,000 in 2011.
German was found dead outside of his home at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote in a public information report.
“We take this case very seriously and our investigators have been working non-stop to identify and apprehend the suspect. We enacted our Major Case Protocol immediately following our initial response and are using all LVMPD resources to maximize the progress of this investigation,” Captain Dori Koren said in the statement.
They asked for the public’s help to identify the suspect.
3. Telles Lived About 15 Minutes From German & Officials Released Photos of Him & His Car Prior to His Identification
Telles lived about 15 minutes from German, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. German’s neighbors found his body outside his home. The Review-Journal was closely following the case on the murder of their longtime colleague, and shared photos of the suspect and his car as police worked to identify the suspect.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporters covering the case spotted Telles in his driveway following the execution of the search warrant. They reported that Telles was washing a car matching the description police gave of the suspect’s vehicle: a 2007 to 2014 red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali with chrome handles and a sunroof.
Officials told the newspaper they believe German was involved in an altercation prior to the stabbing.
4. Telles Is a Longtime Las Vegas Resident & Lived Throughout the Southwest
Telles was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, grew up in El Paso, Texas, spent time in the Denver, Colorado area and moved to Las Vegas more than 20 years ago, Telles said in a May 2021 Veterans in Politics interview.
He was elected to a four-year term in office and worked as an attorney for Accolade Law, according to his LinkedIn page. Prior to his work as a lawyer, he was an HVAC technician for nearly seven years. He also lists longtime volunteer service on the page, including with the Las Vegas Rotary Club and Olive Crest foster-care agency..
Telles graduated from UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law in spring of 2014, his page says.
Telles’ law firm is listed as “permanently closed” on Google. His LinkedIn page says his law firm served clients in estate planning and probate until 2019. Telles was named Nevada Legal Service’s “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” in 2016, he wrote on his LinkedIn page.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak appointed Telles to serve on the state’s Board of Indigent Defense Services in 2019, the Review-Journal reported.
5. Telles Is Married With Children & Some Who Knew Him Said They Were Shocked By His Arrest
Telles’ county administrator’s position involves securing property for deceased residents while a family member or estate executor is located, county officials told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. If a family cannot administer estates in court, the county administrator serves in their place, the newspaper reported. The newspaper reported the position comes with an annual salary of about $120,000.
Those who knew Telles said they were shocked to learn he was charged in the killing.
“I never had a reason to doubt his integrity, his energy or his commitment to public service,” Rotary Club secretary Stuart Lipoff told the Review-Journal.
Bar Association secretary-treasurer Paul Ray told the Review-Journal he knew Telles as a “friendly guy.”
“He’s very active in serving in the community, it doesn’t seem like it goes together (with the killing),” Ray told the Review-Journal.
Olive Crest CEO Donald Verleur told the newspaper Telles passed a criminal background before joining the board of trustees in 2017.