A public official who was recently the subject of a damning investigation by slain Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the celebrated journalist’s murder.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was arrested following an early morning search of his home in the city’s Peccole Ranch neighborhood, Clark County district attorney, Steven B. Wolfson told The New York Times. Telles, 45, recently lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary following public outcry after the Review-Journal published a lengthy investigative report penned by German detailing a long-standing culture of favoritism, bullying and retaliation within the public administrator’s office during Telles’ tenure. The exposé also revealed an ongoing “inappropriate relationship” between Telles and a subordinate.
German, an investigative reporter who spent nearly four decades uncovering crime and corruption in Sin City, was found dead from multiple stab wounds outside his Las Vegas home Saturday morning. Police believe the 69 year old was killed during an altercation some time during the previous day. Although the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a statement on social media confirming a suspect in German’s death had “been taken into custody,” authorities did not immediately identify Telles as the individual responsible for the slaying. However, an online database for the Clark County Jail shows he is being held on a murder charge and is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.
“The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage for the Review-Journal newsroom,” Glenn Cook, the publication’s executive editor, said in a statement. “We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”
The publication of German’s deep dive into the toxic environment at the Clark County Public Administrator’s office sent Telles into a manic tailspin, defined largely in part by a rambling, accusatory letter posted to his campaign website, titled “Addressing the False Claims Against Me.” In the letter, Telles railed against the “allegations made in the article by the local rightwing paper,” calling German’s piece “false” and “intentionally gut-wrenching.” He also suggested that the “timing of the article was very convenient” for his opponent, Rita Reid — Telles’ top deputy at the public administrator’s office. (Reid would eventually go on to win the Democratic primary for the position.)
In a subsequent update posted to his website, Telles accused German of “trying to drag me through the mud.” He also shared screenshots of text messages between himself and German on Twitter in a further attempt to suggest the Review-Journal‘s piece was nothing more than a political hit job. “Does the @LVRJ know that @JGermanRJ may be doing double duty on their dime?” Telles tweeted June 17. “Do they know he basically made a veiled threat to make me take down my site with the truth after I already lost the election?”
According to the Review-Journal, German was working on a follow-up piece about the embattled politician before his murder. “He was the gold standard of the news business,” Cook said following German’s death “It’s hard to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today without his many years of shining a bright light on dark places.”