LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German reported the Clark County Public Administrator’s Office was in “turmoil” in the months leading up to his stabbing death last weekend.
German, 69, was found stabbed to death outside of his home on Saturday morning, Sept. 3. Investigators with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said he was killed on Friday morning but not discovered until the next day.
On Wednesday, Las Vegas police served a warrant at the home of Clark County Public Administrator Robert “Rob” Telles who was the focus of German’s investigations. Telles was taken into custody Wednesday evening.
Telles, a Democrat, lost a three-way primary in June. In online posts following the election, Telles appeared to blame German for his election loss.
Police interviewed Telles on Wednesday as they searched his west valley home, sources told the 8 News Now Investigators. Telles returned to his house around 2:30 p.m. and did not comment when 8 News Now Investigator Vanessa Murphy asked him questions.
After a 2-hour standoff, police went into Telles’ home and arrested him.
In May, Telles’ office became the subject of an investigative piece, alleging bullying and unfavorable work conditions. The May 16 article was titled, “County office in turmoil with secret video and claims of bullying, hostility.”
“The Clark County Public Administrator’s office has been 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,” German reported, alleging a “work environment… fueled by the elected administrator of the office.”
The article also included an allegation that Telles was favoring one employee, whom he described as a friend. The article included video of Telles in a car with the staffer. 8 News Now has not been able to confirm that part of German’s reporting.
A source with knowledge of the office’s workings told the Investigators that the divide in the office was between older employees, who had worked under the previous public administrator, and newer ones, hired under Telles.
On May 26, German reported the former Clark County coroner was hired to mend issues in the office. The former coroner, Michael Murphy, directed questions about his work to county leaders Wednesday.
“Michael Murphy was brought in to ease the turmoil following a Review-Journal story revealing hostile workplace complaints against Public Administrator Robert Telles,” the article said. “Co-workers accused Telles of carrying on an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with a staffer, including secretly videotaping Telles in the backseat of the staffer’s car.”
Telles denied the allegations, instead blaming the office issues on “a handful of old-timers.”
Telles came in third place in the tight primary race with about 35,000 votes. The winner, Rita Reid, his deputy public administrator, won the primary by more than 2,000 votes.
In a series of tweets, Telles became publicly critical of German. In one tweet, Telles wrote: “Wife hears rustling in the trash. Her: ‘Honey, is there a wild animal in the trash?’ Me: ‘No, dear. Looks like it’s @JGermanRJ going through our trash for his 4th story on me.’”
Later, in a post on his campaign website under the title, “Addressing the False Claims Against Me,” Telles wrote: “While many of you have contacted me with support, I know that some may believe the allegations made in the article by the local rightwing paper. You may believe that I betrayed your trust. You may believe I am not the man that I have always portrayed myself to be. Some of you may not know all the good work that I have done for Las Vegas. I hope by the end of this page you will see what I know to be true. The article was false.”
German put Telles’ primary loss this way in a June 19 article: “Telles’ lagging numbers follow a Review-Journal investigation last month that uncovered an office in turmoil and claims of bullying, retaliation and an ‘inappropriate relationship’ between Telles and a staffer.”
German reported Telles declined comment for his story.
“Telles declined to comment, other than to say in a text message, ‘It’s fine. At this point, they’ve won. Do what you would like.’ He offered no further explanation,” German reported.
Later, Telles wrote online that German was “[dragging him] through the mud.” He included a letter he sent to German, which said he would not let the allegations affect his work moving forward.
Telles last tweeted July 3, claiming he lost his primary due to a “[manufactured] scandal.”
Police towed a dark-red SUV from Telles’ home on Wednesday afternoon, one day after investigators released a photo of a similar car seen driving away from the murder scene.