Employees of Robert Telles said his anger was fueled by stories of Jeff German

As Las Vegas police shut down Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles on Wednesday, his employees said they had long feared for their safety.

Officers arrested Telles, 45, on suspicion of killing Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who documented an allegedly tumultuous and hostile work environment in the incumbent’s office.

“It’s just more real now. It’s like realizing we’ve been in the office with someone who hates us and is capable of this kind of violent crime,” said Aleisha Goodwin, property coordinator at Telles’ office. Goodwin had filed a confidential retaliation complaint with the Clark County Office of Diversity, German reported in May.

In his investigations, German spoke to half a dozen current and former employees who alleged months of bullying, emotional distress and favoritism by Telles.

“From the beginning, there has been concern for safety for myself and others who have been bold and brave enough to put their names out there in the articles,” Reid said.

Police searched Telles’ home Wednesday morning, a day after they released a photo of a red GMC Yukon Denali that they believe was linked to the murder.

“When I saw this car, the hairs on my arms stood up,” said Goodwin, who recognized it as belonging to Telles. Review-Journal reporters saw Telles in his driveway on Tuesday, standing next to an SUV fitting that description.

Telles did not return requests for comment on Wednesday.

Telles’ deputy principal in the office, Rita Reid, said she believed her anger was still simmering, especially after potentially learning in early August that there was a new round of document requests.

Reid said he was still complaining about German’s articles days before the murder.

“You haven’t had very bad bosses if you think I’ve tortured you,” he wrote in an Aug. 28 text message that Reid shared with the Review-Journal. “You have ruined my life’s path and damaged the office.”

Reid, who ran in the Democratic primaries for office this summer and defeated Telles, said employees interviewed by the Review-Journal were concerned for their well-being following the journalist’s murder.

Employees said they were nervous Wednesday morning, but continued to come to work. They said the building’s locks had been changed and a sign posted at the entrance on Wednesday morning read, “This building is temporarily closed.”

County spokesman Erik Pappa declined to comment.

German, 69, was a well-regarded journalist who spent more than 40 years uncovering myriad corruption and scandals in Las Vegas and told colleagues he dismissed the threats. Police say he was stabbed to death outside his northwest Las Vegas home on Friday morning.

“The guy investigated the mob and all sorts of things,” said a shocked former county employee who didn’t want to be named out of concern for his safety. “It’s just hard to imagine him getting screwed exposing operations in the smallest county government office possible. It’s crazy.

In a series of tweets in June, Telles called German a bully, said he was “obsessed” with him and accused the reporter of cooking up “a #4 lie.”

When he was killed, German had an outstanding request for public government records involving Telles. He texted Goodwin on Friday morning, hours before police said he was attacked.

In their exchanges, Goodwin alerted German that several employees were resigning.

“Thank you. I’ll be back at work on Thursday. Maybe that’s a story,” replied German, who was heading into a week’s vacation.

“Justice for Jeff”

Telles had previously denied his employees’ accusations against him and blamed a handful of disgruntled ‘former’ employees for making false claims against him and exaggerating the extent of his ‘inappropriate relationship’ with him. Roberta Lee-Kennett, who also did not respond. to requests for comments.

Germans have documented members of warring office factions who reported experiencing emotional stress, which in some cases impaired their physical health.

Employees said they contacted German out of desperation when the county refused to heed their complaints and felt some relief when their stories were told and Telles lost the election.

“The reality and the horrific nature of what happened has really come to a head,” Reid said. “And we just want justice for Jeff.”

Contact Briana Erickson at [email protected] or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter. The Review-Journal’s investigative team focuses on reports that hold executives and agencies accountable and expose wrongdoing.

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