‘He was our hero,’ county worker says of journalist her former boss allegedly killed

ABC News

(LAS VEGAS) — A co-worker of the Nevada county official charged with murder in the stabbing death of a journalist investigating turmoil in his office called the reporter a “hero” to her and her colleagues.

Rita Reid spoke out in an interview aired Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America, praising slain journalist Jeff German of the Las Vegas Review-Journal for exposing the hostile work environment she said she and her colleagues endured under the leadership of Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, who is now charged with murder in German’s death.

“His death was absolutely devastating to myself and my coworkers, the people that he advocated for,” Reid said of German. “He was our hero.”

German, 69, was found fatally stabbed outside his home Sept. 3, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Telles blamed German’s reporting for ruining his career in politics and his marriage, prosecutors said.

Reid said that when she learned that German had been killed, “My first thought was Robert Telles.”

She alleged that Telles was responsible for the hostile work environment in her office that German exposed.

“He came into my office several times in a rage,” Reid alleged of Telles. “You saw stress every day in multiple employees and it just became worse and worse.”

She said she eventually became so appalled by Telles’ alleged behavior, that she and her co-workers approached German and blew the whistle on Telles.

“So, we decided that we would go public. We would try to talk to a journalist here in our community and see if somebody felt it was worthy of reporting,” Reid said. “I guess maybe I felt there might be an encounter one day or an altercation, a verbal altercation. But I could never have imagined this.”

Reid worked under Telles as an assistant public administrator and ran against him in the June Democratic primary, beating the embattled incumbent.

Telles’ defeat followed an investigation by German in the Review-Journal that exposed turmoil in his office and accusations of bullying, retaliation and an “inappropriate relationship” between Telles and a staffer.

Telles denied fostering a toxic work environment and claimed allegations that he was having an inappropriate relationship with an employee were not true.

“He (German) lost his life to make our office, our department, our government agency a better place and to provide better service for our community,” Reid said on GMA. “So, I mean we can never thank him enough.”

The 45-year-old Telles, who had been the Clark County Public Administrator since 2018, was formally charged on Monday with murder with a deadly weapon where the victim is 60 years of age or older.

Telles made a brief appearance in court Tuesday morning handcuffed and wearing jail-issued clothes. Judge William Jansen granted a motion filed by Telles’ attorney, Travis Shetler, to postpone the arraignment until Sept. 20.

Telles has yet to enter a plea to the charges. His attorney did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors alleged German’s killing was “wilful, deliberate and premeditated.”

Telles was arrested Wednesday following a SWAT operation at his home, officials said, after DNA evidence was found under German’s fingernails that linked him to the homicide, prosecutors said.

A judge ordered that Telles be held without bail in Clark County Jail after noting the steps Telles allegedly took to cover up his crimes, including casing German’s neighborhood for more than an hour, leaving his cellphone at home and dressing in disguise.

Police said the day before German’s death, Telles was seen approaching German’s home, where he allegedly had an altercation with him.

On the day of the slaying, Telles was dressed in disguise, which police described him as wearing a straw hat and reflective vest. Telles allegedly stabbed the reporter seven times before fleeing, prosecutors said.

Police focused on Telles because of his anger over stories written by German, officials said during a press conference Thursday. Then they found a vehicle outside Telles’ home that matched the suspect’s vehicle.

In an article published in May in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, German wrote: “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.”

He reported that “a half-dozen current and former employees interviewed by the Review-Journal are alleging the hostile work environment was fueled by the elected administrator of the office, Robert Telles, carrying on an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with a staffer that has harmed the office’s ability to deal with the public in overseeing the estates of those who have died.”

ABC News’ Alex Stone and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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