Jeff German, a journalist who has spent four decades covering government and underworld corruption in Las Vegas, has faced many strong opponents. The gruff newsman once took a punch from a member of organized crime and received covert threats from the mafia.
In the Las Vegas Valley of Nevada, Jeffrey Michael German was born on August 23, 1953. He graduated from Marquette University with a master’s degree.
Over four decades, German covered organized crime, politics, the government, and courts as a writer and reporter for the Las Vegas Sun. He covered the 1980 MGM Grand fire and the FBI probe into payments received by Clark County commissioners in the early 2000s.
The podcast series Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas was hosted by German, a writer. He published an actual crime book in 2001 titled Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss, which detailed the passing of Ted Binion, the Binion’s Horseshoe fortune’s heir.
In 2010, German began working at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. German was the first to report, in the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, that the gunman had fired at two nearby jet fuel tanks before moving on to the festival grounds. He broke the news of mafia bookmaker Herbert Blitzstein’s passing with Cathy Scott. In addition, German covered shortcomings in the city’s inspections conducted before the 2019 Alpine Motel Apartments fire, poor leadership, illegal behavior, and bullying within the Clark County Office of the Public Administrator.
He continued in his work without seeming to be phased by anything.
Consequently, German (GEHR’-man) lacked the typical expression of alarm when Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, a completely unknown official in charge of a small and obscure government office, came to Twitter this spring to criticize the reporter vehemently.
German, a writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote about harassment and favoritism in the public administrator’s office and Telles’ improper connection with a female subordinate.
According to the authorities, Telles’ decision to stab German fatally last week at the reporter’s house was motivated by German’s original investigation and subsequent stories. According to detectives, Telles was connected to the murder through DNA collected at the site. A shoe and a distinctive straw hat were found at his residence and matched those of a suspect seen on surveillance video.
Following a brief confrontation at Telles’ house, police arrested them on Wednesday. Telles was admitted to the hospital with injuries he said were self-inflicted and not life-threatening, according to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
The Review-executive Journal’s editor, Glenn Cook, claimed that although there was talk of Telles being “unhinged” inside the publication, neither the reporter nor Telles ever threatened to harm German physically.
German remarked that it appeared unlikely that the reporter’s account of being punched by a member of organized crime was the tale that would endanger his life.
Cook stated that “he cut his teeth protecting the mob.” “For more than 40 years, Jeff covered Las Vegas’s worst crimes. This man hunted out killers, wise folks, and gangster types.”
In the United States, killings of journalists in reprisal for their job are uncommon. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, eight journalists, including German, have been killed in the United States since 1992. The deadliest assault occurred in 2018 when five people died in a shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland.
According to Diana Fuentes, executive director of the group Investigative Reporters & Editors, “Jeff’s death is a somber reminder of the inherent perils of investigative journalism.” Every day, journalists go above and beyond to uncover facts that the public needs to know and has a right to view.
After working for the Las Vegas Sun for more than 20 years as a columnist and reporter covering law, politics, labor, the government, and crime, German joined the Review-Journal in 2010. Cook claimed that despite being 69, he never brought up retirement with his boss.
German was described as a hard-nosed, dogged journalist who could be rude at times, particularly if someone didn’t know him, or withhold information from the lawyers and government officials German relied on as sources.
Geoff Schumacher, who collaborated with German at the Sun until the late 1990s, remarked that the man “was not someone who was readily frightened.” He placed more value on discovering the truth than his well-being or popularity.
They most recently collaborated on the “Mobbed Up” podcast.
As law enforcement tightened on organized crime in the early 1980s, people started to vanish, and German described receiving covert threats from gangsters. German paid attention to the warnings, but according to Schumacher, who now works at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas, he never went to the police.
Feldman concluded, “The last thing I would say about Jeff is that he was fearful or anything scared him. He was ready to pursue anyone misbehaving for the benefit of the community.
Telles, a Democrat who appeared to have never held public office before his election in 2018, controlled fewer than ten employees while earning approximately $120,000 annually to oversee a business that deals with people’s estates and property after they pass away. He practiced estate planning and probate law before that.
German bylined reports in the weeks leading up to the June primary described an office “engulfed in instability and internal strife” between seasoned workers and recent hires under Telles’ direction. In response to the reports, county officials recruited a consultant to manage the agency.
Telles accused “old-timers” of fabricating details about his relationship with a female employee and mistreating them. He complained about German on Twitter, calling him a bully who was “obsessed” with him.
German’s Family on his Death
“A beloved and dedicated brother, uncle, and friend who committed his life to his profession exposing corruption in Las Vegas and beyond” was how German’s family described him.
They released a statement saying, “We’re surprised, devastated, and enraged about his death. “Jeff was dedicated to achieving justice for others and would value the diligence with which the neighborhood police and press tracked out his killer. We anticipate that justice will be served in this situation.