Las Vegas Journalist’s Murder Suspect Has Financial Misconduct Allegations
Posted on: October 20, 2022, 03:00h.
Last updated on: October 20, 2022, 03:15h.
Robert Telles, the Clark County Public Administrator charged with murdering Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, now also stands accused of potential funds misappropriation. A Nevada Supreme Court order filed Wednesday says recent trust account transfers from Telles “suggest potential mishandling or misappropriation of client funds.”
Dan Hooge, general counsel for the State Bar of Nevada, told German’s former newspaper that between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, Telles withdrew more than $195K from an account designated for money from his clients in private practice. “We don’t know where it went, exactly,” Hooge said.
The court order temporarily suspends Telles from practicing law “pending the resolution of formal disciplinary proceedings against him.” Though Telles’ bio and photo have been removed from Clark County’s website, he still technically holds his elected position until its term expires on Jan. 2, 2023.
Telles is accused of “willful, deliberate, and premeditated” first-degree murder after “lying in wait” outside German’s Las Vegas house on Sept. 2. He faces life in prison.
German was stabbed seven times, resulting in his death. Prosecutors said the act was motivated by previous stories German had published about Telles and another story that was in the works. Investigators said DNA found under German’s fingernails matched samples taken from Telles, which led to his arrest.
German, 69, who covered public corruption, previously exposed complaints about Telles’ workplace misconduct from current and former staffers. This included allegations of a hostile work environment and an alleged “inappropriate relationship” Telles had with a subordinate.
The Public Administrator had been running for reelection when German’s stories were first published. He lost a primary in June.
Indigency Also Questioned
Telles is being represented by two taxpayer-funded attorneys from the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, another of his financial decisions currently under investigation by the R-J.
According to standards set by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2008, a public defender can be assigned to any defendant who is indigent, defined as being “unable, without substantial hardship to himself or his dependents, to obtain competent, qualified legal counsel on his or her own.”
Though Telles filed papers with the court on Sept. 20 claiming indigency, he also noted that he and his wife made $20,500 a month from five rental properties. The R-J, which obtained a copy of the Telles’ financial disclosure, reported that the defendant checked the box next to “currently incarcerated” as his only qualification for free legal assistance, though several reasons were listed.
On Tuesday, a judge denied a request from Telles’ public defenders to grant him bail of $100,000, which they said Telles believed his family would be able to help him pay. Telles remains in the Clark County Detention Center, scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 26.