bribery scheme, Clark County, corruption, El Paso, estates, Jeff German, killing of journalists, Las Vegas, Latin America, Lend-Lease, Mexican-American, Mexico, murder of American journalists, murder of journalists, murder of Mexican journalists, Nevada, public administrators, Raymond Telles, Robert Telles, Telles, Telles family, Texas
The Clark County (Las Vegas) Public Administrator, Robert Telles, is charged with the murder of local journalist Jeff German: “The Clark County Public Administrator serves two important functions for residents of Clark County. The Public Administrator secures property of people who pass away in Clark County while a search for family or the decedent’s executor is performed. The Public Administrator also administers estates in court when families cannot…“ https://web.archive.org/web/20220919095727/https://www.clarkcountynv.gov/government/elected_officials/county_public_adminstrator/index.php
Jeff German’s claims didn’t appear to document major corruption, mafia connections, etc., but things like “hostile work environment” and an “inappropriate relationship”. That he would be killed over this is all the more strange and tragic. Telles father, however, was previously charged with corruption. Did Telles fear that the investigation would expand? Or is it more dangerous to report “inappropriate relationships” than corruption and/or mafia connections? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_German
Telles had posted: “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…. Some of you may not know all the good work that I have done for Las Vegas… the timing of the article was very convenient for my opponent, Rita Reid…”. See: “Clark County public administrator took to social media to refute investigative reporting” https://youtu.be/1WPAfvLstsQ In the comment section “Matt P” notes that “Public Administrators have a lot of power and authority to steal property of deceased people”, to which “Tricia” replied: “Exactly especiallv when there is no local family. He is pure evil” Clove Coast adds: “Plus, imagine being the one for LV’s county! 😳”
Also, frighteningly, he practiced probate law before taking this position, according to the report.
Telles is not a “US official”, as VOA misleadingly entitled its piece, because he’s not a US federal government official. Rather, he’s a local official in the US – a Nevada local official. This distinction matters. Is the VOA journalist an idiot or did he or VOA write that on purpose? VOA may have changed his title. US taxpayer funded VOA has some foreign journalists, including on J-1 visas, who seem to take almost every opportunity possible to defame/smear the United States. This title is a somewhat subtle way of doing it: “US Official Charged in Reporter Killing as Threats to Media Rise Globally”, September 21, 2022 4:40 PM By Graham Vyse https://www.voanews.com/a/us-official-charged-in-reporter-killing-as-threats-to-media-rise-globally/6757264.html
The author himself points out that “In Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for media with at least 15 killed so far this year, the country has a federal protection mechanism. But journalists enrolled in the program have previously told VOA the measures don’t go far enough…” https://www.voanews.com/a/us-official-charged-in-reporter-killing-as-threats-to-media-rise-globally/6757264.html This is the sort of reputation that Mexico used to have, but it’s surprising, to us, that it still has it. It’s no longer “politically correct” (Lenin’s term) to point out that culture matters, and some cultures have longer, and stronger, traditions of authoritarianism and corruption than others. Trying to understand the roots of this used to be a popular topic of research, but now trying to understand is called “hate”.
“Mexico’s journalists live with the ever-present risk of becoming a victim of violent crime. The country is the most dangerous for journalists in the Western Hemisphere, media groups say, with reporters threatened, kidnapped and assaulted — and even killed — during a day’s work. A climate of impunity exacerbates the danger, experts say. González reported his attack to the police, but no one has been brought to justice. Overall, Mexico is the sixth-worst country in the world for prosecuting journalists’ killings, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Mexico ranks just below Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan, but in those countries, war and mass unrest block justice…” https://projects.voanews.com/press-freedom/mexico/mechanism-protecting-mexican-journalists.html
“A Nevada judge on Tuesday told local official Robert Telles he is charged with the “unlawful, senseless and heinous murder” of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. German, who worked at The Las Vegas Sun for two decades and spent the past 12 years at The Las Vegas Review-Journal, was found stabbed on September 3. He had previously reported on claims that Telles, a Clark County public administrator, created a hostile work environment and had an inappropriate relationship with an employee — allegations that Telles had denied. Telles was not asked to enter a plea during his arraignment Tuesday. Separately, the county is seeking a court order to remove him from office. The killing of an American investigative journalist has rattled the media community. “Every murder is tragic, but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a September 8 press conference. The Nevada Press Association issued a statement saying it was “deeply distressed by the possibility that this attack may have been perpetrated by a public official whose actions German was investigating,” which “would be a dagger directed at the heart of a free press and a blow to our democracy.” Excerpt from: “US Official Charged in Reporter Killing as Threats to Media Rise Globally” September 21, 2022 4:40 PM By Graham Vyse https://www.voanews.com/a/us-official-charged-in-reporter-killing-as-threats-to-media-rise-globally/6757264.html
“Suspect in RJ reporter’s killing came from politically powerful family” By Glen Meek Las Vegas Review-Journal September 16, 2022 – 1:02 pm, Updated September 18, 2022 – 9:36 am EL PASO, Texas — “He was born with a family name that was synonymous with politics and public service, but the murder charge against Robert Telles in Las Vegas has at least one relative thinking about changing her name. Telles, 45, grew up in a once-powerful political dynasty whose influence extended into all aspects of government in El Paso. It began with his great-uncle, Raymond L. Telles, and grandfather, Richard Telles… The brothers devised a scheme to mark the rosaries carried by Latino voters who couldn’t read English. By holding the rosary up against the voting machine, voters would flip the lever next to the marked bead, which was the one to vote for the Democratic candidate…“ https://web.archive.org/web/20220916201408/https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/homicides/suspect-in-rj-reporters-killing-came-from-politically-powerful-family-2641145/
His great-uncle Raymond Telles was Mayor of El Paso Texas:
“Raymond L. Telles Jr. (September 5, 1915 – March 8, 2013) was the first Mexican-American Mayor of a major American city, El Paso, Texas. He was also the first Hispanic appointed as a U.S. ambassador.
Telles was born and raised in the El Segundo Barrio neighborhood of El Paso, Texas.
Educated as an accountant, Telles worked at the United States Department of Justice for eight years. He was drafted into the Army in 1941. Telles then served in the U.S. Army Air Force where he became Chief of the Lend-Lease Program for Central and South America. Telles left the service with the rank of major…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Telles
There’s more in the wikipedia article. Lend-lease in Latin America, in the 1940s, sounds like a hotbed of potential corruption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_America_during_World_War_II
Robert Telles’ father, also named Raymond Telles, was found guilty of corruption not once, but twice: “Former El Paso Businessman and City Representative Sentenced in El Paso Corruption Case
U.S. Attorney’s Office December 03, 2013
In El Paso this morning, Roberto “Bobby” Ruiz, a former representative for New York–based financial services firm Bear Stearns, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a “pay- to-play” scheme uncovered during the ongoing public corruption investigation in El Paso, announced United States Attorney
Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
United States District Judge Frank Montalvo also ordered that Ruiz pay a $175,000 fine and to self-surrender to the Dallas Office of the U.S. Marshals Service on January 7, 2014, to begin serving his prison term.
In sentencing Ruiz below the applicable advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Montalvo took into consideration the government’s request to the court to acknowledge Ruiz’ lengthy, extensive, and beneficial assistance to the government in the El Paso public corruption investigation, as well as his assistance to other state and federal initiatives in other jurisdictions.
Judge Montalvo also sentenced former El Paso city representative and attorney Raymond Telles this morning to five years of probation and ordered Telles to pay a $4,000 fine for his role in the conspiracy.
In sentencing Telles to a term of probation, Judge Montalvo took into consideration the government’s recommendation regarding Telles’ sentencing based on Telles’ expeditious cooperation with the government, within one month of learning he was under investigation, and Telles’ truthful and complete cooperation. In addition, the judge recognized Telles’ minimal benefit as a result of corrupt conduct. According to counsel for Telles, the defendant voluntarily surrendered his Texas law license in 2009 and has no intent to practice law in the future.
Previously, Telles and Ruiz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and deprivation of honest services. By pleading guilty, both admitted to conspiring to participate in a bribery scheme in an effort to secure a $40 million El Paso County debt refinancing contract.
“The sentencing of Mr. Ruiz and Mr. Telles are a reminder that those who illegally conspire to profit from taxpayer dollars will have to answer to the people of El Paso,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.
This FBI investigation has resulted in 39 federal convictions—36 individuals who entered guilty pleas and three individuals who were convicted by juries.
Assistant United States Attorneys Debra Kanof and Jose Luis Gonzalez prosecuted this case on behalf of the government” https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/elpaso/press-releases/2013/former-el-paso-businessman-and-city-representative-sentenced-in-el-paso-corruption-case
And, if the US continues to import such huge quantities of legal and illegal migrants, especially from corrupt and violent countries, then things will worsen in the United States, as well. Even if all countries were equally corrupt, the sheer numbers of migrants increases corruption and violence.
“US Official Charged in Reporter Killing as Threats to Media Rise Globally
September 21, 2022 4:40 PM By Graham Vyse
A Nevada judge on Tuesday told local official Robert Telles he is charged with the “unlawful, senseless and heinous murder” of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German.
German, who worked at The Las Vegas Sun for two decades and spent the past 12 years at The Las Vegas Review-Journal, was found stabbed on September 3.
He had previously reported on claims that Telles, a Clark County public administrator, created a hostile work environment and had an inappropriate relationship with an employee — allegations that Telles had denied.
Telles was not asked to enter a plea during his arraignment Tuesday. Separately, the county is seeking a court order to remove him from office.
The killing of an American investigative journalist has rattled the media community.
“Every murder is tragic, but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a September 8 press conference.
The Nevada Press Association issued a statement saying it was “deeply distressed by the possibility that this attack may have been perpetrated by a public official whose actions German was investigating,” which “would be a dagger directed at the heart of a free press and a blow to our democracy.”
Now international press-freedom advocates are saying German’s death should prompt increased efforts to keep journalists safe at a time when threats are on the rise globally, including in democracies.
The killing of journalists is “a rare occurrence” in the U.S., said Leon Willems, a senior adviser to Free Press Unlimited in the Netherlands. “But in my experience, people get used to it very quickly.”
The Amsterdam-based organization works to support journalism in more than 40 countries that have limited or nonexistent press freedom.
Fatal attacks on media used to be something that happened “far away,” Willems told VOA.
“But we see an increasing number of cases in democracies with judicial authorities.”
Willems cited the case of the veteran crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, killed in Amsterdam in July 2021.
“The people who fired the trigger were found, but the mastermind hasn’t been apprehended,” Willems said. “It’s shocking that these things happen in countries with the rule of law.”
German is one of only half a dozen journalists to be killed in America in the past five years, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker — a project of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and other media advocacy groups that started in 2017.
Kirstin McCudden, the Tracker’s managing editor, said one journalist’s death is too many.
Steps need to be taken, McCudden said, including creating more awareness of the rhetorical and physical attacks journalists face — including from politicians — and efforts to restrict reporting and generally intimidate them.
“The most dangerous place for journalists here in the U.S. is out in the field,” McCudden told VOA. “Protests and other large gatherings have traditionally been where most journalists are assaulted.”
In 2020 — amid the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide social-justice demonstrations and a polarizing election campaign — the Press Freedom Tracker documented over 500 assaults and detentions of journalists. (By contrast, the Tracker has documented 30 so far this year.)
American journalists are also navigating an increased politicization of their work. Former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have made attacks on news media central to their politics since 2016.
McCudden cited how Cory Mills, the Republican nominee in Florida’s 7th congressional district, released a commercial this year in which he holds a gun and references his company’s riot-control munitions being used by law enforcement against left-wing protesters. “If the media wants to shed some real tears, I can help them out with that,” Mills says.
The National Republican Congressional Committee did not respond to VOA’s requests for comment submitted via its website and to its national press secretary.
Right-wing political commentators are quick to point out that Telles is a Democrat — he lost a Democratic primary following German’s investigation of his behavior in office — but press-freedom advocates say attacks by politicians of any stripe are a concern.
“When you see high-ranking politicians of any party attacking journalists with the power of their office, it sends a message to everyone, regardless of political affiliation: you’re empowered to attack journalists you don’t agree with,” said Scott Griffen, deputy director at the Vienna-based International Press Institute.
Rising intolerance is a global trend “being driven in part by politicians — often at the highest level — attacking, harassing and smearing journalists in their speeches and instigating online mobs against journalists,” said Griffen.
“In democratic countries and places where press freedom is typically more protected, we’ve certainly seen an uptick in violent attacks on the press. We’ve seen it in Europe at least since 2015, when the migrant crisis started, and it’s continued through this pandemic, during which critical reporting turned journalists into enemies for some parts of the population,” he said.
Some reporters now shy away from identifying themselves or displaying the logo of their news organization, Griffen said. Those choices, in turn, can open up media to other risks, such as not being recognized as journalists in encounters with the police.
Some countries developed programs to improve safety. The Netherlands has a collaborative project — PersVeilig — that Griffen described as “a clear best practice.”
The program includes a hotline for journalists under threat, and training for them and their employers. On the government side, the initiative secures commitments on how attacks will be investigated and prosecuted.
In Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for media with at least 15 killed so far this year, the country has a federal protection mechanism. But journalists enrolled in the program have previously told VOA the measures don’t go far enough.
News outlets need to become more attuned to potential risk, which isn’t easy,” Griffen said. “No one expected [Telles] to resort to violence, but news outlets need to take any threat seriously.”
Willems of Free Press Unlimited said countries should change how they react to killings, including expanding the approach to prosecutions.
“Crimes against journalists are prosecuted as right-to-life cases, not freedom-of-expression cases,” he said. “But one of the other important reasons to investigate these crimes is the work these journalists were doing.
“When a journalist is murdered, there should be an automatic investigation into what the journalist was writing about — questioning people connected to their stories to get closer to the mastermind behind their killing.”
Journalists can also be part of the solution, Willems said, by doing something they’re often taught not to do — making themselves the story.
“The journalists we see killed around the world were previously threatened or endured harassment or physical abuse,” Willems said. “There’s a predictive quality — when threats go up, physical harm also goes up in the end.” https://www.voanews.com/a/us-official-charged-in-reporter-killing-as-threats-to-media-rise-globally/6757264.html
Tulles had posted: “ADDRESSING THE FALSE CLAIMS AGAINST ME – 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. The article was intentionally gut-wrenching. It was so ugly that you almost had to believe it was true, I can understand why you might have, with the writer’s skill at pushing buttons. Also, the timing of the article was
very convenient for my opponent, Rita Reid. My hope now is to present the facts to you so that you may reconsider your opinion if you believed the article to be true,” See: “Clark County public administrator took to social media to refute investigative reporting” https://youtu.be/1WPAfvLstsQ