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Jeff German, slain RJ reporter, awarded Don Bolles Medal

Updated June 24, 2023 - 1:06 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. — Slain Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German has been posthumously awarded the prestigious Don Bolles Medal by Investigative Reporters and Editors.

The medal recognizes investigative journalists who have exhibited extraordinary courage in standing up against intimidation or efforts to suppress the truth about matters of public importance, and German was recognized Saturday at IRE’s annual conference in Florida.

“Most years, there are multiple potential recipients,” said Phil Williams, the Nashville investigative reporter and former IRE board member who announced the accolade. “This year, we honor one of our own who gave his all.”

German, 69, was killed Sept. 2 outside his Las Vegas home. Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles — who was a subject of German’s reporting — is charged with murder in the stabbing death.

The medal was created in 2017 and is named after Don Bolles, the Arizona Republic investigative reporter who was killed by a car bomb in 1976 in retaliation for his reporting. Bolles had been investigating allegations of land fraud involving prominent politicians and individuals with ties to organized crime. The Review-Journal was also honored for fighting to protect his sources after police seized his computers and phone.

Bolles died a few days before he was scheduled to speak at the first national IRE conference in Indianapolis. After his murder, nearly 40 journalists came to Arizona to complete his investigation.

Las Vegas ‘impactful’ reporter

German’s career in Las Vegas spanned four decades, and he was known for his investigative work exposing corruption.

“Jeff was as valuable, impactful and resourceful as any reporter in Las Vegas,” Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said. “He had a deep well of sources, he possessed vast institutional knowledge of all things Nevada, and he brought unwavering toughness to his reporting. The RJ and the entire community still miss him greatly.”

After working for more than 20 years as a reporter and columnist at the Las Vegas Sun — where he covered topics such as courts, politics, government and organized crime — he was hired at the Review-Journal in 2010.

German covered topics such as city inspection failures before the 2019 Alpine Motel Apartments fire, extremist activity in Southern Nevada and an FBI investigation into former Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore.

German and other members of the investigative team also conducted a lengthy investigation into the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority that led to an audit and criminal charges against top officials.

Following the 2017 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Strip, German exclusively reported that the shooter had first fired at two jet fuel tanks in an apparent attempt to blow up the tanks.

He also wrote a 2001 book, “Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss,” about the death of Ted Binion.

He was the writer and host for Season 2 of the Review-Journal’s podcast “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas” and posthumously won Podcast of the Year for his work. He also was inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame last year.

Prosecutors have linked German’s killing to his reporting on Telles’ conduct as an elected official. Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Scow said German’s reporting “ruined (Telles’) political career, likely his marriage.”

German reported investigative stories last year about Telles’ workplace conduct, including allegations from current and former staffers that Telles fueled a hostile work environment and was involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with an employee.

German was working on a potential follow-up story in the weeks before his death.

His colleagues on the Review-Journal investigative team finished his work.

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter. Erickson is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing.

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