Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German killed outside his home

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, one of Nevada’s most accomplished and trusted reporters, was found stabbed to death outside his home Saturday morning.

German, whose work in Las Vegas has spanned more than three decades, has made a career of publishing big stories on everything from organized crime and government misdeeds to political scandals and the 2017 mass shooting at a concert .

“The Review-Journal family is devastated to lose Jeff,” said editor Glenn Cook. “He was the gold standard of the news industry. It’s hard to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today without his many years of lighting up dark places.

Las Vegas police said Sunday morning that the homicide investigation was a top priority for the department.

“LVMPD enacted its major case protocol in the homicide investigation on Saturday,” the department said. “It brings together a variety of resources to maximize investigative effort and apply a sense of urgency to apprehending the suspect.”

Police responded to the 7200 block of Bronze Circle near North Tenaya Way at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday after a person called 911 saying a neighbor had died on the side of the victim’s home, according to the Captain Dori Koren of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Police found a German outside his home with stab wounds. Police believe he was in an altercation with another person late Friday morning that led to him being stabbed.

“We believe the altercation took place outside the house,” Koren said.

“We have leads. We are pursuing a suspect but the suspect is exceptional,” Koren said.

Koren said the stabbing was considered an isolated incident and there was no threat to the public.

Cook said German did not communicate any concerns about his personal safety or any threats against him to anyone in the Review-Journal’s management.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she was shocked to learn of German’s death.

“It was a senseless act of violence,” Goodman said. “The loss of life in this way is still shocking and must stop. We will be following the police investigation closely.

Joined Review-Journal in 2010

German, 69, joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering the courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime. Former Sun journalist and author Cathy Scott said on Sunday the German was working hard to cover the city and its events.

She recalled that she and German were the first reporters to tell the story of the murder of Las Vegas mob associate Herbert “Fat Herbie” Blitzstein in 1997 in Las Vegas. German, she said, covered many organized crime stories.

“He was a tough reporter,” Scott said. “He worked hard and had tons of sources… a hard-core journalist. That’s who he was. It was dedicated to craftsmanship.

Geoff Schumacher is the vice president of exhibits and programs at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. He worked with German at The Sun when German was a senior reporter at the paper under former Nevada governor and editor Mike O’Callaghan. Schumacher said German has released many exclusive stories and is “in the trenches” documenting organized crime in Las Vegas.

“Jeff was totally dedicated to his job as a journalist,” Schumacher said. “He wasn’t someone who thought, ‘Maybe I’ll be a journalist for a while and then I’ll go do something else.’ He was probably a journalist from birth to death, and ink flowed abundantly through his veins.

“It didn’t surprise me that even in this latter part of his life he was still a working journalist,” Schumacher said. “He liked to dig for stories. He liked to interview people. He liked to hunt down the facts. He obviously wanted to grab the competitors and he worked very hard for that.

His investigative work has always had an impact, with many of his stories leading to reforms or changes in personnel and policy.

In recent years, his reporting has revealed failures in city inspections before the deadly 2019 Alpine Motel Apartments fire; allegations of intimidation, hostility and mismanagement at the Clark County Public Administrator’s Office; and extremist activity in southern Nevada.

He announced that Councilwoman Michele Fiore’s campaign finances were being scrutinized by the FBI and reported that city officials had deleted surveillance videos of an altercation with fellow Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, although the Review -Journal requested copies under Nevada public records law. German also teamed up with investigative reporter Art Kane to show that sexual harassment allegations and lax oversight have plagued the Clark County Coroner’s Office for years.

German was the writer and host of Season 2 of “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Vegas,” the Review-Journal’s acclaimed true-crime podcast. The eight episodes of 2021 trace the rise and fall of organized crime through the lens of an unlikely witness: Wayne Newton.

The Aladdin Hotel and its ties to the Detroit Mafia in the late 1970s were the focus of the Audio Project, a partnership between the Review-Journal and the downtown Mob Museum. German told the story through in-depth interviews with prosecutors and elected officials, as well as his memories of covering for crowds during that time.

“He was able to trace the history of the Aladdin hotel and everything that happened there in a very clear and concise way in this podcast in a way that would have been difficult to trace if you just went back to the articles of press,” Schumacher said, adding as a journalist beaten decades earlier, the German “was right in the thick of the Aladdin Hotel situation.”

Investigative work

German and other members of the Review-Journal’s investigative team conducted an ongoing, year-long investigation of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority beginning in 2017. Reporters looked more of 32,000 pages of receipts from top authority leaders and wrote a story that revealed lavish purchases of high-end entertainment, employee gifts and first-class overseas travel for elected officials serving on the board administration of the agency.

Other stories revealed that convention authority security guards were diverted from their jobs to drive key officials to events around the city, and the agency handed out more than $125,000 worth of ‘iPads, golf clubs and other big-ticket items with little or no accounting. In response to the stories, the convention authority accepted recommendations from an accounting firm to cut some expenses and limit gifts and travel for its board members.

The stories sparked an audit that found thousands of dollars in Southwest Airlines gift cards had been misused by senior executives. The audit led to criminal charges that were settled for several of the defendants in 2020, as well as a management sweep, including the replacement of longtime CEO Rossi Ralenkotter.

Exclusive Mass Shot

Amid the agency’s Review-Journal investigation, Las Vegas suffered the worst mass shooting in modern American history, when a top Mandalay Bay gambler fired into a crowded outdoor concert from his suite. from the 32nd floor, killing 60 people and himself. Several days after the shooting, German exclusively reported that the shooter fired at two nearby jet fuel tanks – hitting one but causing no damage – before turning his attention to the concert site. This led to calls for better security around tanks and an independent review which recommended stronger guards.

German also learned that it had been years since top Nevada public safety officials had seen an emergency response plan from a casino on the Strip, including Mandalay Bay. He led an investigation that found state officials had been lax in forcing casinos to comply with a 2003 state law to file the plans. The lack of oversight was documented in records obtained by German, and officials admitted they had no standard by which to judge whether plans submitted by casinos were even feasible. In response to the story, the state created a task force to revamp the law and tighten requirements for casinos.

German had the story of a criminal who was accused of robbing three jewelry stores due to government misconduct – then returned to the scene of one of the stores to rob it again.

And he was the lead author of an investigative story that revealed Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided not to prosecute a longtime aide who stole nearly $42,000 from his campaign. of 2014 to fuel a video poker habit. Rather than having the helper, Audrie Locke, go through the criminal justice system, Wolfson allowed her to quietly resign and undergo treatment for gambling addiction. She refunded the money and was rehired after she finished his treatment.

The theft remained secret for more than three years until German and a fellow reporter obtained copies of personal emails between Wolfson and Locke discussing the theft in 2014. After Wolfson and Locke were confronted with the emails emails, they both accepted interviews and confirmed the silence. until the scandal.

Wolfson was criticized for appearing to give his close aide special treatment and, following the story, he drew an opponent in his re-election bid and lost key endorsements.

German had a master’s degree from Marquette University and was the author of the 2001 true crime book “Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss”, the story of the death of Ted Binion , heir to the Horseshoe Club fortune .

Tributes to German were numerous across Nevada and the Las Vegas Valley on Sunday.

Governor Steve Sisolak called German’s death a “tragic loss to our community,” adding that German “was tough but fair and a great mentor to young journalists.”

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said she was saddened by the loss.

“He was a fearless journalist and never shied away from telling tough stories no matter who was involved,” Titus tweeted. “Many have exposed the need for reform that has made our city better.”

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