- "Gentlemen, we're here to sell the American Dream, and Hollywood is our greatest advertiser."
- ―Leland Monroe
Monroe was a highly successful real estate tycoon and the founder and CEO of Elysian Fields Development. Monroe developed a strong reputation and establishment in Los Angeles for building new, and more modern houses. Monroe spearheaded the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, an organization of private investors to fund and develop new houses for returning GIs in Los Angeles. Monroe had a strong role and investment in the SRF, however he developed an ulterior plan to extort millions of dollars from the government.
Monroe's plan was to build fraudulent houses along the path of the new freeway. These houses were made from cheap, inferior, and unsafe materials to cut costs and time. Eventually, the government would purchase the freeway and the surrounding land for eminent domain and would repay Monroe and the other investors. They would receive more money due to the houses situated along the freeway, improving the value of the land and as compensation for their investment.
Monroe was able to bribe and convince several other important and high ranking figures of the city to invest in the SRF and take part in the conspiracy, such as Mayor Fletcher Bowron, Police Commissioner William Worrell, District Attorney Donald Sandler, Los Angeles Times Editor Raymond Gordon, Vice President of California Fire and Life Curtis Benson and high profile psychiatrist Dr. Harlan Fontaine. With support from the Mayor and Police Chief, who used their authority to cover and support Monroe's illegal activities, Monroe effectively turned the seemingly legitimate SRF into a criminal syndicate.
Events of L.A. Noire
- "It can't be stopped, Kelso. There's too much money at stake."
- ―Leland Monroe.
Monroe bought out several estates, though he faced the predicament of several holdouts such as the Sawyer, Steffens and Morelli families. However, Dr. Fontaine provided a solution to ensure they would sell. Monroe rigged a promotional travel contest to ensure these families won a prize of a weekend getaway to Catalina Island, allowing Fontaine an opportunity to burn down their homes, using the mentally insane former flamethrower Marine, Ira Hogeboom.
Although the houses successfully burned down allowing Monroe to acquire the estates, the Sawyer and Morelli families died in the fires, much to Monroe's shock and displeasure. Furthermore, Ira burned down the recently finished Rancho Escondido. As a result, Monroe ordered Vice Detective Roy Earle to file a criminal intelligence report on Fontaine's drug dealings, thus giving Monroe insurance in case his interests were at risk.
Arson Detectives Cole Phelps and Herschel Biggs arrived at Monroe's office for questioning while investigating the Morelli house fire. Due to the fact that fires were occurring in areas with holdouts and the presence of promotional pamphlets, Phelps and Biggs correctly suspected that Monroe was somehow involved and was benefiting from the fires. Monroe denied and deflected these accusations and gave the detectives a list of his employed waybill distributors; this distracted the detectives by setting up known pyromaniac Herbert Chapman as a scapegoat.
After Chapman's death, Worrell froze out Phelps's efforts to investigate Elysian Fields, however Monroe later learned that Jack Kelso's own private investigation into the Lou Buchwalter case was close to discovering the truth of the SRF conspiracy. He then sent thugs to ambush and dispose of Kelso which backfired. Monroe later met with Fontaine for lunch, however he was visibily furious at Fontaine since his "pet lunatic" was getting out of control. Fontaine then revealed that he had to "dispose" of Courtney Sheldon. Monroe also informed Fontaine about Kelso and told Fontaine to dispose of Ira who had now become a liability. Monroe then personally phoned Kelso to offer a settlement. Suspecting a trap, Kelso and a group of fellow former Marines fought their way through Monroe's protection and raided his mansion.
As Kelso entered the office, he shot Monroe in the leg and searched the office for evidence such as his payroll containing corrupt figures, the large share certificates of the SRF, Fontaine's criminal report and the list of holdouts. Kelso discovered enough incriminating him and the entire SRF. However, after calling Phelps, he learned of Elsa's kidnapping and Fontaine's murder. Monroe revealed that the kidnapper was also the arsonist responsible for all the fires and that he worked as a bug sprayer. Monroe pleaded for medical help, however Kelso refused to help and bitterly left him to bleed to death.
Monroe managed to survive, however, but Kelso and Phelps' investigation had undone and exposed SRF. Most of the co-conspirators were able to conceal their corruption and bargain their way out of the scandal. Although it is never specifically stated, dialogue greatly suggests that Monroe was sent to prison.
- "He’s one of these L.A. businessmen, these movers and groovers – and these are based on true characters, who made millions of dollars by manipulating the system in Los Angeles during the fifties and forties, during the expansion years, and he was another one of those. And they were all crooked… it was a lot to do with the land booms that happened there. This is based on what in fact happened in L.A., and some of these characters are real characters, as much as we can do without offending anyone or getting in legal trouble."
- ―John Noble describing his character to Now Gamer.
Monroe is an extremely influential, cunning and arrogant businessman. His time in public view has made him a practiced negotiator and liar, furthermore his extreme wealth and ingenuity has allowed him to easily persuade high ranking officials to turn to corruption. As head of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund and Eylsian Fields Development, Monroe has an almost endless amount of resources and men under his employment and is hence able to perform extensive planning and execution of his corrupt deeds. With support from the Bowron and Worrell, Monroe also in a sense controls the police force. His vast wealth, ultimate plan and resources rightfully make Monroe a very arrogant man. He easily believes he can buy his way through to his goals and isn't afraid to turn to illegal means if necessary.
- "That's terrible, boys. How can I help?"
- "The arsonist - do you have any suspects?"
- "I didn't think so."
- "The contractors I use for waybills - do you suppose it could be any of them? I have a list of their names if it'd be of any help."
- "Glad to hear it. I'm always happy to help the LAPD. My secretary will provide you with that list. Did you know that I'm on the board of the police pension fund."
- "Well, I want to help in any way I can, Officers. The contractors I use for waybills - do you suppose it might be one of them? I have a list of their names if it would be of any help. My secretary will provide you with the list. On your way out."
- "They're turning up all over town, boys. Can you imagine the current demand for housing?"
- "Explanation? Why, what's to explain? I advertise on radio and billboards for buyers and I advertise for selling using waybills."
- "It's an organization of civic-minded individuals whose goal is to make the city a better place for its inhabitants. It's something I was proud to be asked to join."
- "Are you saying that's something to do with me? Is that your point?"
- "I hope you have some proof of how I'm involved in this. I'll be happy to sue you for whatever you are worth."
- "Rancho Escondido burned to the ground last night. That's one of my prestige developments. I'm a victim of these fires too, Detective."
Promotional travel contest
- "My company runs many promotions. I'm not familiar with that one."
- "And how many names on that list have not had a fire?"
- "You wouldn't make much of a lawyer, Detective. If you're going to rely on statistics then you better get them straight."
- "Do you know who you are talking to, son? You want to use incendiary language like that with me, I suggest you should leave immediately."
- "You can believe whatever you like, son. You're missing the vital ingredient called proof."
- "My face is the brand. It's on all our advertising. Did you know that the Mayor and the Chief of Police are part of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund? Do you want to accuse them of murder as well?"
- "You come in here making stupid baseless allegations and you think you can ruin my day? We'll see about that."
- "Can we speed this up a little?"
Local land acquisitions
- "Are you suggesting that I'm burning people out of their homes... so that I can sell them new ones?"
- "We work around them. Business finds a way. That's the American way."
- "I'm not sure I like your tone, son."
- "Progress is an inexorable process, Detective. Those who choose to stand in defiance are usually confined to the waste basket of history. To answer your question - yes, we would build around the, if we had to. Most people see sense."
- "And how exactly do you think you can prove that in a court of law, Detective?"
- "Every developer is under time pressure, son. On one hand you got the investors who want a return, on the other, the purchasers who want what they paid for. That's business. Now, are we finished?"
Rancho Escondido fire
- "One of our latest housing developments. It was due to open on the weekend. Or was, before the unfortunate conflagration."
- "Absolutely. Only the best for our returning heroes."
- "I'm sure we do, Detective. I'll tell you what - I'll have someone pull the paperwork from the archives and get back to you."
- "Son, you have me shaking in my boots."
- "Son, I've had enough of you and your fidgety friend. There's no way in hell you can prove that my materials were inferior."
- "Every building is built to a budget, boys. Those buildings were inspected and fully insured by California Fire and Life. Investment of that magnitude demands it. Do you think they'd vouch for the buildings without examining them?"
- "No offence, son, but you don't have the first goddamn idea what you're talking about."
- "I hope that's all."
- "That won't be necessary, gentlemen. Come into my office."
- "Who are you? How did you get in?"
- "Oh. Why didn't you say so, Officer?"
- "Would you like a cigar? Drink, boys?"
- "Upon Reflection" (Intro)
- "A Walk in Elysian Fields"
- "House of Sticks"
- "A Polite Invitation"
- "A Different Kind of War" (Newspaper)
- Because of his status as a multi-millionaire real estate magnate, he lives in Hollywood in a luxurious house (which is attacked in the "A Polite Invitation" case by Jack Kelso and his WWII veteran friends) According to the L.A. Noire official website, a real estate mogul purchased a $1,000,000 dollar mansion in Santa Monica. Today, the mansion would be worth approximately $25,000,000
- Outwitting him in conversation by proving he is lying, earns the player the Huckster Achievement/Trophy.
- Strangely enough, in different versions of the game Monroe's age differs. In one version his age is 60, while in another he is only 52.
- Monroe is on the board of the police pension fund.