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Suburban Redevelopment Fund

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The Suburban Redevelopment Fund are the primary antagonists of L.A. Noire, and the men behind many of the crimes investigated by Cole Phelps and Jack Kelso.

Background

Established on June 22 1945, the Suburban Redevelopment Fund was officially and originally a legitimate private organization of investors and businessmen with the intent to fund and develop new homes for returning GIs in Los Angeles. However, the SRF was corrupt and secretly became a criminal syndicate with a plan to extort millions of dollars from the government.

The SRF was spearheaded by property estate tycoon, Leland Monroe, who 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, Chief of Police William Worrell, District Attorney Donald Sandler, Los Angeles Times Editor Raymond Gordon, Vice President of California Fire and Life Curtis Benson and high profile celebrity psychiatrist Dr. Harlan Fontaine.

The SRF, through Monroe and Elysian Fields Development, built fraudulent houses along the path of the new freeway, made from cheap, inferior materials to cut costs and time. As a result, the houses were dangerously unsafe as they were built on poorly-mixed cement, lumber reclaimed from movie set facades, faulty wiring, and out-of-date water heater models.

Benson's role was to establish the insurance agreement with Elysian Fields development, to prove the worth of the houses combined with the land value while covering up the intended fraud, and protected Elysian Fields from liability. Mayor Bowron and Police Chief Worrell used their authority to cover up and support Monroe's illegal activities. 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.

Events of L.A. Noire

Greed eventually became the Fund's undoing. In a rush for the deadline for the government's buy-out, Monroe was desperate to finish the housing development. Fontaine's solution was to use Ira Hogeboom to burn down the houses, forcing the holdouts to sell. Despite careful planning, the Sawyer and Morelli families died in the fires. The Steffens family was out of town when their house burned down. In addition, the property Rancho Escondido, which was a few weeks from completion, was heavily burnt to the ground. This, along with Lou Buchwalter's accidental death at one of the housing developments, led the SRF to eventually disband, by arousing the suspicions of LAPD Detectives Cole Phelps, Herschel Biggs, and later District Attorney's investigator Jack Kelso.

Kelso's investigation eventually foiled and exposed Monroe's plans, while Fontaine was killed by Hogeboom. Worrell attempted to silence Kelso to conceal his corruption, however thanks to Leonard Petersen's intervention, he was able to secure both Kelso's safety and silence in exchange for the position of District Attorney. Monroe and Benson were presumably imprisoned while the other members of SRF walked away free men from the scandal. The truth of their corruption was quietly buried and the Suburban Redevelopment Fund was permanently disbanded.

Investigating the Steffens and Sawyer house fires, Phelps and Herschel discovered that both families won a trip to Catalina Island and interviewed Don Steffens, who gave them the tickets. At the Sawyer house fire, a next-door neighbor explained that their son, Henry, was sick and they cancelled as a result. They went to Gulliver's Travel Agency and spoke to a sales representative named John Cunningham. They later met with Albert Lynch at LAFD Fire Station No. 32 and he explained an explosion theory. Then, they went to the InstaHeat Factory and spoke to Ivan Rasic, who said that InstaHeat Model 70's have a diaphragm and if the diaphragm is reversed, then the gas never closes off properly. They interviewed Walter Clemens and arrested and interrogated Matthew Ryan and Reginald Varley. Clemens said Varley does the SRF's work, spreading it around town if possible. Ryan said Varley was in a cozy agreement with them. Varley said that he took their money as well as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers, adding that it was no big conspiracy. Phelps ultimately charged Ryan for arson, murder, and severe property damage. Then, Phelps and Herschel investigated the Morelli house fire, and Phelps believed they arrested the wrong guy. In addition, he said the arsonist expected the houses to be empty. Herschel, Lynch, and coroner Malcolm Carruthers said Cole's theory would be unproveable, due to severe lack of evidence. Phelps spoke to a next-door neighbor named Dudley Forman, who explained that they were knocking down all the old houses and building new ones for returning GI's, and that Mr. Morelli was being difficult. In addition, he said the competition was an incentive for whoever hadn't sold up yet and was still thinking about doing so. Captain Lachlan McKelty informed Phelps that Leland Monroe is a good personal friend of the Mayor and the Chief, and warned Phelps to be careful. Phelps and Herschel visited Rancho Escondido and broke up a fight between the cops and angry customers. Phelps picked up a brick, and noticed the mortar was dry, like dust. Herschel said to expect some shrinkage, but the mortar barely adhered to the brick. Phelps put the brick back, and the whole wall immediately collapsed. He went to the Elysian Fields head office and interviewed Leland Monroe. He said the Mayor and Chief of Police were part of the SRF and that the buildings were inspected and fully insured by California Fire and Life. In addition, he said that if a family refuses to sell, then they work around it, letting business find a way, calling it the American way. Later, at The Blue Room, Roy Earle warned Phelps and Herschel to stay away from Elysian Fields. Despite his warning, Phelps pursued and killed suspected arsonist Herbert Chapman. Phelps said he had serious doubts of Chapman and Monroe working together, claiming the fires always benefit Elysian Fields. Herschel agreed, but said the evidence fits Chapman much better. Later, Phelps met with Elsa Lichtmann, who received an insurance letter from Lou Buchwlter. Phelps suggested for her to speak to Jack Kelso. She visited Jack in his office and showed him a check for $20,000 and he said if she agreed to just sign her name on the line. Elsa, however, didn't want the money, and claimed that Lou may have been the victim of foul play. After examining the case file and interviewing Elsa, Jack headed upstairs at Curtis Benson's request. Curtis said that Elsa plays at the Blue Room in Hollywood, and that he and Leland Monroe move in similar circles. Jack mentioned she rejected a $20,000 payout, and Curtis didn't like this. He wanted him to find a way to have her agree to the settlement. Jack then investigated a house site, and found a cement receipt, along with a demolition order, and wood with the name "KEYSTONE FILMS" printed on it. At Keystone Films, he found a lumber receipt, and watched a video about the Suburban Redevelopment Fund's members introducing and recognizing Dr. Harlan Fontaine as their latest investor. Kelso called Curtis, and he said he heard of them, building new homes for returning GI's. However, as soon as Kelso mentioned the green lumber and Benson's involvement, Curtis asked him to call Elsa. In addition, he told Jack he didn't want to hear another word of either Elsa Lichtmann or Lou Buchwalter. Jack called Elsa, and she said to meet him at the Blue Room later that night at 9:00. At the Blue Room, Phelps met with Elsa, and said he didn't ask her to meet him in an alleyway. She said Jack was Cole's friend, who he put in grave danger. Cole said Jack wasn't his friend, but decided to meet him the next morning. Jack visited another site and noticed faulty wiring and poorly-connected plumbing. Then, he was encountered by 3 gangsters named Garfield Henderson, Don Carraway, and Walter Tyler. They knocked out Kelso, put him in the trunk of their car, and drove to their hideout. Garfield called Monroe, and told him that they have Jack. They planned to take him to Griffith Park, but Jack managed to open the trunk. He used a red Buick Coupe, and successfully escaped. Jack went to Elsa's Apartment and passed out. The next morning, he woke up at a Medical Clinic, and Elsa informed him that the LAPD froze Phelps out and explained that Lou's regular job was being a carpenter for movie sets, such as RKO and Warner Brothers. A man named Petersen for Assistant District Attorney showed up and requested for an investigator. His offer was a gun, a badge, and $120 a month. Kelso said he currently made $150 per month. Despite this, Petersen said he planned to after the Vice Squad. Kelso said he had a better idea; going after Monroe instead. Jack then paid Curtis Benson a visit at his apartment. He found Share Certificates written out to Mr. Benson at $100 each, under Benson's name and an insurance paper regarding Rancho Escondido. He then interrogated Curtis and he said that despite being Vice-President, some people in Sacramento passed him over for President and sent him to Los Angeles because they believed it was a backwater, but it didn't work. In addition, he said the best result for damaged or destroyed property would be replacement cost, adding that the stakes were currently much higher than they used to be. Mr. Benson warned Kelso something will go horribly wrong unless he leaves town. Kelso said Benson's California wasn't the same as his own. Jack then reported back to California Fire & Life, and re-examined the Buchwalter Case File. He discovered new geographical coordinates: 34 Degrees 4 Minutes, 29 Seconds North; 118 Degrees, 17 Minutes, 58 Seconds West. In addition, he revealed improved land value of $3500 with a damage limit of $900. Then, Phelps arrived and said the flyers turn up when he finds a domestic fire. He explained that it was a murder case, and needed help solving it. Reluctant at first, Jack eventually agreed. He went to the Hall of Records and visited the Land Registry Office. He spoke to an employee named John Holmes and used a ledger under the letter S. He discovered that Courtney Sheldon was involved, and viewed it as a complete shock. He then used the geographical machine and revealed the lot number was 1876988. The clerk said the number must be converted to a letter, and the calculator is just the machine to use. He said divide the number by 90,000. Kelso did just that, and revealed the number was 20. The clerk said that A begins with 0 and to add one to the number. Kelso said the number was 21, and the clerk said to find the aisle for the corresponding letter. Jack went to the letter U and opened the ledger, revealing someone named Randall Jones, and an update on the improved value being $350. Then, Garfield's crew showed up. Jack took them out, and later met with Courtney. Kelso mentioned his name in the Suburban Redevelopment Fund ledger. Courtney said Dr. Harlan Fontaine took the morphine off their hands, claiming he knew Jack said to get rid of it. He believes to have turned a mistake into something beneficial and explained about the reinvestment. Kelso said the houses are matchsticks, to be burned for the insurance money. Courtney disagreed, and said that Dr. Fontaine is a good doctor, who helps out a lot of people. Later, at Kelso's Apartment, Leland Monroe called and requested to meet with him at his Mansion on 5164 Santa Monica BLVD. Kelso headed there, and some Okinawa Sugar Loaf survivors were there, including Felix Alvarro and Patrick Connolly. They stormed the outer garden, and killed all Monroe's guards. Kelso said they maintain a perimeter, adding that he had some personal business with Mr. Monroe. Eventually, Magarite Cansino confronted him, pointing a gun at him. She shot him in the arm and he knocked her out, saying he was never good at reading women. Continuing, he made his way to Mr. Monroe's office, and shot him in the leg. He then stepped on Leland's wound and searched his office. He found a picture and said to remind him what they say about absolute power. He opened a safe, and found the remainder of Monroe's paper trail, a note about Dr. Fontaine from Roy Earle, and a payroll list. He examined a piece of paper, and discovered that those who didn't sell up had no idea where there luck was going to go. Monroe complained that it was unstoppable, due to too much money at stake being put into circulation. Kelso called the LAPD Arson Squad and realized that Dr. Fontaine was now dead by a former patient. Monroe said he did whatever Fontaine asked and worked as a bug sprayer. Then, Jack left Monroe's office. Meanwhile, Courtney met with Dr. Fontaine and urgently requested information about the Suburban Redevelopment Fund. Dr. Fontaine said it was the fund used to speed up the building of GI homes. Courtney wanted to know about his name being on the Board Of Managers and Fontaine said that Sheldon was technically a major contributor. Courtney mentioned the burning for the insurance money and explained about Kelso's investigation and Monroe, adding that it was believed to go all the way to the Mayor. Fontaine then killed Courtney using a syrette of morphine. Later, he met with Monroe, who called him a "cold character" for killing Sheldon. Harlan then mentioned Kelso's involvement about the Normandie Avenue development and Monroe said he already knew about this. Harlan viewed it unwise for Monroe thought it unimportant to inform him, but Monroe believed he could take care of it, but it didn't work. He said to get the maniac burning the houses under control or else get rid of him. Later, he met with Elsa. She explained that Phelps helped her fight her addiction, and mentioned Kelso's involvement. Then, she started getting angry, claiming he arranged for Lou to work for Elysian. He knocked her out, claiming he could see the future. Right at that very moment, the disturbed maniac appeared and strangled Fontaine to death. He said all his sins will be forgiven in the next life, picked up Elsa, and took her away. Jack visited 3 bug sprayers, Rapid Exterminators, Nuclear Bug & Rodent Control, and Westlake Pest Control. The employee at Westlake said to check the remains of the old Rancho Rincon. Meanwhile, Phelps and Biggs examined Courtney's corpse. Roy Earle said it was a Vice case, and Phelps immediately snapped. He explained that Sheldon went into places with a medical kit and an army Colt .45 to make such places the Valley Of Death look like a picnic. He said Courtney was either naïve enough or dumb enough to get involved, but he had a jugular wound, making it a murder case. He warned Roy to leave before things get ugly and knew about his corruption. Later, they went to Fontaine's Clinic and Rusty Galloway said that Fontaine's spine snapped like a twig, and that Elsa was his last known client. They went into his office and discovered a freeway map occupying part of the Wilshire District. Phelps picked up a bloodstained crystal ball. He then examined Blackmail papers and a personal stash of Morphine. Phelps then realized that Jack's theory of value was wrong, that the real reason was eminent domain. He quickly realized that the government-built freeways were going to be built on the exact spots as the new developments for Monroe's GI homes. He explained the real value for the houses would be next to nothing, adding that a false higher value would eventually declared by California Fire & Life. He included the fact that as soon as the Federal Government reclaims the land legally to approve the highway's construction, then the GI's who paid their deposits would get the money back they originally used to pay for the houses they purchased. Cole then came to the conclusion that Fontaine forced his patient to burn down the houses under the orders of Monroe; ironically, the same patient who killed him due to him unknowingly killing two families in the process. At the Rancho Rincon, Jack found a Flamethrower, a picture of Cole's former Marine Unit, and a map of the L.A. River Tunnels. He called Petersen with the news. At Wilshire Police Station, KGPL informed Car 11 King that a 207 occurred on the 1st Street Bridge and that Jack reported a kidnapping in the River Tunnels with a hostage. Herschel viewed it as a "suicide note", adding that half the LAPD will be on Jack. Eventually, Phelps, Herschel, and Jack made it to the River Tunnels. Jack informed Phelps that the "Okie Cowboy" was one of their former Okinawa squadmates. Jack and Cole fought their way to Elsa. Jack then killed Hogeboom. Elsa and Jack made it out, but Cole was washed away, and sent to his death. Later, during his funeral at Chichester Chapel, Herschel and Jack briefly discussed Cole. Roy said he helped expose Dr. Fontaine and Mr. Monroe's suspicious activities and Elsa angrily walked away.

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