Characters: Riverside Drive
The multi-tiered criminal organization colloquially known as Riverside Drive began in the 1970s when criminal defense attorneys John Petty and Mark Savage, two law school graduates who met when Petty's step-sister Julia started dating Savage. The two young attorneys were assigned to represent co-defendants Thomas and Darryl Boyd, brothers who were members of the community action group the Bone Family. The Boyds had split off from the floundering Black Panther movement into more of a protection racket based on actually lowering crime rates in poverty stricken areas, returning stolen goods or making restitution for loss through ill gotten gains taken from other criminals. Charged with possession of stolen property and possession of unlicensed weapons, the Boyds were guilty but their rhetoric about the challenges of the system influenced Petty and Savage. Despite understanding their losing case, they entered into an arrangement with the Boyd brothers to represent and legally shield the Bone Family (mostly through money laundering) in exchange for a percentage of their illegal income and enforcement duties.
The next ten years saw the relationship grow between the Bone Family and the nascent firm of Savage & Petty. The Boyds maintained the operation from prison through their sister, Brenda, who developed a flirtatious relationship with Savage. Petty resigned the firm and joined the District Attorney's office, rising to the rank of Deputy DA by 1990, never letting go his ties to the criminal conspiracy to amass power in Shelby City. Savage indulged his flirtation with Brenda Boyd and had an illegitimate son, Dontraniel, who was groomed by his uncles to take over the Bone Family, turning out more ruthless and effective than either of them. This led to significant challenges for the marriage of Mark and Julia, as she maintained the financial engine of the commercial and industrial construction firm Brasher Lyons Brasher (BLB, acquired in a bankruptcy proceeding and turned into a major player) while maintaining the finances for all the disparate ventures. Although largely estranged, they remain married for business reasons.
After successfully running for district attorney, supported by both the Bone Family practicing voter suppression on suspected supporters of opposition candidates and B.L.B.'s financial backing Petty settled into a city council seat and through his former partner Savage began courting a network of less-than-scrupulous police officers, city officials and business people. Savage befriended the powerful Franklin Bell Shelby and his firm became legal representatives of the city's elite.
By the turn of the century, half of the city's infrastructure was firmly in the hands of Riverside Drive, the internally-recognized shorthand for their organization based on the office building shared by B.L.B. and Savage & Petty with sub basements connected to secret tunnels that led to the riverbanks, used by the Bone Family. Comfortable with mostly staying off the radar and keeping the Bone Family out of more than half the jail time their offenses deserved, the criminal enterprise hummed along easily until a super powered street vigilante began nipping at their heels.