Judge Orders Emergency Building Inspection of R. Kelly’s Chicago Recording Studio
R. Kelly’s Chicago recording studio, where several women have reportedly lived against their will in “cult”-like conditions, will be inspected for building code violations on January 16, Chicago Tribune reports. A Cook County judge granted an emergency motion permitting the inspection during a hearing today where a city official testified that he visited the property on Wednesday and saw the windows were “sealed up.”
The two-story warehouse is zoned for commercial use but has been modified to include a recording studio and “full kitchen,” according to the property’s for-sale listing, which also features a photo of a dining area. (Kelly owes over $166,000 in back rent and faces possible eviction.) The lease reportedly allowed Kelly to include an “apartment type area” on the second floor. Code violations could result in Kelly facing daily fines worth thousands of dollars.
The inspection order comes one week after the premiere of Lifetime’s six-part documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which details decades of alleged sexual abuse, including at the singer’s Chicago warehouse. An Illinois state’s attorney said in a press conference Tuesday that she was “sickened” by the documentary and urged victims and witnesses to contact her office. A crowd protested outside Kelly’s property on Wednesday.
After today’s hearing, Kelly’s attorney Melvin Sims held a brief press conference and disputed the city’s “specious” allegations about the property. When journalist tried to ask questions, Sims told them to inquire over email, per the Tribune. He reportedly left the room quickly after smiling and saying, “Have a great weekend everybody.”
A Georgia district attorney also opened an investigation this week into allegations that Kelly falsely imprisoned women at his properties in the Atlanta area.