Chicago Department of Buildings visited R. Kelly’s leased Chicago warehouse Wednesday, days after a judge ruled that city inspectors be allowed to enter the premises to investigate potential building code violations.
On Wednesday around noon CST, inspectors gained entry to Kelly’s warehouse – an entire building he leases in Chicago’s Near West Side – to see whether the address was illegally housing a recording studio as well as a residence. Inspectors spent an hour inside the warehouse, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
As the building was zoned for industrial use only, both the studio and the residence would be in violation of building code; the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly also alleged that the singer has numerous women living on the property.
Prior to the inspectors’ scheduled noon inspection, CBS 2 Chicago reporter Mike Puccinelli tweeted that a man was seen exiting Kelly’s warehouse early Wednesday morning with boxes and a computer hard drive in tow. It’s unclear what the man’s connection is to Kelly.
Man spotted bringing computer tower and boxes out of R. Kelly’s west side recording studio before dawn Wednesday. Would not say if he was the landlord or an employee of the embattled singer. @cbschicago #RKelly pic.twitter.com/drh1vC6bPZ
— Mike Puccinelli (@MPuccinelliCBS2) January 16, 2019
Additionally, Kelly owes over $166,000 in back rent on the property to the building’s landlords, Midwest Commercial Funding; the Associated Press reported that Kelly must pay back the debt by January 21st or risk facing eviction on the property. Kelly currently has eight years left on his 10-year lease.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Midwest Commercial Funding authorized Kelly to build out the recording studio and the second-floor residence in the warehouse, but that still violated building code.
Kelly’s attorney, Melvin Sims, declined to comment on today’s inspection to Rolling Stone.
At a January 11th court hearing, the Department of Buildings argued that “there were some allegations that there were some illegal parties” in the warehouse, adding that inspectors saw some windows “sealed up,” the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
Meanwhile, in New York City on Wednesday, activist groups congregated outside of Sony’s headquarters to demand that RCA, a subsidiary of Sony, drop Kelly off its roster.