CHICAGO (CBS) — City building inspectors went inside R. Kelly’s recording studio on the Near West Side on Wednesday afternoon, to investigate complaints someone has been living there in violation of zoning laws.
A Cook County judge last week granted the city’s request for access to the warehouse building at 219 N. Justine St., after city officials said they have received complaints the facility is being used as a home, even though it is zoned only for commercial use.
The city also has alleged the building was converted into a recording studio, and a kitchen was added to the facility, all without proper permits.
Inspectors arrived around noon, and were able to get inside the building. Inspectors also were seen checking out the building’s exterior from the alley.
Before dawn Wednesday, a man was seen leaving the Justine Street building, carrying a computer and boxes on a dolly, and loading them into a waiting car. The man ignored questions about whether he worked for the landlord or Kelly.
City inspectors previously had been unable to gain entry into the building to investigate those complaints, and last week the building’s owners revealed they also have not been able to go inside, because they don’t have a key.
A man who said he’s Kelly’s stepbrother denied anyone has been living in the studio.
“My brother didn’t do anything wrong, okay?” he said.
Meantime, Kelly faces eviction from the building next week, if he does not come up with more than $170,000 in rent, attorney’s fees, and court costs in connection to a lawsuit filed by the building’s owners last year.
The recording studio was featured in the recent documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which multiple women accused Kelly of physically, sexually, and mentally abusing them, and operating a “sex cult” that held women against their will.
The man claiming to be Kelly’s stepbrother denied those allegations.
“R. Kelly would have let them go. R. Kelly needed nothing wrong with these women. These girls know what they was doing. They out here trying to get paid,” he said.
Gloria Allred, the attorney for Faith Rodgers, one of the accusers featured in the documentary, has accused Kelly of sending Rodgers a letter threatening to release private pictures of her, and expose her sexual past.
Rodgers said she won’t be intimidated into keeping silent.
“No one should be victim-shamed, harassed, or retaliated against because she asserted her rights and spoke her truth,” she said.
Last year, Rodgers filed a lawsuit against Kelly, accusing him of knowingly giving her a sexually transmitted disease. Rodgers, who was 19 at the time, also accused Kelly of “mentally, physically, and verbally” abusing her.
Rodgers said she was in a relationship with Kelly for nearly a year before leaving. She claimed, during that time, Kelly instructed her to call him “daddy,” and would lock her up for hours at a time. Rodgers said he even introduced her to one of the five women Kelly allegedly said he was “raising.”
“It just validates the monster that he is. That’s what it does. I realize that’s his defense, but his defense is only revealing his true colors,” Rodgers said.
Kelly’s attorneys have called the allegations against him absurd, and called the letter “a fake,” claiming Kelly cannot read, write, or type.
Prosecutors in Atlanta and Georgia have said they are looking into allegations of possible sex abuse involving Kelly.
Sources said Kelly’s recording studio has been under 24-hour surveillance. The man claiming to be Kelly’s stepbrother called that outrageous.
“He’s not a monster. He’s a human being just like us. He’s not a monster at all,” he said.