CHICAGO (CBS) — It took a court order for the city building department’s strategic task force to gain access to R. Kelly’s commercial warehouse where people may have been living in violation of city codes. This is the same space a new documentary charges women have been held against their will and sexually abused.
The official concern given was that a recording studio and kitchen area were built without proper permits, but their response was sizeable.
The team of about a dozen consisted of a lead inspector, plumbers and carpenters, some in blue coats, but also representation from the fire department and a city attorney. They were guarded at all entrances by at least several plain-cloths police officers.
A city spokesperson said it’s the type of response reserved for “a significant safety issue.”
In the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” woman after woman comes forward to say they were sexually abused or held against their will by the singer, often at the studio he rents in West Town.
A man saying he’s Kelly’s step-brother defended him Wednesday.
“R. Kelly did nothing wrong with these women. They knew what they were doing,” the man said.
Online advertisements show the building’s spacious interior and indicate it’s been for sale since last spring with a $4 million price tag and boasts a “high profile tenant” who pays nearly “$23,000 a month.”
Early Wednesday morning, CBS 2 cameras captured someone removing a computer and document boxes while the curious drove by.
“I watched all six episodes in one night and I wanted to take a shower in bleach and ammonia I was sick to my stomach,” passerby Jeanette Finn said.
The inspection was approved last Friday, but the city building department said the inspection couldn’t happen until Wednesday because that’s the date that was worked out in court.
According to court records, R. Kelly is about $80,000 behind in rent on the space. An eviction order has been granted to the landlords, but they have not asked the sheriff to execute that eviction order.