R. Kelly ordered to grant inspectors access to Chicago studio

A judge in Chicago, Illinois has ordered R. Kelly to allow city inspectors into the warehouse he has been renting and reportedly using illegally as a recording studio and residence.

The property drew the attention of authorities after it was featured in the damning docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which chronicled the decades of sexual misconduct accusations made against the singer.

On the Lifetime series, a number of alleged victims claimed the R&B veteran had been using the location to hold girls and young women captive as part of a purported sex cult. Prosecutors are currently investigating the situation, but Kelly's lawyers insist he has done nothing wrong.

Despite taking a defiant stance, Kelly is said to have suffered from panic attacks leading up to the show's broadcast, with one incident so severe, it required hospital treatment, reports TMZ.

Now Kelly has a new legal issue to deal with as city officials believe his use of the two-storey warehouse violates property zoning laws, as it is only allowed for industrial purposes.

Department of Buildings inspectors paid a visit to the place on Wednesday night (09Jan19), but were unable to locate anyone at the property to allow them in, and they subsequently filed an emergency motion seeking immediate access to the area on Thursday (10Jan19).

The case was heard in court on Friday, when Judge Patrice Brown-Reed dismissed the urgency of the request, although she did rule in the inspectors' favour, setting up the visit for 16 January (19).

The Step in the Name of Love hitmaker has been renting the space from bosses at Midwest Commercial Funding LLC, but was facing eviction after falling $80,000 (£62,250) behind on his monthly payments. The two parties reached a deal earlier this week (begs07Jan19) to allow Kelly two weeks to either settle the debt or vacate the place, according to The Blast.

A legal representative for Midwest admitted the owners do not currently have a key to get into the building for the city inspection, but Melvin Sims, Kelly's attorney, agreed to comply with the order.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the musician, who is the sole tenant of the warehouse, was not directly named in the city filing, although he appeared to be referenced under other defendants, listed as "tenants & occupants".

Meanwhile, bosses at Kelly's record labels RCA and Sony Music are facing mounting pressure to cut ties with the controversial artist amid his latest sex scandal.

Officials at national women's organisation UltraViolet paid to have a plane fly a message over parent company Sony's offices in Culver City, California on Friday, demanding they take action.

"RCA/Sony: Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly," read the banner.

The stunt was designed to support the #MuteRKelly social media campaign, which calls on music fans to stop listening to and streaming his songs.

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