A Chicago judge ordered the second floor of R.Kelly’s studio to be shut down. The 52 year-old musician, who is now under criminal investigation stemming from a slew of allegations of physical and sexual abuse against a bevy of women, initially used the warehouse as a place of work, but apparently as a residence as well.
The judge on the case mandated that the warehouse can only be of use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to CBS Chicago, an inspection took place at the property on January 16, which revealed the property has bathrooms, bedrooms, a kitchen, a full bar and lounge area.
Because the building is zoned for commercial use only, all the evidence found suggests that people indeed inhabit the premises.
“We did find bedrooms with bathrooms. Inside the bathrooms there was evidence of toiletries, robes, and it appeared that people were living in the property,” Kimberly Roberts, deputy corporation counsel said. “In addition to that, the stairs were dangerous.”
Another form of evidence found in the property was a staircase, which allegedly was not properly secured to a wall. Ultimately, the deficient staircase can become a major fire hazard if an emergency were to occur on the premises. In response to the findings, Judge Patrice Ball-Reed mandated that the second floor be closed until the staircase is repaired.
“There’s no plan to suggest how this was built out. There hasn’t been one inspection by a city inspector to verify the work was done properly, and being out there, it’s obvious that the work was not done well, which leads us to concerns about public safety,” Ball-Reed said. “If a fire breaks out with that lack of fire separation, the entire warehouse can go up.”
Still, R,Kelly’s attorney Melvin Sims said that despite all that was found, his client does not use the studio as a residence but only as a workplace. “A facility on the premises does not a residence make. A couch on the premises does not make it a living room,” Sims said. “Obviously, you have attorneys and judges, and we are interpreting how a creative space is to be used, and we’re probably the least creative people inclined to do that.”
A follow-up hearing will take place on February 7, where another debate will take place to see if the studio will remain open in any capacity.