R. Kelly attorney speaks out after singer's West Loop studio inspected

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An attorney representing Chicago native R. Kelly addressed the media Thursday, one day after city inspectors found code violations in the embattled R&B singer's West Loop recording studio.

The inspection was granted by a Cook County judge last week after the City demanded the right to get into R. Kelly's warehouse/recording studio at 219 N. Justine Avenue. City attorneys said they suspect people may be living here, even though the building is not zoned for that purpose.

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The lawyer, Melvin Sims, described the inspection as "uneventful" and said it debunked previous concerns that someone may be living in the studio, which is not zoned for residential use.

"There is no one that lives at that premises nor has anyone or is anyone living at the premises. No one lives there," he said.

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People in the area have previously reported a lot of traffic coming in and out of the building, and neighbors said they often see young girls in the alley behind it.

"I'm curious today to see what they find inside. You know, if they're bringing out mattresses and women's clothing, doesn't that say a lot to the allegation?" said Jim Lewis, who has a business next door to the space R. Kelly rents.

Inspectors arrived shortly after noon Wednesday and while a gaggle of media was stationed outside, cameras were not allowed inside the building.
In a statement issued at about 4 p.m., the Department of Buildings said inspectors "observed building code violations including evidence of residential use which is noncompliant with the zoning code and work performed without approved plans or permits."

The violations will be incorporated into an amended complaint for the next court hearing, the department said.

The allegations and inspection all come amidst the release of an explosive six-part documentary, "Surviving R. Kelly," which aired Jan. 3. The documentary details decades of accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse against the singer, including by his ex-wife. Those allegations now being investigated as demonstrations have been ongoing outside the studio, calling for a boycott on his music.

Wednesday morning, one of Kelly's associates was seen removing computer equipment from the studio, but the person would not answer questions. R. Kelly was supposed to be present himself to grant the inspectors access when they arrive, but it's not known if he was present.

A realtor representing the building's owner was also at the site. The building is for sale and Kelly is facing eviction due to unpaid rent.

A man who identified himself as R. Kelly's stepbrother, but who refused to provide his name, showed up at the warehouse Wednesday morning to defend the singer.
"He's not a monster. He's a human being just like us. He's not a monster at all," the man said.

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