R. Kelly’s Chicago Studio to Be Inspected by the City; Meanwhile, His Lawyer Dodges Questions

R. Kelly’s Chicago-warehouse recording studio, which was depicted in the bombshell Lifetime doc as a hub for his alleged “sex cult,” will undergo an inspection by the city. On Friday, a judge granted the city an emergency motion to enter the studio following an anonymous 311 complaint that people had been living there.

Police visited the studio earlier in the week after it gained notoriety from the doc, but found it was vacant. According to Cook County records, Kelly was ordered to be evicted from the studio on Monday and pay $167,000, stemming from a lawsuit from the building’s owners that Kelly owed back rent. As part of the inspection, the city is seeking to find out if Kelly illegally converted the warehouse space into a studio and residence for people to live in — complete with a built-in kitchen — without obtaining the proper permits. If so, he’d be in violation of city zoning laws and face up to $1,000 in fines per day per violation.

The inspection is not directly related to the ongoing probe into Kelly’s alleged sex crimes (it’s also not a search warrant), however, the studio has been the subject of controversy over whether or not Kelly held women there against their will.

According to reports from a bizarre press conference in response to the judge’s order, where Kelly’s lawyer, Melvin Sims, ducked out on the media without acknowledging any of their questions, Sims merely said, “There is no truth to any of the specious allegations regarding that premises.” The inspection will take place on January 16. Meanwhile, Kelly, who still hasn’t said a word about any of this, is supposedly suffering from panic attacks and reportedly contemplating fleeing to Africa amid the ongoing fallout from the doc.