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City inspectors find violations in R. Kelly’s rented studio on Near West Side

This story was updated from an earlier development

The Chicago Department of Buildings uncovered evidence of several building code violations during their hour-long inspection of singer R. Kelly’s rented studio on the Near West Side.

“At today’s inspection, City inspectors observed building code violations including evidence of residential use which is non-compliant with the zoning code and work performed without approved plans or permits,” a Department of Buildings spokesman said in a statement.

City inspectors are inspecting Kelly’s recording studio in the West Loop.

It’s the latest fallout following Lifetime’s bombshell docuseries on the R&B singer.

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.

People in the area have in the past, reported a lot of traffic coming in and out of the building, including young girls.

“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.

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, a person was seen leaving the studio with a computer, but the person would not answer questions. R. Kelly is supposed to be present himself to grant the inspectors access when they arrive, but it is not known if he will be there.

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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