Judge Extends Hours For R. Kelly’s Recording Studio As Architect Prepares Repair Plan

CHICAGO (CBS) — While an architect draws up plans to repair several building code violations found at singer R. Kelly’s recording studio on the Near West Side, a judge has eased restrictions on when the building may be used.

Kelly’s attorneys had asked Judge Patrice Ball-Reed to either lift her order limiting access to the studio to the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or to instead allow access between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., arguing Kelly has been unable to work under the original restrictions.

“You can’t put a schedule on when a moment of beautiful music comes into your soul. You can’t put that type of schedule on an event that strikes you to such a deep level that you can produce such beautiful music,” Kelly’s attorney, Melvin Sims, said outside court.

In an affidavit submitted earlier this week, Kelly informed the judge he hasn’t been able to work at the studio since she restricted the hours of access.

“I have never been creative or worked between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.,” Kelly stated in an affidavit. “I typically use the studio during the evening and night time between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. These hours of use are consistent with many other recording studios.”

However, the judge would only grant a few more hours of access to the building a day, allowing the recording studio to operate between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Ball-Reed said it was Kelly’s choice not to work during the hours she had set.

All access to the second floor of the building, other than to fix any code violations, remains prohibited under an earlier order from the judge.

Ball-Reed said she wanted to make sure no one is spending the night in the building, and that there are no parties inside, since the building is zoned only for commercial use, and should not be used as a residence.

Ball-Reed restricted access to the warehouse building after a city inspection last month found several building code violations inside. The city also has argued the building was illegally used as a residence; noting inspectors found bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, a full bar and a lounge area with more than 20 seats had been built inside.

Kelly’s attorney said he has worked hard to address the code violations, noting all bedding has been removed from the building. However, Sims said one of the beds in the building is attached to the wall, and therefore it might require obtaining a permit to remove it.

Sims also said Kelly has hired an architect to draw up plans to fix the numerous code violations inside the building.

Inspectors found electrical problems, a lack of proper fire separation, and two unsafe stairwells – one which was not properly secured to a wall, and another with clothes and other debris underneath, creating a fire hazard. Construction work inside the warehouse also had been performed without submitting plans to the city or obtaining permits.

“They have hired an architect who will draw up plans, and try to get permits from the city, and they’ll be very busy in the next couple months,” said deputy corporation counsel Kimberly Roberts, an attorney with the city’s Law Department.

The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for May 2, but Kelly’s attorney said he hopes they might be able to return to court sooner if they can get the code violations addressed before May.

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