Federal agents are seeking real estate documents related to R&B singer R. Kelly’s former south suburban mansion.
In a subpoena to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds dated April 21, 2020, federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York sought all records related to the Olympia Fields estate, including “land records, property deeds and home ownership” between 1997 and 2013. Public records show that is the time frame Robert Kelly owned the home.
Last year, his attorney said the singer was living at Trump Tower located next to the Chicago River as Kelly was charged with a plethora of alleged crimes, including sexual abuse of minors. Currently, he is housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago as he awaits multiple trials.
The public release of the subpoena comes as prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York office charged three people with trying to bribe, intimidate or threaten Kelly’s alleged victims, including setting fire to a vehicle outside one of the victim’s homes.
“I think they’re just looking for records so they can establish he owned the property where some of the conduct is alleged to have taken place,” said Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg. “If there’s any financial mismanagement on that property, it would fall on his management [team]. He never handled any of his own money.”
“Putting aside whatever they say he may have done over the years, this guy was taken advantage of, stolen from … just basically ‘effed over’ by everyone he trusted over the years when it came to his business affairs and the management of his money,” Greenberg continued.
A spokesman for the Office of Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme did not comment.
Kelly is facing a mountain of criminal charges relating to allegations of sexual abuse of children, child pornography, kidnapping, sexual assault and bribery. Those charges come from multiple jurisdictions, including local prosecutors in Cook County and Hennepin County, Minn. and from federal prosecutors in Chicago and New York. All of those charges came shortly after Lifetime aired Surviving R. Kelly, a television show in which multiple women accused the singer of sexual misconduct.
Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges in all of the cases against him.
A federal judge has denied Kelly’s multiple requests to be freed from the federal jail due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times first reported on a civil lawsuit alleging the singer had sex with minor children. In 2008, a Cook County jury found Kelly not guilty of all counts of child pornography. His attorneys had argued that a videotape shown to jurors of a man urinating on the girl was not in fact the Grammy award-winning singer.
Kelly purchased the Olympia Fields home in 1997 for $3.5 million. By March 2011, however, Kelly faced foreclosure on the 14,000-square-foot mansion as the singer still owed $2.9 million, according to county records. The home was reportedly sold at auction two years later for less than $1 million.
The gated estate on a dead end street included a basketball court, an indoor pool and five bedrooms.
Greenberg has argued the singer has suffered through financial problems, though prosecutors recently reported that they discovered a bank account controlled by Kelly with $1.2 million in it.
Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.