The fraud trial of businessman Robert Michael revolves around dry banking regulations and a sham real estate deal.
But jurors got a glimpse of glamour Thursday when prosecutors called reality TV star Andrea Kelly to testify about her dealings with disgraced former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans.
Kelly, formerly of Chicago’s suburbs, is the ex-wife of R&B singer R. Kelly. She has appeared on the VH1 reality show “Hollywood Exes.”
The feds say Michael and Evans designed a bogus real estate transaction involving the Regal Theater around 2008 to generate cash for Evans’ entertainment business. Evans wasn’t charged in the case but was sentenced to five years in prison in a separate matter for stealing more than $900,000 in state grant money.
Kelly told Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Hammerman she met Evans through a “mutual friend.” Kelly considered in 2008 whether to locate her dance company at the Regal as artist-in-residence. She also said she toured the theater and even considered opening a studio in the “old, abandoned apartments” nearby.
Prosecutors say Michael gave the apartments to Evans “free and clear” as he engineered a deal that ultimately put $634,000 into bank accounts he and Evans controlled.
“I never heard anything back from [Evans], so I figured, ‘I guess we’re not doing it,’ ” Kelly testified.
Kelly also told jurors she did not sign lease documents for the building, despite the appearance of signatures that purport to be hers. One document also appeared to be signed by former Chicago Police Lt. Erroll Davis, who pleaded guilty in 2013 when he was charged along with Michael.
Kelly said she eventually found space for her studio in Country Club Hills.