A little more than a week after he was released after posting $100,000 bond on charges of sexual abuse, R. Kelly has until Wednesday morning to make a six-figure child support payment or else risk a trip back to jail.
A Cook County judge last month issued an order that would send Kelly to jail if he doesn’t pay $161,663 he owes his ex-wife by 10 a.m. Wednesday. The singer also is due at a hearing in the child support case at the Daley Center at 2 p.m.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Kelly had not made any payment, said Eric France, manager for Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly.
Kelly late last month struggled to raise the $100,000 required to secure his release on $1 million bail on multiple counts of sexual abuse in four separate cases charged by the Cook County State’s Attorney office. The singer spent three nights in jail before a suburban woman — a fan who met him on a Lake Michigan cruise in the fall — put up the $100,000.
At his bond hearing on the sex abuse cases, the judge denied a request from prosecutors to hold Kelly in jail until he had both posted bond and paid his child support.
Kelly’s lawyer on Tuesday did not respond to calls from the Chicago Sun-Times seeking comment.
All records in Kelly’s 2009 divorce from dancer Andrea Kelly are sealed, but a copy of a judge’s order on his failure to pay child support was among records that became public during his bond hearing. Judge Lori Rosen on Feb. 6 ordered Kelly be jailed unless he paid the bulk of the $194,000 he owed for child support, accrued interest, and educational expenses. But the order gave Kelly until Wednesday to make payment.
It’s common for judges to order people to jail for unpaid child support. Based on the order, Kelly could be a likely candidate to land in jail if he doesn’t pay up by the deadline, said Alyssa Mogul, a family law attorney at Chicago-based Grund & Leavitt. Kelly owes a large amount of money, and has gone a long time without paying — did not appear to have offered a significant defense of his actions at the last hearing, said Mogul, who is not involved in the Kelly case.
“It appears he’s had his due process,” Mogul said. “It’s time with him to comply with the order. … Judges don’t like it when people don’t follow their orders.”
It is not clear from the order whether Kelly has been ordered to attend the hearing. If he has not paid by then, a warrant could be issued for his arrest.
Kelly’s criminal defense lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said after the bond hearing that despite a decades-long career and millions of records sold, the singer’s finances are “a mess.” Kelly’s income took a significant hit after he was dropped by his record label amid public outcry over allegations of sexual abuse of minors raised in the Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly.”
Kelly’s ex-wife was featured prominently in the series, and she also produced her own video about her 11-year relationship with the singer, which is available for download on her website.
But even before the “Surviving R. Kelly” fallout began, and the singer’s arrest on sex abuse charges, Kelly had stopped making required $20,000 monthly child support payments last spring, France said. France said the singer has never asked a judge to reduce his payments because his income had declined, nor claimed in court that he does not have the money to pay.
Kelly for months had dodged service from Andrea Kelly’s lawyers, which prevented the child support demands from moving forward in court, France said, but the unpaid balance he owed his wife continued to build.
“Mr. Kelly has more than 20 people on his staff who, needless to say, are being paid,” France said. “He is not without means. Not until he was arrested did he say he didn’t have any money.”