If R. Kelly can remember the lyrics to all 22 chapters of "Trapped in the Closet," could he have conceivably forgotten to pay the mortgage on his home? According to a legal complaint filed last month in a Chicago court (via Crain's Chicago Business), the R&B singer (born Robert Kelly) hasn't made a monthly payment since June 2010 on the 11,140-square-foot mansion he built 11 years ago. J. P. Morgan Chase Bank has filed a $2.9 million foreclosure suit for Kelly's failure to pony up on the original $3.5 million loan, which was issued in 1999.
A source tells Crain's Kelly stopped living in the Maros Lane mansion in Olympia Fields, Illinois, a year ago and halted payments intentionally to encourage the bank to renegotiate the terms of the loan. If so, that plan didn't work out so well. Quoting an Assessor estimate, Crain's reports the gated home -- which includes a lot of bathrooms (six full, seven half-baths) -- was valued at a high of $5.2 million 2009, but a year later it was only worth $3.8 million. The balance on the loan is $2.9 million, excluding interest and other charges.
Kelly's rep hasn't issued an official statement about the mortgage, but told the Associated Press the singer isn't in financial trouble.
So where's Kelly's cash going, if not to repaying his home loan? Most likely to his lawyers: Kelly has been in almost perpetual legal trouble since 1996, when he got into a fight on a health club basketball court and was booked on battery charges. Later that year, he was sued by a woman who claimed they had a sexual relationship when she was a minor; they settled out of court in 1998. In 2001, Kelly was sued by another woman making a similar allegation, and they, too, settled out of court. The same pattern repeated twice more in 2002, when Kelly was slapped with another pair of suits. In June of that year, he was indicted on 21 counts of making child pornography in Chicago and arrested hours later in Florida on 12 additional counts. The Florida case was quickly dropped and Kelly stood trial in Chicago six years after his original arrest (he was found not guilty on the remaining 14 charges he faced).
His business affairs have often turned litigious, too. A joint Best of Both Worlds Tour with Jay-Z ended prematurely in 2004 and the two artists sued and countersued each other almost comically multiple times. In 2006, Kelly was sued by a man claiming to be a friend and mentor who fought with the singer at a party in his Maros Lane home. Two years later, Ne-Yo sued a tour promoter for supposedly booting him from a trek because he was upstaging the headliner, Kelly, who was not named in the suit personally (Ne-Yo eventually won $700,000). And just last month, Kelly's former managers sued him for $1 million for allegedly defaulting on payments because he needed the money for other reasons, namely "to 'pay off' various individuals threatening to expose alleged illicit, embarrassing and unlawful conduct by Kelly, including sexual misconduct."
Despite his myriad legal dramas, Kelly has continued to release music and tour, though his album sales have slipped as the music industry continues to decline. His last album to go platinum -- sell a million copies -- was 2007's Double Up, featuring the hit single "I'm a Flirt." His 2009 disc Untitled failed to go gold (sell 500,000 copies), but he rebounded with 2010's Love Letter, which has gone gold and remains on Billboard's Top 200 seven months after its release. His Love Letter Tour, which began in June, wraps tomorrow in Tennessee.
[Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images]