Convicted sex trafficker/former R&B singer R. Kelly presently resides at the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner. Butner is a medium security federal prison located just north of Raleigh-Durham. R. Kelly took up residence in April 2023. Two months after his arrival, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski died in the prison’s medical facility. Ponzi fraudster Bernie Madoff died at the prison’s medical facility in 2021.
Based on my quick research, R. Kelly and the prison’s other 1,100+ inmates live in 6×8 cells, typically with one cellmate. It’s possible that, due to his celebrity status, Kelly lives in one of the complex’s 96 special housing unit solo cells.
Not long ago, a 6×8 room would be a small closet in one of R. Kelly’s mansions. That would have been especially true with one mansion in particular: A Chicago-area estate custom built at the peak of his fame that Kelly dubbed “The Chocolate Factory.” That mansion, which R. Kelly lost to foreclosure in 2013, just hit the market with a price tag of $3.49 million:
R. Kelly bought the 4-acre estate that would eventually become “The Chocolate Factory” in April 1997 for $1.5 million. He proceeded to custom build what became a 21,000-square-foot mansion with seven bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, and from what we now know, he primarily used the bathrooms to go #2.
In addition to a full-court basketball/sports court, the property has a basement kitchen designed like a 1950s diner, a library, a billiards room, a fully-equipped fitness center, and the weirdest indoor pool perhaps of all time. You can see the pool starting at the 25-second mark of the video above. As you’ll see (spoiler alert), the indoor pool is allegedly “tropical” themed (that description is debatable), with a waterfall, grotto, hot tub, two-story treehouse, and clubhouse. It’s unsettling.
One can only shudder to imagine the parties that happened at this house over the years of Kelly’s ownership.
In 2007, local neighbors sued Kelly for keeping his enormous tour bus parked illegally on the street, building a guard house without a permit, and breeding dogs on the property.
During his time owning the mansion, Kelly carried a nearly $3 million mortgage owed to JP Morgan Chase bank. In July 2011, the bank began foreclosure proceedings on the home after Kelly had reportedly not made a payment on his mortgage in roughly a year. A foreclosure auction was held in March 2013, with JP Morgan bidding $950,000 on the home on which they already held the mortgage. In November 2013, the bank finally offloaded the property for $587,500. The buyer in 2013 was fellow R&B singer Rudolph Isley and his wife Elaine.
Elaine and Rudolph spent the next decade restoring (and hopefully exercising) what they re-dubbed “The Isley Estate.” Rudolph died in October 2023, and Elaine just listed “The Isley Estate” for $3.49 million.