HipHopDX got court papers that show that in May, the United States Court in the Northern District of Illinois sent what is called a “third-party citation” to find Universal Music Group’s assets.
The record company had until June 21 to respond to the interrogatories. At that time, it would have to say how much the disgraced R&B singer owed in unpaid songwriter royalties.
As it turned out, the singer owed $567,444.19 in unpaid royalties. On Friday (June 30), the courts told Kelly’s music production company, Universal, to give the money to the courts. A label source told Radar Online that these royalties will be used to pay R. Kelly’s victims, who have only gotten about $27,000 from the “I Believe I Can Fly” artist so far.
This month, prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, filed a writ of continuing garnishment. This is what creditors (in this case, the government on behalf of R. Kelly’s victims) do to collect money owed in a ruling from debtors (in this case, R. Kelly’s record labels).
“As of June 1, 2023, the total amount owed on the above ruling, including interest, is $504,289.73. “Interest is still being added,” the papers against Kelly’s record company, Sony Music Entertainment, said.
The court filed the writ of continuing garnishment against R. Kelly’s record label because it is “in possession of property” that belongs to the shamed singer and can be used to pay down or get rid of the debt.
In March, the Illinois Supreme Court said Heather Williams could get into the disgraced singer’s label fund, which Billboard said was worth $”1.5 million in 2020. This was before Midwest Commercial Funding, a property manager who won a separate $3.5 million ruling against Kelly for unpaid rent on a Chicago studio”.
After bringing a civil lawsuit against Kelly the year before, Williams won a $4 million judgement against him in 2020. She said that when she was 16, the “Ignition” hitmaker got her to come to his studio by telling her she could be in a music video. Once she was there, she said, he had sex with her more than once, even though she was only 16.
In its decision on Thursday, the state high court supported “a lower court’s decision that Williams, not Midwest Commercial, should be the first one to get the royalties because she was the first one to ask for the money” in the right way.
A previous decision said that the label had to give “Williams “any funds currently in Kelly’s royalty account” and keep giving her money from his royalties until the judgment was paid off.
Jennifer Bonjean, R. Kelly’s” lawyer, tried at first to get the $4 million judgment against her client overturned. She said that the award to Williams “never should have been entered” because it was given after Kelly didn’t react to a judgement he didn’t know about.
“I’ve never in my career seen such a flagrant disregard for the rules,” Bonjean said. “He wasn’t even given the chance to defend himself in these civil cases, even though the courts knew he was in jail, sometimes without a lawyer, and facing multiple criminal charges.” “In fact, Kelly didn’t know about a lot of these court cases.”
But when Billboard asked Bonjean what she thought about the latest entry in the case, she said she had “no opinion” about the latest move by prosecutors to take his earnings.