CHICAGO — After spending three nights in custody, R. Kelly left Cook County Jail on Monday evening and was back on the town — eating McDonald’s and hitting up a cigar lounge.
The woman who made it possible is 47-year-old Valencia Love of southwest suburban Romeoville. She’s had money woes in the past, but now owns a popular brunch spot in south suburban Blue Island, WGN Investigates has learned. Love’s decision to help the R&B singer could be costing her.
According to court documents, Love owes the Clerk of the Circuit Court of DuPage County $28.60 for fines associated with a 2012 disorderly conduct charge.
And in 2015, she filed for bankruptcy. Love told the court she owed creditors almost $20,000.
But on Monday, Love was able to post $100,000 to help the R&B singer she calls a friend. A Cook County judge over the weekend set bond at $1 million in Kelly’s case; the singer needed to post 10 percent to go free.
Kelly, 52, is charged with sexually abusing a woman and three girls over a span of 12 years.
Love told WGN she's known Kelly for years, but provided no additional details. Love answered a few questions by phone, but said she is not comfortable doing interviews.
"When you fall to the bottom, no one is there," Love said of Kelly. "I’m just trying to be a friend. Never turn your back on a friend. I help everybody."
The singer was at Love’s restaurant, Love On The Blu at 12454 S. Western Ave. in Blue Island, a few weeks ago.
“Everybody came up in the building, like, ‘R. Kelly’s here! He’s over there!’” said Ramona Stampley, a bartender at an adjacent business.
“A lot of celebrities hang out up in there,” Stampley said of Love’s restaurant, which is known for its brunch. “A whole lot of celebs come in and out.”
When media outlets began to report Love’s name, negative restaurant reviews started popping up on Yelp and Facebook. Many diners are now boycotting the restaurant because its owner helped an accused child sex offender.
"Everyone has a right to due process," Love said. "Everyone is presumed innocent."
Love on the Blu opened in 2018.
A year earlier, court records show, Love got more than $1 million in a court settlement after her infant daughter died during a surgery at what was then Children’s Memorial Hospital. She used that money to pay off her bankruptcy debts. Love said none of that money went toward Kelly's bond.
"I am a successful businesswoman," Love said. "I earned $1.1 million last year."
According to court records, Love in 2015 made $30,000 a year working at Lord and Child Day Care on 79th Street.
But according to the business and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Love doesn’t work there anymore.
Love is still the registered agent for that daycare with the Illinois Secretary of State. She is also listed as the secretary of the day care’s board.
When WGN’s Meghan Dwyer tried to speak with Love outside her restaurant Thursday, Love sped away in her car.