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Two of R Kelly’s lawyers move to quit case as racketeering trial nears

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Two top lawyers for R Kelly are moving to withdraw from his case, citing internal disputes with other lawyers, less than nine weeks before they were set to represent Mr Kelly, the disgraced R&B star, in his criminal trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

In a letter to the judge this week, the lawyers, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, wrote that they had significant reasons to depart the case, writing that it would be “impossible” for them to continue to represent Kelly. The decision emerged, they said, as tensions erupted between them and two other members of the legal team who joined the case later and were now seeking a more prominent role in the trial.

At a hearing Wednesday, the two sides hurled criticisms at one another, with Greenberg questioning the aptitude of Mr Kelly’s newer lawyers, who shot back that his comments were out of line.

The attempted shift in Mr Kelly’s legal representation is the latest twist in the run-up to the singer’s long-awaited trial on racketeering charges, which is scheduled to begin August 9th in New York. Mr Kelly said at the hearing that he was in support of the change.

Judge Ann Donnelly did not immediately rule on the matter Wednesday, instead requesting more detailed information in writing about the two lawyers’ set of complaints. “The thing to do is to put some of this in a letter to the court,” Ms Donnelly said after interrupting Greenberg as he delved into his frustrations. After a letter comes, she said, a decision would follow promptly. Mr Kelly’s indictment, filed in US District Court in Brooklyn, accuses him of being the leader of a criminal enterprise that included his managers, bodyguards, drivers and members of his entourage.

The enterprise recruited women and underage girls for illegal sexual contact and then isolated and threatened them to keep them under control and prevent them from going to the authorities, the indictment alleges. If convicted, Mr Kelly, who also faces federal charges of pornography and obstruction in Chicago, could face up to 20 years in prison. On Wednesday, Ms Donnelly said the trial date would not be postponed despite the possible late upheaval.

Agitation

“It sounds like nobody is asking for an adjournment of trial, which I wouldn’t grant in any event,” the judge said. Greenberg had represented Mr Kelly (54) since 2018, before he was charged in the criminal case. But both he and Mr Leonard said their joint departure was spurred by agitation with two other lawyers on the case, who they said lack trial experience at the federal level and began to demand a larger, more forward-facing role in the trial.

“Frankly, everyone wants to be first chair, everyone wants to do opening, everyone wants to do closing,” Mr Greenberg said at the hearing, “and that just can’t be.” The two had twice sought to discuss those concerns with Mr Kelly, Mr Greenberg said. But the singer rejected both attempts to meet with him. “It’s unfortunate because these other people are clueless,” Mr Greenberg said in an interview. “But that’s his choice. You can’t save someone from themselves.”

During the hearing, one of the two lawyers who joined the case later, Nicole Becker, called those comments “inappropriate” on the whole. In a statement, she and the fourth lawyer, Thomas Farinella, said that the matter should have been moot: Mr Kelly had already terminated the two others from the case last week, they said.

When asked by the judge if he wanted to move forward with just half of his legal team, Mr Kelly responded, “Absolutely, yes, ma’am.” Becker and Farinella did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment after the hearing. Mr Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction charges is set to begin September 13th.

Since his arrest in July 2019, Kelly has been held in a federal detention facility in Chicago. He is expected to be moved to New York closer to the trial date, as a prosecutor said his lawyers wanted him to remain in Illinois for as long as possible. – New York Times

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IHG to open new hotel in Brussels (BE)

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IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) announced the signing of voco Brussels City North, marking entry into a new market. Due to open in autumn 2023, the 92-key voco Brussels City North property will be operated by Prem Group, a strong partner for IHG in the region. The state-of-the-art hotel will feature a restaurant and conference centre and will adjoin the Innovation Centre, which is already open on the site, to create a hub for hospitality innovation and a truly stimulating environment.

 

Located to the north of the city, the hotel will feature a striking 50-metre tower with huge glass windows providing panoramic views of the Brussels skyline. The site itself will be Europe’s largest experimental lab for creating ideas and a vision for the future. In line with voco hotels ethos, voco Brussels City North will stand out from the crowd and give guests a different choice.

 

Willemijn Geels, VP Development Europe, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “I’m delighted to announce that we are partnering with Living Tomorrow to bring voco hotels to Belgium. We know that Brussels is a strong market for branded properties, and we are confident that the voco hotels’ brand will fit well with the goal of creating a truly innovative hub on this unique site.”

 

Yin Oei, CEO, Living Tomorrow, said: “Living Tomorrow is focused on driving the future and we’re excited to partner with IHG to develop this exciting hotel – the first voco in Belgium. The values of voco hotels fit well with our desire to innovate and push boundaries and we know that the strength of the IHG systems will provide a stable platform from which to innovate.”

 

 

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Mitheridge and London Green unveil plans for Lambeth mix-use scheme (GB)

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Mitheridge Capital Management and London Green have unveiled plans for a residential-led, mixed-use development in Lambeth, south London. The project will make use of a former industrial site in Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, while also protecting the adjacent intersecting Victorian railway viaducts which remain a rich heritage asset.

 

Managing Partner of Mitheridge William Yerburgh said: “London desperately needs more homes. We believe strongly in an approach to housing provision that is affordable but also enhances the character and vibrancy of local communities. Our partnership with London Green will show that new housing provision can deliver for everyone.”

 

Daniel Rastegar, Investment Director at Mitheridge commented: “We are excited to work with London Green to deliver a scheme that will contribute positively to this area of Lambeth, both by providing highly sustainable, high-quality homes as well as new industrial space for SMEs.”

 

Harry Green, Director at London Green added: “This represents yet another opportunity to develop an underutilised site into a mixed community of sustainable homes and workplaces. We look forward to working with best-in-class consultants and contractors to deliver the vision that we share with Mitheridge Capital Management”.

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IIProp grows its presence in Spain

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IIProp (International Industrial Properties) has successfully delivered the initial phase of its built-to-suit project in the Spanish city of Murcia. The joint venture has also launched a new development project at a prime location in Nadarzyn, Warsaw South, Poland. The scheme is located in Murcia’s San Andres industrial park and offers 22,346m². The project is set to add another building of over 23,000m², bringing the total development area to 46,600m² GLA. Construction of a 23,000m² follow-on component is under way and scheduled for completion in January 2023. The project marks an important milestone for the IIProp’s expansion in Spain, where the platform has secured pipeline for development of some 63,000m² GLA in the Murcia and Barcelona regions. The development comes with excellent connectivity and visibility as it sits alongside the A7 highway, part of the Mediterranean transit corridor that links Spanish and Portuguese ports with mainland Europe. The project is set to obtain “Very Good” BREEAM certificate, which will be supported by green solutions such as solar panels, charging stations for electric cars, power sockets for electric bicycles and scooters as well as bicycle parking space and a bee shelter.

 

Nebil Senman, Managing Partner at Griffin Capital Partners, said: “The logistics market in Europe experienced an unprecedented growth during the pandemic and despite the geopolitical turmoil the tenant demand remains strong. We selectively are developing projects in Murcia and Warsaw with highest ESG standards and securing highest tenant covenants to fulfill core investor’s requirements. We plan to continue to build up carefully our European logistics footprint by selectively adding projects in core European markets as well as through converting our well-positioned land bank into standing assets.”

 

Maciej Dyjas, Managing Partner at Griffin Capital Partners, commented: “The projects in Murcia and Warsaw are another success stories in our strategic partnership with Panattoni. We continue to screen new European markets for entry and already begun working on potential development projects in countries like France, Italy, and Austria. In parallel, the IIProp’s pipeline stands at ca. 430,000m² GLA, despite latest disposals completed in Germany.

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