Though teenage rapper Chief Keef apparently had been a regular presence at a Northfield home where a shooting took place last month, he also recently faced eviction from a mansion he rents in Highland Park.
Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, was $22,500 behind on rent on his Highland Park home when eviction proceedings were filed against him in February, court records show.
By the time a settlement was reached in March, that amount had grown to $30,000, which he was required to pay in full by April 20 in order to stay in the home, according to court documents.
Meanwhile, Cozart also appeared in court recently for a pretrial hearing on a March 5 marijuana-related DUI charge in Highland Park.
Cozart did not speak during the hearing and declined to answer questions afterward.
On his way to the elevator, Cozart turned to reporters and said, "It is what it is."
Leah Starkman, an attorney for the rapper, said her client is learning from these experiences.
"I think he's absolutely learning and maturing," Starkman said. "He's only 18 years old, and people seem to forget that."
Starkman said Cozart intends to plead not guilty to the DUI charge. He's due back in court on May 16.
Cozart's recent request to travel out of state was approved by Lake County Judge Joseph Waldeck.
As for his living situation in Highland Park, Starkman said he is now caught up with the back rent payments.
Starkman blamed the lapse in rent payments on Cozart's absence during his recent court-ordered stint in rehab. Cozart completed the 90-day drug treatment program in California in February.
Cozart, 18, is back at the house, but the court order makes it clear that the case can be reopened if he falls behind again.
The palatial home on a quiet cul-de-sac last sold for $1.9 million, records show, and rents for $7,500 a month.
It has been a tumultuous time for Cozart, whose cousin Mario Hess, a Chicago rapper who went by the names Big Glo and Blood Money, was shot and killed in Englewood recently.
On March 5, Cozart was pulled over by Highland Park police for an expired registration.
Police said he showed signs of impairment from drugs and charged him with DUI after conducting field sobriety tests.
Cozart also was questioned and released in connection with a March 26 shooting at his manager's rented Northfield home. A 33-year-old man was critically injured in the shooting but was released from the hospital last week.
Although Cozart was in the home at the time of the shooting, he was not involved, Starkman said previously. He was in the car that drove the injured man to the hospital, she said.
Police said they are searching for a person of interest but have not made any arrests.
Starkman said her client requested permission to travel out of state because he travels back and forth to Los Angeles for his music career.
When asked by a reporter if she felt her client was being unfairly targeted by police because of his celebrity, Starkman said, "He believes that, and his management does as well."
The troubles have fueled safety concerns not just in Northfield but among Cozart's Highland Park neighbors, said Ken Cooper, who lives next door to Cozart.
"It's a quiet place," said Cooper, 74. "We watch the grass grow and the cars rust."
Although there have been no major incidents at the house, Cooper said neighbors met with Highland Park police to voice their concerns about a month ago. Shortly after that meeting, police responded to a complaint about cars parked on the street about 2 a.m. in front of Cozart's house, Cooper said.
"There are cars in and out of there all night," he said.
Cooper, though, admitted a respect for the rapper's skills.
"The Chief has a very fine voice. He's obviously very talented," Cooper said. "I can't understand the words most of the time, but it's a pure voice."
Tribune reporter Karen Ann Cullotta contributed.Copyright © 2015, RedEye