ATLANTA — Another tidal wave of bad news and PR has struck the local famous restaurant Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles.
Just a few months ago, the famous eatery’s downtown location failed health inspections in multiple areas.
This past week, agents raided all three ‘Chicken and Waffles’ locations, shut down all operations and the state’s Department of Revenue accused Knight’s son, Shanga Hankerson, of theft and tax evasion.
No need to go into a panic about the legendary Motown singer. Even though the restauants are named after Gladys Knight, she is not the owner of the restaurant chain and has nothing to do with its overall operations. That would be her son, Shanga Hankerson, who is the actual owner of the three Atlanta-area restaurants. Knight only lent her famous name to her son’s business like an endorsement.
State officials accused Hankerson of stealing over $650,000 in sales taxes and withholding taxes owed to the state of Georgia, according to CNN.
“After penalties and interest the total exceeds $1 million,” the department said. “The department further alleges that Hankerson used these funds for personal use.”
The Department of Revenue agents executed search warrants on the corporate office in Riverdale, Ga., a suburb, and “unsuccessfully attempted to serve arrest warrants on Shanga Hankerson … at his home.”
Revenue officers also scooped up Hankerson’s bank accounts and three luxury vehicles.
Hankerson was reportedly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Tuesday when the raid occurred and authorities negotiated terms of his surrender to Georgia authorities.
This is not the first time Hankerson has been in hot water over taxes. Agency spokesman William Gaston told CNN:
“He has been in over two dozen payment plans and has defaulted on all of them. It extends to 2013.
They have all been for sales and withholding tax,”
After the news hit the airwaves, her PR agency told CNN:
“Gladys Knight lent her name to her son’s restaurants in the Atlanta area, similar to a celebrity endorsement.
Ms. Knight was not involved in any way with the operation of the restaurants and she is sure that her son and his business partners will rectify the situation.
As always, her main concern is for her family’s well-being and she is making sure the family has the guidance they need to assess the situation and move forward.”