Music icon Gladys Knight is suing her son, demanding that he stop using her name.
According to the lawsuit, Knight no longer wants her name and image on any signs or promotions for the chicken and waffles restaurants.
The lawsuit claims Knight licensed her name and memorabilia to her son, Shanga Hankerson, in 1999 for use in connection with the Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles restaurants.
Court documents say that in 2009, Knight considered ending the agreement altogether due to what she perceived as mismanagement, but instead entered a verbal agreement, which was contingent on Hankerson protecting Knight’s name and reputation.
The lawsuit mentions both a state investigation and struggling business operations.
Authorities raided metro Atlanta locations of the resturants in June and arrested Hankerson on charges of theft and racketeering.
Hankerson is accused of stealing more than $650,000 in sales and withholding taxes. With penalties and interest, he would owe more than $1 million.
In February one location scored a 56 on an inspection. It passed with a 90 on its re-inspection.
The restaurants are under new management following Hankerson’s arrest.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.