By Robert Stitt
This last February, Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles on Peachtree Street in Atlanta got quite a shock, as did the patrons. The beloved restaurant failed its health inspection with a score of 56. They had to post the results and clean up quickly so as not to lose business. Luckily, it wasn’t the height of the tourist season.
Four months later and the restaurant is back in the news. This time, the police weren’t searching for roaches or checking food temperatures, they were looking for Knight’s son, Shanga Hankerson. According to The Root, Hankerson owns and operates all three Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles franchises in Atlanta. He is also wanted in a $1 million tax evasion case led by the Georgia Department of Revenue.
A felony warrant is out for Hankerson. Agent Josh Waites noted, “Shanga’s accused of stealing over $650,000 in both sales and withholding tax. With penalties and interest, it’s up to over $1 million owed.” All three of the Atlanta restaurant locations were raided to collect records.
Waites clarified that the state did not just swoop in out of the blue. “We’ve had over two dozen payment plans with him and he’s defaulted on every single one,” he explained.
A spokesperson for Gladys Knight confirmed that Knight was not in trouble and is not involved in the operation of any of the restaurants. “Gladys Knight lent her name to her son’s restaurants in the Atlanta area, similar to a celebrity endorsement…she is sure that her son and his business partners will rectify the situation…and she is making sure the family has the guidance they need to assess the situation and move forward.”
Local patrons and tourists looking forward to a night of fine eating at any one of the locations will not have to worry. Reports are that Hankerson’s legal problems are not going to affect the daily operation of the business. The restaurant will continue as usual and overcome this adversity just like they did the low health grade. Upon re-inspection, they scored a 90.