*Back in June, the Georgia Department of Revenue raided Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles because the singer’s son, who runs the operation, is at the center of an investigation involving a $1 million hustle. Gladys Knight is not involved in the investigation but the controversy is hurting her brand and now she’s asking a judge to remove her name and likeness from the troubled chain.
AJC.com reports that in her lawsuit filed recently in Atlanta federal court, the soul legend is also asking that Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles stop using her recipes and memorabilia.
“The Restaurants are in free fall and their decline necessarily has the collateral effect of damaging Knight’s Intellectual Property and Knight’s reputation,” the suit states.
READ RELATED TEXT: Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles Lithonia Location Closes
Knight’s son Shanga Hankerson was arrested in June after a Georgia Department of Revenue investigation found that he pocketed taxes that the restaurant collected from customers, and used the funds for sex parties and his marijuana habit. Employees also went unpaid and allegedly worked under unhealthy conditions.
Knight considered ending the agreement that permitted use of her name as early as 2009 for “what she perceived as mismanagement of the Restaurants,” but only decided to move forward this year. The move was formalized July 21, but the lawsuit says nothing has changed, as the business has continued to use her name, likeness and memorabilia.
The suit includes an Aug. 17 email from Hankerson’s attorney, Dana Tucker Davis, saying he “has no desire to fight his mother for use of her name.”
One of the restaurant’s three locations closed its doors permanently earlier this month. A state Department of Revenue investigator said that the agency is pleased that the remaining restaurants are in business.
“We’re happy to see stores are still operating and employees are keeping their jobs,” said Joshua Waites, director of the department’s office of special investigations. “That’s our main goal.”