Yesterday, June 21, all three locations of Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles concepts were closed when Georgia Department of Revenue agents executed search warrants at the restaurants as well as its corporate headquarters.
Since the initial report of the abrupt closure , the Georgia Department of Revenue has released more information regarding the events.
In addition to the search warrants, agents unsuccessfully attempted to serve arrest warrants on Shanga Hankerson, Gladys Knight’s son, at his home.
According to a press release, the Department of Revenue opened a criminal theft case into Hankerson, alleging he has “failed to remit sales and withholding taxes. The Department further alleges that Hankerson used these funds for personal use. Hankerson is accused of stealing over $650,000 in sales and withholding taxes owed to the State, after penalties and interest the total exceeds $1 million. Criminal charges include theft by taking and theft by conversion."
“We are working with Mr. Hankerson’s attorney to have the business up and running again as soon as possible,” said Josh Waites, Director of the Office of Special Investigations.
Gladys Knight is not suspected of any criminal activity. Yesterday, Knight’s spokeswoman Laura Herlovich stated that Knight was aware of the events.
“Gladys Knight lent her name to her son’s restaurants in the Atlanta area, similar to a celebrity endorsement,” said Herlovich. “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.”