Back in June, Gladys Knight’s son Shanga Hankerson, who owned and managed the Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles restaurant chain in Atlanta, was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $650,000 in sales and withholding state taxes. Knight lent her name to the business as a celebrity endorsement but wasn’t involved in its actual operations in any capacity, and after the scandal broke, she sued Hankerson to remove her name and image from the restaurant’s promotion.
Now, TMZ reports, their legal battle has gotten even uglier. When Hankerson didn’t respond to the lawsuit, the clerk entered a default victory for Knight. But according to Knight, her own son then attempted to extort her, with his lawyer threatening to go public with the information that Knight has Alzheimer’s if she didn’t give them more time to respond. And when she didn’t give in, Hankerson filed legal documents accusing her of having some form of dementia and a “lack of mental capacity.”
Obviously, Knight is denying the allegations of dementia, saying that her son is trying to “embarrass and harass her.” She wants to keep the default victory in place, but Hankerson is still fighting to get it overturned.
Sheesh. What a gross, sad story.