By Frederick H. Lowe
Georgia Department of Revenue agents on Tuesday raided three chicken and waffles restaurants founded by singer Gladys Knight and operated by her son, Shanga Hankerson, as the state moves to place the temporarily shuttered company into receivership for $650,000 in unpaid sales and withholding taxes.
“It is never The Department of Revenue’s primary goal to shut down a business,” Josh Waites, director of the Office of Special Investigations. “We are working with Mr. Hankerson’s attorney to have the business up and running again as soon as possible.
Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles’ Concepts, a Jonesboro, Ga.-based company, however, is expected to go into receivership, which is a type of corporate bankruptcy. A receiver is appointed by the bankruptcy court to manage the company. “As soon as a receivership agreement is reached between the State and Hankerson, the restaurant should reopen for business,” Waites said.
The agents also served warrants on the company’s corporate headquarters, but they were unsuccessful in serving an arrest warrant to Hankerson, who co-founded the successful restaurant chain with his mother in 1997. The agents attempted to serve the warrant on Hankerson at his home. Gladys Knight is not suspected of any criminal activity.
NorthStarNewsToday.com/BlackmansStreet.Today emailed Hankerson questions but the email was not answered. A call to the Department of Revenue was not answered.
The Department of Revenue has opened a criminal theft case into Hankerson’s dealings, alleging that he has failed to remit sales and withholding taxes. Instead, he spent the money for his personal use, the Georgia Department of Revenue said in a statement. He is accused of stealing the funds.
The money is owed to the state. With penalties and with interest, he owes more than $1 million, the Department of Revenue officials said.
The restaurants were closed on Tuesday, and the diners were ordered to leave.
Gladys Knight’s Signature Chicken and Waffles on Peachtree Street, which usually has long lines of diners waiting outside to get a table, failed a health inspection on Feb. 18.
The company also operates restaurants in Lithonia, Ga. and on Cascade Road in Atlanta.