Gladys Knight is locked in a bitter legal battle with her son.
The 72-year-old singer’s son is refusing to remove Knight’s name from his Atlanta eatery chain, claiming his mom lacks the ‘mental capacity’ to terminate the licensing deal.
The Midnight Train To Georgia crooner had ordered son Shanga Hankerson to stop using her name for his ‘Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles’ outlets after he was accused of stealing from the business.
The DailyMail claim court papers filed on Thursday say ‘Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, [sic] lack of mental capacity to rescind the license agreement granted to Defendants.’
Knight has no role in the business and only allowed her son to use her name under a licensing deal.
But the arrangement soured after the Department of Revenue accused Hankerson of theft and tax evasion in June.
Federal agents raided three of the restaurants in Georgia and shut down operations.
Officials allege Hankerson stole over $650,000 in sales taxes and withheld taxes owed to the state.
The total, with penalties and interest, exceeds $1 million dollars.
Knight, age 72, subsequently sued her son and his companies, Rival Group, Cascade Foods and Granite Foods.
The licensing deal between the family members lasted ten years but expired in 2009.
The pair continued to have an oral licensing arrangement until this year, but after her son’s alleged misdemeanors Knight wanted out.
Hankerson is now fighting back, denying all the allegations by his mom.
He says her lawsuit is a violation of a state court order and that she has been paid for the use of her name on his restaurants and consequently cannot void their deal.
He is demanding the entire lawsuit be thrown out and his mother pay all the court fees.