AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Gladys Knight says son is trying to "extort" her with false claims she has dementia, Alzheimer's

Soul legend Gladys Knight accused her son of trying to “extort” and “blackmail” her by threatening to make false claims that she has dementia and Alzheimer's Disease, according to a recent filing in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Knight, an Atlanta native, filed suit against her son Shanga Hankerson in August to get her name removed from his Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles restaurants because she thinks their recent troubles are hurting her reputation.

The threats were made in an attempt to pressure Knight in the case, the filing states.

“Ms. Knight refuses to be extorted, blackmailed, or harassed,” it said.

Hankerson was arrested on felony theft charges in June after Georgia Department of Revenue agents said he failed to turn over taxes he collected. His employees told investigators he used the money for sex parties and marijuana, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found.

Investigators said Knight was not involved in the restaurants’ day-to-day operations, and is not suspected of wrongdoing.

Read more details about the case here.

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