AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Report: Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles financials "grave," restaurants "unappealing"

The owner of Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles should consider closing permanently because of the restaurants' “grave” financial position and “unappealing” conditions, a consultant hired to assess the troubled eateries concluded.

A turnaround for the restaurants owned by Shanga Hankerson, the son of the Atlanta soul music legend, could cost more than $100,000 and would take a minimum of one year, said the assessment, which was included in a Tuesday filing in Atlanta U.S. District Court

“Considering the company’s financial position this turnaround model cannot be recommended and the Receiver should contemplate the option of ceasing operations at both locations,” the assessment by Ways and Means Hospitality Consulting said.

The restaurant’s flagship downtown location was voluntarily closed Monday, several days after flunking its second health inspection in a year.

The restaurants went under receivership after Hankerson, 40, was arrested on two felony theft counts. Georgia Department of Revenue investigators found that he had taken tax money he collected and failed to turn it over to the state. Witnesses told investigators that he had spent on marijuana and sex parties as the restaurants sank.

The assessment was among records filed Tuesday as part of a suit by Knight that asks a judge to remove her name and likeness from the restaurants.  It detailed sanitation problems at the downtown Atlanta location, including six cases of chicken stored at room temperature and stacked on the floor.

“Kitchen cleanliness standards shows disregard for all health codes,” it states.

The filing also included a report from receiver Boniface Echols that states that his staff continue to uncover unpaid debts, including nearly $48,000 in City of Atlanta water bills.

Echols did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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