The suit is also requesting the business stop using Knight’s likeness, recipes and memorabilia.
Knight licensed her name to her son, Shanga Hankerson, in 1999 to use in the restaurants but considered ending the agreement in 2009 because of “mismanagement” of the business.
“The Restaurants are in free fall and their decline necessarily has the collateral effect of damaging Knight’s Intellectual Property and Knight’s reputation,” the suit alleges.
Hankerson was arrested in June on charges of stealing more than $650,000 in sales and taxes, leading to a change in management at the restaurants.
Witnesses tipped off investigators saying Hankerson was using money from the business for sex parties and marijuana.
An investigation also found that employees of the restaurant weren’t being paid and managers failed to maintain passable health standards leading one location to permanently close its doors.