Sheriff Legally Pockets $750k Meant For Prisoners' Food, Buys House
Gadsden, AL – An Alabama sheriff who took $750,000 from funds meant to feed inmates is under scrutiny when he and his wife purchased a beach house that cost about the same amount.
Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and his wife bought a four-bedroom house with an in-ground pool in an upscale Orange Beach neighborhood for $740,000, which is located off Alabama’s Gulf Coast, according to the Birmingham News.
The couple also own other properties worth more than $1.7 million.
Sheriff Entrekin filed ethics disclosure forms with the state that showed he received more than $750,000 worth of additional “compensation” over three years from a source called “Food Provisions.”
Sheriff Entrekin has an annual salary of $93,178.
The sheriff stated that what he did was legal under state law.
Sheriff Entrekin had previously told the Birmingham News that he has a personal account that he calls a “Food Provision” fund. The money in that account was earmarked by federal, state and municipal governments to feed the prisoners in the Etowah County Jail.
The Birmingham News stated that money “was not used for that purpose and was instead personally pocketed by Entrekin.”
"In regards to feeding of inmates, we utilize a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily," Sheriff Entrekin said March 11 to the Birmingham News in an email. "As you should be aware, Alabama law is clear as to my personal financial responsibilities in the feeding of inmates. Regardless of one's opinion of this statute, until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law."
Other Alabama sheriffs said that the practice of keeping extra prisoner-feeding funds for themselves is legal under the state law. That law was passed before World War II.
The Birmingham News reported that some counties return the money to the county government.
Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton is opposing Entrekin in running for sheriff and pledged not to keep any inmate food money if he's elected.