Alabama Sheriff Buys $740,000 Beach House Using Funds Meant for Inmate Meals

An Alabama sheriff pocketed over $750,000 in funds meant to feed inmates — and his actions were perfectly legal.

Todd Entrekin has served as the sheriff of Etowah County since his election in 2010, and he’s worked for the office since 1982.

Entrekin and his wife Karen own over $1.7 million in property, including a recently purchased beach home priced at $740,000. Given that Entrekin’s yearly salary is $93,000, some have begun to wonder how he could afford to buy these expensive properties.

State documents submitted by Entrekin show that he used $750,000 in public funds for personal use over the last three years — money originally allocated to feeding the county’s inmates.

And by all indications, what Entrekin did was completely legal under state law.

In the Depression Era, Alabama enacted a statewide bill that allowed county sheriffs to legally claim money from the inmate food fund — after all, it was the sheriff who personally managed the account. This policy ignored the fact that these funds are often a combination of federal, state and local taxpayer dollars.

While sheriffs are legally required to disclose how much they take from the food fund, the antiquated law specifically states that a maximum of $250,000 can be disclosed yearly. Because of this stipulation, it is highly likely that over the past three years Entrekin has claimed more than $750,000. How else could he and his wife afford their $1.7 million properties?

This seemingly obscure law technically remains on the books for most Alabama counties, though several have sensibly decided to eliminate the policy.

Etowah County residents will vote on whether or not to re-elect Entrekin as sheriff later this year. Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton, who seeks to challenge Entrekin, has criticized his opponent for a lack of transparency during his tenure. Horton has also stated that excess funds “should go toward things that benefit the taxpayer” and “shouldn’t be used as a bonus check.”

Regardless of the law’s original intent, many things have changed a century later– and so should this law.

The legislation clearly creates an incentive to cut fiscal corners when it comes to feeding Alabama’s inmates. Providing lower quality food — and less of it — leaves more money for sheriffs to deposit in their own bank accounts.

This law also fosters a relationship in which the sheriff’s office views inmates not as people, but as a path to a full bank account, effectively dehumanizing of Alabamans who run afoul of law enforcement.

With this in mind, it seems abundantly clear that Alabama state lawmakers need to draft and pass legislation to repeal this woefully archaic and corruption-fueling law and restructure how funds are managed and used to feed inmates.

Take Action!

Urge Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon to do away with this outdated and inhumane law by adding your name to this Care2 petition! And remember to share the petition with friends and family, as well as on social media!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!
 

Photo Credit: gtokgoz/Flickr

66 comments

Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

Seems so wrong, but it is legal. Change the law.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y3 months ago

Horrible. Jail him with no food or the garbage the inmates were forced to eat.

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Elaine W
Elaine W3 months ago

He should be in jail with those he stole food from.

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Heather B
Heather B3 months ago

wow, what did the inmates eat? Next he'll be applying for a grant to fight inmate obesity. BTW since the beach house was acquired with tax payer funds I guess we taxpayers can all go down and vacation there?

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Richard A
Richard A3 months ago

Seems like misappropriation of funds to me.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O3 months ago

I already signed and I totally agree with Bill A.

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Jaime J
Jaime J3 months ago

Thank you!

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Bill Arthur
Bill Arthur3 months ago

Some criminals are outside the bars, even though they are in the prison system. Would be nice to see him live on the food he served the inmates to save all that money

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Winn A
Winn A3 months ago

Disgusting and Despicable . . . . . .

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