Alabama sheriff reportedly pocketed $750,000 in jail food funds — and it appears to be legal

Alabama sheriff reportedly pocketed $750,000 in jail food funds — and it appears to be legal
Image source: TheBlaze

An Alabama sheriff reportedly pocketed about $750,000 in jail food funds, and later purchased a $740,000 beach home.

The $750,000 was part of funds earmarked as jail food funds for the last three years, and reportedly comes from federal, state, and municipal monies.

What are the details?

According to a Tuesday AL.com report, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin purchased the Orange Beach, Alabama, home in September.

Though Entrekin’s annual salary doesn’t quite break $100,000, he openly reported on forms filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission that he made “more than $250,000” annually over the last three years, with some of that income coming from the jail food funds.

Entrekin spoke with the outlet through email on Sunday and admitted that he pocketed the funds. He also pointed to a pre-WWII state law that allowed sheriffs to keep excess funds not used for inmate food provisions.

“As you should be aware, Alabama law is clear as to my personal financial responsibilities in the feeding of inmates,” Entrekin told AL.com. “Regardless of one’s opinion of this statute, until the Legislature acts otherwise, the sheriff must follow the current law.”

AL.com reported that in a number of Alabama counties, “any money allocated to sheriffs for feeding inmates that is not used for that purpose is instead turned over to the county government.”

What have people said about this?

Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton — who is running against Entrekin for sheriff this year — decried Entrekin’s actions.

“I believe the funds belong to the taxpayers and any excess funds should go toward things that benefit the taxpayer,” Horton explained. “There’s been a tremendous amount of money left over that shouldn’t be used as a bonus check.”

Matthew Qualls, a local Etowah County resident, told the outlet that he once mowed Entrekin’s lawn, and received payment via a check labeled “Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account.”

“I saw that in the corner of the checks it said ‘Food Provision,’ and a couple people I knew came through the jail, and they say they got meat maybe once a month and every other day it was just beans and vegetables,” Qualls said. “I put two and two together and realized that that money could have gone toward some meat or something.”

Entrekin told the outlet that the jail uses “a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily.”

Qualls was arrested on drug trafficking charges just four days after speaking to the outlet for their first story on the subject — which ran in February — but was released after public outcry.

Qualls reportedly accepted a plea deal that would drop the trafficking charge for marijuana butter possession.