Bureaucracies often times have obscure rules and regulations that allow participants of the systems to do things others find dubious. This is one of those cases. A sheriff used an obscure rule to pocket $750,000. He used the cash to buy himself a beach house. And it is all completely legal.
“Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin filed ‘more than $250,000’ of extra ‘compensation’ with the Alabama Ethics Commission from inmate feeding funds,” The Daily Mail writes.
It sounds innocuous. It isn’t. A law passed before WWII allows Alabama sheriffs to keep extra food provisions for themselves.
“The cash was used to buy this $740,000 four-bedroom beach house in the affluent town of Orange Beach,” the Mail notes.
Just how much more than the $250,000 isn’t exactly clear. Anything over that number doesn’t have to be reported.
The Sheriff, the mail reports, now owns more than $1.7 million in real estate. “Sheriff Entrekin and his wife Karen were able to amass at least six houses around the state despite him earning a salary of just $93,178.80.”
The way the scheme works is duplicitous, at best. The money, from federal and state taxpayers, comes in designated for food. What isn’t spent on food doesn’t have to be paid back.
“The lawman was so brazen about keeping the cash he paid Etowah handyman Matthew Qualls to mow his lawn with a check marked Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account’,” the Mail adds.
“The law says it’s a personal account and that’s the way I’ve always done it and that’s the way the law reads and that’s the way I do business,” Entrekin said. “That’s the way the law’s written.”
“In regards to feeding of inmates, we utilize a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily.”
“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.”