In Alabama, sheriffs can legally keep excess inmate-feeding funds for themselves.
However, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin recently came under question after records found out he owned more than $1 million in property in Baldwin and Etowah counties.
Some are questioning how a county Sheriff making a five-figure salary can afford to own multiple houses, including one almost worth a million dollars.
According to an AL.com article, ethics disclosure forms Entrekin filled out with the state reveal that over the past three years, he has received more than $750,000 worth of additional "compensation" from a source he identified as "Food Provisions." That’s the money that is left over after feeding inmates.
Entrekin says he’s not doing anything wrong. In fact, he says at one point, he was in debt trying to feed the inmates.
“I stood on the steps of this office and got sworn in and left here and went to the bank and got a personal mortgage on my house to go buy food to feed the inmates,” he said.
He says he has a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily. He feeds about 950 inmates a day.
“Now that I've turned it around and am making money off of it, everybody wants to make a big deal out of it,” he said. “ I didn’t want it. Still don't want it. If they'll take it today, I'll give it to 'em. I want to be Sheriff.”
According to the article, in a number of counties including Jefferson and Montgomery, any money allocated to sheriffs for feeding inmates that is not used is turned over to the county government.
Entrekin says, for him, that’s not the case.
“I’m paying taxes on it,” he said. “It’s personally my business. No one saved me when I was in debt.”
Entrekin says as far as the properties on Baldwin County, he bought some after the oil spill and flipped them. He says he doesn’t have to apologize for that.