But the gag is: it’s totally legal.
According to reports, the state has a Depression-era law that allows sheriffs to “keep and retain” unspent money, specifically from the jail-food accounts. Sheriffs from across the state take whatever is left over as personal income, and if there’s a gap, they’re responsible for covering that themselves.
This law has been in practice for decades, and constituents have been none the wiser because sheriffs don’t have to report extra personal income if its exceeds $250,000. That cap was raised in Etowah County and The Birmingham News followed a paper trail all the way to Orange Beach, Ala, where Sheriff Todd Entrekin purchased a home for $740,000.
Over the course of four years, Entrekin received more than $750,000 in additional income from “food provisions.” The publication also discovered Entrekin and his wife own several properties totaling $1.7 million, including the four-bedroom beach house, which was purchased last September.
Without the extra boost in income from the provision fund, Entrekin earns a little more than $93,000 a year. In an emailed statement to NPR, Entrekin said the reports in the Birmingham News are “attacks” from the liberal media.
“The Food Bill is a controversial issue that’s used every election cycle to attack the Sheriff’s Office,” Entrekin said. “Alabama Law is clear regarding my personal financial responsibilities of feeding inmates. Until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law.”