Alabama Sheriff Allegedly Purchased Home with Money Meant to Feed Jail Inmates

An Alabama sheriff allegedly used taxpayer money allotted for feeding jail inmates to purchase a $740,000 home, according to a local report that revealed an abuse in funds.

Over the past three years, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin took in more than $750,000 of further "compensation," according to forms filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission and revealed by

Entrekin reportedly made "more than $250,000" from each of the past three years through the inmate-feeding funds.

While the forms showed that Entrekin identified the amount as "food provisions," he "did not deny" he received the money when asked in an email by last week.

Entrekin and his wife Karen bought a four-bedroom house with features such as an in-ground pool and canal entryway in Orange Beach for $740,000 last fall. It was financed through a $592,000 mortgage from Peoples Bank of Alabama and was part of several properties the couple have both together and individually with a combined assessed value of more than $1.7 million, found.

Last month, the sheriff noted a personal account he keeps as his "food provision" fund. detailed another example where he used "food provision funds" to pay a local resident to mow his lawn. The check had the words, "Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account" on it.

"As you should be aware, 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," Entrekin said in an email last week to

Alabama Sheriffs have long contended that a 1939 law that allows for the state's sheriffs to keep any remaining money from state funds to pay for prisoners' food, is applicable.

Part of Alabama's Code reads as:

"All fees, commissions, percentages, allowances, charges and court costs heretofore collectible for the use of the sheriff and his deputies, excluding the allowances and amounts received for feeding prisoners, which the various sheriffs of the various counties shall be entitled to keep and retain..."

Civil rights groups—the Southern Center for Human Rights and Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice—in January took a stand against the archaic measure. Their lawsuit took on the refusal of 49 Alabama sheriffs to provide public records to show if they have "personally profited from funds."

"The public has a right to know whether sheriffs are meeting the basic human needs of incarcerated people in their care, or are instead filling their personal coffers," Frank Knaack, the executive director of Alabama Appleseed, said in January.

Alabama state legislators have tried and failed to amend the law, with the most recent attempt occurring in 2009.