An Etowah County, Alabama Sheriff Todd Entrekin is being put on blast today. Al.com reports that Entrekin and his wife have been able to purchase $1.7 million worth of homes on what would seem to be a salary that does not support that kind of investment.
In September, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and his wife Karen purchased an orange four-bedroom house with an in-ground pool and canal access in an upscale section of Orange Beach for $740,000.
To finance the purchase, Entrekin got a $592,000 mortgage from Peoples Bank of Alabama, according to public real estate records. The home is one of several properties with a total assessed value of more than $1.7 million that the couple own together or separately in Etowah and Baldwin counties.
Al.com, looking through Alabama ethics disclosures over the past three years, found that Entrekin has been receiving at least $250,000 a year from “food compensation.”
The money in the account was allocated by federal, state and municipal governments to feed inmates in the Etowah County jail, but was not used for that purpose and was instead personally pocketed by Entrekin.
No conflict there! Al.com looked into the contract that Etowah County has with the Osborn Brothers food services. As an aside, Osborn has contributed to Entrekin’s campaign for sheriff before. It turns out that whatever seems to be “leftover” from Entrekin’s “inmate-feeding fund” is the result of the difference between what Entrekin is allotted and what he pays to the Osborn Brothers’ business as a third party contractor. It turns out that after paying Osborn Brothers, there does not seem to be anything left for Sheriff Entrekin to pay for. So why wouldn’t the taxpayer just give that money to Osborn and save the rest for something more meaningful than a big bonus?
Entrekin provided a two-sentence response to a series of detailed questions about the county contracts for jail needs and campaign contributions from companies that provide products and services for the county.
“You should understand that in the State of Alabama, the sheriff does not have the legal authority to enter into contracts,” he said via email. “According to the law, contractual authority is the responsibility of the County Commission.”
Ugh. I wish someone would compensate me for food! The Al.com report goes into how everyone with a nice contract in Etowah seems to have contributed to Entrekin’s campaign. This is not damning on its face, as companies sometimes give a little money to both sides in the hopes of hedging their bets. However, Entrekin’s ability to pocket so much cash makes you wonder about whether or not he has any ethics and what kinds of corners are cut when dealing with prison food.