A sheriff in Alabama took nearly $750,000 intended to feed inmates and bought a beach house; the worse part is -- it is totally legal, reports NPR.
Alabama has an old Depression-area law that allows for sheriffs to "keep and retain" unspent money from the jail food account. Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has taken advantage of that law.
Entrekin received more than $750,000 in surplus salary. It was also discovered that his family owns $1.7 million, including a $740,000 four-bedroom house in Orange Beach, Ala. Entrekin says he was just following the controversial law and sees no wrongdoing in his ways.
"The Food Bill is a controversial issue that's used every election cycle to attack the Sheriff's Office," Entrekin said in a statement to NPR. "Alabama Law is clear regarding my personal financial responsibilities of feeding inmates. Until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law."
However, he is not the only Alabama sheriff who seems to be taking advantage of this law. On January 5th the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice filed a joint lawsuit, suing 49 Alabama county sheriffs for their "refusal" to document how much they have personally gained from funds allocated to feed inmates.
Aaron Littman, a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights, told AL.com: "Clearly this is a practice which is problematic because it creates an incentive for sheriffs to spend as little as possible on feeding folks ... and obviously when a minimal amount of money is approved for something and less than that is spent, the quality suffers."
Between 2014-2016, Entrekin personally benefited from more than $110,000 in funds. Aaron Littman, a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights, said "Its pretty clear that when every year taxpayers are asked to spend their hard-earned dollars on any purpose - including feeding people in jails - the money should go to that purpose."