We have previously discussed the shameful and corrupt law in Alabama that allowed sheriffs to personally pocket any money left over from food funds for inmates. It is astonishing to me that the entire legislature was not held responsible and thrown from office for maintaining such a moronic and perverse law. Nevertheless, despite scandals of sheriffs pocketing hundreds of thousands for beach houses and personal windfalls, the legislature ignored national outcry over the law. Now Sheriff Todd Entrekin of Etowah County, Alabama, may have finally gone too far. Not for Alabama, mind you, but the federal government which takes a different view of pilfering the public fisc. Entrekin, who lost his re-election this year after he was found to have pocketed $750,000 allotted for feeding inmates in county lockup and using it for a beach house, is facing new allegations that he took an additional $1.5 millions aside for feeding federal immigration detainees.
For 20 years, Etowah County has been given a contract to house federal immigration detainees. That was clearly a mistake and in addition to question being raised over the legality of Entrekin taking the surplus money, there should be an investigation into the federal officials who allowed this practice to occur. Since the Depression, sheriffs have been allowed to split surplus funds with the county.
AL.com reports that the contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was treated exactly like state and municipal funds. Since Entrekin did not spend $3 million on food for the detainees, he reportedly left with $1.5 million in federal funds.
For Entrekin, his loss was sheriff must be viewed as virtually comical since he may have walked away with more than $2 million in money set aside to feed inmates.
The question is now whether the Justice Department will pursue Entrekin and terminate any further federal contracts with the county. I fail to see how federal funds can be treated as county funds under this long-standing corrupt practice in Alabama. Entrekin’s argument will be that by commingling the funds, it all becomes subject to his cut. Time will tell if ICE agrees but it should not take any action before reviewing its own staff in permitting this outrage to happen. Ultimately, the voters of Alabama are responsible for failing to toss the entire legislature out of office over the preservation of this disgraceful practice for so long.
Etowah County has long been accused of poor conditions, including rotten food for inmates and detainees. However, Entrekin’s beach house is reportedly quite lovely.