Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

This Sheriff Pocketed $750K in Jail Food Funds. He Also Bought a $740K Beach House. No Ethics Violation Here.

The Alabama Ethics Commission voted on Tuesday to drop an ethics violation case against Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.

By Connor Sheets

The Alabama Ethics Commission voted on Tuesday to drop an ethics violation case against Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.

Thomas Albritton, the commission's executive director, confirmed the move in an email to Wednesday morning.

"Yesterday, the Commission determined that there was insufficient evidence of a violation of the Ethics Act by Sheriff Entrekin to warrant referral to either [Attorney General Steve Marshall] or the appropriate District Attorney and dismissed a pending case against him unanimously," Albritton said.

"Of course, under the Act both of those offices have the ability to separately investigate the issues [that] made the basis of that complaint if they so choose."

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday morning.

Asked for details about the case against Entrekin, Albritton said that it was "related to food accounts."

The Ethics Commission investigation was launched in the months following a March report by that revealed that Entrekin had pocketed more than $750,000 of public funds allocated for the purpose of feeding inmates in Etowah County's jail over the last three years. He and his wife purchased a $740,000 beach house in Orange Beach in September.

"The law establishes that whereas personal use may look bad, it may be bad policy, it doesn't violate the law. As it relates to this particular sheriff," Albritton said via email Wednesday.

"It really is a county by county analysis [because] the law often varies by county (generally does) regarding the money in food accounts. The investigation revealed that there was no violation of our Act based on the applicable local and state laws."

Entrekin told in July that he was under investigation by the Ethics Commission and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General.

"The federal [DHS] OIG is looking at it, they're doing an investigation, so is the Ethics Commission," Entrekin said at the time. "They're looking at the food bill, they've asked for some documents from me ... My lawyer provided them records."

The status of the federal investigation is unknown, as is the status of an ongoing State Bureau of Investigation probe into allegations that he had sex with two underage women in the early 1990s.

Entrekin has argued repeatedly that he did not break any laws by keeping the money, and it appears that he is permitted to do so under a Depression-era state law. But lawyers and experts have said that he may have run afoul of federal law by keeping money his office received from the federal government to feed Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees housed in his jail.

(c)2018 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?
As more state and local jurisdictions have placed a priority on creating sustainable and resilient communities, many have set strong targets to reduce the energy use and greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with commercial and residential buildings.