meals fattened sheriff's wallet
Although the breakfast service at the Hubbard County jail had captive
customers and big profits before it ended, the Sheriff's attorney
says this isn't a case of "scam and eggs"
October, 12, 2007
RAPIDS, MINN. - The for-profit breakfast service a sheriff ran in the
jail here has left egg on a face or two, and the whiff, some say, of
something other than bacon.
For eight years, according to Public
taxpayers were overcharged up to 100 percent for each breakfast served
County jail, and Sheriff Gary Mills captured all the profits without
The practice, which officials called an archaic
holdover from the days when many
sheriffs lived in their jails and their wives cooked for the inmates,
finally ended last December, when the county started paying the company
that was doing the jail's lunch and dinner to also provide breakfast.
Mills sued the county for lost income, and the
county made a counterclaim for all of Mills' accumulated profits, saying
it hasn't been legal for
sheriffs to make money feeding inmates for at least 30 years.
The case is set to go to trial next spring, but
both sides said they recently reached a settlement that they'll ask the
Board to approve next month. Details are being withheld pending that
approval. Mills said he'd "love to" comment further but won't because of
the court case.
Though it may look like scam and eggs, Mills'
attorney, Steven Fuller of
argues that it's not:
"People have tried to make it sound like
something evil, but this is the way it was done in many rural counties
going back decades," he said. "One of the ways a county that liked their
sheriff could pay him more was to give him something extra for providing
sheriffs to feed prisoners "was a very common practice," Jim Franklin,
head of the Minnesota Sheriffs Association, said in an e-mail. He added
that as counties stopped this practice, many opted to increase their
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Source: Star Tribune