Serra was suspended from duty on October 22, 2002 after a city investigation was launched. According to Newsday, sources said that jail supervisors under Serra were pressured to buy Pataki fund raiser tickets. The sources also said that when Rikers Island wardens refused to allow guards to take time off to work for Pataki on primary day, they were overruled.
Serra has been politically active in Republican politics for years. In 1993, he volunteered for Rudolph Giuliani. Serra also worked on the campaign to elect Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In an attempt to distance themselves from Serra, Pataki spokesman Michael McKeon said, "We hired a company [Serra's] that helped elect Mayor Giuliani and Mayor Bloomberg ... Obviously we expect our vendors to have the highest standards."
Serra's enthusiastic political involvement has been well rewarded. He quickly ascended Rikers ranks, moving from a captain to the jail's management chief. Moreover, Serra's private security company has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Republican state committee.
Serra returned to modified duty on January 26, 2003 after completing his second 30 day suspension. In his new position, Serra works for a department that performs background checks on jail job applicants.
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