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Feds Probe De Blasio Fundraiser Whose Engineering Firm Won Big Contracts

By James Fanelli | September 21, 2016 7:14am
 Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mayor Bill de Blasio.
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Getty/Kena Betancur

GOWANUS — A top bundler for Mayor Bill de Blasio is under federal investigation over his campaign fundraising and contracts the city awarded his environmental engineering firm, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Manhattan federal prosecutors slapped Charles Hocking and his firm, Hazen and Sawyer, with subpoenas earlier this summer as part of their wide-reaching probe into the mayor and possible pay-to-play schemes, according to sources.

Federal investigators have sought records connected to Hocking's donations to de Blasio, communications that Sawyer had with city personnel and contracts awarded to Hazen and Sawyer, the sources said.

Hocking, the president of Hazen and Sawyer, raised more than $22,550 in campaign donations for de Blasio's 2013 mayoral run, campaign finance records show. The donations were all made two days after de Blasio won the Democratic primary. Nearly all of the 46 donations Hocking bundled were from Hazen and Sawyer employees, records show. 

Earlier in the 2013 election season, Hocking had raised $20,700 in donations for mayoral contender Bill Thompson.

After de Blasio won the general election, Hocking raised an additional $30,350 for his transition team. The majority of the money again came from Hazen and Sawyer employees, records show.

Hazen and Sawyer, which specializes in controlling water pollution, has been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in city contracts over the past three decades — and it has continued to win lucrative gigs in the past three years, records show.

Since de Blasio took office, it has gotten $126.84 million in city contracts, including a $78.654 million job with the Department of Environmental Protection to consult on and design massive underground tanks to prevent raw sewage from flowing into the Gowanus Canal, records show. The Gowanus contract — which is part of a federally mandated Superfund cleanup — began July 6 of this year.

Hocking and his firm are just the latest targets to emerge in an expansive federal probe looking into de Blasio and possible favors he and his staff gave to people who donated to his campaign or his nonprofit, Campaign for One New York.

Hazen and Sawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

The Mayor's Office declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.