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Sources: Probe Into De Blasio Political Donations Expands Further

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- More people are now being forced to answer questions in the New York City corruption scandal.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the investigation into political donations received by public officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, apparently has expanded. Sources told CBS2 a flurry of subpoenas has been served in the past few weeks on construction and engineering firms doing business with the city and state.

The subpoenas reportedly sought documents, computer records, and checks written for political donations, according to sources familiar with the probe being mounted by a multi-agency task force.

The revelations came as Mayor de Blasio said he cut ties with James Capalino, a super lobbyist who raised big bucks for the mayor, met personally with him several times, and had a hand in the controversial Rivington House deal that allowed a nursing home to be turned into luxury condos.

"I have not been in touch with Mr. Capalino," de Blasio said. "You know, he, going into the mayoralty, was someone that I respected and was a friend and someone I talked to a lot over the years. But I do not have contact with him anymore."

Capalino has steered tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the mayor -- $50,000 after lobbying for Rivington, $40,000 for de Blasio's reelection campaign, and $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York – the mayor's controversial nonprofit.

Mayoral aides said de Blasio stopped meeting with all lobbyists on April 12, months after U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance started probing his affairs.

Kramer asked de Blasio why he has invoked a no more lobbyists rule.

"Because of the atmosphere we're in and the ongoing investigations," de Blasio said.

Political experts said it doesn't matter if the mayor meets personally with the lobbyists. They are still taken care of.

"The word spreads in government – who's close to the mayor, who's not, and also people tend to read campaign finance filings. They know who's given, they know who's not given, and they know who's had access before when their access has stopped," said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

A spokesman for Capalino insisted his team "communicates with officials at City Hall and city agencies on a daily basis" but has no need for "direct interaction" with the mayor himself.

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