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Former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner used $124,000 in campaign funds to pay for a controversial “legacy book” distributed at his final State of the City address, a newly filed disclosure shows.

The pricey book drew unwelcome attention when a former political rival alleged Turner was pressuring Houston First Corp., a city-affiliated local government corporation whose directors are appointed by the mayor, to pay for its production costs.

A flurry of publicity followed, during which the corporation’s chair said he was dropping a request for the board to approve paying for the book.

The next day, Turner said he would settle the dispute by picking up the tab. The campaign finance report filed Tuesday reveals he used donors’ funds to do so.

Over 90 pages, the photo-heavy book, titled “A Winning Legacy – The Power of Vision, Collaboration, Resilience and Transformation,” lauds Turner's “visionary leadership” during “times of crisis,” ranging from his Hurricane Harvey response to computer literacy classes.

Even after the payment to local firm Judson Design, Turner maintains a healthy campaign chest should he ever decide to re-enter the political arena, the report shows. As of Dec. 31, he had $576,000 in the bank.

In parting interviews last month, the two-term mayor said he was not sure what would come next for him. While denying that he had any interest in Congress, he said he was not willing to rule out a return to politics.

“I'm not willing to say that because you never know what's coming down the pike,” Turner told KHOU.

Houston First serves as a key economic engine by marketing the city to tourists and operating the George R. Brown Convention Center. On Wednesday, City Council approved Mayor John Whitmire’s appointment of Jay Zeidman as its new board chair, replacing Turner confidant David Mincberg.

Tuesday’s campaign finance deadline also served as a final accounting of the lopsided battle between Whitmire and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in the mayor’s race.

Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 31, a period covering the final days of the runoff, Whitmire’s campaign spent $1.2 million compared to Jackson Lee’s $370,000.

Whitmire ended the year with $2.5 million in campaign funds, leaving him with a healthy head start should he choose to run again in 2028, when he would be 78.

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Matt Sledge is the City Hall reporter for the Abdelraoufsinno. Before that, he worked in the same role for the Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and as a national reporter for HuffPost. He’s excited...