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Longtime mayoral photographer Lateef Mangum got the boot from the Muriel Bowser administration last week, officially for not filing 30 years of tax returns as part of a personal tax protest. But Mangum says that taxes were just a cover for the real reason that Bowser officials wanted him gone: his photos.

Mangum has worked in some capacity as mayoral photographer for every District mayor since Sharon Pratt Kelly—-save an interlude in the Adrian Fenty administration. A few months ago, Mangum says, Bowser officials asked him to provide all of the mayoral photographs he’s taken since the 1990s for a city archive.

Mangum says he had no problem giving the city electronic copies of the photographs that he’s kept since 2001. Photos taken before that would take longer to find, says Mangum, who also wanted to settle questions about his copyright on the pictures.

“They didn’t want to hear that,” Mangum says. “They wanted stuff overnight.”

Mangum says the dispute over the whereabouts of the photos was the real reason he was fired. Bowser spokesman Michael Czin first declined to comment on Mangum’s exit, then sort of commented anyway.

“It is essential that the District have access to government property and work product produced by employees,” Czin writes in an email to LL.

The archive dispute wasn’t Mangum’s only run-in with Bowser officials. Mangum told LL about a dispute with Czin where he was only offered a “closet” to work in, a fight “that really pissed the hell out of me.”

“I gave it my all, and now they’re just trying to take everything away from me,” Mangum says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery