Tax lawyer Harold 'Harry' Altscher remembered

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WASHINGTON — The National Association of Bond Lawyers is remembering Harold "Harry" Altscher, a founding NABL member who died earlier this month at 71.

Altscher, a partner at Miles & Stockbridge in Baltimore for almost 40 years, was considered by peers to be one of the nation’s top municipal finance tax lawyers. He died unexpectedly Jan. 4 due to a tear in his aorta shortly after returning home from his daily workout, according to The Baltimore Sun. He is survived by his wife, Diane, his children Alison and Aaron, and his grandchildren Madi and Luke.

Born in Germany, Altscher moved to the U.S. with his family at a young age and went on to earn a law degree at the John Marshall Law School and an L.L.M. in taxation from George Washington University Law School. Before joining Miles & Stockbridge in 1977, Altscher was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1973-1977.

In addition to being a founding NABL member, Altscher chaired the 1987 Bond Attorneys’ Workshop and served on the Board of Directors that year. He was a fellow of the American College of Bond Counsel and was bond counsel for issuers including Maryland’s Howard and Harford Counties, Baltimore City, the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, the Maryland Department of Transportation, and the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency. Altscher also argued tax controversy matters related to tax-exempt financings before the Internal Revenue Service.

In addition, he was the architect and developer of agricultural land preservation financing programs in several Maryland counties that have helped to preserve and protect thousands of acres from being developed, NABL said in a statement posted to the group’s website.

"Harry was a very good guy and a great tax lawyer," said Kristin Franceschi, a partner at DLA Piper in Baltimore. Altscher's passing has been a shock to Maryland bond lawyers, Franceschi added.

“He was always a pleasure to work with," said NABL board member Perry Israel, who worked with Altscher at NABL conferences. "He was very thoughtful.”

A memorial is planned for Jan. 19 at The Meeting House at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center in Columbia, Maryland, at 7 p.m.

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