The supports of the Detroit Institute of Arts have made a $330 million offer to help the city of Detroit in their bankruptcy filing. The goal: to keep the priceless art housed in the city’s museums from going to the auction block.
According to the United States District Court in Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Arts committee including presidents of the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan have offered to help raise and coordinate money for Detroit’s bankruptcy.
The goal of the money offered by the Detroit Institute of Arts is to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts collection of priceless works but also to help fund pensions for retired municipal workers. Also recognized by city leaders is the need to help the city rebound after bankruptcy and “revitalize the city.” The Detroit Institute of Arts committee believes raising funds to help the city are absolutely essential to helping the city recover.
What is happening right now in Detroit?
With the approval by the courts last month Detroit has begun moving forward with their bankruptcy, a group of mediators has been working with both the city and their creditors to negotiate a repayment plan for the city. This process is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, who is chief of the federal court in Detroit.
In the meantime, the General Retirement System and Police and Fire Retirement System, which are two of Detroit’s largest unsecured creditors, have asked the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear their expedited appeal of the decision made by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes which allowed Detroit to file for bankruptcy protection. If the appeals court agrees to hear the case it would allow the case to bypass the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Detroit declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July and has over $18 billion in debt, which they have not been able to repay. The city also has been unable to fund essential services to their residents.
Can the Detroit Institute of Arts save Detroit treasures?
This offer from Detroit Institute of Arts to help the city has come after some city officials suggested much of the financial capital to save the city could be raised if the city simply sold some of their art. The city has over 1,741 pieces of art, now estimated at $454 million to $867 million, many of which were bought with city funds. City officials now argue that some of the priceless works could be sold to generate money needed to pay police officers, fix city lights and pay employees.
What does Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency financial manager think? No decision has been made yet, but he did hire Christie’s Inc. to value the art. He hasn’t said whether the city plans to sell any pieces to pay creditors.
This is a great offer by the Detroit Institute of Arts to help rebuild the city. Here’s to hoping more leaders offer support and enterprising minds come together to save the city.
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