Judge Grills Detroit Emergency Manager: "Why Not Monetize the Art?"

  • October 04, 2014 20:53

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William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) The Nut Gatherers (1882)
Detroit Institute of Arts
On day 18 of Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial, Judge Steven Rhodes pressed the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to state a better argument for saving the Detroit Institute of Art's collection from sale to satisfy creditors.

"Finally I want to ask you a question that you were already asked — to give you another shot at it," Rhodes said. "Why not monetize the art?"

Orr replied that a sell-off of DIA art would harm the museum "irreparably," hurt the city's public image, and continue costly legal battles. He is pushing for the so-called grand bargain to be court-approved. The deal would transfer the DIA's art to an independent trust, keeping it out of reach of the city's creditors while easing the city's pension cuts. Foundations, donors and the state have already pledged $816 million over 20 years to the plan.

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In testimony the day before, Orr said: "The DIA said it would fight and litigate every piece of art that the city would sell. The intent was that they would make it a very lengthy and painful piece of litigation," 

A prolonged fight with the DIA "would have been very expensive for the city," said Orr.

Read more at Detroit Free Press


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