DIA's art collection at risk amid Detroit's financial woes - KMSP-TV

DIA's art collection at risk amid Detroit's financial woes

Posted: Updated:
Could this piece of art being sold to help settle Detroit's debt crisis? Could this piece of art being sold to help settle Detroit's debt crisis?
  • DIA's art collection at risk amid Detroit's financial woesMore>>

  • DIA's masterpieces shouldn't be sold, some say

    DIA's masterpieces shouldn't be sold, some say

    Thursday, May 30 2013 10:43 AM EDT2013-05-30 14:43:46 GMT
    It boasts one of the largest and most significant art collections in the nation, but there is growing fear the treasures inside the Detroit Institute of Arts could be targeted by creditors if the city declares bankruptcy.
    It boasts one of the largest and most significant art collections in the nation, but there is growing fear the treasures inside the Detroit Institute of Arts could be targeted by creditors if the city declares bankruptcy.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Officials say the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection could be sold to help satisfy creditors if the financially troubled city of Detroit seeks bankruptcy protection.

Bill Nowling, a spokesman for state-appointed emergency manager says Kevyn Orr, says Orr is considering whether the collection should be considered city assets that could be sold to cover Detroit's long-term debt. The debt is estimated at more than $14 billion.

Click the video player to hear what Detroit citizens have to say about the idea.

"As Kevyn Orr has said many times, he is considering many different options to help rectify Detroit's fiscal crisis," said Nowling. "What I can say is that there is no formal plan on the table to sell any Detroit asset, the DIA or otherwise.

The museum says it's hired a bankruptcy attorney to suggest ways to protect the collection from possible losses. In a statement, the DIA says it "and the city hold the museum's art collection in trust for the public" and that "the city cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection."

So how much is the museum's collection worth? According to a report from Crain's Detroit Business, a city report from 2004, when the DIA was still a city department, valued the collection at more than $1 billion.

The city owns the Detroit Institute of Arts' building and collection, while daily operations are overseen by a nonprofit. The scope of Orr's power as an emergency manager to sell the collection or any other major assets, such as the city's water department, likely would be tested in court.

"I am not shocked by anything that occurs in this city lately," said Annmarie Erickson, Executive Vice President at the DIA. "I think all of us are a little battle worn over what has been happening in the city of Detroit."

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in March appointed Orr as emergency manager, giving Orr the final say on Detroit's fiscal matters. The city's budget deficit could reach $380 million by July 1, it could run out of cash before the end of the year, and bankruptcy hasn't been ruled out.

Under a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, neither a judge nor creditors can force the city to liquidate its assets, but bankruptcy experts tell the Free Press that a judge and creditors could push for a sale. Some creditors have already asked Orr whether the DIA collection is "on the table," Nowling said.

Billionaire developer A. Alfred Taubman, a patron of the museum, said that "it would be a crime" to sell any of the DIA's collection to satisfy city creditors.

"I'm sure Mr. Orr, once he thinks about it, will certainly not choose that as one of the assets," Taubman said. "It's not just an asset of Detroit. It's an asset of the country."

- The Associated Press contributed to this report

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • FBI joins the search for Armada teen's killer

    FBI joins the search for Armada teen's killer

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:08:38 GMT
    The FBI has joined the investigation team searching for the killer of a 14-year-old Armada girl, April Millsap.
    The FBI has joined the investigation team searching for the killer of a 14-year-old Armada girl, April Millsap. Authorities also say they are now looking for a small motorcycle in addition to the gray, dented van seen in the area.
  • Vandals damage historic Detroit cemetery

    Vandals damage historic Detroit cemetery

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:38:55 GMT
    Police are looking for suspects after vandals disturb the peace at a historic Detroit cemetery. Someone broke into a mausoleum and made a mess with spray paint and ashes.
    Police are looking for suspects after vandals disturb the peace at a historic Detroit cemetery. Someone broke into a mausoleum and made a mess with spray paint and ashes.
  • Man hospitalized after run-in with Ecorse police

    Man hospitalized after run-in with Ecorse police

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:05 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:05:54 GMT
    Witnesses and lawyers say a man was attacked by Ecorse police Monday morning even though he was complying with police demands.
    Witnesses and lawyers say a man was attacked by Ecorse police Monday morning even though he was complying with police demands.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices