Detroit City Council Shores Up Plan to Protect DIA Collection

The Great Hall at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo: bobosh_t, via Flickr.

This morning, for the second time this month, the Detroit City Council voted for to endorse the transfer of art and other assets at the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to a charitable trust. The move will further ease any concerns about the fate of the DIA’s massive collection amid the city’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

The Detroit Free Press reported that federal mediators involved in the bankruptcy case determined that the first resolution, passed on June 5, was not satisfactory, according to council member George Cushingberry Jr. That first resolution indicated that the council “supported” the transfer while today’s resolution “approves” the transfer.

“This is a final and full-throated approval of the transfer of assets,” corporation counsel Butch Hollowell said after the coucil’s unanimous vote.

The transfer of DIA’s assets is part of the so-called “grand bargain,” a deal equivalent to $816 million that helped cushion pension cuts for Detroit retirees. That bargain is the centerpiece of emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to restructure Detroit after it exits bankruptcy. That plan is still subject to approval by US bankruptcy court judge Steven Rhodes. A trial to confirm it is currently scheduled for August 14. Rhodes said it is imperative for the mayor and city council to support the city’s plan.

Cushingberry said the chance to shed much of the city’s $18 billion in debt through Orr’s restructuring plan is an opportunity that cannot be overlooked. “The objective is to get us out of bankruptcy as soon as we possibly can, and I think this furthers that along the way.”






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