The Detroit Free Press reviews some of the ideas that have been batted around concerning the Detroit Institute for Arts’s collection and its ability to provide value to the city’s creditors. At the end of the piece, once most of the fancy ideas have been shown to be impractical, we return to the three-way battle between the city, surrounding counties and state.
Who will pay up to take the art paid for by the city and donate it to DIA as it should have been done a long time ago? And what will that cost?
How much money does Orr want? The emergency manager’s deputies have repeatedly told DIA leaders that he needs $400 million-$500 million from them to create a revenue stream for perhaps 20 years. But Orr spokesman Bill Nowling said last week that Orr had not settled on a specific number or strategy.
But make no mistake: Orr believes that forging a settlement with creditors and gaining Judge Steven Rhodes’ approval for a restructuring plan hinges on monetizing the art in some way, said Nowling. “We can’t start creating most-favored nation status for different assets,” he said.
Neither the judge nor creditors can force the sale of any asset in municipal bankruptcy, but Orr is under pressure from creditors, Wall Street bankers and union pensioners, among others, to put the art on the table. Rhodes could deny any plan that doesn’t include some contribution from the art, if he thinks the city is hiding assets.
“You can’t pretend the art doesn’t have value,” said Craig Barbarosh, a municipal bankruptcy expert with Katten Muchin Rosenman in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The art of the DIA deal: Orr must get cash out of collection without selling it (Detroit Free Press)