Detroit Creditor Seeks DIA Documents, Other Records
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – One of Detroit’s creditors is seeking documents related to pieces in the city’s art museum.
New York-based bond insurer Syncora has filed a motion in bankruptcy court requesting records showing the dollar value of art in the Detroit Institute of Arts and communications between the city, investors and others interested in buying part of the collection.
Christie’s auction house has appraised city-owned pieces at up to $867 million. The appraisal covers about five percent of the museum’s total collection of about 66,000 works. Christie’s said 11 works of art account for 75 percent of their total estimate.
Syncora also is seeking documents related to the potential sale of other assets, including a popular island park and Detroit’s portion of a commuter tunnel connecting the city to Canada.
Syncora has been fighting the city’s plan to pay off a pension debt deal with two banks that will cost the bond insurer millions of dollars in casino tax revenue.
The DIA is considered one of the top art museums in the country. The city purchased many of the pieces in the collection years ago during more prosperous times, which are considered as assets. Estimates of the DIA’s complete collection come in around $4 billion.
State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr hired Christie’s to appraise city-owned art in the museum, which can be considered an asset during a bankruptcy.
National and local foundations have committed more than $330 million toward the pensions for Detroit’s public workers in an effort to stave off the sale of city owned-pieces as part of a historic bankruptcy.
Detroit became the largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy on Dec. 3 when Judge Steven Rhodes approved the city’s petition. Orr has said the city’s debt is at least $18 billion.
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