Museum raises $80M toward Detroit bankruptcy deal

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm •  Published: July 16, 2014
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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Institute of Arts says it has pledges for about 80 percent of the $100 million it promised toward an effort involving the state of Michigan and major foundations to prevent the sale of art and soften cuts to city retirees during Detroit's bankruptcy.

It announced nearly $27 million in new donations and grants from prominent businesses Wednesday, including $10 million from billionaire Roger Penske and his Penske Corp.

Other donations announced Wednesday include $5 million from Detroit-based utility DTE Energy, and $5 million from Dan Gilbert's Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer Inc., Comerica Bank, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Consumers Energy and the Delta Air Lines Foundation also made pledges.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in June said they are kicking in $26 million as part of the museum's $100 million pledge toward a "grand bargain" that is a key piece to the city's restructuring plans heading into next month's bankruptcy trial. Other pieces include $195 million from the state to Detroit's two retirement systems and about $366 million from more than a dozen foundations. Over 20 years, the total value would be $816 million.

Home to paintings and sculptures by Van Gogh, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Renoir and other masters, the DIA is one of the nation's top art museums. Much of the art is considered an asset of the city, which purchased many of the pieces years ago during more prosperous times.

Syncora, a bond insurer, is among some creditors that believe the sale of art should at least be explored to help pay the city's debts.

"The art ... needs to be considered as an asset to determine the appropriate treatment of creditors," said James Sprayregen, a partner and head of restructuring for Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis, which is representing Syncora in Detroit's bankruptcy. "The way the grand bargain is structured, it doesn't do that."

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