News Column

Detroit City Council seconds transfer of some DIA art to charitable trust

June 16, 2014

By Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press

June 16--The Detroit City Council this morning voted for the second time this month to endorse the transfer of city-owned art and other assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts to a charitable trust as part of a proposal to protect the art from being sold off in the city's bankruptcy case.

The council's second-ranking member, George Cushingberry Jr., said federal mediators involved in the bankruptcy case determined the council's first resolution -- passed on June 5 -- was not satisfactory.

The first resolution indicated that the council supported the art transfer. The resolution passed today reads that the city council approves the transfer. The first resolution also referenced some additional questions the council had about the transfer, corporation counsel Butch Hollowell said today.

"This is a final and full-throated approval of the transfer of assets," Hollowell said after the council's unanimous vote.

The transfer of DIA art is part of the so-called grand bargain, a deal equivalent to $816 million that helps reduce pension cuts for Detroit retirees. The grand bargain is the centerpiece of emergency manager Kevyn Orr's plan to restructure Detroit when it exits bankruptcy.

Orr's restructuring plan still is subject to U.S. bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes' approval. A trial to confirm the plan is scheduled to start Aug. 14. Rhodes has said it is imperative for the mayor and city council to support the city's plan.

The council voted today after meeting in closed session for more than an hour to discuss the issue.

Cushingberry said it was difficult for council members to approve of transferring the city-owned art to a trust. But 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, Cushingberry said.

"A lot of my colleagues are hearing in the community that people are concerned that the city is being systematically devalued," Cushingberry said. "The objective is to get us out of bankruptcy as soon as we possibly can, and I think this furthers that along the way."

Contact Joe Guillen: 313-222-6678 or


(c)2014 the Detroit Free Press

Visit the Detroit Free Press at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters