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October 03, 2014

On the Stand, Detroit Fiscal Manager Defends Museum Deal

Kevyn Orr, Detroit's emergency manager, said in bankruptcy court Thursday that the city's deal to prevent a fire sale of works from the Detroit Institute of Arts would avert a long, costly legal fight and do more for the city's future than liquidating the collection to satisfy creditors, the Detroit Free Press reports. Mr. Orr spent several hours on the stand defending the city's restructuring plan, a key element of which is the largely foundation-funded "grand bargain" to pay off some of Detroit's pension debt while protecting the museum.

Some creditors have pressed the city to sell some or all of the municipally owned institute's most valuable pieces to raise more money for repaying debts. Testifying on the 17th day of the bankruptcy trial, Mr. Orr said bankruptcy law does not require him to sell assets and that "for the city to come back it needs the assets that it has." Museum officials have promised a lawsuit challenging any art sales if the restructuring plan is rejected.