Michigan Senate To Vote On Bill To Protect DIA If Detroit Goes Bankrupt

Jun 4, 2013

An effort to shield the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts from the auction block should the city go bankrupt is scheduled for a vote Wednesday in the state Senate.

As we hear from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta, Detroit’s emergency manager says that may not be enough.

The bill says collections in publicly owned art museums like the DIA are held in a public trust. John Pirich is an attorney for the museum.

“There is a requirement to maintain the art in the condition that it’s in,” he says.  “To sell the art only for the benefit of purchasing other art that might be more beneficial than the current art that you have.”

Pirich says people did not donate money and works of art to the museum to see them used to pay Detroit’s debts.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has already warned the assets of the DIA might have to sold if the city winds up in federal bankruptcy court – and a new state law enacted late in the game does not necessarily alter that reality.