State attorney general ready to defend DIA collection in bankruptcy court

Aug 8, 2013

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he’s prepared to defend the Detroit Institute of Arts collection in federal bankruptcy court. Schuette recently released an opinion that the artwork cannot be sold to satisfy the city’s creditors because it is held in a public trust.

Schuette spokesperson Joy Yearout says he’ll take that position in front of Judge Steven Rhodes if the city puts the collection on the table.

“If and when the issue of how the DIA’s charitable trusts are treated in bankruptcy comes up in court before Judge Rhodes, the attorney general will be prepared to defend the position that they should be protected,” Yearout said.

But there’s no guarantee Schuette’s opinion will hold much weight in the proceedings.

This week, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr hired Christie’s auction house to appraise the collection. Orr says that does not necessarily mean the city plans to sell the art.