Creditors’ Motion Denied: DIA art will stay on the walls

Creditors’ Motion Denied: DIA art will stay on the walls

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes denied a motion filed by creditors to let them inspect artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Syncora and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company stand to lose more than $1 billion in Detroit’s bankruptcy case. They said in court filings they wanted to get an accurate appraisal of the DIA collection, in part, because they had lined up potential buyers for some of the collection. They also wanted more documents from the museum that would help them accurately assess the value of the artwork, and their attorneys argued their cases this morning.

Judge Rhodes issued his opinion from the bench this afternoon. Here’s what he said:

“The record does not establish any cause to grant this motion as to documents. There are the usual document production mechanisms that are not only available but have been utilized by these very creditors in the case, and the court and the rules have a preference for the use of those procedures. … There is no cause to grant his motion as a broad category of documents while the parties are attempting to work it out.

“As to art that is on the walls that the movant parties seek authorization of permission to remove, there isn’t anything the court concludes that the record reflects to justify this extraordinary relief. It just doesn’t appear in the record that it is necessary to remove art from the walls and give parties an opportunity to inspect the reverse sides of art to accomplish any purpose that’s related to their objections to plan confirmation. The record doesn’t justify a finding that that’s needed. Rather the record establishes that the access that parties have simply by going to the museum like everyone else to look at and inspect the art is sufficient for the purposes that the movant parties assert here.

“Apart from this of course is the issues of the risk to the art that would result from granting the relief that these movant parties seek here. The record establishes that this is a substantial risk and not one that should be undertaken lightly or in the sense of extraordinary cause, and in the absence of such cause here the court denies his relief as well.

“Finally as to the other access to art which is not on public display. The court understand that the DIA is willing to allow that access on reasonable terms and there is no reason that can’t be worked out between the movant parties and the DIA. The record does not establish any cause for the court to get involved at this stage. Once again, however if there is a dispute about the terms of the context of access, the court is certainly available to resolve any such disputes even on an informal, telephone basis.

“Therefore, the motion is denied, and the court will prepare an order.”

-By WDET’s Sandra Svoboda

@WDETSandra and