Detroit Free Press: Retirees wanted art sold

Detroit Free Press: Retirees wanted art sold

Some of Detroit’s major creditors, including retirees, almost agreed to try to attempt a forced sale of the Detroit Institute of Arts collection last year, the Detroit Free Press reports. The deal didn’t happen because:

…a pledge of millions from the state persuaded retirees to abandon the plan, according to interviews and confidential documents obtained by the Free Press. The proposed deal collapsed after bankruptcy mediator Gerald Rosen assembled pledges from nonprofit foundations and Gov. Rick Snyder to help reduce pension cuts and preserve the DIA.

The story is significant, in part, because it shows first, how close pensioners and the city were to a fight in court over one of the city’s biggest financial and cultural assets: the museum’s collection. Second, it reflects the ongoing success of Chief U.S. District Judge Rosen as the Chapter 9 case’s chief mediator who has held a series of confidential talks and helped orchestrate the “grand bargain”.

Rosen has been bringing parties to the table, forging agreements between several employee/retiree groups, financial creditors and the city. The case is far from a done deal — several bond insurers and banks have not reached agreements and stand to lose billions, and the fate of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is uncertain.

But as the case progresses toward a July confirmation hearing and legislators grapple with a package of bills for funding and oversight of the city, it’s clear what’s not in the daily headlines may be just as significant as what is.