The “Grand Bargain” gets grander with a $26 million contribution from the Detroit Three automakers toward the Detroit Institute of Arts’ $100 million portion of the deal, officials announced today.
The funds, per terms of the Grand Bargain, will be contributed toward pensions as long as pensioners vote in favor of the city’s Plan of Adjustment. Voting is ongoing with ballots due back by July 11. The deal also includes $195 million of state money, approved by the Legislature and awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature, and $366 million of foundation funds. The money also protects the museum’s collection from sale to creditors to pay debt.
Gathering in the Rivera Court at the museum, executives from the car companies, leaders of the the Detroit Institute of Arts, Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Gov. Snyder and two retirees spoke to the audience and media.
Here’s some of what they had to say:
“This is about the DIA certainly but this is about Detroit, it’s about Michigan, and it’s about our pensioners. We’re all beneficiaries of this wonderful effort,” said Eugene Gargaro, chairman of the board, Detroit Institute of Arts.
“This money is intended to help preserve the cultural identity and the culture heritage that is on display here at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It is also intended to help preserve the pensions of many of the hard-working men and women that have served the city of Detroit for many years and most importantly this contribution is intended to help get the Motor City back on its feet again,” says Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales, Chrysler Group, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Chrysler Canada, Inc. and president and chief executive officer Ram Tuck Brand, Chrysler.
“The DIA and the people of Detroit need our help and we are here as we’ve always been to do our part. … We hope our contribution will encourage other companies and organizations to come forward and join us in this effort to revitalize this great city,” says Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company.
“We are here today to ensure that the Detroit Institute of Arts remains a vibrant cultural pillar within our community. The mark of a great city is of course its cultural institutions. …and GM stands united with so many of others in our community to preserve this historical treasure at this critical time,” says Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and supply chain, and vice chairman, GM Foundation.
“I think it’s important that we stop and recognize something special with our auto companies. If you think back a few years ago, did we think we would see a day when they were stepping up to support this community at this financial level? They were struggling for their survival. …It’s a fragile comeback. Our work is not done yet. We need to follow through. This is an important step. This is an historic step today in making that fragile comeback a reality,” says Gov. Rick Snyder.
“In so many ways you are very much the face, not just of Detroit but all of Michigan…applause … and to have come forward in this way speaks volumes about the commitment that all three of you have to Detroit and to Michigan. Thank you very much. I couldn’t help but think maybe we’re setting the template here in Michigan for how this should be done,” says chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, who is the chief mediator in the bankruptcy case.
“The ball has started to roll. It is now going to roll full force downhill and pick up even more money or the Grand Bargain,” Shirley Lightsey, president of the Detroit Retired City Employees Association.
“There are very many moving parts that had to be put into place. Most of those have now been put into place and it’s up to the retirees to step up. As I say we are the beneficiaries of nearly a billion dollars that have been contributed to help secure our pensions and reduce the reductions that we would see otherwise,” says Don Taylor, president of the Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association.
“As we sit here in this cradle of history and you look around at these great murals, you see depictions of the industrial might of the United States and the effort that it undertook to reach a great outcome and as people keep reminding me because I lose track of it from time to time, we’re in the midst of a great undertaking on behalf of the state, the city and in front of the eyes of the country,”
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.