An Alexander Calder sculpture, ‘Young Woman and Her Suitors,’ at the Detroit Institute of Arts. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
At the moment, the Detroit mess pits the museum, which has vowed to take legal action if necessary to defend its art, against city creditors who include current and former municipal workers, who fear seeing their pensions shaved in bankruptcy proceedings.
Also in the mix are the region’s voters, who in 2012 approved a special ten-year property tax increase intended to generate $23 million a year for the DIA to make it financially secure. Officials in Oakland County have made it clear that selling art to satisfy the city’s debts will violate the terms of the tax vote, ending its participation in financing the museum.
“Oakland County and the entire region have a vested interest in protecting our art,” county treasurer Andy Meisner told the Detroit News. “Judge Rhodes’ statement is a clear indication that the sale of this world-class art collection has no long-term financial benefit for the city.”