State Attorney General Bill Schuette told Detroit Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, hands-off the art buddy. In a ruling today, the AG said that the city does not have the authority to liquidate the treasures held in trust at the Detroit Institute of Arts to satisfy debt. The Oakland Press reports that Schuette said the following:
“It is my opinion, therefore, that the art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts is held by the city of Detroit in charitable trust for the people of Michigan, and no piece in the collection may thus be sold, conveyed, or transferred to satisfy city debts or obligations.
In issuing this opinion, I recognize the serious financial hardships that face the city, the difficulties that the people who live and work in the city have endured for decades, and the many challenges facing the citizens of the city of Detroit and the state in the future. Yet, in the 128 years since the creation of the Detroit Institute of Arts, at no time have the people demanded that their most precious cultural resources be sold in order to satisfy financial obligations.
To the contrary, the citizens of this state recognize that abandoning or selling the public’s artwork would damage not only the city’s but the state’s cultural commonwealth. In Michigan, we not only appreciate our cultural treasures, we guard them zealously in charitable trust for all state residents, present and future.”
Orr had recently claimed that he had the authority as an Emergency Manager to seize the assets and sell them, and made it clear he intended to act on that if the city went into bankruptcy, an opinion that was shared by Gov. Snyder.
Sorry guys, no deal.
Amy Kerr Hardin