Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Getting Antsy, Detroit's Creditors Want Their Money!

The LA Times reports that creditors of the city of Detroit are applying pressure on local leaders to sell off artworks belonging to the Detroit Institute of Arts in order to get paid for debts owed. They're also asking that the city of Detroit cooperate in assessing the value of the art. 

Given the delay in assessing the value of the DIA's collection, one can certainly see why. What's taking so long? 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Christie's Evaluation of DIA's Art Collection Delayed

A highly anticipated evaluation of thousands of city-owned treasures at the Detroit Institute of Arts is not expected to be finished until at least the second week of December. 
The report from Christie’s auction house in New York, which Detroit officials previously said would be completed in October or November, is expected to have a major impact on the fate of the museum’s world-class collection.
Via the Detroit Free Press.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who's 'Profiting' from Detroit's Bankruptcy?

With Detroit's pending bankruptcy the debate over whether to deaccession the DIA's art collection is well known.

But other than the bankruptcy lawyers and restructuring experts, who else will profit from Detroit's bankruptcy? Marketwatch's Ben Eisen on how Christie's and Barclay's are just two other entities profiting from Detroit's bankruptcy.

Eisen's slideshow is certainly worth the read, but I'm not sure that 'profiting' is quite the right word to use in this situation as it denotes an intentional act. Let's face it, when there are problems and screw-ups, someone has to service and fix these problems. This is called providing services rather than profiting. Getting paid for one's time, knowledge, and application of those two factors is not necessarily synonymous with 'profiting.'

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Detroit, Secrecy and the Private Bailing Out of City-Owed Pensions

The Nonprofit Quarterly pens a good article on two major problems with Judge Rosen's secret meeting with major private foundations in hope of brainstorming a financial solution that would exclude selling any or all of the Detroit Institute of Art's collection. The two major problems the NPQ sees are secrecy and the question of whether private foundations should be bailing out city-owed pensions.
The American public dislikes secrecy, no matter how you slice it. When foundations play into that, all their high statements about engagement and openness fly out the window. 
On the role of philanthropies in society, the NPQ has this to say,
But if their sense of civic pride or civic duty lures them into bailing out the city from the demands of its creditors, pensions or others, Detroit’s foundations will be not only depriving Detroit’s nonprofit sector of badly needed resources, but setting a very troubling precedent. How many other cities will lean on their civic-minded local foundations for bailouts like Detroit’s?
The entire NPQ article is available here.