Art Law Report

Detroit Bankruptcy Debrief—Judge Rhodes Speaks on the Grand Bargain and the Detroit Institute of Arts

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 20, 2015 at 6:58 AM

Last year’s biggest art law story was, in our view the Detroit bankruptcy. Nathan Bomey, who along with Mark Stryker formed the essential reporter team on up-to-the-minute updates on the proceedings, interviewed Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes in the Detroit Free Press. The interview speaks for itself, but the highlights to me were:

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Topics: Judge Rosen, Mark Stryker, Chapter 9, Syncora Capital, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., Judge Rhodes, Christie's, valuation, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Nathan Bomey, Detroit Free Press, Museums, Detroit Bankruptcy, grand bargain

BREAKING-Detroit Plan of Adjustment Approved, Judge Praises Decison Not to Sell DIA Collection

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 7, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Judge Rhodes has approved the plan of adjustment for Detroit to emerge from bankruptcy. More analysis to come, but most critically for our purposes it affirms the Grand Bargain and the security of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. We'll post the full opinion when it's published, but notably, Nathan Bomey at the Detroit Free Press reported from the courtroom that Judge Rhodes praised the decision not to sell the DIA collection: "Maintaining the art at the DIA is critical to maintaining the feasibility of the city's plan of adjustment and the city's future."

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Topics: Judge Rhodes, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Bankruptcy

Remaining Creditor Sharpens Knives Over Detroit Institute of Arts Collection Value

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

After Syncora Capital settled its objections to the Detroit bankruptcy plan of adjustment, it looked like the battle over the Detroit Institute of Arts collection would subside. Not so fast, it turns out. A major contest looms next week with a remaining creditor, Financial Guaranty Insurance Corporation, over the valuation of the collection. Just to recap, the creditors (including both Syncora and FGIC) submitted a valuation of the entire DIA collection that put the value between $8 billion, performed by Victor Wiener Associates, while DIA and the city advanced an appraisal by Artvest Partners and Michael Plummer (who testified last week) putting it at closer to $2.4 billion (after an initial appraisal by Christie's of only part of the collection).

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Topics: Chapter 9, Syncora Capital, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., Judge Rhodes, Christie's, valuation, Appraisal, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Detroit Free Press, Museums, Detroit Bankruptcy, grand bargain

Syncora Reaches Deal with Detroit and Apologizes to Mediators, Grand Bargain to Protect Detroit Institute of Arts Likely Secure

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 15, 2014 at 6:53 AM

After months of bitter fighting over the so-called Grand Bargain to infuse the Detroit bankruptcy with hundreds of millions of dollars from (among others) the State of Michigan, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Davidson Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the McGregor Fund, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to keep the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts out of discussion for any sale or use as collateral, the Grand Bargain’s fiercest opponent has announced an agreement with the city and the withdrawal of its opposition to the plan of adjustment. This does not completely put an end to discussion about the role of the DIA collection, but for all intents and purposes it will likely be the last of any proposal to collateralize or sell the artwork. The episode also provides a lesson to practitioners about the cost of overzealousness.

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Topics: the Ford Foundation, Chapter 9, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Syncora Capital, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Davidson Foundation, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., Judge Rhodes, Christie's, valuation, Appraisal, Detroit, the McGregor Fund, Eugene Driker, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Gerald Rosen, the Kresge Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, eligibility, Detroit Bankruptcy, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, grand bargain

City Releases Updated Appraisal of Full Detroit Institute of Arts Collection, Tactical Questions Abound

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 10, 2014 at 9:51 AM

A report by an expert witness designated by the City of Detroit for the upcoming bankruptcy trial has been released concerning the value of the full collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The report puts the full collection value at $2.7 to $4.6 billion, but estimates that the price it would fetch if the collection were actually liquidated in the real world would be closer to $1.1 to $1.8 billon, and possibly as little as $850 because of the notoriety that would accompany such a sale. It also supplements an earlier appraisal performed by Christie’s of the most significant objects in the collection.

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Topics: Artvest Partners LLC, Mark Stryker, State of Michigan, Michael Plummer, Judge Rhodes, Christie's, Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Bankruptcy, grand bargain

Detroit Institute of Arts Makes Case for Its Art as a Public Trust that City Could Not Sell Even if it Wanted To

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

After Judge Rhodes denied (as predicted) the expansive relief requested by creditors in the Detroit bankruptcy to perform a top-to-bottom appraisal of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, attention has focused on those creditors’ objection to the “grand bargain” within the overall plan of adjustment. The creditors (and some academics) have argued that the grand bargain is a “preferential transfer,” that it puts some creditors (pension holders) in a better position than other creditors (lenders, in particular) in violation of bankruptcy principles.

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Topics: Old Master, Deaccession, the Ford Foundation, Mark Stryker, Chapter 9, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, 11 U.S.C. § 904, Impressionism, Amedeo Modigliani, Michelangelo, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Davidson Foundation, Judge Rhodes, Christie's, valuation, Scheme for the Decoration of the Ceiling of the Si, Appraisal, Modernist Art, Detroit, the McGregor Fund, Eugene Driker, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Gerald Rosen, the Kresge Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Detroit Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, Detroit Free Press, eligibility, Detroit Bankruptcy, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Detroit Institute of Arts Grand Bargain Not Done Yet, Creditors Claim to Have Purchaser Willing to Pay Nearly $2 Billion for Entire Collection

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 23, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Since reports last month that a grand bargain had been struck to provide an infusion of cash to the Detroit bankruptcy in exchange for conveying the artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts back to the museum itself, it has been largely accepted that the deal would succeed. The deal would contribute $366 million from several foundations, $100 million from the DIA foundation, and $350 million from the State of Michigan. This air of inevitability is due in large part to the cards that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr holds: unless Detroit wants to monetize or sell the DIA collection that the city owns, creditors cannot compel the city to do so. This in turn is for factors unique to Chapter 9 bankruptcy, as discussed here previously.

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Topics: Poly International Auction Co. Ltd, Deaccession, Chapter 9, Emergency Manager, Art Capital Group LLC, Judge Rhodes, Christie's, Detroit Institute of Arts, Yuan Management Hong Kong Limited, Catalyst Acquisitions LLC, DIA, Marc Bell Partners, Kevyn Orr, DIA collection, Detroit Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Court Denies Creditors’ Motion to Reappraise Detroit Institute of Arts Collection

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

As we predicted when it was filed, Judge Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan denied today several creditors’ motion to appoint an independent commission to appraise the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts (owned by the city of Detroit) as part of the city’s ongoing bankruptcy.

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Topics: Governor Rick Snyder, Judge Rhodes, Christie's, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy Code, Michigan, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Detroit Bankruptcy

Foundations Pledge $330 Million to Keep Detroit Institute of Arts Collection Safe from Liquidation

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 13, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to monetize the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, whether by sale or otherwise, took a large step towards realization today when at least nine local and national foundations pledged up to $330 million to Detroit to keep the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts safe from sale, loan, or other encumbrance, and also to shore up pension funds Following the release of Christie’s appraisal report, and weeks of rumors that a “grand bargain” was in the works to raise money in exchange for keeping DIA’s art collection out of any plan of adjustment for the city’s bankruptcy, the Detroit Free Press reports today that federal mediator and U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Rosen released a statement outlining the pledge. The foundations identified are the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Davidson Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the McGregor Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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Topics: Old Master, the Ford Foundation, Mark Stryker, Chapter 9, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, 11 U.S.C. § 904, Impressionism, Amedeo Modigliani, Michelangelo, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Davidson Foundation, Judge Rhodes, Christie's, valuation, Scheme for the Decoration of the Ceiling of the Si, Appraisal, Modernist Art, Detroit, the McGregor Fund, Eugene Driker, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Gerald Rosen, the Kresge Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Detroit Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, Detroit Free Press, eligibility, Detroit Bankruptcy, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Hearing Set On Creditors' Motion to Force an Appraisal Committee for the Detroit Institute of Arts Collection

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 20, 2013 at 4:48 AM

Following on yesterday's release of the full report and recommendations by Christie's with regard to the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Bankruptcy Court has set a hearing on the creditors' earlier motion to force appraisal of additional works of art.

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Topics: Chapter 9, 11 U.S.C. § 904, Judge Rhodes, Christie's, valuation, Appraisal, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Detroit Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, Detroit Free Press, eligibility, Detroit Bankruptcy

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