Automakers mull aid to art museum in Detroit bankruptcy

Tue May 13, 2014 11:26am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit's three automakers are mulling a request by the city's art museum to help it raise money for a key component of Detroit's plan to restructure its debt and exit bankruptcy, representatives of the companies said on Tuesday.

Under an $816 million so-called grand bargain, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) would contribute $100 million to ease pension cuts on the city's retirees and avoid a sale of art works to pay city creditors. The rest of the money would come from philanthropic foundations and the state of Michigan, where a $350 million contribution over 20 years or a $195 million lump sum payment needs legislative approval.

"Chrysler Group is committed to playing a positive role in Detroit's revitalization. Accordingly, we are reviewing the DIA's request," said Chrysler spokesman Kevin Frazier in an email.

Ford Motor Co spokesman Todd Nissen said in an email that the automaker has been a long-time supporter of the museum.

"We are having confidential discussions with the DIA and are considering the matter very carefully,” he said.

General Motors Co spokesman Jim Cain said in an email that the DIA was important for a revitalized Detroit.

"Both GM and the GM Foundation are giving very careful consideration to how we can help preserve this treasure at such a critical time," he said.

A spokeswoman for the DIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.   Continued...

People at a mural by artist Diego Rivera at the Art Institute of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan December 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Joshua Lott