Detroit bankruptcy judge rejects art request

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes has ruled Wall Street creditors can not remove works of art off the walls of the Detroit Institute, can not get access to art in storage, and can not get access to millions of documents at the museum.

But they can continue their appraisals that they've been doing with limited access. 

Attorneys for Federal Guarantee and Syncora argued the value of the art may be as much as $4 billion dollars.  An agent was hired to explore possible buyers of the art and found buyers were willing to pay $1.5 billion for just three pieces of art. 

Christie's Auction House was hired by Detroit last year to evaluate 1700 pieces of art and established a value of $454 million to $867 million. 

Some Wall Street creditors are only getting pennies on the dollar in the Detroit Bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment and they want to make sure any plan confirmation by the Judge is fair and equitable. 

One attorney said we need to know if the art is a "gift horse" that has a value of Secretariat, a famous race horse, or "a broken down nag". Attorneys also said the "grand bargain" of the city to save the art from being sold with state and foundation money and used to soften retiree pension cuts is "not so grand" to them. 

The attorneys also said they understand the importance of the art to Detroit and its history saying they are not "cold, unfeeling and stupid." 

But they also have a duty to their clients to make sure they have a "meaningful" understanding of the value of the art, even though it may not be sold. 

Judge Rhodes previously ruled he does not have the power to force the city to sell the art in bankruptcy. 

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