Donor offers $5M to help protect DIA art - Fox 2 News Headlines

Donor offers $5M to help protect DIA art

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(WJBK) -

A former Detroit university professor is pledging $5 million and hoping to spark a wildfire of private financial support to protect valuable art from being sold to pay creditors in the city's bankruptcy.
A. Paul Schaap said he wants to help the Detroit Institute of Arts as well as retirees whose pensions could be cut as part of the city's plan to eventually exit Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Art purchased over the years with city money could be pursued as assets that should be sold to pay off a portion of $18 billion in long-term debt.

Fox 2's Alexis Wiley met with Schaap shortly after his meeting with Judge Rosen. He's the judge who is overseeing mediation as Detroit goes through bankruptcy.

Schapp says when it comes to the DIA Rosen calls this his grand solution. The idea is to raise $500 million that would go to support the pensioners and the people directly affected by bankruptcy.

In an exchange the DIA would become an independent institution, no longer subject to the financial problems of the city of Detroit. Schapp says he believes that philanthropists like himself will step up, but also average people like you and me who want to save the art and the many people here in Detroit.

"Carol and I are hopeful that what we are proposing to do will stimulate others in the metro area, maybe state statewide, to contribute and also to stimulate the major foundations that I know the judge is in contact with," Schapp says. Carol is his wife.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to hear more from Schapp in Wiley's report

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr hasn't said whether he will sell art as part of any bankruptcy reorganization plan. New York auction house Christie's said art purchased with city money is worth $450 million to $870 million. It's just 5 percent of all art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has set up a fund in which you can contribute in efforts to save the pensions and the arts.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report

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