Detroit's bankruptcy cites more than $18 billion in debts, but the city has one asset that could help its balance sheet considerably: its art collection.
The Detroit Institute of Arts has one of the nation's oldest and most valuable public art collections, with pieces by Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Rembrandt van Rijn. Experts say the collection is easily worth more than $1 billion.
In May, the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, sparked an uproar when he requested an inventory of the collection. Orr's spokesman, Bill Nowling, told reporters that while Orr doesn't want to sell the collection, all of the city's assets had to be valued and considered as part of its financial plan.
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"We have to look at everything on the table," he told the Detroit Free Press in May, adding that the city has a "responsibility to rationalize all the assets of the city and find out what the worth is."