The fate of the works held by the Detroit Institute of the Arts became a little clearer yesterday, as a federal judge made the first comment that the sale of the historic collection may not have the desired outcome.

Last week, we brought you news that a group of creditors filed a court motion, pressuring the valuation of the artworks held by the DIA, in order to expedite payment in the largest public bankruptcy case in US History. But, as federal judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that the Motor City could officially enter bankruptcy, he also made comment that selling the city’s artwork may not produce the results advocates of the sale intend.

“A one-time infusion of cash by selling an asset,” he said in his ruling, “only delays the inevitable financial failure, of the city.” Instead, Rhodes emphasized that Detroit, which spends nearly two-thirds of every dollar to recuperate debt, needs to largely restructure how it spends its money. He added that the city “must take extreme care that the asset is truly unnecessary in carrying out its mission" to refund creditors. The implication was that selling the artworks would not be in the interest of that mission.

Elsewhere, others argue the value of the DIA’s holdings to be far less than expected. Officials at the museum have said selling any of the collection at all would mark the end of the institution.

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[via The New York Times]