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Attorney: Most pieces in Detroit Institute of Arts donated, out of creditors' reach

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DETROIT — An attorney representing the Detroit Institute of Arts has told a judge that the forced sale of city-owned art "would chill philanthropic giving for generations to come."

The DIA Corp.'s Arthur O'Reilly said Wednesday during opening statements in Detroit's bankruptcy trial that works in the art museum can't be used to satisfy creditor debt because most of the 60,000 total pieces were donated or bought through donations.

O'Reilly spoke out in favor of the city's debt restructuring plan that has to be approved by federal Judge Steven Rhodes.

The plan includes more than $800 million in commitments from the state, major corporations, foundations and others to soften cuts to city pensions while placing the art into a trust.

Some creditors have said city assets should be considered to satisfy debt.

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