(Add Snyder announcement scheduled for later on Wednesday, more
from mediators' statement, background)
Jan 22 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is set to
announce "significant state participation" in a plan to aid
Detroit's art museum and public pensions, mediators said
Wednesday, as the city works through its historic bankruptcy.
The move by the state's Republican governor comes after
plans for state involvement first were reported in local media
last week. At the time, Michigan House of Representatives
Speaker Jase Bolger, a Republican, indicated he would not
support state participation in any direct bailout of Detroit.
Snyder's spokeswoman, Sara Wurfel, confirmed the governor
and Republican legislative leaders will hold a press conference
concerning Detroit later on Wednesday.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court mediators' statement said the
governor intends to work with the state legislature to gain
support for the plan.
"We hope that the governor's announcement will further
assist the parties in reaching as many agreements as possible
which can be included in an agreed-upon plan of adjustment," the
mediators said in the statement.
Last week, a group of foundations said they pledged more
than $330 million to help preserve the Detroit Institute of
Arts' collection and assist in shoring up the cash-strapped
city's retirement fund.
With Detroit sinking under more than $18 billion of debt and
liabilities, its state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr
filed the biggest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history
Orr has opened the door to possibly monetizing some of the
artwork, while severely cutting pension benefits. Detroit's
biggest creditors are its pension funds and Orr has pegged the
city's unfunded pension liability at $3.5 billion.
Last month, auction house Christie's, which was hired by
the city, appraised the value of Detroit-owned works at $454
million to $867 million. Later on Wednesday, U.S. Judge Steven
Rhodes, who is overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy, plans to rule on
whether the art should be independently valued.
(Reporting By Karen Pierog, additional reporting by Joseph
Lichterman in Detroit; Editing By Dan Burns and Meredith