Sale signs show up around Detroit

Tags appear to be poking fun at city's possible need to sell off assets to pay down billions in debt in bankruptcy

DETROIT – Someone is putting sale tags up in Detroit.

Local 4 found at least three of the neon tags attached to city property on Wednesday morning -- a Detroit Public Schools building, a street sign at Michigan and Third and on a statue in Grand Circus Park.


--Photo by by Jacx Schanes

The tags appear to be a joke about Detroit's bankruptcy and the squabble over selling its assets in order pay off debt -- mostly notably, the city's art collection in the Detroit Institute of Arts.


Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has contracted Christie's, a New York-based auction house, to appraise the art collection. And while there hasn't been an announced plan to sell the art in order to drum up funds, Orr has said nothing is off the table and the appraisal is part of a city-wide survey of assets to help the restructuring process.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed off on Detroit's bankruptcy on July 18, calling it the only "feasible path" for a city whose population has plummeted to 700,000 from 1.8 million decades ago. Detroit has $18 billion in long-term debt.

In March, Snyder appointed a bankruptcy expert, Orr, as Detroit's emergency manager. Orr had sweeping powers to reshape city finances but recommended bankruptcy to the governor after failing to reach any significant deals with creditors, including Wall Street bankers and Detroit pension funds. Many of those creditors, however, accused him of being inflexible and believe bankruptcy always was the plan.

Special Section: Detroit's Bankrupt