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A closer look at the DIA art collection now being appraised by Christie’s. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DETROIT (AP) — A former Detroit university professor is pledging $5 million and hoping to spark a wildfire of private financial support to protect valuable art from being sold to pay creditors in the city’s bankruptcy.

A. Paul Schaap said he wants to help the Detroit Institute of Arts as well as retirees whose pensions could be cut as part of the city’s plan to eventually exit Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Art purchased over the years with city money could be pursued as assets that should be sold to pay off a portion of $18 billion in long-term debt.

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