The Detroit Institute of Arts might be headed to court after an anti-tax group sued the museum, claiming it made false claims about free admission.
The Michigan Taxpayers Alliance filed the lawsuit against the DIA in Macomb County Circuit Court Thursday, according to the Macomb Daily. Their grievance comes after an August vote in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties passed a 0.2 millage that would funnel cash to the financially-struggling museum. In exchange, residents of the three counties would receive free admission to the DIA.
However, visitors still must purchase tickets to special exhibitions like “Fabergé: The Rise and Fall,” currently on view. The MTA suit claims that denying free admittance to that exhibit is a breach of the museum’s agreement with the Macomb County Arts Authority to provide free admission to residents.
“Voters were lied to,” MTA Chairman Leon Drolet told the Detroit News. “The DIA made a promise and signed a contract and now are reneging. Our suit seeks to enforce both the DIA’s campaign promises and the contract they signed.”
The 10-year millage will bring in $23 million, without which museum officials said they would have to lay off workers, shorten hours and eventually close. While the measure passed with a strong lead in Oakland and Wayne, it was much closer in Macomb, where only 50.5 percent of residents at the polls voted in favor.
According to CBS Detroit, a spokeswoman from the museum said Thursday they had not yet seen the lawsuit.