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Detroit Science Center Could Get Rescue From Ron Weiser, Republican Financial Chairman

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The Detroit Science center could have a new owner and get out of debt if a deal backed by Ann Arbor resident and Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Ron Weiser goes through. | Alamy

Republican National Committee Finance Chairman, former ambassador to Slovakia, businessman and now, cultural patron?

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes reports Ann Arbor's Ron Weiser will purchase the Detroit Science Center and its property from Citizens Bank, which is owed $6.2 million on the property's mortgage, and sell the museum back to a new institution dubbed the Michigan Science Center.

The Michigan Science Center would be legally separate from the Detroit Science Center and would be run by a mostly new board, according to the Detroit News.

The Detroit Science Center closed in September after accruing $5.8 million in debt. An expensive, failed mummy exhibit made by a for-profit subsidiary that didn't bring in hoped-for revenue was partially responsible for the museum's financial woes, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

The science museum's crisis led to the shuttering of the Detroit Children's Museum in January. The Science Center had become the operator of the children's museum after Detroit Public Schools could no longer support its operation. Wanting to keep the museum open, the district then ended its arrangement with the Science Center and reopened the Children's Museum -- strictly for DPS students -- with the support of federal funding.

Weiser's agreement includes a commitment to find funding for the Michigan Science Center, which is meant to be run debt-free.

Weiser has experience raising money. According to The Daily, his efforts to recruit large donors brought in millions for the GOP and lowered the national party's debt. Weiser also served a stint as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

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