Didn’t someone go to jail for spending too much on a shower curtain?
Amidst everything else going on at Bank of America (BAC) and its boneheaded decision to buy dying Merrill Lynch, Gasparino reports, for the Daily Beast, that John Thain had a ridiculous amount spent on his own perks, including a redecorating of his office.
According to documents reviewed by The Daily Beast, Thain spent $1.22 million of company money to refurbish his office at Merrill Lynch headquarters in lower Manhattan. The biggest piece of the spending spree: $800,000 to hire famed celebrity designer Michael Smith, who is currently redesigning the White House for the Obama family for just $100,000.
The other big ticket items Thain purchased include: $87,000 for an area rug in Thain’s conference room and another area rug for $44,000; a “mahogany pedestal table” for $25,000; a “19th Century Credenza” in Thain’s office for $68,000; a sofa for $15,000; four pairs curtains for $28,000; a pair of guest chairs for $87,000; a “George IV Desk” for $18,000; 6 wall sconces for $2,700; six chairs in his private dining room for $37,000; a mirror in his private dining room for $5,000; a chandelier in the private dining room for $13,000; fabric for a “Roman Shade” for $11,000; a “custom coffee table” for $16,000; something called a “commode on legs” for $35,000; a “Regency Chairs” for $24,000; “40 yards of farbric for wall panels,” for $5,000 and a “parchment waste can” for $1,400.
And here’s Charlie’s latest from CNBC on the Thain firing:
CNBC HAS LEARNED THAT KEN LEWIS, THE CEO OF B OF A A GOING TO MEET WITH JOHN THAIN LATER THIS AFTERNOON. I HEAR AROUND 11:30, ESSENTIALLY TO DECIDE HIS FUTURE.IT’S BEEN A CRAZY COUPLE WEEKS AT MERRILL LYNCH. EXECUTIVE DEPARTURES, PEOPLE LEAVING, BLAMING, SAYING THEY CAN’T GET ALONG WITH THAIN. AND THEN THAT SURPRISE LOSS, $15 BILLION. THAT ALMOST TANKED THE B OF A/MERRILL DEAL.
KEN LEWIS IS MEETING WITH THAIN. I’M NOT SAYING HE’S DONE YET, BUT FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, INSIDE MERRILL PEOPLE ARE TELLING ME THIS IS THE MEETING WHERE THAIN’S FUTURE IS GOING TO BE DECIDED. AND THE LIKELIHOOD RIGHT NOW IS THAT HE’S OUT, THAT LEWIS IS GOING TO BREAK THE NEWS TO HIM. LEWIS FELT COMPLETELY BLINDSIDED BY THAT $15 BILLION OF BLOS.
HE’S TAKEN A LOT OF HEAT. PEOPLE SAY HE SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER DUE DILIGENCE. THEY PAID $28 BILLION, AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THIS SURPRISE
LOSS COMES OUT, $15 BILLION DISCLOSED LAST WEEK, AND THAT NEARLY TANKS THE DEAL.THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND LEWIS IS PERSONALLY BLAMING THAIN FOR MAYBE NOT BEING COMPLETELY FORTHCOMING WITH HIM. WE WILL KNOW IF HE’S AT THE FIRM FOR A WHILE OR OUT TODAY.
IF HE’S NOT GONE TODAY, GUYS, I’LL TELL YOU, IF LEWIS HAS NOT DECIDED HE’S GONE JUST YET, AFTER I REPORT WHAT I’M GOING TO REPORT, HE MAY GO.
JOHN THAIN REDID HIS OFFICE WHEN HE CAME INTO BE THE CEO OF MERRILL LYNCH SOMETIME IN JANUARY OR FEBRUARY OF LAST YEAR. HE SPENT $1.22 MILLION REDESIGNING THIS THING, AND HERE IS WHAT’S INTERESTING. CNBC HAS OBTAINED DOCUMENTS WHICH KIND OF BREAK DOWN THE COSTS. HE SPENT $837,000 ON SOME GUY NAMED MICHAEL SMITH, WHO IS ALSO MICHELLE OBAMA’S INTERIOR DIRECTOR. THE WHITE HOUSE IS PAYING HIM 100K. HE SPENT $87,000 FOR AN AREA RUG. A MAHOGANY PEDESTAL TABLE FOR $25,000. A 19th CENTURY CREDENZA FOR $68,000. PENDANT LIGHT FURNITURE FOR $19,000. FOUR PAIRS OF CURTAINS FOR $28,000. A PAIR OF GUEST CHAIRS, $88,000, A GEORGE IV GUEST CHAIR FOR $18,000, SIX WALL SCONCES FOR $2,700 AND A MARCHMENT WASTE CAN FOR $1,400. HE ALSO SPENT MONEY ON ROMAN SHADE FABRIC, A LITTLE OVER $10,000. ROMAN SHADE, $7,000, COFFEE TABLE FOR $5,852 AND THIS IS ONE I DON’T UNDERSTAND, A COMMODE ON LEGS FOR $35,115. DOCUMENTS ALSO SHOW HE SIGNED OFF ON THE PURCHASES PERSONALLY AND THAT HE USED ANOTHER $5,000 — NOT FIVE, ANOTHER
$30,000 TO PAY THE EXPENSES MR. SMITH INCURRED IN DOING HIS WORK. THAIN HAS ALSO HIRED SMITH, WHOSE CELEBRITY LIST INCLUDES STEVEN SPIELBERG, CINDY
CRAWFORD, TO DESIGN HIS MANHATTAN APARTMENT AT 740 PARK AVENUE AND HIS 14-BEDROOM HOME IN RYE, N.Y.
OTHER DOCUMENTS SHOW THAIN PAID HIS DRIVER LAST YEAR $230,000, WHICH INCLUDED THE DRIVER’S $85,000 SALARY AND A BONUS OF $18,000 AND ANOTHER $20,000 OVERTIME PAY. DRIVERS OF TOP EXECUTIVES ARE OFTEN PAID ABOUT HALF OF THAT AMOUNT. YOU KNOW, MERRILL LYNCH SPOKESMAN HAD NO COMMENT ON THIS.
On Thain Ice: Merrill Boss Almost Gone?