Yesterday we reported that John Thain’s story about why he decided to redecorate a personal conference room at Merrill Lynch wasn’t accurate. Now an additional source has come forward to back up our unnamed insider–on the record.
“I interviewed both O’Neal and Komansky in that conference room, so you have a first hand account, from me, on the record,” CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino told us.
Thain had reportedly told an audience at Wharton that he had to redecorate because there was no conference room for the CEO at Merrill. He said it had been converted into a personal gym. Gasparino also tells us that Thain has made this claim before.
“I heard about this and he’s said it in the past,” Gasparino said. “When he said it last time I said it was BS.”
Our anonymous source, who has been in the conference room attached to the CEO suite, used even stronger language, calling Thain a “liar.”
The room that Thain described as “a personal gym” was a small room off the CEO office in which O’Neal had installed an exercise bicycle and a television, which was usually tuned to CNBC during the day. Thain reportedly converted it into a personal dining room. O’Neal preferred to take his meals at the firm in the executive dining room with other top executives at Merrill.