Still think John Thain’s $1.2 million office renovations are outrageous? Well, brace yourself, because he could have done worse. According to antiques dealers, the lavish items Thain stocked his office with were kind of cheap—he could’ve spent a lot more money, if he really wanted to redo his office the right way.
Bloomberg: “It’s a nice furnishing job,” New York dealer Clinton Howell said of Thain’s $1.2 million office renovation. “But it’s not extravagant.” Howell is selling a $250,000 Regency-period rosewood pedestal table at the [Winter Antiques Show in New York.]
…”He could have spent considerably more,” said Gaylord Dillingham. Based on Thain’s prices, Dillingham pegged the decor as “nice middle-of-the road things.”
Items similar to Thain’s favourite classic furniture pieces have sold for a lot more at the show. For instance, a two-drawer chest similar to his $35,000 commode on legs was selling for more than twice that price.
Dealers at the fair said they didn’t find fault with Thain’s taste, just his timing.
“As a humble used-furniture dealer for 35 years, there would be nothing crazy about this if he were making $15 billion for the company,” said Dillingham.
But Merrill Lynch actually lost $15.3 billion while acquirer Bank of America sought a $20 billion government bailout—$4 billion of which was used for Merrill’s bonuses— while Thain was in charge. No wonder his new boss Ken Lewis wasn’t too thrilled with him.
Humorous side note: the Winter Antiques Show is actually sponsored by BofA.
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