Commode for 35K? Ousted CEO Thain Had Lavish Taste

Details emerge on $1.2M office work
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2009 10:14 AM CST
Commode for 35K? Ousted CEO Thain Had Lavish Taste
John Thain, Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO, left, speaks as Ken Lewis, Bank of America Chairman and CEO listens at a news conference Monday, Sept. 15, 2008 in New York.    (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Recently-axed Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain may have steered his company to a $15.4 billion fourth-quarter loss, but he did so from a really nice office. Details are emerging about Thain's $1.2 million redecoration, Bloomberg reports. Among the purchases noted by CNBC: $87,000 for area rugs, $68,000 for a 19th-century credenza, $35,000 for a "commode on legs," $28,000 for curtains, $25,000 for a pedestal table, and $1,400 for a wastebasket.

Of the $1.2 million, $837,000 went to Michael Smith, the same interior decorator Barack Obama has tapped to make over the White House. Much of the rest was spent on the antiques, which have likely retained their value if Merrill wants its money back, says one furniture seller. Besides, he says, considering the money his company lost, complaining about $1.2 million “is a little like noting that somebody failed to turn on his blinker before driving into a train.” (More John Thain stories.)

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