Thain Leaves BofA; What About the Rug?

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John Thain is leaving Bank of America. If you want the news you can look at the coverage in The Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times. If you want the dirt, check out the Daily Beast.

Among the tidbits: Thain spent $1.2 million of Merrill Lynch's money to renovate his Manhattan office, including $800,000 for designer Michael Smith's services. This is the same Michael Smith who's redesigning the White House living quarters for the Obamas. They're scrimping, spending only $100,000.

Among other things, Thain spent $87,000 for an area rug, $28,000 for curtains, and $87,000 for two guest chairs. This would be around the same time he was getting ready to cut Merrill's expenses - including its payroll, says CNBC's Charlie Gasparino. Thain reportedly authorized the spending personally.

Gasparino points out when the spree occurred in January 2008, many analysts believed the still-independent Merrill would rebound with Thain taking over the helm. Still:

At the time, Thain was preaching the virtues of cost control, telling employees to reduce expenses including car services, entertainment and travel. In addition to the personal expenses on his office, documents show Thain paid his driver $230,000 for one year's work, which included the driver's $85,000 salary and bonus of $18,000, and another $128,000 in over-time pay. Drivers of top executives are often paid about half that amount.

We expect great headlines tomorrow.

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