Back in January, when CNBC's Senior Interior Decorator Charlie Gasparino really put his investigative journalistic skills to work and reported to the world that John Thain had spruced up his office at Merrill Lynch to include, among other items, a $87,784 area rug, a $25,713 Mahogany pedestal table, and a $35,115 commode, JT issued this vague statement re: what was so wrong with Stan O'Neal's office that it had to be completely redone:
Well-- his office was very different-- than-- the-- the general décor of-- Merrill's offices. It really would have been-- very difficult-- for-- me to use it in the form that it was in. And-- you know, I-- it needed to be renovated no matter what. It would have been better for me to simply-- I should have-- simply paid for it myself
Obviously this forced our hand to come to the logical conclusion that O'Neal had outfitted the place with shag rugs, a disco ball and a huge blinking sign that read "Pussy Palace." I don't know why it took so long to get this out of him, but last night while speaking at Wharton, the Thainmeister finally cleared the air. Here's what JT told the audience, according to a reader in attendance:
Since you brought it up, I'll talk about my office. I joined Merrill Lynch before we knew the world was ending. My office had a giant desk in the middle and was not configured to receive any clients or staff. There was no conference room because it had been converted into a private gym.
So Captain wasn't down with the space because it was essentially a throne room for E. Stanley and because if you're going to have a private gym, it better damn well come with a wrestling mat. But that still doesn't tell us why a George IV chair, Roman Shades, and 19th Century Credenza were necessary. Thainer explains:
We decorated it in the style that Merrill Lynch offices were, which was very, very nice.