PDX Networker

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Greedy, or just plain stupid?




So I read an article in the paper this morning that the former Merrill Lynch CEO (prior to it’s merger with Bank of America), John Thain spent a million dollars (1.22m) in corporate funds redecorating his office, while jobs and salaries were being cut through-out the firm.


His excuse?


That the new office was very different than the “general décor” and it would have been “very difficult to use it in the form it was in.”


Here’s the rundown:


Curtains: $28,000

Pair of chairs: $87,000

Regency chairs: $24,000

Chandelier (for the private dining room) $13,000

Custom coffee table: $16,000

Six dining chairs: $37,000

Antique commode: $35,000 (…antique commode???)

Parchment waste can: $1,400


…and not a penny of it came out of the $83 million he was paid in 2007.


Okay, so we have a greedy banker here…that’s no big shock. “Greedy banker” is kind of like saying, “ambitious politician.”


It’s something of a given.


However, when your company is in the “antique commode”, requiring massive government hand-outs to stay afloat, and the eyes of the entire nation are upon you, and the misdeeds of the country’s “movers and shakers” are making headlines every day, spending a million dollars to redo your office isn’t greedy…it’s just plain stupid.


The median income, in my city, for a household is $52,515.  To put this all in some perspective, Thain spent 23 years worth of the average Wilsonville family’s income to redecorate his office…because he didn’t like the general décor.


And, keep in mind, this was money that the company didn’t have, but borrowed from the government.


In other words, it was our money.


Now, I’m not crazy about the idea of greedy, money-obsessed individuals overseeing our nations finances…but, well…that’s life, and it’s a given that the people who’s god is money are going to rise to the top of the financial world.


Stupid people being in charge of our money…now that makes me worry.


Am I being too harsh? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Would you take out a loan to spend eight month’s salary on a new toilet…when you couldn’t afford to pay your bills?


I could go on to list all of the terrible repercussions of folks this stupid running our finances…but, then again I don’t have to.


They’re listed on the front page everyday.






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