Former CEO of Merrill Lynch Has Some Very Pressing Questions About His Executive Pay

  what's good for milo minderbinder is good for america

John Thain, interior decorator and CEOIt’s 2008, and some of the Brightest Minds in the nation have gathered at our nation’s capital order to prevent global economic collapse. The bankers arrive, and they immediately begin asking what they can do to help the country’s homeowners, many of whom will soon find themselves facing foreclosure. Ha! Ha! Ha! No, stupid, they did not ask about the homeowners, their first question (literally) was something along the lines of “Whatever happens here, I’ll still be getting lots of money, right?”

Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., … was in the room when the major bailout decisions were made, and she was one of the few pushing for real accountability from Wall Street and real protection of homeowners…[On CurrentTV], she told an amazing vignette.

The infamous TARP funds were being discussed with the CEOs of the major banks, and they were all called to Washington for the critical meeting with the Treasury secretary. The financial world was literally teetering on the brink of disaster, and the first question asked by John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch, was not about how the system could be saved, the economy preserved, the integrity of the banks upheld.

No. He asked if his compensation was going to be cut. This is the guy who spent more than $1 million putting new carpets in his office, paid for by shareholders—and then by taxpayers.

Well to be FAIR, the new carpet he put in his office was only $87,000; most of the money went to pay the interior decorator, Michael Smith, who charged an $800,000 fee for his decoration expertise. (Note: we are in the wrong business.)

But don’t worry about poor John Thain. After Merill Lynch was sold to Bank of America as part of the bailout, Thain headed over to the CIT Group Inc, which had received $2.3 billion dollars from TARP in December of 2008. There, he was given a pay package of $500,000 in cash, $2.5 million of restricted CIT stock with a holding period of one year, and $3 million in stock restricted for three years. This compensation was deemed appropriate by a “pay czar,” who pointed out that the inclusion of so much stock would act as an incentive for Thain to perform well. And after THAT Thain was honored at a “Father of the Year” gala for bankers by a bunch of nonprofits. So he’s doing just FINE, don’t you worry about him! Surely the years following 2008 have been just as kind to You People?

[Slate]

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About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

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164 comments

  1. Texan_Bulldog

    Leave him alone–at least he's a job creator in the carpet industry. Wow, let them eat cake, indeed.

    1. SorosBot

      Oh there were plenty of lifeboats for the first class passengers, just none for the peons; and according to our nation's CEO class that was just the way things should be.

      1. glasspusher

        Oh, yeah. My kid had “Titanic on the brain” a few years back and I learned all about it. Did you know the 4th stack on the boat was a vent? No smoke coming out of that one. If you were in 3rd class you were seriously screwed. The survival rate of passengers was pretty much directly correlated to how much you paid for your ticket. Classy.

        1. SorosBot

          Plus the sinking of the ship made Billy Zane turn from just being kind of an asshole to full-on mustache-twirling Evil, even though that made no sense character wise, and argh don't get me started on how much the main plot sucked. But all the background bits once the ship started going down were awesome (as were Winslett's bare tits).

          1. Lot_49

            Boys, boys–ever heard of a body double? There's a Brian di Palma movie by that name that explains exactly how it's done.

          2. Lot_49

            Yes yes, and high-price actors always do their own stunts, at least when talking to the media.But it could be. She's an amazing actress in any case.

          3. Willardbot9000_V2.5

            she bares themz tits often if I'm not mistaken…it's not like Halle Berry who waited for years to go starkers…but when she did it made that shitty Swordfish movie totally worth it. The one my pervert brain keeps waiting for is Scarlett Johansen…but she keeps saying it won't ever happen. Plus, I think Sofia Vergara is likely never going to bare her maraccas on camera…anyway.

          4. glasspusher

            I didn't have much interest in the movie (again, my(at the time) prepubescent kid was the Titanic nut), and I've yet to see the scene where Ms. Winslett's tits are bare. I have caught her in other flicks (so to speak).

    2. noodlesalad

      Not fair – in the cruise industry, when you pull that shit, you get put in jail (see that Italian skipper).

    3. Generation[redacted]

      And can you please fill my lifeboat with all the gold and silver it can carry before I get in?

  2. bumfug

    "Pay Czar" reasoning – "See, if you give him a giant shitload of money right after he's fucked everything up, that's incentive to do real, real good next time".

    1. mrblifil

      Just make sure you enfold your death/rape wish within a feminist critique, with appropriate deference to current advances in our understanding of gender paradigms and contemporary power hierarchies.

    1. Lot_49

      We are. We're on the losing side, however. Big Money is going all in with Romney, and has hedged its bets w/Barry too. No way to lose!

          1. elviouslyqueer

            Dude's father is so, so very proud of his son too. "The police didn't prove that my son's frat brothers shoved a vodka-soaked tampon up my son's ass. And besides that, he won the Tour de Franzia, dammit!"

            /wipes away manly tear and pounds chest, manfully

    1. Callyson

      Let's go for the real money: Wonkette Capital, LLC

      What? We're at least as qualified as the assholes currently running Wall Street…

      1. Jus_Wonderin

        That is a great idea. We can buy up tired snark, pump it full of vim and vigor, then harvest the rewards in a selloff (or outsource it to China).

        1. Toomush_Infer

          Here's the deal – we get Wonkette to put a blanket copyright on all our snark – then sue John Stewart….!

  3. freakishlywrong

    Given that rending this asshat in four pieces by strapping his appendages to thoroughbreds is too kind for this dickweed; I think I'd rather see him live a long, long life in abject and hopeless poverty. With his memory intact.

    1. Lot_49

      No, he should have the dignity a job. Car washes are a good place for a person starting out. Or how about defusing IEDs in Afghanistan? That's a useful service.

    1. ibwilliamsi

      So true. I don't think we've heard much about him and his friends lately. I hope they're getting out – of the country.

  4. Abernathy

    He probably really needed those new carpets, guys. Imagine how much santorum gets spilled on the floor when you fuck the dog every damn day.

  5. SayItWithWookies

    I am not worried about John Thain and his precious, precious greed, thank you very much. And apropos of nothing, I'm putting the finishing touches on my skullfucking machine, the Booth-O-Matic 3000, this weekend.

  6. BaldarTFlagass

    "No man is poor who can do what he likes to do once in a while.
    And I like to dive around in my money like a porpoise.
    And burrow through it like a gopher…
    And toss it up, and let it hit me on the head."

  7. weejee

    I know this is a silly question, but has anyone at Treasury been called on the 'carpet' over this? Could we perhaps give Bibi the green light on Iran, iffin' he has Mossad do a little job on some Connecticut gazillionaires?

  8. PuckStopsHere

    I don't care how much they make as long as they aren't forced to pay more than 13% in incomes taxes because, tryanny.

  9. Goonemeritus

    I think this situation could be easily solved if we would just turn oversight of this industry over to the Mexican drug cartels. I think this would both improve accountability and serve as a more attainable moral role-model for bankers to work towards.

  10. Baconzgood

    "Hey, the docking fees for my yachts don't pay for themselves and do you know how much it costs to get into a country club that's still segregated these days? Forget about it"

    -John Thain-

    1. SorosBot

      Even Augusta National starting letting in non-white men twenty years ago, and people with vaginas two months ago. They are putting down the white man (by not putting down the non-white and non-men)!

  11. BornInATrailer

    One would think that, having deployed your golden parachute, proper etiquette would dictate not dropping trou and evacuating on the plebes below.

    One would be wrong.

  12. bitchincamaro2

    Thane also pioneered the practice of charging the families of their state executed loved ones, for the cost of the bullets. True story.

  13. Ducksworthy

    How much of this ill gotten loot did Rawmoney receive to assure their continued access to our wallets?

  14. Not_So_Much

    I got a carpet from my now-defunct employer when they RIFd us in 2009. But now I call it my "roof", so it probably hasn't held its original double-digit value.

  15. Hammiepants

    Wow, and the 47% are a bunch of greedy entitlement whores for wanting things like "housing" and "food". Parasites.

  16. sewollef

    Wait a second.

    Kris, I believe you forgot to mention:
    a "mahogany pedestal table" for $25,000; a "19th Century Credenza" in Thain's office for $68,000; a sofa for $15,000; four pairs of curtains for $28,000; a pair of guest chairs for $87,000; a "George IV Desk" for $18,000; six wall sconces for $2,700; six chairs in his private dining room for $37,000; a mirror in his private dining room for $5,000; a chandelier in the private dining room for $13,000; fabric for a "Roman Shade" for $11,000; a "custom coffee table" for $16,000; something called a "commode on legs" for $35,000; a "Regency Chairs" for $24,000; "40 yards of fabric for wall panels," for $5,000 and a "parchment waste can" for $1,400." Daily Beast

    Johnny knows style people. And when he spends money he gets the best deal possible. Except the 'celebrity' interior decorator who stung him/us for $800k…. when the same guy redecorated The White House for the Obamas for $100,000.

    But Thain isn't suffering too much since he has an apartment at 740 Park Avenue, Manhattan and his 10-acre mansion in Rye, NY to keep him company. Or put another way, he's still a cocksucker, but a very rich one.

      1. noodlesalad

        I'm pretty sure you could parody the 47% video and substitute the 1% and it would be perfect – and actually true.

        There are 1 percent of the people who will vote for Romney no matter what. All right, there are 1 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government bailouts, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to plastic surgery tax deductions, to fois gras, to housing default swaps, to you-name-it — that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for Romney no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for anything other than money.

  17. Peckerwood_Pete

    Asking a banker to help a homeowner is like asking Ted Bundy to pick your daughters up from shcool…

  18. ManchuCandidate

    I'm not surprised. About a decade ago, my former employer lost 19 billion in one quarter (write offs) and we had a general information session about it. The first question was from a jagoff (director) who asked if we were still getting our bonuses. I was among the many who snorted and laughed.

  19. HarryButtle

    Look at that, you lazy poorz! Look how easy it was for this job creator to find work…don't tell ME there aren't any good jobs out there. Get off the dole and take some responsibility for your own life!

  20. elviouslyqueer

    This compensation was deemed appropriate by a “pay czar,” who pointed out that the inclusion of so much stock would act as an incentive for Thain to perform well.

    I would like so very much to punch these people repeatedly, with razor sharp, salt-encrusted brass knuckles votes, squarely in the dick. And then subject them to a nice, soothing sulfuric acid enema. For starters.

  21. UnholyMoses

    So if we give bankers a ton of money, they'll just work even harder.

    But if we give Teh Poorz more money, they'll just be even lazier leeches than they already are.

    Fucking logic—how does it work?

  22. x111e7thst

    Definition of DECIMATE: to select by lot and kill every tenth man of
    (pour encourager les autres) as the cheese eating surrender monkeys would say

  23. magic_titty

    I don't mean to be 'that guy', but wasn't this reported in Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, in 2009?

    John Thain is still a dick though, so, yeah.

  24. mavenmaven

    He also bought "…something called a "commode on legs" for $35,000; a "Regency Chairs" for $24,000; "40 yards of fabric for wall panels," for $5,000 and a "parchment waste can" for $1,400…"

    I think it is fair to say Thain is a "commode on legs".

  25. LibertyLover

    But buying carpets is stimulating the economy… and since the Koch Brothers also sell carpets, they get the money. See? America belongs to Koch.

  26. YouBetcha

    Also, I would hit that. I'd expect a pair of Louboutins and two roundtrip first class tickets to Moorea with a fully paid-for bungalow. And a per diem.

    1. tessiee

      Louboutins, shit.

      I want a round trip to Florence so I can hit a few of the shops where they custom design and make your shoes by hand.

  27. Esteev

    So Thane was partly responsibly for the shady banking practices that fuct the economy, and got paid handsomely for it. And CIT Group hired him. And middle class families were forced out of their homes. And people will vote for Mitt Romney. Be back, gonna go bang my head against the wall for a few hours.

  28. KeepFnThatChicken

    "Father of the Year". Not to be all non-sequitur-y and stuff, but he got this award from the banking industry. Seems a more suitable award for, say, porn actors.

    1. Toomush_Infer

      Yeah, that's been chafing at my little consciousness, too – did they give it to him because he found some blind trusty thing that made sure that seven generations of Thains will never pay taxes?…

  29. decentcitizen

    Rob a bank with a gun -get 20 years. Rob the taxpayer with pen-how about another five million dollars…

  30. Antispandex

    One simply does not ask questions of this kind! It is impolite, and people of proper breeding just simply don't do it! Money is so….vulgar, for a subject of conversation. However, we ARE keeping OURS, are we not?

  31. Lot_49

    This is probably the place to note that Thain took CIT in the dumper too.

    "Years after the meltdown, CIT is a different story. To begin with, the Federal Reserve has it on some double-secret probation watch list, because it was bailed out with more than $2 billion of government TARP money, filed for bankruptcy and then stiffed the American taxpayer."
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-gasparino/j

  32. thejazzmonger

    "most of the money went to pay the interior decorator, Michael Smith, who charged an $800,000 fee for his decoration expertise."

    Maybe the big fee is because Smith is the kind of decorator who knows how to really press his point home.

  33. Blueb4sinrise

    Bank of America pays $2.4bn to settle Merrill Lynch lawsuit

    "Bank of America denies the allegations and is entering into this settlement to eliminate the uncertainties, burden and expense of further protracted litigation…"
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19760897

    [is this inked above somewhere and I missed it?]

  34. pdiddycornchips

    "…..All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them."

    Mitt Romney

    I"ll only add fuck off you overpaid douchebags. All of you. If we had a real representative democracy, people like Thain would be barred from the banking business or in jail. They sure as shit wouldn't be collecting huge sums of money from the very businesses they ran into the ground. These so called geniuses destroyed the financial system. People believe it's all better now, bullshit, it's still fucked. These fuckers sold trillions of dollars worth of default insurance and made hundreds of millions doing so. They have convinced the government that they are so important the world would come to an end if not for them. Again, bullshit. The banking system is broken and it won't get fixed until we find a way to clear out their liabilities which btw measure in the hundreds of trillions. What we need is an event that causes a tsunami of bond defaults and renders the banks insolvent. Yes, many people like John Thain would lose much of their net worth as the value of their holdings in stocks or securities craters but once the initial shock subsided, fresh money would pick through the wreckage, buy up the parts of the banks that were profitable, and restart the financial system with new people and less toxic liabilities.
    We didn't do this in '08 but we should have.

  35. vodkamuppet

    How is it possible that these people haven't been rounded up and slaughtered in the streets yet? I mean like serious, medieval ripping out their intestines and choking them with their own guts gruesome brutal shit in front of crowds of tens of thousands. It's amazing to me that this hasn't happened yet.

  36. Negropolis

    Maybe my bloodlust is getting to best of me, but I want to see an actual class war. You know, where we essentially threaten them with the cold, hard truth that it is they who are the expendable ones, so they better fucking straighten up and fly right. Or left.

Comments are closed.