Mitt Romney is considering appointing a man who oversaw the implosion of a major Wall Street firm and got himself a $35,000 toilet while doing it as Treasury Secretary.
John Thain, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, is on Romney's short list of possible Treasury Secretary picks, the Wall Street Journal reports. He paid his executives massive bonuses before selling Merrill Lynch to Bank of America during the height of the financial crisis with the help of federal bailout billions.
He tried to snag a $10 million bonus for himself as the firm was collapsing, and he even spent $1.2 million on remodeling his office -- including on a $35,000 toilet -- as Merrill Lynch was imploding. Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis pushed Thain out in January of 2009.
Buying Merrill Lynch has saddled Bank of America with massive mortgage losses, as well as legal costs. BofA recently agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging it misled investors about Merrill Lynch's finances.
In addition to Thain, Romney is also considering Richard Kovacevich, former CEO of Wells Fargo; Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank; and Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, as potential candidates for Treasury Secretary.
John Thain, TARP pillager-in-chief, with Maria Bartiromo (CNBC, last week):
Is CIT up for sale?
Maria doesn't ask him anything about bonuses or bailouts and performs the expected CNBC fellatio of all Wall Street executives.
Paulson and Geithner gave CIT Group more than $2 billion in TARP funds, which were never paid back and CIT declared bankruptcy months later. Then in restructuring, CIT hired John Thain, the former Goldman Sachs exec and later CEO of Merrill Lynch who engineered $4 billion in taxpayer-funded bonuses for Merrill in a year the firm lost over $10 billion (2008), and spent over $1 million of TARP funds redecorating his office.