“Very Difficult”

January 26, 2009 3:10 p.m.

Some train wrecks are just impossible to watch and impossible not to watch. Here’s ex-Merrill CEO John Thain explaining the whole $1.2 million office renovation story in an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo this afternoon. The first question is just about the office renovation in general and it gets your pretty standard pseudo-abject apology.

But it’s the second question and answer that’s just one for the ages. Bartiromo says, Okay, fine, that was a bad idea spending $1.2 million to get your office renovated while your company was swirling down the drain, but just what was wrong with the old office? The one he inherited from his Merrill predecessor Stanley O’Neal?

Tell me if you can decipher what Thain is saying …

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