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Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain spoke to an audience at Wharton last Thursday about his $1.2-million office renovation.

Thain was accused in January of this year of massively overspending on an office renovation while the company reeled.

According to The New York Daily News, Thain said he reimbursed the company for the money spent to redecorate his office, two conference rooms and a reception area. He was dismissed from Bank of America, which closed on its $29-billion purchase of Merrill on Jan. 1, after the renovations were discovered.

The furniture included a $35,000 chest of drawers and a $25,000 antique mahogany pedestal table.

Thain said Thursday that he should have bought less-expensive furniture at Ikea.

“We decorated it in the style that Merrill Lynch offices were, which was very, very nice,” he said. “That was a mistake, and I’m sorry that I did that. If I had that to do over again, I’d furnish it in Ikea.”

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