Lugner snubs Clooney offer

Austrian women are stunned over news that Richard Lugner rejected an offer to attend the Viennese State Opera Ball with Hollywood superstar George Clooney.The veteran playboy revealed today (Thurs) he was approached by an agency with an offer to get the “Ocean’s Eleven” actor to the bash set to take place on 3 March.Asked why he refused to accept Clooney – one of the biggest names of the international film industry – Lugner argued: “They assured me being able to bring Clooney to Austria, but I dismissed the suggestion. There will be already two other men in my box with me and my girlfriend. I need a female star guest.”The 78-year-old businessman was due to reveal who he allured to attend the posh get-together today. It however emerged yesterday that an American movie celebrity he had agreed upon a visit already last summer cancelled her trip on short notice.”She has personal difficulties. I almost expected she would dump me,” Lugner told Viennese newspapers.Now the quirky businessman is bracing for another lengthy legal wrangle over the undisclosed sum he transferred to the unnamed star several months ago. “Yes, I paid her the full amount in advance,” he admitted in an interview.The blunder sparks memories of difficulties Lugner faced around last year’s Vienna Opera Ball when US starlet Lindsay Lohan was unable to attend the event with him after missing her flight. Lugner recently warned he would take Lohan to court if she does not return the money he paid her in return for going to the ball with him.The Viennese entrepreneur managed to persuade foul-mouthed TV celebrity Dieter Bohlen to accompany him. The German was flown into Vienna from Hamburg in a private jet after accepting the invitation just hours before the event started.Rumour has it that American TV legend Larry Hagman will also accompany Lugner to the Opera Ball this year. The 79-year-old “Dallas” icon had to be hospitalised for exhaustion in Germany last year after attending various VIP events in the country and in Austria as he travelled through Europe last autumn – his agenda included the 20th anniversary of the Lugner City, Lugner’s Viennese shopping centre.Lugner – whose girlfriend is 57 years his junior, announced today: “I have the choice between 10 possible female stars to attend the ball with me. There will be a press conference next week.”Paris Hilton, Grace Jones and Carmen Electra attended the Opera Ball alongside the businessman – who has been inviting VIPs since 1991 – in the recent years.