New York Daily News gossip George Rush, 1/2 of the tattling team of “Rush & Molloy” (Joanna Molloy’s his wife), told me today about the two most outrageous attempts to give him $$$:

rushmolloy1.jpg#1. Last year, Rush began receiving emails from NYC restaurateur Nello Balan tipstering about the various celebs who’d been dining in his namesake Madison Avenue restaurant. ”I told him ‘Thanks,’ because some of these were good sightings. So he keeps inviting me to his restaurant to try his truffle pasta because he’s bought something like the most expensive truffle in NY. I don’t go. So then he has his Maitre D’ call up and ask if I was going to be at work around lunchtime tomorrow.’ And I’m thinking he’s sending over lunch. To be honest, I’m not opposed to a plate of tortellini. It wouldn’t sway me that much.” When security calls from the lobby to tell Rush the man from Nello’s is downstairs, “I go to meet him. But instead of some hot tray, he hands me an envelope, and says, ‘This is from Nello.’ I go back upstairs and there’s $600 in cash. Maybe it was just the first payment. Or maybe I’m just not worth much. But I’m shocked. So I call him up and say, ‘Are you out of your mind? What are you doing?’ And he says, ‘I thought that would be some money you could come and spend at my restaurant.’ So I tell him, ‘I’m sending it back to you. I don’t know how you’re used to relating to reporters, but you don’t need to do that here.’”

#2. Rush refuses to name names. ”It involves one of the biggest music moguls. I heard his daughter was in rehab, so I said, ‘I’m sorry to hear about your daughter.’ He said, ‘Who told you about it?’ I told him, ‘I can’t say because I have to protect my sources just like I protect you.’” But the mogul kept insisting on knowing. “He said, ‘I really would be grateful if you would tell me who told you. I mean really grateful, like you could buy a house. That’s how grateful.’ I said, ‘No, thank you.’”

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.