NEW YORK—Engaging in the playful mischief that has long been their hallmark, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch reportedly took turns entertaining a beautiful woman at a black-tie gala Wednesday night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, tricking her into believing there was only one of them as part of a complex ruse to win her affections.
The billionaire siblings, dressed in identical tuxedos and matching cufflinks, confirmed they had been switching places throughout the evening to convince 36-year-old socialite Amber Curran they were one and the same person, periodically swapping out with each other by leaving the room under the guise of taking an important business call, having a quick word with former mayor Michael Bloomberg, or writing a generous check to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Agreeing that if they worked together they could boost their chances of wooing the youthful beauty, the pair reportedly hatched a plan in which David, with his charisma and natural sociability, would be called to Curran’s side whenever the situation required flirtation and lively banter. The pair said that Charles, with his more sensitive and introspective characteristics, would substitute in whenever the social engagement necessitated deeper heart-to-heart discussions about the benefits of drastically lowering personal taxes or repealing environmental regulations.
“Right now, David is discussing his extensive knowledge of theater with Amber in the Great Hall, but in exactly six minutes, according to our synchronized watches, he’ll say he has to use the restroom, at which point we’ll rendezvous, I’ll take his eyeglasses from him, and jump in to continue the charade,” 78-year-old Charles Koch whispered to reporters from a designated stall in the men’s lavatory where his brother would soon arrive and update him about the current developments with Curran. “As long as my brother and I manage not to appear in the same room at once or mention contradictory personal donation figures to Republican Senate candidates, we should be able to keep up the ruse without being found out.”
“She truly doesn’t suspect a thing!” the industrialist continued. “If everything goes perfectly, David might even convince her to come back to our place in our limo, while I tag along posing as the chauffeur. I have the uniform ready to go under my tux.”
While they confirmed their elaborate ploy is currently proceeding smoothly, the vocal free-market advocates acknowledged a number of close calls earlier in the evening. In particular, David said he returned to their dinner table not wearing a calla lily that Curran had placed in Charles’ lapel several minutes earlier, though after stammering for several seconds, David said he was able to slip out of the jam by claiming he had given the flower to the 4-year-old granddaughter of friend and Nova executive producer Paula Apsell, who he claimed had taken a liking to it.
In another near disastrous moment, an error in timing reportedly led the two brothers to calamitously join one another on the dance floor instead of Curran, prompting Charles to hastily cut in on a dance between hedge fund magnate George Soros and his wife and waltz off in the opposite direction in order to avoid being seen by their date.
“At one point, I walked right in on Charles and Amber as they were enjoying a vintage Bordeaux on the veranda, forcing me to pick up a nearby tray and masquerade as a waiter so as not to arouse her suspicions,” said David Koch while peeking out at his brother and their date through an elaborate floral display. “However, after she pointed out to my brother that something about me looked familiar, Charles had to resort to drastic measures, cunningly diverting her attention by ‘accidentally’ spilling a glass of port onto the chairman of the Cato Institute. We’ve got to be more careful.”
“Oh, that’s my cue!” the 73-year-old former Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate added, spritzing some peppermint breath spray into his mouth. “Charles just said, ‘repeal all campaign financing regulations,’ which means it’s time for me to step in and seal the deal with a kiss. I’ve always been the one who’s best at making the first move.”
According to individuals close to the perennial fixtures atop Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people, the Koch brothers’ prank on Curran is not the first time they have conspired to deceive an unsuspecting mark. At an event last December held to support the anti-Obamacare foundation Americans For Prosperity, sources confirmed that the brothers successfully perpetrated a similar ruse—with one always hiding and listening in from underneath the lavish banquet table, prepared to switch places at a moment’s notice—in order to seduce South Carolina governor Nikki Haley.
Additionally, the two narrowly pulled off an even more elaborate stunt at a $50,000-per-plate dinner to benefit the 2012 presidential run of Mitt Romney, reportedly utilizing a pair of wigs and elevated platform shoes to impersonate their absent brothers Frederick and Bill, thereby skirting federal limits on individual political contributions.
However, at the Metropolitan Museum event, onlookers confirmed that the brothers’ reckless scheme often seemed precariously close to spinning out of control.
“You fool! If you don’t get your act together, we’re at risk of capsizing the whole enterprise!” Charles shouted at his brother after they absentmindedly ran headlong into one another in the building’s grand atrium. “Now what are—oh, wait, she’s here, get down! Get down!”
At press time, Curran’s unexpected appearance had forced Charles to quickly shove his brother into a nearby fountain before escorting his increasingly skeptical date out of the room to meet Rupert Murdoch.