Former Mayor Richard Daley won't have to testify in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to break the lease for a Millenium Park restaurant. But the facts surrounding his testimony, or lack of it, only heighten the mystery about Daley's current condition.
Attorneys for the Park Grill restaurant wanted Daley to testify in their defense, amid allegations that the restaurant benefitted from a sweetheart deal when they obtained a 30 year contract to operate the venue. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration charged that a former Park District official unfairly influenced the process, paving the way for a friend to operate the restaurant.
Daley's attorneys, claiming medical hardship, fought the subpoena. Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius asked to examine his medical records in chambers, but he never ruled. After meeting with the judge, the Park Grill attorneys abruptly withdrew their demand that he testify in their case.
"We saw the medical information which I cannot disclose, and it was such that it was the right thing to do to withdraw the subpoena," lawyer Stephen Novack said. "I can't say anything at all about what was in there."
"My clients are very disappointed that circumstances have turned out such that Mayor Daley is not going to testify," Novack said. "We believed that he had lots of good evidence for us and that if he came and told the truth it would further our case. As it is, we're now allowed to use his deposition, and as you know he didn't remember a lot during that deposition, but there were many things that he did confirm for us, there's a lot of good information in there that we're going to use."
Novack added cryptically, "If he were the way he was back in the time I took the deposition, we were counting on him to give very good testimony for us."
But what, exactly, is his condition? No one will elaborate.
Daley fell ill on a business trip to Arizona in late January. He was picked up by ambulance at Midway Airport, and underwent a week of treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, for what were described as "stroke-like" symptoms.
The former mayor left the hospital under his own power but did not take questions. Since that time, sightings have been rare, the most notable being his attendance at Sox opening day in March.
Speculation has swirled about Daley's medical condition, ever since his attorneys raised the medical defense in trying to prevent his appearance at the Park Grill trial. Wednesday, a source who had seen Daley, insisted to NBC 5 he is NOT incapacitated, and is "not grave". The source said "he has a way to go for sure, but is not in 'terrible' shape."