Former Mayor Richard M. Daley's attorneys say it would be a medical hardship for him to testify in the city's lawsuit against operators of the Park Grill restaurant in Millennium Park.
His lawyers did not explain in their motion filed Wednesday why testifying would be a medical hardship for Daley, 72. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in February after falling ill during a business trip to Arizona.
"Mr. Daley's appearance at trial would present a medical hardship. (In light of the significant privacy interests at issue and publicity concerns relating to Mr. Daley's status as a public figure, an affidavit supporting his assertion can be provided to the Court, if necessary...)" reads the motion filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Asked last week how Daley was feeling, his brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, told reporters the former mayor had been traveling and was "in excellent health."
"He's doing fine. He's in excellent health, and he's traveling and enjoying life," John Daley said following an appearance with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at an event to discuss the county budget. "He was down in Texas last week at the mayor's conference, and he's doing well. Thank you very much for asking."
Daley's attorneys also argue in the motion that there "is no good cause for compelling Mr. Daley to testify" since he gave a deposition during which "Mr. Daley's responses to these questions reflected his lack of specific recollection or knowledge concerning the various subjects raised at the deposition."
Daley is to be a key witness for the Park Grill owners, who were sued by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration in December 2011. The lawsuit contends the contract to run the restaurant is invalid because City Hall holds title to most of Millennium Park but the Park District made the 20-year deal with the restaurant group.
Emanuel has said "city taxpayers were taken advantage of" in the deal.
The restaurant owners, a clout-heavy investment group granted the deal to run Park Grill in 2003, argue the Daley administration knew full well all the details of the contract, and say they were taking a risk signing on to run the restaurant so soon after Sept. 11, 2001.
Daley gave a deposition in the case last August, during which he said he didn't remember key aspects of the design and construction of Millennium Park, one of the signature achievements of his 22-year administration.
Park Grill attorney Stephen Novack said today that the move to keep Daley off the witness stand is another attempt to prevent the truth from coming out.
"The evidence shows this was a transparent and fair deal that Mayor Daley and other city officials approved," Novack said. "The mayor's alleged lack of memory and this attempt to keep him from testifying in open court is consistent with the city's efforts to keep the truth from coming out."
The case is scheduled to resume Tuesday, and attorneys could argue the motion then.