A news conference Thursday with Stroger's chief of staff, Lance Tyson, and chief financial officer Donna Dunnings was scheduled for 1 p.m. then moved to 2:30 p.m. and finally canceled.
"The president wants to be there, and he was simply unavailable today," Stroger spokeswoman Christine Geovanis said. "We stand by our statement yesterday that there is no legal violation."
Garner declined to answer who in Stroger's office originally wanted to call the news conference. And he deflected questions about why Stroger has, more than once, seemed unaware of decisions made by his top staff.
"I haven't heard any of that (criticism)," Garner said. "The president is just settling in on his complete team."
Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), who allied with Stroger on the budget, said Tuesday that Stroger's office has made at least $20 million in changes to the budget that were never approved by the board, a process Quigley contends is illegal.
Stroger's office put the president's new legal assistant in front of the cameras Tuesday to respond. Richard Velazquez said he had no idea of the specifics of Quigley's accusations or the budget process but nonetheless was sure all of the administration's actions were legal.
Garner promised "answers to specific questions" later that day but did not return a message. He said Thursday he had not received the message because he was tied up in meetings.
Stroger skipped his customary post-meeting news conference that day, pleading a tight schedule.
Stuart Levine living by, always know a bigger fish, this fish is fast Eddie Vrodolyk, previous fish, Bill Cellini and Chris Kelley
Former Chicago alderman pleads innocent, gets $500,000 bond
The former Chicago alderman known for leading critics of the city's first black mayor pleaded innocent Thursday to scheming to get a $1.5 million kickback in a real estate deal.
Edward Vrdolyak, 69, is charged with fraud and bribery for allegedly plotting with millionaire political contributor Stuart Levine on the deal in which Vrdolyak was to be a middleman in delivering the money. Prosecutors say the money never changed hands.
U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur set bond at $500,000 for Vrdolyak, a powerful force in the so-called Council Wars that raged at city hall in the 1980s. During Thursday's hearing, he largely was silent.
Levine already has admitted that he used his membership on two state boards to pressure contractors for kickbacks and pleaded guilty to fraud. He has been helping federal prosecutors in corruption investigations in hopes of obtaining a lighter sentence.
The hint that the tapes made by Levine may be extensive came when prosecutors said that some of the recordings still have not been transcribed and that it may take several more days to do so.
They promised to hand over partial transcripts to defense attorneys quickly and Shadur urged them to turn over the tapes by June 8.
According to the indictment, Vrdolyak and Levine planned to get the money from a developer that wanted to be assured of buying a building on the city's North Side that was owned by the Chicago Medical School.
Levine, who was the chairman of the medical school's board at the time but has not been associated with the school for several years, sought to freeze out rival buyers in the $15 million sale in favor of Smithfield Properties. The company wanted to redevelop the building for condos, the indictment said.
Also, Vrdolyak was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and alderman of the 10th Ward on Chicago's Southeast Side.
As an attorney, Vrdolyak represented corruption-plagued, west suburban Cicero in the era when now imprisoned Betty Loren-Maltese was town president. He also was a radio talk-show host.