And there you have the reason to always specify an alternate leader when applying for a permit!!!
The leader could still pick up the permit. (but I can't imagine the leader would want to travel all that way just for that) You might be able to designate an alternate leader when you pick up the permit. Once you have the permit, another person could likely use the slot without any problems.
...although Inyo N.F. might hold fast to the "permits are non-transferable" rule, and just say no. You should call the Wilderness Permit number and see what they say: 760-873-2483