Noted Attorney “Fast Eddie” Kay Dies




“I’m not great on the law, but I can argue a case,” Eddie “Fast Eddie” Kay said to me a few months ago.

And, boy, when Kay was at the top of his game several decades ago, could he silence a courtroom and mesmerize a jury .

As a young courthouse reporter in the 1970s and early 1980s, I watched him do it again and again.

I heard the verdict again and again: “Not Guilty.”

They all walked — accused drug dealers and murderers, pimps and politicians and anybody else accused of a crime who could afford Kay’s five-figure retainer.

But no more.

Once one of Broward courtroom giants and the former chair of the Broward Democratic Party, Kay died Sunday.

He was in his early 70s.

Kay was part of the legal team trained in the Hollywood office of the late Joe Varon. That group of young lawyers also included J. David Bogenschutz, H. Dohn Williams Jr., Glenn Rodderman, Norman O’Rourke,  Harry Gulkin and Steadman Stahl Jr.

At the same time, he was one of several young Democrats who together rode the influx of Democratic retirees into positions of power in the early 1970s. His political allies and close associates included U. S. Rep. Alcee Hastings;  Mitch Ceasar, Broward Democratic chair; Mike Abrams, a former state legislator and now a lobbyist; Sergio Bendixen, a pioneer communications specialist in the Hispanic community and Kendall Coffey, former U. S. Attorney and now leading criminal defense lawyer.

“We were a support group for each other during our careers,” Ceasar said today.

Kay became chair of the Broward Democratic Party in the 1980s.

He was particularly close to the late Gov. Lawton Chiles and was one of his few early backers for governor in Broward. After Chiles won election in 1990, Kay was one of his patronage chiefs advising the governor on local appointments.

Kay was also partners with Bogenschutz in Broward’s leading criminal defense firm Bogenschutz and Kay in the late 1980s. During this period and with his Democratic Party connections, Kay became a go-to lawyer for politicians in trouble with the law. Among those he represented were Joel Alesi, the director of Port Everglades enmeshed in repeated investigations, and Russ Barakat, a Democratic Party chair convicted of tax evasion.



Eddie Kay (in sunglasses) with attorney Kevin Kulik (photo: JAABlog)


It was his legal skills and his lifestyle that earned him the nickname “Fast Eddie.” Kay was a hard-drinking habitué of Fort Lauderdale saloons and arrested for drunk driving more than once. He told me less than six months ago that his failed marriages had depleted his savings.

The last time I saw Kay in a courtroom was a half-dozen years ago and he was clearly ailing. His back pain was so bad, he was using a cane and had to prop himself against a wall while arguing his case during a hearing.

Still, his voice with its familiar street accent boomed across the courtroom.

He won that hearing like so many in the past.

This weekend, Fast Eddie lost the big one.

He will be missed.


4 Responses to “Noted Attorney “Fast Eddie” Kay Dies”

  1. Jack Coryb says:

    God speed home my friend.

    I drove by your second Office this morning, the former Marnina Motor Inn location, and thought fondly of all the good times we spent together on both sides of Campaigns.

    RIP Eddy!

  2. John Henry says:

    Glad this guy kept murderers, pimps, and crooked politicians on the street. He truly made our community a better place.

  3. Barry Epstein says:

    Knew him well. R,I.P.

  4. Joe Geller says:

    A great lawyer, a great Democratic leader, and an even greater human being. He was one of a kind, and we won’t see anyone like him again. He was the daddy of us all.