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On dry land, this Florida mermaid has a real problem — and it could happen to you, too

State records show a Florida database has been misused by government workers nearly 1,000 times since 2015. That misuse went up last year.

Jenna Bourne (WTSP)

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Published: 3:53 PM EDT August 18, 2022
Updated: 4:53 PM EDT August 18, 2022

From the other side of the glass, underwater performer Whitney Fair’s life might look like it’s all mermaid tails, twirling and blowing kisses.

“We have underwater burlesque shows on Friday and Saturday nights, and then on Sunday we have an all-ages mermaid show,” Fair said.

But on dry land, she isn’t some mythical creature. She’s a very real Floridian with a very real problem. It started when the underwater performers at the Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale had a falling out.

“This swimmer was let go. Her husband works with law enforcement, and I started to see personal, private information of my mine talked about publicly on social media,” Fair said.

An internal investigation at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office found that Lt. Jeffrey Mellies searched Fair and his wife’s other former coworkers’ names in a state-run database.

Under purpose code, it says “criminal investigation” – even though a sheriff’s office record says none of the women were under investigation.

“It just felt like such a violation,” Fair said.

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