Area 51, an ominous place in the Nevada desert, made famous in movies and known for its governmental secrets; nuclear testing and UFO’s, is now in the news again.
The Sheahan family once owned the Groom Mine, a 400 acre plot with panoramic views of the surrounding Groom Mountain Range. The Sheahan family mine also borders the Nevada Test and Training Range, which includes Area 51, for over 130 years.
The Federal government wanted the land and offered the Sheahan family $330,000 for it, a price the Sheahan’s felt way undervalued their property.
Joe Sheahan said, “They told me the land was like a suit hemmed in too tight that needed to breathe, that’s why they want our land.”
After the Sheahan’s made it clear the government’s offer was way below the actual value of the land, the government took the land under eminent domain. The Air Force confiscated the property on Sept. 16, 2015, through a federal court ruling in US District Court in Nevada and took the deed.
So far, the family has not been paid for the land and the Sheahan’s are fighting back in court.
James Leavitt, the family attorney, called the government’s offer, “embarrassingly low.”
Leavitt said, “The family is fighting back in federal court, but if the Sheahan’s and Uncle Sam can’t agree on a value, it could wind up before a jury.”
According to Fox News, “The family had three outside experts appraise the property after the seizure. Due to its proximity to Area 51 and the mineral rights to the land, each appraiser recognized the “unique value” of the property and came to the conclusion that the real value of the land was worth upwards of $44 million to $116 million dollars.”
Leavitt stated, “Sheahan and other family members had never had the property appraised but he says the family thought offers of $2.4 million, $5.2 million, and $1.5 million from the Air Force were too low and so they rejected them. We’re not going to sit down with those numbers at the table.”
Joe Sheahan said that he is a ” God-loving American” and does not want to be portrayed as unpatriotic but wants his family to receive just compensation.
Sheahan and Leavitt hope for a late spring or early summer court date where it looks like a jury will decide how much the land is worth.
— Norio Hayakawa (@HayakawaNorio) October 26, 2015
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