Area 51: Air Force Asks Courts To Condemn Property After Sheahan Family Declines Offer

The Area 51 land that the Air Force is trying to obtain from the Sheahan family still belongs to the family – for now. The Sheahans had until September 10 to make a decision and they declined the offer of $5.2 million for the 400 acres of land that has been in the Sheahan family for over 125 years. The Sheahans claim the Area 51 property is worth at least $29 million.

The Air Force says they have negotiated with the family about the Area 51 land for decades. The Sheahans claim that the Air Force has tried to drive them out using intimidation tactics, such as firing bullets over the land in the 1940s. They also claim the Air Force destroyed the family ore mill, causing the family to lose their source of income. Joe Sheahan says the family has been mistreated for years by the Air Force because they refused to sell their property. The family cannot even access some of their property without going through a checkpoint and sometimes being searched. One family member, Danny Sheahan, even said they were once held at gunpoint, and a 7-year-old child was traumatized by the experience.

Because of the family’s refusal to accept the offer, the Air Force has asked the court to condemn the Area 51 property in order to claim eminent domain, as posted in a news release on September 11. The Sheahan family has tried to negotiate with the Air Force but the AF has refused. The Air Force’s reason for declining the counteroffer is because they said the family refused to allow them on the property to appraise it. The Sheahans responded to the condemnation order, saying they “are heartbroken.”

“We are patriotic Americans who have served our country in combat, and we still believe in America. Nevertheless, our story is one that is rife with criminality and immorality perpetrated on us by our own government.”

The Sheahans say they are not giving up. They seem to believe they will have their day in court and that their Area 51 property will not be taken without a fight.

“We will have our day in court. We expect a fair settlement.”

Does the Air Force have a legitimate eminent domain claim to the Area 51 land? Eminent domain means that land can be seized for “public interest,” but the Sheahan family does not agree that there is any public interest to be found in the Air Force’s claims. Do you think the Area 51 land should remain in the Sheahan family’s possession?

[Photo via Shutterstock]