by Keith Rogers, LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL – – October 24, 2016
The family whose Groom Mine property overlooking top-secret Area 51 was seized by the Air Force through eminent domain said Monday that independent appraisers have valued the land at between $44 million and $116 million — a far cry from the $333,300 the government has offered.
James Leavitt, attorney for the Sheahan family, said the huge difference surfaced Friday when expert reports were exchanged during discovery in the ongoing land dispute in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.
The case continues to be litigated after the family rejected the Air Force’s $5.2 million “final offer,” prompting the seizure of the Sheahans’ 400 acres in Lincoln County on Sept. 10, 2015.
The Air Force then appraised the land at only $333,300.
In a telephone interview late Monday, Leavitt, of the Kermitt L. Waters firm, said he will argue for the the constitutional right of just compensation for the Sheahan family’s 22 property owners, noting that the law of eminent domain, the taking of private property by government to convert it to public use, requires it.
“If the government wants to take this to trial, then absolutely we’ll take this to court,” he said.
In a news release, family member Joe Sheahan said, “This is a prime example of the federal government overstepping its boundaries and bullying its own people as though the law doesn’t apply to them.”
The Air Force had no immediate comment Monday night.
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