Air Force to condemn private land near Area 51

Air Force to condemn private land near Area 51

With no counteroffer on the table, the Air Force let its final $5.2 million offerexpire at 3 p.m. Thursday and asked the Justice Department to condemn the Sheahan family’s Groom Mine property and claims near the classified Area 51 installation.

Groom Mine co-owners Joe and Ben Sheahan had sent an email Thursday morning to an Air Force real estate chief saying they “are willing to sit down and negotiate” a counteroffer for sale of their 400 acres of property and mining claims, within sight of the remote Air Force location.

But at 2:18 p.m., David Walterscheid, real estate transactions chief at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, replied to the Sheahans, saying that according to a July 2014 letter from Joe Sheahan, “the owners did not want to make a counteroffer or grant access to the property” for an appraisal.

“We are not prepared to offer more than $5.2M for the property,” Walterscheid said in his reply Thursday to the Sheahans.

Nellis Air Force Base later released a statement from Jennifer Miller, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, saying, “After exhausting all reasonable efforts to negotiate a sale and the landowners’ rejection of the Air Force’s offers, the Air Force requested the Department of Justice file a condemnation action in Federal District Court.”

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