A Nevada family who lives on the edge of an Air Force base that includes the infamous”Area 51″ is fighting a government attempt to usurp their family farm at an underestimated price or risk having it seized without recompense.
Joe Sheahan, 54, and cousins Ben Sheahan, 56, Danny Sheahan, 58, and Barbara Sheahan Manning, 59, say that the government’s “last best offer” of $5.2 million for the 400 acres in Henderson grossly underestimates what the land and the family’s unpatented mining claims are worth.
According to the family, their ancestors lost much of their mining enterprise when the Air Force took up camp next door in the 1940s. Since then, things have gotten worse: nuclear fallout after a test in 1951, a mysterious mine explosion in 1954 and guards holding them at gunpoint when they visit the property.
Now, the feds say that if the Sheahan family doesn’t accept their final offer by Thursday, the federal government will seize the land via condemnation. The family is holding out for now, saying that the property and the worth of their unpatented mining claims is considerably more.
“It seems like machine guns solve anything on the property out there,” Danny Sheahan said of the ongoing dispute. “That’s not the American way.”
An official with Nellis Air Force Base disputed their claims, saying that the family was disrupting operations at the facility 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas.