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Family who owned Area 51 land sees planned events as proof in claim against the government

Posted: 11:27 PM, Aug 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-09 19:37:52-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Storm Area 51 Event could help a Lincoln County family forced off their property by the United States government. The Sheahan family has been trying to get compensation for several years.

To Joe Sheahan, the value of the property now known as Area 51, but that his family owned and worked as the Groom Mine is obvious.

"Have you not turned on the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or Googled anything? Because it will come up as the top 10 places in the world people want to go," said Sheahan.

In 2015, the Air Force took the land through eminent domain. Since then, the Sheahan family has been engaged in a legal battle with the military over just how much they should be paid. So far, not only have the family and the Air Force not been able to agree on a dollar amount, but they also clash on how the property would be classified for use if it were not owned by the government.

Autumn Waters is an attorney representing the Sheahan family.

"Our experts have analyzed and determined that the highest and best use of this property is as tourist commercial, “said Waters. “While the government expert determined that the highest best use was as rural residential."

Waters said they tried to settle with the government whose experts have estimated the value of the land at as little $330,000 all the way up to $5 million over the years. But now with thousands of people planning to show up for a variety of events next month; Waters said it indicates the property could have potentially made millions for the Sheahan family as a tourist attraction.

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“The government argued to a judge that the interest to see Area 51 is done,’ said Waters. ” That it ended in the 1990s. So, clearly this Storm Area 51 event that has been growing in the last few months has shown that is not true."

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The government has disputed those claims and expert analysis in legal filings. Now the Sheahan family wants a jury to decide.

“All along we knew there was demand because we lived it,” said Sheahan. “And I think this Storm Area 51 thing, even though we had nothing to do with it, proves everything we said all along.”