Splitsville in Shanksville: Will President Bush Seize Pennsylvania Property for 9-11 Memorial?

flni_homepage1There is an interesting fight brewing over the planned memorial to Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The owner of the land, Svonavec Inc., refuses to sell a critical part of the needed land and the relatives want President Bush to seize the property to allow them to start construction of the memorial so that it can be finished by 2011 — the tenth anniversary of the tragedy.

Patrick White, vice president of the group Families of Flight 93, has asked President Bush to empower the Secretary of the Interior to take the land. They are demanding 2200 acres for the memorial — much of which are owned by Svonavec. The company has refused to negotiate and the National Park Service has indicated that it is retaining an independent appraiser for 275 acres in dispute.

The government has set aside $58 million for the memorial. The company reportedly turned down a $250,000 offer from the Park Service as well as a $750,000 offer from Families of Flight 93. The company reportedly wants $10 million for the land and forced the Park Service to move the temporary memorial off his land, citing security reasons. The difference between $10 million and the price offered is a bit curious. Either the company is profiteering or the group is trying to force an effective corporate donation of the land. Notably, there have been three appraisals including a second appraisal that was never released by the service.

Mike Svonavec of Svonavec Inc. has complained that the National Park Service and Flight 93 groups are “trying to make my company and myself look like the bad guy in this.” They appear to have succeeded.

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122 thoughts on “Splitsville in Shanksville: Will President Bush Seize Pennsylvania Property for 9-11 Memorial?”

  1. I looked this up. It is nothing new, just very old conspracy stuff. Here is the complete and uncut 2004 CNN story on it:

    Pentagon: Rumsfeld misspoke on Flight 93 crash
    Defense secretary’s remark to troops fuels conspiracy theories
    From Jamie McIntyre
    CNN Washington

    Monday, December 27, 2004 Posted: 9:54 PM EST (0254 GMT)
    WASHINGTON (CNN) — A comment Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made during a Christmas Eve address to U.S. troops in Baghdad has sparked new conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

    In the speech, Rumsfeld made a passing reference to United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to stop al Qaeda hijackers.

    But in his remarks, Rumsfeld referred to the “the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania.”

    A Pentagon spokesman insisted that Rumsfeld simply misspoke, but Internet conspiracy theorists seized on the reference to the plane having been shot down.

    “Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it an error? Or was it the truth, finally being dropped on the public more than three years after the tragedy” asked a posting on the Web site WorldNetDaily.com.

    Some people remain skeptical of U.S. government statements that, despite a presidential authorization, no planes were shot down September 11, and rumors still circulate that a U.S. military plane shot the airliner down over Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

    A Pentagon spokesman insists Rumsfeld has not changed his opinion that the plane crashed as the result of an onboard struggle between passengers and terrorists.

    The independent panel charged with investigating the terrorist attacks concluded that the hijackers intentionally crashed Flight 93, apparently because they feared the passengers would overwhelm them.


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