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Supremacist's North Dakota takeover plot thwarted by health rules

September 25, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • White supremacist Craig Cobb walks along Main Street toward his home in Leith, N.D., last month. Cobb, 61, has purchased more than a dozen lots in Leith and over the last year he has invited fellow supremacists to move there and help him to transform the town of 16 people into a white enclave.
White supremacist Craig Cobb walks along Main Street toward his home in… (Kevin Cederstrom / Associated…)

Local bureaucracy seems to have gotten the upper hand on a white-supremacist's plot to take over a small town in North Dakota.

Paul Craig Cobb, 61, made headlines after news broke of his secret plot to amass white supremacists in Leith, N.D., and win control of the hamlet by buying up property and winning local elections.

But now Cobb's home in Leith could be condemned after he failed to submit plans for sewage and running water to the county government, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Two other buildings owned by Cobb were also reportedly at risk of being removed within the next month.

Cobb did not meet a Monday deadline to come up with a plan. Aaron Johnson, environmental health practitioner with the Custer District Health Unit, told the Tribune that he could declare Cobb's home uninhabitable, or the matter could go to court.

"I don't know how the situation will progress, but the notice has expired and there is no extension," Johnson told the newspaper.

Cobb could not be reached for comment.

Leith, whose population was recorded as 16 in the 2010 census, was paid a visit over the weekend by Jeff Schoep, leader of the National Socialist Movement. Schoep was greeted by hundreds of protestors from surrounding states, including scores of Native Americans, according to the Associated Press.

As previously reported, a Southern Poverty Law Center researcher tracked Cobb to Leith and published a report in August revealing that Cobb had purchased more than a dozen lots of land in the area.

On a white-supremacist message board, Cobb said he hoped for a town in which supremacist speakers would come visit and new residents would "always (24 hrs a day) fly at least one racialist banner," such as a Nazi flag.

The town's mayor threatened to dissolve the city government and hand over power to the county if a takeover seemed likely.


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