The size of Leith, North Dakota’s tiny population is in dispute.
The mile-square town has long been home to about 16 people—depending on which census you look at, or if anyone has momentarily wandered off the tiny parcel of land—but a group of Neo-Nazis are laying plans to move in, en masse.
Their leader Craig Cobb, 61, is openly calling Neo-Nazis to take over Leith’s government and make it a refuge for likeminded bigots. The gray-bearded man who has called for violence against Jewish people and destruction of the U.S. government even wants to rename the town “Village of the Damned.”
Mayor Ryan Schock told the Southern Poverty Law Center that Cobb came out of nowhere and paid $5,000 cash for the abandoned house near North Dakota’s fields of sunflower and wheat.
The Neo-Nazis didn’t seem to expect much of a fight when Cobb purchased a home and 12 lots, according to the Bismarck Tribune. Cobb moved to North Dakota from Canada and invited bigots from all over to do the same—though it’s unclear if any are, like Cobb, a fugitive from Canadian law enforcement for operating a hate website in Vancouver.
But Leith’s city council isn’t taking the invasion lying down and Cobb’s plan to start a racist settlement in a place that is 97 percent white has backfired.
In fact, locals are finding ways to make sure Cobb and his cohorts can’t stay in town for long.
First, the council approved an ordinance requiring Cobb to install water and sewer to his house, forbidding people to live in the sorts of abandoned properties Cobb has purchased. The council followed that ordinance up with a moratorium on any new construction, and limiting camping on any lots for longer than 10 days.
Together, it’s clear the rules intend to drive Neo-Nazis from Leith.
“Why now?” Cobb asked at a town meeting this week. “Is it a wonderful coincidence that the moment I show up these are necessary? It’s patently unfair.”
Some of his followers have shown up to settle in Leith, including Kynan Dutton of Oregon, who brought his wife and two children to live in Cobb’s ramshackle property.
A couple weeks ago Dutton went on a drunken tirade at a City Council meeting where he screamed obscenities and slurs at people. Dutton later apologized and said he “was working to correct his drinking problem,” according to the newspaper.
By Shaya Tayefe Mohajer | Takepart.com October 28, 2013 9:22 PM