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Published October 16, 2013, 09:44 AM

North Dakota town targeted by supremacist fighting back

LEITH, N.D. (AP) — A small southwestern North Dakota town that has been targeted for a takeover by a white supremacist is pursuing a moratorium on new dwellings.

LEITH, N.D. (AP) — A small southwestern North Dakota town that has been targeted for a takeover by a white supremacist is pursuing a moratorium on new dwellings.

Mayor Ryan Schock also is considering donating or selling 14 lots he owns in the town to an anti-hate group called UnityND, he told The Associated Press.

The moratorium on new buildings or mobile homes will be put in place until zoning laws can be updated, Schock said. The community of 24 people has hired a Mandan attorney to do the work and will pay for it through a legal defense fund established earlier, according to The Bismarck Tribune. It could take up to 10 days to put the moratorium in place. Details of the proposed zoning law have yet to be crafted.

"If they want an influx of people and double the population, we need some kind of organization to go with it," Schock said.

Craig Cobb has been buying property in Leith and recruiting others with white supremacist views to come there so he can create a voting majority, take control of the town and turn it into an all-white enclave. A couple from Oregon and their five children recently moved into Cobb's home, and he has said he plans to put a mobile home donated by a supporter on his property.

Schock told the AP that he is meeting with UnityND leader Jeremy Kelly, of Bismarck, this weekend, to discuss the possible land transfer.

"They're thinking about building some houses here, moving some people in" to boost the number of residents who don't support Cobb, he said. Kelly himself is considering establishing a residence in Leith, Schock said.

Cobb has no water or sewer in his home. Regional health officials have unsuccessfully tried to use that as a means to force him out.

Keith Johnson, administrator of the Custer District Health Unit, told the Tribune it appears there is no legal means to force Cobb or anyone to put water and sewer in a residence because neither Grant County nor Leith has adopted a standard building code. State plumbing codes say how water and sewer should be installed, but not that they must be installed, Johnson said.

"It's kind of aggravating, is what it is," Schock told the AP.

Cobb has continually discounted efforts to force him from his home as being unconstitutional or idle threats.

"Maybe the state attorney general will arrange for Custer Health to get some false teeth commissioned," he told the Tribune.

Officials have condemned several properties in town, including a dilapidated creamery building and outhouse next to Cobb's home that he deeded to Jeff Schoep, commander of the National Socialist Movement, when Schoep visited the town last month.

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