LEITH, N.D. — Residents of a tiny North Dakota farming town are fighting back after learning that a self-described white supremacist wants to turn the community into an Aryan enclave.
Cobb, 61, has purchased about a dozen lots in the community about 60 miles southwest of Bismarck. In the past year he has invited like-minded people to move there and help him transform the town of 16 people into a colony for white supremacists. No one has come.
Still, the community is mobilizing to fight out of fear that Cobb could succeed, and the mayor has vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure Cobb's dream remains just that.
Officials are considering enforcing health codes and ordinances relating to the upkeep of Cobb's run-down property. A proposal to disband Leith's government and turn over control to the county is even on the table.
"He would still own his property," said Mayor Ryan Schock, a 38-year-old farmer and lifelong Leith resident. "But … he can't control the city if there's no city government."
No decisions have been made, but the six-member town council that usually convenes once a month might call a special meeting to discuss the matter soon, Schock said.
Cobb says even if his plan doesn't pan out, he has raised awareness of the white supremacist cause.
Ryan Lenz, a writer with the Alabama-based civil rights nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, said his organization has long tracked Cobb, who is wanted in Canada for willfully promoting hatred in Vancouver in 2010 via a blog.