BISMARCK (AP) - The small North Dakota town of Leith is moving to condemn and demolish the home of a white supremacist who tried to take over the community but instead ended up jailed on felony terrorizing charges.
Leith is condemning Craig Cobb's home because Cobb has missed a 30-day deadline to install water and sewer service, Mayor Ryan Schock said. He said he expected to get the legal paperwork from City Attorney Thomas Kelsch on Tuesday and hoped to carry out the condemnation by the end of the week. Kelsch did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment.
"We're going to do everything we can to get it done as soon as possible," said Schock, adding that residents hope this will be a major step toward ending their months-long ordeal. "I hope this will kind of wrap it up."
Cobb, 62, who is wanted in Canada on a hate crime charge, moved to Leith about 1 years ago, bought several city lots and moved into a house with no water or sewer. His plan to get others with similar views to join him to create a voting majority in the community of 23 residents came to light in August, and since then he has clashed with area residents who want him gone. The city has updated ordinances that force him to upgrade his home and prevent others from living in campers or trailers on land he owns.
Cobb told The Associated Press in early November that he planned to comply by installing an internal water system using bottled distilled water and electrical composting toilets. Less than two weeks later he was jailed without bond after being accused of terrorizing residents with guns. Cobb maintains he was patrolling the town because of violence and harassment directed at him.
Deborah Henderson, the girlfriend of Cobb's jailed accomplice, still lives in Cobb's home with three children. Schock said she will be evicted.
"There are shelters in Bismarck or Mandan that will take her in, or she can rent an apartment or something," he said. "It's not any different than if anybody else was living there without the proper amenities in the house. We'd have to do the same thing."
There was no telephone number listed for the woman, and no one has been answering Cobb's cellphone since he was jailed. Cobb told the AP last week in a telephone call from jail that Henderson has been terrorized by local residents. Schock said residents gave Henderson hundreds of dollars in cash and food earlier this fall when she expressed a desire to return to Oregon, and Henderson later chose to return to Leith anyway.
Cobb has said he is being unfairly targeted by the town, but Schock said the city has condemned a total of 11 properties with eight buildings. Only two of them are owned by Cobb - his house and a dilapidated creamery he has donated to Jeff Schoep, the leader of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement.
"We've got a contractor ready to go to take everything down," Schock said. "We're just holding up until we get (the paperwork for) Cobb's house done; then we can do all of them at once."
Cobb told the AP he is still seeking a form of food-deprivation spiritual enlightenment that ends in death, and he does not expect to be around for his next court appearance on Jan. 13. He said he is leaving his property in Leith to nationalist parties in Greece, France and Hungary in an attempt to carry on the Leith movement.