The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

White Supremacists Making Bid to Take Over North Dakota Town

By Ryan Lenz on August 22, 2013 - 11:29 am, Posted in Extremist Commerce, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist

Editor’s Update: According to a posting yesterday on the hate site Stormfront, longtime white nationalist April Gaede and her husband Mark Harrington also own property in Leith, N.D. Gaede’s post describes the town as a “Lovely Place!!!” Gaede is perhaps best known for promoting the idea of white nationalists moving to her hometown of Kalispell, Mont. This would create what she calls a Pioneer Little Europe community for “racially conscious” whites. Also posted on White Nations early this morning by “Spook Haunter” was this allegedly about Craig Cobb, the man who has been organizing the purchase of property by racists in Leith: “Craig mentioned he was just fired from his job.” Cobb is wanted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He left Canada before being charged with willful promotion of hatred for allegedly promoting hate material online while in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010.

LEITH, N.D. –– Abandoned houses lean with the weight of years on city blocks connected by gravel roads. A grain elevator still operates on the edge of town, but it hasn’t seen good business in decades. The only storefront business is a bar, and on most afternoons it sits empty like the roads that disappear among sunflower and wheat fields in the distance.

While the economy in North Dakota has boomed in recent years due to the discovery of oil in the miles of shale beneath the state, business in Leith has been in decline for the better part of a century. So when officials in April 2012 noticed that one man was quickly buying up abandoned properties in what had become close to a ghost town high on the Great Plains, it was strange.

“I didn’t have a clue who the guy was until he showed up. All I know is he bought that house sight unseen, $5,000 cash, and had no idea what it looked like, where it was, other than he knew the directions to get to Leith,” Leith Mayor Ryan Schock, a farmer who has lived here all his life, told Hatewatch.

That strange man was Paul Craig Cobb, 61, a bearded neo-Nazi who moved into a ramshackle two-story house without running water, and quickly began buying properties around Leith, population 19. According to county tax records that were first obtained by Hatewatch, Cobb has since purchased more than a dozen lots for a few hundred dollars each, mostly from landowners who live elsewhere in the country.

Cobb’s endgame is clear. Last year, on the white supremacist online forum Vanguard News Network (VNN), he announced his intentions to build an all-white bastion of racists in North Dakota “post haste.” The grandiose plan ends with white supremacists and neo-Nazis taking over the county government, and he has even said he hopes to rename Leith “Cobbsville.”

“Been waiting quite a few months to spring this. Now is the time,” Cobb wrote at the time. Then, in what appeared to be a pitch to those who might have reservations about moving so far north, Cobb touted the benefits of his new home. “There is water, electricity, satellite internet via Hughes at $50 per month, satellite TV from at least 3 companies, trailers, 5th wheels, campers legal, car [insurance] as little as $141 for 6 months and most importantly –– a surfeit of very good paying jobs in two different cities within normal commutable distances,” he wrote.

Cobb’s plan in Leith is to build a Pioneer Little Europe –– an idea long favored on the racist right as a way to escape what is seen as a multiculturalist agenda at work in larger and more racially diverse cities. First proposed in a 2001 pamphlet by H. Michael Barrett, the vision is to consolidate white residents in existing cities and towns and create all-white enclaves. Northwestern states including Montana, Idaho, and now North Dakota, have historically been considered appealing places to start because of lack of racial diversity.

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, 90% of the population of North Dakota is white. That increases to 97% in Grant County, where Cobb has settled.

Already some of the most active white supremacists and neo-Nazi leaders in the country have come calling.

According to county tax and property records, Tom Metzger, of Warsaw, Ind., a viciously racist propagandist who leads a group known as the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), purchased a lot for one dollar from Cobb in June 2012. Four months later, Alex Linder, who runs the VNN neo-Nazi Web forum, did the same. Additionally, Cobb claims to have donated buildings in Leith to the National Socialist Movement (NSM), the largest neo-Nazi group in the country. Grant County tax officials say Cobb could have sold more and not recorded a deed transfer.

News of Cobb’s plan spread quickly this week, when two men moved into tents on one of Cobb’s properties, alarming residents who were unaware of his racist plans.

“He’s worried people over here. In a community like Leith, you get someone strange in and they’re always kind of worrying,” Grant County Sheriff Steve Bay said, adding that he could understand the benefit of an isolated town in North Dakota for someone like Cobb. “What better place to pick up some land if you want to get something established?” Bay asked.

This isn’t the first time Cobb has tried to build a homeland for whites. In 2006, he moved to Estonia and established Podblanc, a video-sharing service for white supremacists. America was beyond help, he warned then. “I believe that the Democrat[ic] and Republican criminal syndicates that run the U.S. with international jewry’s [sic] criminal syndicate cannot now be stopped,” he wrote. “Media barrages too much control the minds of White Americans.”

But four years later, Cobb returned to the United States and reportedly settled in Montana’s Flathead Valley, where other racists including Christian Identity proponent Karl Gharst and neo-Nazi April Gaede had begun working to build a similar Pioneer Little Europe community of white supremacists. Cobb moved to North Dakota in April, where he has reportedly been working on road construction crews.

Cobb’s racist dreams for North Dakota are not isolated to Grant County. As there are nearly limitless job opportunities as a result of the oil boom happening in the western half of the state, other white supremacists have made their presence known in Williston, which has dubbed itself “Boom Town, USA.”

There, at a NAPA auto parts store, Shane Myers sells assault rifles and tactical gear out of the back hallway.  He wears a ring with Nazi SS lightning bolts, and white supremacists online have claimed he will offer a deal to other white nationalists in the state. And if there is any confusion about his worldview, a single Post-It note on the wall behind his desk clears up any misconceptions. It reads simply, “Diversity=Division=Disunity.”

  • Bob White

    Google – Black Only Towns and there are a lot of missed heritage from Oklahoma Towns. I live a black & white life wherein I try to deal with the white of life and not deal with the black of life. White is Good – Black is evil is this not true? Hollywood has did movie after movie with this theme ! and maybe that needs to be changed ? but, changing the thinking of people who have already made up their minds will only lead to violence. Leith, N.D. was a very peaceful place until the protesters showed up on Oct. 21, 2013.

    The only violence will come from protesters and not the future residents of leith, ND !

  • Ron

    “Cobb is wanted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He left Canada before being charged with willful promotion of hatred for allegedly promoting hate material online while in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010.”

    How soon before the US adopts such laws against free speech? Will those laws be applied to Louis Farrakhan? Bill Maher? George Soros?

  • John S

    All Whites should leave south Sahara Africa as that BELONGS to Blacks. All Whites should leave north Sahara Africa, as that BELONGS to Arabs. All Whites should leave Asia, as that BELONGS to Asians. All Whites should leave North America, as that BELONGS to Native American Indians and Mexicans. Whites should go back to Europe where they came from!

    But everybody, of all races are allowed to live in Europe, because it doesn`t BELONG to Whites. It`s for everyone. Right?

    The more you shove you race mixing crap down our throats, the more you drive us further into ourselves. Your tactics are having the opposite effect. You are NOT converting any of us.

    We are White and we like it that way. Fuck you very much.

  • TheCleansing

    I say let them build a little city! This area needs hate!!!
    There are some local areas that need “cleansing”!
    I am not a nazi or skinhead, but i share some of their
    Beliefs!! Rise up and stand!! Make examples of the sinners and garbage!!! Ide like them to come make a noise out my way just so the local garbage had a tase of what real unity is!! Anger is a gift and hate is what seperates us from the trash!! This area needs a cleansing!!!

  • Jay

    Melissa –

    There are a group of North Dakotans planning to be in Leith this coming Sunday, September 22nd. The NSM is planning a visit to the town and has even rented the town hall to host a “town meeting” and press conference. We will be there to stand with the town residents. You can find more information on the website at and on Facebook at

  • hypocrit

    Melissa said,

    ON SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2013 AT 1:38 PM
    Does anyone know of any protests scheduled against this invasion?

    LOL… you mean the southern border? It’s not an invasion if people who live here want to move to another state… being a racist might be unpopular but it’s not illegal. People like should leave.

  • Melissa

    Does anyone know of any protests scheduled against this invasion?

  • Jonathan

    Cobb surely does not know the history of this country we call America. This is not his country (or mine) to steal. We TOOK it from the Native Americans years ago. This NEVER was and NEVER WILL BE our country. It will always belong to those who came before us. We are just squatters.

  • rita

    As someone mentioned earlier, we should just let these supremacists move to one place and let them sink or swim on their own.

  • sad

    It’s a government money gimic. They’ll get shitloads of cash.

  • Gaylen

    Gordon Kahl the leader of the Posse Comitatus hate group murdered two deputies on or about his base of operations near Medina, ND in the 1980’s. The manhunt ended in Arkansas. There, he was shot to death. North Dakotans know a out this and now so do you.

  • Malikka Shabazz

    That name Cobb make me shiver anyone wit a weerd name like that is suspect to begin wit

  • babaganusz

    hear, hear, banjomike. real, toxic spite is nothing like the proverbial playground bully (and not all of those will go away when merely ignored, either – shunned, yes, maybe, but again, serious question of not only degree but kind).

    in my [relatively sheltered] opinion, presuming these Human Race Traitors will ‘go the way of the dinosaurs’ is about as sensible as sterilizing them would be ethical*… and always bear in mind that there is no shortage of impressionable minds on the horizon…

    *please note the analogy and don’t take me as simply stating the last five words of it; we may not want them to breed (or at least certainly not want them to indoctrinate any with their poison) but some things just can’t be policy in good conscience.

  • Jen Gannon

    The article mentions a NAPA auto parts store where the owner sells guns out of the back room, offers discounts to white supremacists, and sports nazi gear. He has the right to free speech. He can wear and display nazi gear. But those that disagree can speak with their wallets and choose not to frequent the business. I contacted NAPA and told them that I would not frequent their stores again. They said he is an individual owner. In my mind, as long as their name is on the store, they are associated with the hate. Contact the NAPA parent org at Thank you.

  • Cindy Bidwell Glaze

    I sent a message to NAPA customer service. I think more people, better at computer connections, should send such a notice to the correct officers at NAPA.

  • Leslie

    Because of the laws against hate speech in Canada he is wanted by the police in Vancouver. I guess he is relying on the First Amendment to keep him out of legal trouble here. Can’t the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have him extradited?

  • banjomike

    I’m an Idahoan, and we learned the hard way that ignoring white supremacists always leads to big trouble in the end.
    Silence is always seen as agreement and approval to these people, and they always crave publicity.

    I hope North Dakotans learn from our old mistakes if Cobb and his neo-Nazis try to get a toehold there; once established, they will push, and continue to push hard until they either take over or are forced out.

    There is no ‘live and let live’ with these people, and they will not live in peace with their neighbors. If there are no neighbors, they will fight among themselves.

    Either way, N.Dakota will suffer.

  • Reynardine

    I wonder if it has anything to do with this:

  • Bobbiery

    Cobb is not a neo-Confederate; he’s Canadian. So he probably thinks the word “North” is a good thing. Besides, “North” sounds like “Nordic” and a lot of neo-Nazis are fans of everything Viking….

  • Yougotta B. KIddinme

    Well, these guys just want to take over North Dakota. That nut-case racist with the Dept. of Homeland Security wants to take over the world.
    Seems to me that both the white boys and the black boys are a bit overly zealous in their racial hatred.

  • Erika

    you know, its kind of ironic that these guys want to set up their ideal little white supremacist neo-confederate kingdom in North Dakota. i thought that white supremacist neo-confederates were against anything with the word North in it :)

    and why would anything think that these guys buying up land in North Dakota says anything about the state other than there is really cheap land available there???

  • Geoff

    @napaknowhow — make sure they see this article and that they know one of their franchisees is selling assault rifles….

  • Kiwiwriter

    Another bunch of compound dwellers…I have a feeling they will start to cause chaos when they discover that nobody can really live on an island any more.

    Even the Amish work with the forces of the outside world.

  • ndnative

    North Dakota should not be judged based on the fact that Cobb decided to take up residence here. I imagine a lot of those Federal tax dollars we’re receiving are farm subsidies, which are not unique to North Dakota. It just happens agriculture is a proportionally large part of our economy.

    Shane Myers has besmirched NAPA’s name on his own. His family owns the store, as well as other NAPA stores in the state. It says a lot about the entire family that he is allowed to wear that ring and put his personal beliefs on display. Whether they agree with him or not, they have not stopped it.

  • MIchael

    Um, why is NAPA allowing one of its employees to sell assault rifles out of a back hallway? I’d say the anti-diversity posting was enough for a warning, assuming it’s contrary to NAPA’s policy, but selling assault rifles? WTH?

  • bean

    I am originally from ND and this saddens and shocks me.
    Not everybody from ND is a a crazy nutjob racist. Not even close. Not even a percentage.

    There are some older people with antiquated ideas about other races and diversity, but nothing like this. This is beyond understanding.

    It scares me, too. People need to wake up and realize what is going on out there. Thanks, Ryan for a great article telling the truth about what is going on.

  • Jim

    My suspicion is that someone at NAPA already has indigestion over the activities of this franchise. When this gets picked up by the national press, NAPA will act.

    Maybe a separate ‘territory’ similar to an Indian reservation can be carved out for these morons and they all can go there and be as pure as they want.

    Just make sure there are few roads in or out and the hosting state builds toll booths on all of them.

  • Reynardine

    Look, Dragon, we’ve known each other a while. You know I meant that locked door to be in a damned high wall.

  • Erika

    How appropriate that his name is Cobb since the name Cobb brings to mind white supremacy.

    Of course, you have to wonder why these white supremacists want to live in a place called Grant County – in fact, i would think that they would want to change the name of the county to Cobb County.

    And then, of course, they can rename the town Marietta set the calendars back to 1813 and once global warming makes North Dakota as hot as Georgia they will have achieved the real white supremacist dream.

  • Phuck You

    Without North Dakota many of you would be going hungry as we are leading producers of cereal grains and oilseeds and we are the 2nd largest producer of Oil.
    North Dakota also has 351 billion tons of lignite, the single largest deposit of lignite known in the world which at current rate of use should last 800 years so you can also Thank us for your electricity!
    Screw one Waco Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap…..

  • yabba

    Why is a NAPA store allowing anyone, racist or not, to sell assault weapons out of “the back hallway”? Sounds like HQ needs to be made aware of this.

  • concernedcitizen

    I agree aadila I wondering if the NAPA corporate office is aware of this?

    Not for once do I believe that any intelligent American would want these sort of people gathering and living in their states and communities killing the settlement of diversity which promises to bring them great talent and a far better work force along with business’s that would thrive and bring jobs and commerce to the area.

  • aadila

    Money usually talks louder than racist ideology with big business, but perhaps NAPA Auto Parts could be encouraged to think long and hard what it means to have its name linked to the term NAZI.

  • Critical Dragon1177


    You wrote,
    Dammit, let them all move out there, provide them with lots of instant mashed potatoes, powdered (white! ) gravy, squishy white rolls, mayonnaise, and bacon, and close the door on them.

    All joking aside, I don’t want a bunch of Nazis and/or Klansmen congregating in one area.

  • Joanne

    No way-keep them the hell out of ND and send him back to where he came from. We don’t want them here either! There’s enough rejects moving here already.

  • Dan Zabetakis

    So someone tell me, why are these guys always such welfare queens?

    Here’s some stats. Dollars of Federal Money received as a ratio of Dollars of Federal Tax paid:

    California: 0.78
    New York: 0.79
    New Jersey: 0.61

    N. Dakota: 1.68

    Why are these places always where the white separatists try to settle? It’s like,… like, they can’t live without a government subsidy.

  • Sam Molloy

    Please don’t besmirch the good name of Napa Auto Parts. All around here they have a reputation for hiring with an eye towards Diversity, providing the applicant knows auto parts. I have seen them go out of their way to help anyone who comes in make the right choices. Go into an O’Reillys looking gay and see how friendlty they are.

  • Critical Dragon1177

    Ryan Lenz

    Cobb’s endgame is clear. Last year, on the white supremacist online forum Vanguard News Network (VNN), he announced his intentions to build an all-white bastion of racists in North Dakota “post haste.” The grandiose plan ends with white supremacists and neo-Nazis taking over the county government, and he has even said he hopes to rename Leith “Cobbsville.”

    So how does Paul Craig Cobb, intend to keep his new little Third Reich a pure white bastion now that all the old Jim Crow laws have been over turned? Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned by Brown VS Board of Education. Even if he’s able to take over the county government somehow, he’s not going to be able to force all those he deems genetically inferior out, and keep them out, without violating federal law, not to mention the opposition from the locals who won’t want to live in his racist utopia?

  • Reynardine

    Dammit, let them all move out there, provide them with lots of instant mashed potatoes, powdered (white! ) gravy, squishy white rolls, mayonnaise, and bacon, and close the door on them.