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

City Council Meeting in Leith, N.D., Disrupted by Drunken Neo-Nazi

By Ryan Lenz on October 21, 2013 - 4:22 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist

A white supremacist who moved to the tiny North Dakota town of Leith two weeks ago was forcibly removed from a city council meeting last weekend after he arrived drunk and began confronting town residents.

Law enforcement officers were called to remove Kynan Dutton, 29, last Friday as officials were reviewing a moratorium (later approved) on new construction until the community can pass zoning and building codes, The Bismarck Tribune reported. According to those who were present, Dutton was confrontational, profane and making racist comments to people.

“I’ve never heard insults so profane, especially with kids present,” councilman Lee Cook told the Tribune. “It was way off the scope.”

The moratorium is a direct result of a white supremacist plan to take over the town and build a “racially conscious,” all-white community. The plan, first discovered by Hatewatch, began when Craig Cobb started quietly buying properties last year to encourage a flood of white nationalists to move to Leith and take over city and county government. Town officials since have struggled to control the situation in any way they can.

“If they want an influx of people and double the population, we need some kind of organization to go with it,” Leith Mayor Ryan Schock warned.

Officials hired attorney Tom Kelsch to prepare the moratorium, update ordinances and create zoning and land-use documents – all of which have been have been absent for years – to prevent people from moving into the many abandoned buildings Cobb owns.

Keith Johnson, administrator of the Custer District Health Unit, told the Tribune that there were no legal means to force Cobb or anyone to put water and sewer in his residence because neither Grant County nor Leith has standard building codes. State plumbing codes define how water and sewer should be installed but do not specify that they are required, Johnson said. The moratorium is designed to give the town time to fix that.

Dutton, an Iraq war veteran, and his wife, Deborah – members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement – were the first to answer Cobb’s call. They moved from Oregon to Leith on Oct. 5 with their five children and into a two-story home owned by Cobb. The home has no running water or sewer, and Dutton is using space heaters as the temperature turns.

  • aadila

    Sigh…the “Hitler was a socialist” thing all over again. Can’t anyone who listens to talk radio actually read a history book?

    Trevor, please, please do yourself a favor and educate yourself about how the term “socialist” remained in the Nazi party after Hitler took over, though this helpful link:

    Augusto Pinochet was also decidedly not a socialist. He had Salvador Allende, a moderate Marxist, deposed and set up one of the worst right wing dictatorships in South America (with the support of Richard Nixon’s right wing government).

    You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. I doubt you could even adequately describe what libertarian party is, much less provide a cogent argument for its platform.

  • Trevor Petersen

    I’m just amazed by this website and comments. First off, HATEWATCH, “keeping an eye on the radical right”… Cobb is a socialist! Socialism is bred from the extreme left so the implication that hate only comes from “the radical right” is absurd and brews hate itself. The only person who made any sense in the comments was Dan. At least his perspective is open and not clouded by extremism for his opinions.
    I question peoples war against freedom in America. These people are willing to trade their own freedoms for supposed security! Where does a person come off talking about basic sanitary laws? Where are these standards and who set them? I would much rather live off the grid free of governmental control than have someone come tell me what sanitary means because I may not agree and I’m entitled to that. Have you ever taken a look at the record of sanitation while under the watch of government? Bureaucrats don’t care about you and I but you’ll insist to allow them to have control? These people are entitled to their own feelings and opinions even if I don’t agree with them.
    The township of Leith is going about this all wrong and they’ll all pay the toll in the long run.
    Tell me about basic safety and sanitation but first check the track record of the alphabet soup of programs and bureaucratic offices and tell me how they stack up.
    I guarantee that I can better ensure my health, safety and security better than any other can for me.
    If the last two administrations weren’t so bent on destroying the economy I know that I could build a home off the grid that could best any standard the government could conceive.
    It’s as though you people are sacrificing our freedom like a virgin to appease the Gods in the hopes of security.
    ZEALOTS. How can you be so divided?

    Note to editor: please consider keeping your eyes out from hate on all sides! It’s as if you feel it only comes from the radical right and that’s a disgrace amongst journalism. Hitler was a socialist, Stalin was a socialist, Mussolini was a socialist, Pinochet… these are radical left views with dangerous consequences that still reverberate through the world.
    Become libertarian, the world will be better by it.

  • aorow

    Dutton isn’t married to that woman. He is actually married to another girl in Oregon. They’ve been separated since 2011 because she was using drugs and sleeping with another man.
    He is an alcoholic and needs help. That much is certain.
    If you dig up dirt on him, he will continue to embarrass himself.

  • Kynan Dutton

    You’re all welcome in Leith.

    Spearchucker, wagonburner, even hooknoses are welcome!

    But make sure you bring me some damn alcohol! A fifth of JDs, Beam, hell, even a big bottle of Listerine would be fine!

    Craig’s taken the keys to the liquor cabinet away from me, and I don’t have the money to buy my own liquor.

  • aadila

    Oh, we suffer. But we laugh.

  • Reynardine

    No, Aadila. I accept this as pun-ishment for my earlier transgressions. That doesn’t mean I won’t be a recidivist, though.

  • aadila

    Of course, Rey, you realize I am not trying to turn this into a pithing contest…

  • aadila

    Just as an aside, properly built and ventilated compost toilets do not present a risk to public health, although in some cases there are local restrictions on using byproducts as soil amendments. I don’t think these clowns know how to properly build one though, much less have a pot to piss in.

    So to speak.

  • Erika

    Dan, your comparison to the gay bar case is misplaced – in the gay bar case, the owner complied with all building codes, and state and local law requirements – and reading the complaint it seems that there is some indication that the town specifically passed the ordinance to prevent a gay bar from reopening (one had previously operated on the same site). That also involves a commercial use which is not really comparible to a residential use case.

    In this case, the town is not preventing the Nazis from moving there – instead they are requiring that any person seeking to move there live in a house that complies with minimum sanitary and safety standards. Cobb will be able to get people move there. – but they cannot live in substandard housing with no running water (anyone should be appalled that anyone is living with 5 kids in a house with no running water or sewer hook up and apparently no heat other than space heaters). this would not even keep the white nationalists from moving there – other than perhaps economically since moving tehre would cost more money, but its perfectly legal to dscrimination against someone economically. And before you say that it should be, remember that the same economically discriminatory zoning laws are what keeps your neighbor from building a 30 foot spite fence next to your house to block you receiving sunlight or dumping open sewage outside creating a health hazard or opening a hog rendering plant. If my next door neighbor doesnt’ follow basic fire safety standards or sanitary standards it could destroy my property or result in me getting sick or even my death – and i would hope that you would be against that. People not following basic safety standards places everyone at risk regardless of their ideology..

    Opposing basic safety and sanitary standards is simply anarchy. Pretending that imposing basic safety and sanitary standards on houses provides any barrier to Cobb getting his dream of an all white town other than making it cost more is silly. This ordinance will only stop Cobb and the white nationalists if they either wanted to live in dangerous, unsanitary housing which places the entire communiy at risk or couldn’t afford to bring existing housing up to code or build new housing. And if they get kept out because they can’t afford housing that is up to code, that is perfectly legal.

  • aadila

    Actually, Rey, a composting toilet in one’s back yard is a good and sound ecological choice, since it uses no water, reduces the volume of excreta, and can produce a useful soil amendment. But I agree with the rest of your comment.

  • Erika

    Dan, just as i suspected, you have absolutely no idea about which you are talking about.

    and btw, if you are going to try to claim that someone is not a liberal, perhaps you shouldn’t do it at the end of a clueless rant that at its core attacks the entire concept of building codes and land use laws..

  • Sam Molloy

    They could move to Holly Beach, Louisiana. Talk about no building codes!

  • Reynardine

    Dan, under some circumstances, white people could be a protected class. Bigots who poop in their back yards and want to drive everyone else out of town are not. Such behavior is freely chosen; it violates the rights of others to peace, sanitation, and quiet enjoyment of their property; it is neither legally protected nor socially acceptable. Leith is not, as originally reported, a ghost town. It has long-term residents, however few. They have so far shown admirable restraint. I can think of many communities where the welcome wagon would have been driven by Brer Shotgun.

  • Dan Zabetakis

    “dan, what exactly is the “suspect class” allegedly being discriminated against???”

    White racialists. Just because you disagree with them does not mean you can discriminate against them.

    ” How does requiring that housing comply with minimum safety and sanitation standards constitute discrimination???”

    If it was done specifically to keep out members of this class that are incoming. In the current case this would be easy to demonstrate.

    ” How is this particular zoning/building code ordinance any different from any others that have been repeatedly upheld since Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty (1928)??? ”

    Because the new codes are putatively going to be put in place for no other reason than to keep out a class of persons judged to be undesirable. Since the county and town had no desire to enact these measures prior to the arrival of Cobb and others, and if they are not applied to all properties in the town, it won’t take a court long to overturn them.

    I’m getting the view that you are not a liberal or progressive, but merely a tribalist. It seems that you don’t view racists as wrong because of their doctrine, but because they are not members of Your Group. Once you are against them you don’t see that they have rights as individuals in our society.

  • Reynardine

    Demanding that houses have toilets and running water is a bare minimum of health and sanitation requirements these days, and if these thugs think they can afford a whole town, they damned well have the money for plumbing.

  • concernedcitizen

    Hope North Dakota closes the doors on hate. It’s not the kind of company you want to keep.

  • concernedcitizen

    Dutton, an Iraq war veteran, and his wife, Deborah – members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement – were the first to answer Cobb’s call.

    We don’t need people who subscribe to groups like this out there fighting international wars while wearing American Colors.

  • Erika

    dan, what exactly is the “suspect class” allegedly being discriminated against??? How does requiring that housing comply with minimum safety and sanitation standards constitute discrimination??? How is this particular zoning/building code ordinance any different from any others that have been repeatedly upheld since Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty (1928)???

    if you are going to claim discrimination, you are going to need more to prove that than just “your word.”

  • walt stawicki

    it has been reported that the town considered dissolving and being annexed into another nearby town to prevent the influx from gaining control.

  • Dan Zabetakis

    “The existing residents will likely be grandfathered in.”

    If, as seems probable, this is Plan A, they better get a good Plan B ready. It will be trivial to overturn the regulations if it is argued that they were created to discriminate against a class of incoming residents. And the town will probably be hit with costs.

    I’m sure the SPLC can advise them. When the shoe is on the other foot (for example the case of the gay bar denied a license) the SPLC clearly expects to win an be awarded costs.

  • Aron

    The existing residents will likely be grandfathered in. As will Cobb. Anyone coming in after the codes are passed will then have to comply.

  • Padre

    Sadly, Leith, North Dakota needs to learn from the varied mistakes town officials made in Richmond, NH. Richmond’s zoning ordinances were behind the times also, which made that town ripe for the picking! And what slithered in 25 years ago was a cult known as the St. Benedict Center from Mass. This well researched, well documented & fact filled book is titled “Deliver Us. . .a religious cult vs Richmond, NH.” This book retails for $14.95 with all proceeds going to the Richmond Historical Society. To order a copy just email
    The town of Leith is fortunate to be able to put a moratorium in place while working on updating their codes. Would that Richmond had the foresight to do that!!

  • Dan Zabetakis

    If the council puts up new building codes and requirements, will the existing residents be able to comply? Will the town be able to defend if Cobb et al. file a lawsuit?

    If neither the town nor county had such codes in place it seems likely that Cobb would win if he claims they were put in place specifically to keep him out.