White supremacist wants to take over, rename town after Donald Trump
ANTLER, N.D.--After white supremacist Craig Cobb tried and failed to start a whites-only enclave in the tiny North Dakota town of Leith, he set his sights on another community: Antler, population 20-something.
But establishing a presence in the town, just a few minutes from the Canadian border, has proved difficult for Cobb.
Last month, he says, he bought $10,000 worth of property in the town's center from Jim Lozensky, who until recently was an Antler resident.
The sale included an old bank and two nearby residential lots. Cobb wanted to turn the bank into a church for his racist religion, Creativity Movement, which teaches the superiority of white people. The residential lots would be for church members to settle and start a new community together.
He also planned to change the town's name to "Trump Creativity," or "Creativity Trump," in honor of Donald Trump, who Cobb admires deeply.
Needless to say, "Some of the citizens aren't happy with the situation," said Steve Watson, the sheriff of Bottineau County.
Luckily for them, the properties are going to the city, rather than to Cobb, Mayor Bruce Hanson said.
Lozensky, the property seller, "took a down payment from Cobb on the property, and the city made an offer also," said Hanson. Lozenksy decided to sell to the city.
It cost the city about $35,000 to take over more than 20 of Lozensky's properties, Hanson said.
Cobb, meanwhile, complains that he still has not received a deed to the property. He says the seller wants to reimburse him, but "I don't want the check. We want our church."
Cobb said Lozensky backed out of their deal because of pressure from Antler residents, a claim Hanson denied.
However, the mayor did admit that "people were kind of upset" about Lozensky, who recently moved away from Antler. Lozensky declined to comment for this story.
Hanson acknowledged that the city bought the property to keep out Cobb, who lives in nearby Sherwood. "We don't want the guy in town," Hanson said. "I mean, who does?"
Cobb said he and others in his church are "not trying to rule over other people at all."
But he indicated that his intent is to bring in enough people to outnumber the town's voting population, which he estimated to be 20 people.
Hanson said Cobb targets small towns for that reason. "It's not about democracy," Hanson said. "It's not about the American way."
Cobb said his community, if realized, would not exclude nonwhites.
So would he welcome black people?
"'Welcome' is a strong word," he said. "We understand that they have a legal right."
Residents of Leith recently attended an Antler town hall meeting to explain what happened in Leith, which Cobb tried to take over in 2013. He gained national attention for the failed effort.
Hanson says the real driving force for Cobb is just that--media attention.
"That's the bottom line with Craig Cobb. ... If I was you, I'd just ignore the guy."