A North Dakota town of 33 on the U.S.-Canada border is turning to crowdfunding in an effort to refill its bank account.
And while it's strange enough that a city would launch a GoFundMe for itself, the reason why it's broke is even stranger: The town has spent twice its yearly operating budget to buy up property that was being targeted by a white supremacist intent on making a whites-only enclave for himself and his fellow racists.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, the town of Antler spent over $40,000 (and is anticipating some additional legal fees) on various lots to preemptively stop Craig Cobb's efforts to create a whites-only settlement there. Since the town made such an expensive decision, civic leaders set up a GoFundMe page to recoup the costs, Mayor Bruce Hanson said.
Setting a goal of $50,000, the donations are earmarked for paying "legal expenses & property" and covering "tear down [of] neglected buildings" as well as making "general improvements to the city."
So far 169 people have contributed to the fund, which currently stands at $8,649. People can also donate to the town's PO box.
“We need the money,” Hanson told the Herald. “We welcome all gifts.”
"Our goal was to keep the man out of town," Hanson told KFYR, a North Dakota NBC affiliate.
Why did the city do this? Referring to Cobb's white-supremacist views, last month Hanson told ABC News, "there's no place for this anymore."
The townspeople, few as they may be, agreed with the decision to buy the property before Cobb could. Cobb, in addition to being a racist, has apparently said some pretty nasty stuff to the town's citizens, too.
"[H]e wished everybody here in Antler to have cancer and die," said Cheryl Flores, told KFYR. "The words he used on me and that his God is going to do this and that to me. Wow. I'd hate to have them here."
Flores' husband Milo, who is Mexican, told the TV station that Cobb once lurked outside their house and called the police on the couple. But Milo Flores isn't sweating it.
"Hey, don't mess with small towns. Everybody unites, I've noticed in these small towns. Even from the outside farms and stuff, people come together. You know, that's pretty good," Milo told KFYR.
This is not the first time that Cobb has attempted this scheme. After coming to North Dakota to get in on the state's oil boom, he began buying up lots in Leith, N.D. His plan came to an end when he was forced out of town after a conviction for terrorizing townspeople by patrolling the streets with a rifle. The story of Leith's battle against Cobb was brought to the wider world in the Sundance-approved documentary Welcome to Leith, which opened in limited release last month.
Cobb, for his part, is not done trying to create his Whites-only development—he's currently buying up property throughout the Midwest.
You can donate to the Antler Preservation Fund here.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org