- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

LEITH, N.D. (AP) - The mayor of a North Dakota town has been charged with a misdemeanor after he set fire to property once owned by a white supremacist and that blaze burned out of control.

The charge against Leith Mayor Ryan Schock stems from a state investigation into his city’s efforts to clean up the community after its battle with Craig Cobb, who tried to establish an Aryan enclave there.

Schock is facing a charge of failure to control or report a dangerous fire. The misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. He is due in court Feb. 17.

Schock told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1KbQdwM ) that he won’t comment on the charge. Court documents do not list an attorney for him.

The complaint alleges that on May 24, 2014, Schock started a fire on one property in Leith, and that the fire spread to an old church building that Schock owned and threatened an adjoining property owned by another man.

“The fire was eventually controlled but not before endangering life or substantial amounts of the property of others,” the complaint says.

The first building was a property that had been purchased by Cobb and eventually was condemned for health and nuisance reasons, Schock said.

Several properties were razed or burned in Leith last year after Cobb was put on probation for four years for terrorizing and menacing residents and moved to Sherwood. Cobb had planned to take over Leith and turn it into an all-white enclave, but those plans fizzled after his November 2013 arrest.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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