Neo Nazi Group Black Leader

In this Thursday, June 14, 2012 file photo, James Stern of Jackson, Miss., at a news conference in Jackson, Miss. One of the largest and oldest neo-Nazi groups in the U.S. appears to have an unlikely new leader: Stern, a black activist who has vowed to dismantle it.

MORENO VALLEY (AP) — A black activist said he has taken the helm of what has been billed as one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups to put it out of business.

Corporate records show James Stern of Moreno Valley is now pres­ident of the National So­cial­ist Movement. He replaces pre­vi­ous longtime leader Jeff Schoep.

In an interview with The As­so­ciated Press on Friday, Stern said he established a yearslong di­al­ogue with Schoep and convinced the former leader to transfer the organization to him when Schoep said he planned to disband it.

“The National Socialist Move­ment put a poison pill into the truth of history. I think we can put the antidote to make sure that we correct some of those wrongs,” Stern said.

Stern said he prefers to con­trol the group and neuter it rather than see it disband and reconstitute in the shadows.

“If he dissolved the group, all anyone would have to do is take it and reincorporate it and carry on the same shenanigans as it never stopped,” Stern said.

Schoep’s resignation comes as he and the National Socialist Move­ment are among a slew of defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by survivors of a violent 2017 white nationalist rally in Char­lottes­ville, Virginia. Plain­tiffs in that case recently filed a mo­tion accusing Schoep of doing every­thing he could to cause pro­ced­ural delays and duck ac­count­ability for his conduct.

In a phone interview, Schoep said Stern essentially tricked him into transferring leadership. He said Stern suggested that the plain­tiffs would no longer pursue the lawsuit against Schoep and the NSM if Schoep handed over the reins. Schoep said he was pre­par­ing to leave the party lead­er­ship anyway, and agreed to Stern’s proposal as a way to try to re­duce the party’s legal liability.

“He has that piece of paper, but he is absolutely not recognized as the leader of the National So­cial­ist Movement,” Schoep, a Detroit res­ident, said of Stern.

Stern, though, says he can speak for the NSM, and filed his own motion in that case Thurs­day, saying the group now admits its liability in the lawsuit.

“Justice must be served and the truth must be told,” Stern wrote in the motion. “Consequences must be excepted.”

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