(FOX 11) - He's a black civil rights leader and the leader of a Neo Nazi group. Seems improbable? Even impossible? Meet the Moreno Valley man who says, he outsmarted the national socialist movement. A story you'll see only on FOX 11.
The National Socialist Movement was there along with other white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups.
Video from the NSM’s website shows members clad in helmets and carrying confederate flags and swastikas.
The NSM claims to be the largest and most active white supremacy group in the U.S. established in Michigan in 1994.
For more than 20 years, the group's leader was Jeff Schoep, right there in the thick of the action.
Also on the NSM website, Jeff Schoep saying, “History has proven to us time and again, it's through the streets, through activism, through fighting in the public. These are the things that will bring us to power.“
Now meet James Hart Stern.
He sure doesn't look or sound like a man that could head up a Neo-Nazi group. He says, “I believe there's only one race.. That's the human race.”
But he has the documents to prove he is the president and director of the National Socialist Movement.
A black man heading up a Neo-Nazi party? How did this happen?
Stern says he outsmarted Schoep.
Schoep says he was mislead.
Stern became acquainted with Schoep when he says, Schoep called him in 2014. Stern says, “We knew from the beginning we were ying and yang.”
Stern had spent some prison time with edgar ray killen, the reputed kkk member and former grand wizard.
Stern claims, Schoep wanted to buy something stern owns...Killen's prison I.D. Card
“He said, the card means power to me,”stern recalls him saying.
Both say, the two formed an on again off again relationship that included enough dialogue, Schoep changed the group's logo from a swastika to the less objectionable othala rune.
"He did that because he wanted to turn the organization into a mini NAACP. He wanted to have an organization for white people rights.”
Now back to Charlottesville, when 32-year-old Heather Heyer was mowed down by a Neo-Nazi sympathizer.
Not long after ten njured survivors sued key people from that united the right rally, including Jeff Schoep and his group, NSM.
He told Stern, “They're trying to take my house, my income, everything I have.”
Stern’s response to him, “okay, I told him, I can understand you no wanting that to happen, but at the end of the day, it's true.”
Stern told Schoep he had an idea. “I said, tell you what sign it over to me. I'll put it on the shelf and let nobody use it.”
Late January, Schoep signed a notarized affidavit naming James Hart Stern President of the National Socialist Movement.
And then in February, he signed another one, which reads in part, I have turned both the National Socialst Movement and the domain website nsm88.org to him.
Jeff Schoep refused my request for a formal interview multiple times. I did talk to him briefly on the phone. He told me he believes signing over the group to Stern would relieve hiim of legal liability in the Charlottsville lawsuit. He then pointed out his name is misspelled twice on the February affidavit.
On the NSM website, Schoep wrote stern "Fraudulently manipulated me.”
That's a different story than what happened in a court proceeding in Charlottesville, March first.
The judge recognized Stern as NSM's president with no recorded objection from Schoep.
Schoep represented himself in that proceeding. Now, through his new attorney, Schoep says, the transfers to Stern were invalid and is preparing to mount a legal challenge to Stern’s asserted rights of NSM.
Schoep's attorney has sent a cease and desist letter to stern and shared it with us.
A letter stern insists he hasn't received.
Chances are, Schoep would say the same about this. The Riverside Superior Court granted Stern a restraining order against Schoep.
And the Michigan attorney general has launched a hate crimes investigation after Schoep changed the officers for the NSM and removed Stern from the group.