By Bruce A. Smith
Early today, Friday, September 14, DB Cooper researcher Eric Ulis posted a shocking revelation on the DB Cooper Forum that the Portland Yacht Club (PYC) had just rescinded its invitation to host the Cooper gathering, originally scheduled for November 24, 2018. Just two days prior, Ulis had announced that the PYC had agreed to host the gathering, fittingly on the exact 47th anniversary date of the only unsolved skyjacking in American history.
The PYC informed Ulis that they had received a letter from Robert M. Blevins threatening a law suit if they allowed the Cooper Conference to go forward. Apparently, Blevins feared “slanderous” attacks against the subject of his book, Into the Blast—The True Story of DB Cooper which touts former Northwest Orient flight attendant Kenny Christiansen as the actual skyjacker. However, Blevins’ claims—and the candidacy of Christiansen-as-Cooper—is widely debunked despite a recent “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” episode that utilized the central claims of Blevins’ book.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ulis, who is a private Cooper investigator, firmly declared late today that the Cooper conference will he held as scheduled, albeit in a different venue.
“The 2018 Conference will take place,” Ulis told the Mountain News. “I am 100% committed to it being held.” Supporting that declaration, Ulis also announced that he is privately funding the conference, thus allowing attendees free admittance. However, seating is limited, so the gathering will be limited to 200 people.
Ulis said he was shocked by the decision of the PYC, but more so by the actions of Mr. Blevins. But Ulis is resolute: “I won’t let others dictate my mood, or my decisions,” he said to the Mountain News. “We are going to have a good time,” he continued, “talking about Cooper, exchanging ideas, and meeting the people that we’ve only read online, or on the phone. It will be an exciting and informative get-together.”
In addition, Ulis also stated that Blevins will be banned from the conference. However, Blevins had already stated on Internet postings that he would be unable to be at the gathering due to family commitments over the Thanksgiving holiday period.
The following is the email that Ulis said the PYC emailed him today, and that they had received it from Blevins the day prior. Ulis stressed to the Mountain News that the boldened typeface is from Blevins, and that the text is a direct cut and paste from the email he received from the PYC.
“This is Robert Blevins from Adventure Books of Seattle. We have a serious concern regarding a scheduled ‘DB Cooper’ Conference slated to be held at your club on Saturday, November 24, 2018.
“We are not objecting to the conference itself, but the person who approached you about asking the club to host this event is advertising the event mainly on this site: http://www.thedbcooperforum.com
“To provide some background, we are the publishers of the book ‘Into The Blast – The True Story of D.B. Cooper,’ which is now optioned for the first-ever full-length feature film on the famous hijacking. Production shooting is slated to begin next year, both in the Los Angeles area, as well as in Portland and Seattle.
“Over at The DB Cooper Forum, this is where user ‘EU’ has been organizing this event. This is also the website where we took more than fifty screenshots of hateful and insult comments about our company, my wife Gayla, and me personally, that were made over the last four years. Many of this site’s members, including the host Dave Brown, aka ‘Shutter’ supported these posts. Most of them are extremely slanderous.
“This event at the Portland Yacht Club is being advertised as free to attend, and free parking included. We intend to send an anonymous representative from Adventure Books to observe the proceedings. Since we are well familiar with most of the people involved in this event, we will be watching for slanderous comments at that event aimed at either Adventure Books, our staff, or anything else related to us. The film production companies, as well as their attorneys, are supporting this effort.
“If we observe anything slanderous being presented, we will immediately file suit against the Portland Yacht Club for personal damages, and for supporting the presentation of such slander. We have good reason to believe this will be a part of the program for this conference, because that website and many of its members (including some of the scheduled speakers) are doing it now. For these people to extend their outrageous behavior it to a conference you host is not a stretch. If you would like copies of some of the screenshots taken from The DB Cooper Forum and elsewhere to see the truth for yourself, feel free to ask and we will provide them to you.”
(Editor’s Note: Italics are used by the Mountain News for clarity.)
Despite the explosive nature of Blevins’ behavior, it has been difficult to get definitive confirmation from him whether the letter received by the PYC originated with him. Blevins did not respond to multiple emails from the Mountain News for confirmation or comment, nor did he return any phone calls until this reporter knocked on the door at his residence in Auburn.
Surprisingly, I was greeted by an older woman who answered his door, then loudly demanded that I leave her property immediately. She also refused to answer any questions regarding this matter, nor identify herself. Further, her comments were punctuated by raging declarations that she was going to call the cops if I didn’t leave, pronto. Upon my return from Auburn, I listened to two phone messages from Mr. Blevins.
The first was filled with more threats. “Do not go to my home uninvited ever again,” he ranted. “You scared the shit out of my old lady,” he claimed. Continuing, he demanded that I not call him back, as he was “in the middle of the Olympics on a camping trip and this is an emergency phone.” In addition, he stated, “I’ve got nothing to say about the Portland Yacht Club or the symposium.”
Fortunately, Blevins’ second message was more conciliatory, and he acknowledged that he had sent the Portland Yacht Club a letter about his concerns regarding the public treatment of his Cooper suspect, Kenny Christiansen. Nevertheless his statements to the Mountain News were evasive. He said that he supported the notion of a Cooper conference, and that he had never asked the PYC to cancel the event. Yet he clearly voiced his overarching fears. “We will object to any slanderous material presented there about me, my cat, Gayla, my old lady, Kenny Christiansen as a child rapist, or anything else.”
All this despite the fact that no one was scheduled to talk about Kenny Christiansen at the 2018 conference. Nor was anyone on the speakers’ list inclined to do so.
However, many Cooper researchers and commentators, especially at recent Cooper postings on the Mountain News, have speculated that Mr. Blevins has a heightened anxiety concerning Kenny Christiansen’s public image as Blevins courts a major Hollywood movie deal on the Christiansen-as-Cooper theme. At issue is Christiansen’s troubling behavior when he lived in Bonney Lake, WA and invited runaway boys to live with him in his home.
As a result, whispers abound that Christiansen had sex with these minors. Adding fuel to those rumors are the writings from Blevins and other investigators of Christiansen, such as Geoffrey Gray of New York Magazine, who have shown that Christiansen indulged in actions that can be reasonably argued were “grooming behaviors” of boys, such as gifting them with exotic presents from the Orient, or treating them to luxurious dinners at restaurants. These kinds of interactions with children are suggestive of a preclude to predatory sexual behavior.
Nonetheless, no law enforcement officials have ever charged Mr. Christiansen with rape, child abuse, or related crimes. Further, no boys—now young men—who lived with Christiansen have ever said that they were abused in any fashion.
Note: Bruce A. Smith is the author of DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking. He is also scheduled to speak at the 2018 Cooper Conference.