D.B. Cooper – The Five Biggest Myths You Hear About Adventure Books of Seattle and the Investigation Into Suspect Kenny Christiansen

(in no particular order)

We say Kenny Christiansen bought a house for cash shortly after the Cooper hijacking. 

The Truth: Due to some mix-ups early-on in the investigation, we did believe this was the case for a while. We found out later (after Dave Brown at the Cooper Forum did further research) that Kenny actually financed the main house through the same bank that financed the hijacker, SeaFirst Bank. However, an adjacent property was also purchased from Ann and Joe Grimes that has not been fully explained by paperwork claiming Christiansen bought that property for ‘ten dollars and other considerations’. When we interviewed the Grimes’ son, he told us that the property was not actually sold for ten dollars, but more, and that this was certainly a ‘cash on the barrelhead’ deal between Kenny and his parents. (Ann and Joe Grimes were deceased by the time Christiansen was named a suspect in the Cooper case.) We also discovered that the house and property purchase was arranged by *alleged* accomplice Bernie Geestman, who was the Best Man at the Grimes’ wedding. Geestman told Ann and Joe Grimes that Christiansen did very well working for Northwest Airlines and could easily come up with the money in cash for the adjacent lot. This was not true of course, and since Geestman had also worked for NWA, he knew perfectly well that Kenny was paid a paltry $512 a month before taxes. In other words, Geestman lied to his friends to ensure Kenny could purchase the house. It is still unexplained how Christiansen managed to pay cash for the adjacent lot, which the Grimes’ son in Rochester, WA claimed was the case. Or, how Christiansen was able to lend Geestman’s sister Dawn Androsko (of Fox Island, WA) $5,000 in cash only five months after the hijacking. Androsko and other family members have corroborated this loan extensively in interviews. 

The Cast of the Decoded show that first aired in January 2011 agreed that Christiansen was probably the hijacker, but thought Bernie Geestman was completely innocent

The Truth:  This is true. On the show they say at the end they think Geestman was telling the truth, and was never involved in the Cooper hijacking. However, the cast was told in advance via the director of the show, as well as legal eagles for Go Go Luckey Productions, that unless Geestman confessed to being involved, the show could be sued for slander if they accuse Geestman without any proof. A few months later, Adventure Books staff provided all three cast members with a preliminary report on Christiansen and Geestman. In this report, we demonstrated how Geestman had repeatedly lied both prior to his appearance on the show, and on the show itself. For example, the cast asked Geestman if he thought Christiansen was the hijacker. Geestman said yes, he thought Christiansen was the hijacker. Yet a few months before his appearance, he had told AB staff that Christiansen was absolutely NOT the hijacker. Geestman also lied to the cast when he claimed he had been at Kenny’s deathbed. He only called Kenny’s house a few days before Christiansen’s death, and when he did, two witnesses said that Christiansen asked for privacy on the call. It is believed that Geestman, who hadn’t contacted Christiansen in fifteen years, was trying to discover if he planned to make a deathbed confession, and warned Kenny that he would get both he (Geestman) and his ex-wife Margie Geestman into serious trouble. And this entire scenario is why Kenny only told his brother, “There is something you should know, but I cannot tell you.” After the cast of Decoded were provided with this report, cast members Scott Rolle (former district attorney for the state of Maryland) and Buddy Levy, (Professor of English at Washington State University) changed their minds and now believed that Geestman was involved in the Cooper hijacking. Cast member Christine McKinley was still not sure. Emails from both men attesting to them changing their minds about Geestman have been made public several times.  

Lyle Christiansen, Kenny’s brother, came forward solely to make money on his brother’s story, and later claimed he knew his brother was not the hijacker.

The Truth:  These stories are completely false. When AB of Seattle first began their investigation in cooperation with NYC private eye Skipp Porteous, one of the requirements was that Lyle Christiansen sign a release disallowing either he or his family any payments from either a book on his brother, or any movie created from that book. As the executor of Kenny’s estate, Lyle also signed a release granting Adventure Books of Seattle sole rights to Kenny Christiansen’s story. These documents are on file in our office today. As far as any claims that Lyle ‘told a radio announcer’ that he knew his brother was not Cooper, Lyle has repeatedly denied this claim. The truth is that Lyle didn’t know whether his brother was Cooper or not, and had no opinion to give. He only suspected he may have been Cooper. Over the years and up to the present day, Lyle has contributed scores of personal items belonging to Kenny, as well as pictures, letters, and other materials in order to assist in the investigation. These are not the actions of someone who believed his brother was innocent. 

Adventure Books of Seattle’s entire involvement in the Cooper case has been related to making money, and little else. 

The Truth: Our book on Christiansen, Into The Blast, has been a steady seller worldwide since its release in 2011, and remains the second-best selling book on the Cooper subject today. (As far as we can tell, the Geoff Gray book Skyjack is the number one seller.) And for about three years, we received substantial payments each year for the movie rights to the book. When a script was submitted at the end of that time, we found it seriously lacking and refused to sign an extension to the media contract, even though we would have made several thousand dollars by re-signing. In addition, we have turned down several other lucrative offers when we thought accepting money, especially for TV show appearances, would damage our credibility with the public. For example, we refused a $2,500 payment from History Channel for the Decoded show, and turned down a $1,000 payment for the Comcast Sports Net show Adrenaline Hunter with Bethy Rossos. Along the way, we also turned down a $25,000 cash offer from CBS Films for the movie rights to the Christiansen story, mainly because they wanted to present that story with full ‘poetic license,’ which means making up stuff for the script. While we were dealing with these things, our total costs for the investigation, and to produce the book came to about $13,000. We didn’t reach the break-even point until five years after the book’s initial release. The book continues to sell though, usually between 50-250 copies in any given month. As far as any possible movie on Christiansen today, if such a movie is ever done it would only be made once the pandemic has completely ended, and actor Nick Robinson will probably be involved, through his independent production company in the Los Angeles area. I have already met him personally in Seattle and discussed the project with him at length. Like most movie proposals, the road between an idea and an actual movie is, like the Beatles once said, a long and winding road. There are no guarantees in that business, mainly because someone, somewhere, has to put up millions of dollars to do it. Our 50th Anniversary D.B. Cooper Party, a free event for the public, is estimated to cost us at least $3,000 over a three-day period. Not only has this event been the subject of numerous (and anonymous) online attacks, it has received zero support from many in the general ‘Cooper Community’. Nevertheless, many people outside of that small group have signed up to attend, although we have no idea how many will actually show up. As a result of the unfair attacks on this event, AB of Seattle has refused to support the upcoming Cooper Con 2021 being held in Vancouver. This is a real shame, because in our opinion, both events are beneficial to Cooper fans at large. 

Skipp Porteous, my co-author for Into The Blast, was unhappy with the final product, and said disparaging things about both myself and the book, including a refusal to meet with me in person. 

The Truth:
These statements are not only inaccurate, but one of the most common attacks on Adventure Books. The truth is that Skipp was very happy with the book, (we have dozens of emails from him to prove it) and invited me several times to meet with him when he was living in Morro Bay, California. It was my decision not to make the trip, which I have regretted because at that time I thought Skipp would live forever. Unfortunately, he began suffering from aphasia and ended up moving in with his son back in Florida, where he died not long afterward. It is a shame that jealous Cooper investigators have continued to lie about the relationship between Porteous and myself, even after his death. Today, the Porteous family and I are still friends and are on each others’ lists at Facebook. 

Submitted by Robert Blevins, Adventure Books of Seattle