After a mysterious two-year disappearance, Raymond Billings, owner of one of the Northwest's last X-rated theaters, has returned-sort of-to take charge of Portland's Jefferson Theater once again.
Billings left town on Jan. 13, 2003, abandoning his Thai boyfriend, the nearly completed renovation of their Thai restaurant in Astoria, and ownership of the downtown Jefferson, which features big-screen porn and live sex shows (see WW's "Vanishing Act," June 2, 2004).
Billings, who similarly disappeared in the mid-1990s in Washington, also left behind unpaid bills, years of back taxes and a lawsuit over employment of two Thai chefs filed against him by the owners of Typhoon! restaurant.
Portland lawyer Lake Perriguey eventually took control as custodian over the affairs of Billings and the Jefferson. The theater's $10,000 monthly operating profits funded its refurbishing and resolved past liabilities, including the Typhoon! lawsuit.
Then in a mysterious reappearance a few weeks ago, Multnomah County Probate Court re-established Billings in charge of his assets, including the Jefferson.
Billings, 61, submitted a declaration last month seeking control of his affairs and assets. While acknowledging his 2003 disappearance, Billings declared himself "alive and physically and mentally well" and requested for personal reasons that his whereabouts and circumstances stay secret. Perriguey said Billings is not in Portland.
Conservator fees, legal bills and payment of liabilities ate most of the theater's profits. But Billings now has a clean slate, the theater and about $25,000 in his bank accounts.
The Jefferson occupies space at 1232 SW 12th Ave. in a Portland Development Commission renovation zone, and the theater's lease expires in April 2007. The revamped space is unlikely to include an adult theater, but Perriguey said his client may continue to operate it elsewhere after the lease expires.