Criimi Mae Inc., a real estate investment trust, filed monday under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code for protection from its creditors as it attempts to reorganize.

William B. Dockser, the company's chairman, said recent turmoil in the debt and equity markets had prompted the company's lenders to make margin calls. At the same time, he said, volatility in the capital markets made it "extremely difficult" for the REIT to raise capital.

Jim Callahan, executive director of Pentalpha Group, a Greenwich, Conn.- based advisory firm, said it was good that the big buyer of commercial mortgage securities filed to reorganize, and not liquidate its assets. "If these folks had been forced to dump everything, the commercial real estate securitization business would have taken a long time to recover," Mr. Callahan said.

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