Owners of the Airport Hilton Hotel have filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, following threats of foreclosure from major creditors.

Airport Hilton Venturers, a partnership doing business as the Airport Hilton, filed its reorganization petition listing just $114,793 as owed to its 20 largest unsecured creditors.But Salt Lake attorney Ted Barnes of the law firm of Clyde, Pratt & Snow, which is representing partnership principals, said the two major lenders on the property had threatened foreclosure, which sparked the Chapter 11 filing by the owners.

"We have been in negotiations with the lenders but we were getting close to a deadline, so rather than go through a foreclosure we filed the Chapter 11 petition," Barnes said.

Under a Chapter 11, a company is given court protection from creditor lawsuits while it works out a plan to pay its debts.

Barnes said that for one reason or another the major lenders on the 298-room hotel, Idaho's Moore Financial and the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., have not been paid for some time.

"It is our intention to make sure that everyone gets paid," he said, indicating the owners of the property are hoping to be able to restructure the their debt and to continue in possession of the hotel.

"This is a good property," Barnes said. "The hotel's occupancy rates are up and the lenders are well collateralized."

Barnes declined to indicate the amount of the debt on the property until the partnership files its schedules of debts and assets with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Utah.

Donald E. Berg, manager of media relations for the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Hilton Hotels Corp., said the Chapter 11 filing did not come as a surprise.

"We knew they were pointed in that direction," he said. "But since the hotel is a franchise operation, we do not have any financial interest in it. It's rare when a hotel files for Chapter 11, but it does happen occasionally."

He referred all other questions about the property to R.D. Pearson, of Utah's Pearson Enterprises, whom he said owns the property.

Pearson could not be reached for comment.