Hilton Inns has terminated the Ogden Hilton Hotel's franchise and ordered the hotel to cease using the Hilton name and remove Hilton signs by the end of January.

"We have terminated this franchise, period," said Greg Francois, senior vice president of Hiltons Inns Inc.Clayton Wyman, manager of the Ogden Hilton, said it is "business as usual" at the hotel for now, with one exception.

"The only thing that has changed is we're just answering the phone differently right now."

The front desk answers the phone by saying, "Ogden Hotel."

Salt Lake-based Pearson Enterprises, owner of the Ogden Hilton, has not agreed to install a fire sprinkler system and has past-due bills, so Hilton revoked the franchise, said Francois.

If Pearson or a future owner of the property agrees to make the modifications and payments prior to the end of January, it is possible the Hilton franchise could be restored, said Francois.

Otherwise, the Ogden Hilton will not be allowed to use the Hilton name.

"Anything's possible," he said. "We have no ill feelings towards the property or towards the Pearsons."

Pearson Enterprises has refused Hilton's demand to install a fire sprinkler system in the 6-year-old hotel, arguing that the hotel is fire safe without the system and that the $600,000 to $800,000 installation cost is prohibitive.

The hotel's owners are looking for a buyer for the $14 million property or a new partner who would invest $2 million to $3 million, said Rikard Pearson, co-owner of Pearson Enterprises. The company hopes to have sold the hotel or found a new partner by the end of the month.

A spokesman for Red Lion Inns has confirmed his company is talking to Pearson about the Ogden property but didn't consider negotiations substantive.