Fitch Ratings has downgraded the special servicer rating of Criimi Mae, Rockville, Md., from CSS2-plus to CSS3-plus and its primary servicer rating from CPS2 to CPS2-minus, while affirming its master servicer rating at CMS3.The rating agency said the primary servicer rating downgrade reflects Criimi Mae's "decreased emphasis" on this business line, while the special servicer rating downgrade takes into account new management at the mortgage real estate investment trust, and high employee turnover. Although Fitch regards the new management team as "well experienced," the rating agency said it believes that "the direction and leadership of the company has been significantly altered, essentially creating a new company" that has not yet established itself. In addition, Fitch said employee turnover at Criimi Mae for the 12-month period ending April 2004 was at 50%, with 47% of this occurring "above the administrative level." This rate is "well above" that for other servicers rated by Fitch, the rating agency said. Fitch rates commercial mortgage servicers on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the highest rating. It can be found online at http://www.fitchratings.com.

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