Ramsey company suddenly closes shop, leaving surprised employees in lurch

Ramsey-based Painted Feather Precision suddenly went out of business.

That sort of thing all the time, but what's different in this case is that the manufacturing business owes thousands of dollars to employees and other businesses who worked with the company.

Scott Robertson leases out space to Painted Feather Precision and says he's out nearly $80,000 in unpaid rent.

"Took off last week," he says. "I'd prefer to negotiate some payment terms, but at this point I don't know if that's possible."

Robertson wasn't the only one caught off guard. Fourteen employees walked into work last week, only to find out the company they work for had suddenly ceased to exist.

One former employee who asked not to be identified says in the past year, there were signs something was wrong with the company, like payroll checks bouncing several times. But employees were always assured by management that everything was fine.

"I think he was kind of living on a prayer, hoping he could fix things," the employee says, referring to his former boss, Steve Smith. "And he's trying to borrow more money and keep going in hopes he gets some big orders and make enough money to pay people back."

Painted Feather Precision makes parts for the defense industry and technology companies. The owner, Smith, didn't return our calls.

Smith's LinkedIn page shows a stacked resume with a background in manufacturing and finance, which is why Robertson is left wondering how someone with that kind of expertise and experience would allow his company to collapse.

Whatever the reason, his former employees aren't being paid and are left looking for new jobs.

"I hope you can sleep at night, that's all I want to say," the employee says, asked what he'd say to Smith.

It's unclear whether Painted Feather Precision will declare bankruptcy. If it does, a labor attorney says the employees are legally obligated to get some of their pay and benefits, but will have to fight for it in court.

The Better Business Bureau says there's no record of the company in its system.

If you'd like to contribute to the Painted Feather Precision employees who suddenly find themselves out of work, click here.

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