I think it’s easy to judge a company that’s going bankrupt, to have them fall on the sword and give up all hope rather than stiff a vendor, but it’s human to try and survive as long as you can. if you’re going to judge humanity in total very few actually meet the bar or flawless behavior. The line of wrongness really depends on how much of a longshot it was and how long they stretched it out. It could be they almost had everything righted. Part of the life of a vendor is hoping to be paid, if you don’t want that you demand payment up front or have some kind of escrow fund. Vendors are adults too, and should know the risks they’re accepting. Their terms are part of that risk absorption. So while not paying your people is wrong, everyone is losing in that situation.
One of my vendors back a long time ago had an owner clean out the bank account one night. They arrived at work the next day to find the office locked. 40 people not knowing what was going on. Eventually they found out that the bank had been cleaned out, ripping off cash from all their customers (they were a company that processed rebate checks). My company had been ripped off $250k. But all those workers called the customers, explained what happened and asked if they could continue the service unpaid until they found someone who’d buy the contracts. And most of the customers stayed. Within a month they had new ownership and they continued to be a vendor of mine for many more years. (We used a new process for handling the money though).
We could equally have found a replacement company and put them out of a job. We didn’t. So in a bankruptcy situation you don’t always get everyone working towards a solution that works for everyone. Sometimes folks accelerate the downfall. Yes they should be able to make that choice, I’d just not judge these people too harshly.