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Former La Crosse Area Economic Development Corporation head arrested for felony theft

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The former executive director of the La Crosse Area Economic Development Corporation has been accused of stealing from the organization he led for 1½ years.

La Crosse police arrested Jorge Beltran on Tuesday on theft charges. He was released on a signature bond. A criminal complaint has yet to be filed.

A statement released Thursday by LADCO president Patti Balacek confirmed that Beltran was arrested “for felony theft in connection with his former employment with LADCO.” The statement said Beltran was terminated by LADCO on Sept. 4.

Balacek said LADCO “is not commenting further on the issue” due to the pending nature of the case.

Beltran was hired by LADCO in January 2019 after he served as assistant director of economic development for the city of San Antonio, Texas. He replaced Jim Hill, who retired in 2018 after leading the organization for 35 years.

LADCO is a private, nonprofit organization that works to recruit new business and investment to the region.

Balacek’s statement says “LADCO remains a strong advocate for the members we serve and continues to fulfill its mission of economic development.”

La Crosse Tribune reporter Steve Rundio can be reached at


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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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