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Paul Nieto, who resigned earlier today from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s board, is headed to San Francisco.

Nieto said he would be working for Avant Housing, a new company formed by TMG that’s focusing on urban infill housing in the Bay Area.

Nieto said scrutiny of a controversial land deal that allowed him and developer Mike Madigan to turn a $500,000 profit on property sold to the San Diego Community College District was not the reason for his departure or resignation, though he confirmed that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis was investigating the sale.

“We’ve asked our counsel to cooperate fully with the DA’s investigation,” Nieto said. “Once the facts come out, things will be fine. It’s just something that has to play its course.”

Nieto said he has been working for Avant since Feb. 1 but had remained in San Diego, in part because he wanted to continue shaping the airport authority’s master plan for Lindbergh Field. He said he notified Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox six weeks ago that he intended to leave. She informed him yesterday that she’d found a replacement.

Nieto also resigned from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.’s board today.

Gerry Braun, a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, a local newspaper, called for Nieto’s resignation Sunday.

Nieto said he hadn’t seen the column.

“It has nothing to do with it,” Nieto said. “The timing is purely coincidental.”

ROB DAVIS

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