060908zigun.jpgA nosy Post reporter may have cost Coney Island “Mayor” Dick Zugin his free apartment in a building he purchased with a 3.6 million grant from the city. Zigun runs his Coney Island USA sideshow and museum out of the Surf Avenue building, which the city helped his group buy last year. But when confronted with documents that report the address as his residence, Zigun admitted that he’s also been illegally living there, albeit humbly on a convertible sofa.

Besides his Coney Island USA work, Zigun started the Mermaid Parade and until last week was a supporter of the Bloomberg administration’s ever-changing plan to take over and revamp the beach front amusement district. But the latest proposal put forth by the mayor would slash the amount of space dedicated to the rides, in favor of more shopping and hotels. Zigun is adamantly opposed to the plan, and has publicly resigned from the Coney Island Development Corp. [CIDC] board in protest, saying:

The [original] CIDC Plan promised a world class tourist attraction with an entertainment core: lots of rides complimented by year round nightclubs and enclosed waterparks. Instead the core will now be rezoned for a shopping mall full of NikeTowns, Toys R US and 4 thirty story hotels. ... We worked four hard years for consensus and I for one feel betrayed.

As for developer Joe Sitt, whose Thor Equities now owns much of the most-coveted Coney Island property, Zigun writes: “My personal experience suggests again and again and again that the man is dishonest.” (Read the full letter. ) And according to today’s Times profile, Zigun’s ideal Coney Island would have “the world’s largest indoor swimming pool, with wave action for surfing, or indoor skiing, like they have in Japan.” A free place to crash near the boardwalk would also be a nice improvement, too.

Photo of Dick Zigun courtesy Tozzer.