MORE THAN 90,000 motorists have been nailed for running red lights in the first three years of Philadelphia's camera-enforcement program. At $100 a shot, they've paid $9.1 million in fines.

Backers of the red-light program say the main beneficiary has been public safety.

"Incidents of death, injury and property damage are dramatically down at the intersections where cameras are installed," the Parking Authority's board chairman, Joseph T. Ashdale, said in a news release last month.

Other beneficiaries include Republican Party officials and their kin.

Like the explosive growth in the Parking Authority's staff and salaries, reported last year by the Daily News, the red-light-camera program has created more jobs for Republican ward leaders, committeemen and their families.

It has also led to thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for GOP organizations and candidates.

More than anyone else, the contributions have flowed to state Rep. John Perzel, the Northeast Philadelphia Republican who engineered a GOP takeover of the Parking Authority in mid-2001.

Jobs for Republicans

Although the installation, equipment, ticketing and collections for the red-light program are handled by outside contractors, the Parking Authority has established a red-light unit with five employees. It's run by a Republican ward leader, Christopher Vogler, who has two GOP committeemen among his four staff members.

Although the installation, equipment, ticketing and collections for the red-light program are handled by outside contractors, the Parking Authority has established a red-light unit with five employees. It's run by a Republican ward leader, Christopher Vogler, who has two GOP committeemen among his four staff members.

That unit's main job is to review pictures snapped by cameras of cars running red lights, to make sure there aren't any obvious mistakes or extenuating circumstances, such as a funeral procession. Philadelphia police also take a look.

The bulk of the $6 million that the Parking Authority has spent on the program so far has gone to a single company: American Traffic Solutions, the Scottsdale, Ariz., firm that owns the 52 red-light cameras installed at 10 Philadelphia intersections.

ATS is paid $4,995 a month for each of the 52 cameras now in place. Its operations produce about $3 million a year in revenues for the company, and potentially more if the red-light-camera program is expanded, as the Parking Authority wants to do.

The Daily News has identified two ATS employees with ties to the local Republican Party, though neither ATS nor the Parking Authority would provide official records.

Mark Poserina, in charge of the local ATS office, is the son of a former Republican ward leader - Philadelphia Senior Judge John J. Poserina Jr., who gave up the GOP leadership of the 31st ward when he was elected judge in 1983. Poserina's successor as ward leader was Vincent J. Fenerty Jr. - now the Parking Authority's executive director.

Another ATS employee, Matthew Slonaker, is Republican leader of the 33rd ward and an unsuccessful GOP legislative candidate in 2004. Slonaker used to work for the Parking Authority, writing parking tickets.

Contacted at ATS last month, Slonaker said, "I have no comment" and hung up the phone before a reporter could ask a question.

Under an unusual provision in its contract with ATS, the Parking Authority has the right to approve the hiring or request the firing of any local employees hired by ATS.

But when asked for records of whom ATS has hired, Parking Authority spokeswoman Linda Miller said the agency has never exerted its contractual rights and has no records identifying any ATS employees.

ATS also declined to provide the names of the people working at its local office, on Grant Avenue just above Roosevelt Boulevard.

"As a private company, we don't share that information," said Josh Weiss, an ATS spokesman in Arizona. He described the local payroll as "less than 20" people.

Giving to politicians

There are other ties between ATS and the Republican Party.

There are other ties between ATS and the Republican Party.

ATS's registered lobbyist in Harrisburg, Sean M. Reilly, has donated more than $60,000 to politicians in both parties over the last five years.

In a telephone interview with the Daily News, Reilly insisted that his political donations had nothing to do with his client's red-light-camera program.

"None of my contributions are ever tied to any project," Reilly said.

But most of his donations went to politicians with influence at the Parking Authority.

The biggest Reilly checks - a total of $25,025 over five years, according to state records - went to Perzel. The lobbyist has also donated to Republican City Committee ($3,685 since 2003), state Rep. John Taylor ($1,000), City Councilman Jack Kelly ($1,000) and state Rep. Richard Geist, the Altoona lawmaker who sponsored the state law permitting red-light cameras ($1,000).

Two Republican ward organizations with ties to the Parking Authority were favored last year with relatively small contributions from Reilly: he gave $400 to the 31st ward Republicans, headed by Fenerty, and $250 to the 55th ward GOP, headed by Vogler, manager of the authority's red-light-camera unit.

Several contractors with ties to the red-light program got money to Perzel through an obscure political-action committee known as PLP PAC.

Reilly said he helped create the organization in late 2004, in an effort to attract younger leadership to Philadelphia's Republican Party. The initials stand for "Philadelphia Leadership Project," Reilly said.

The PAC was created at the same time that the Parking Authority was setting up the red-light-camera program. The first donation to PLP, in November 2004, was a $2,000 check from the Miami headquarters of Greenberg Traurig, the law firm that represented American Traffic Solutions and, at that time, employed Sean Reilly.

Over the next three years, PLP collected another $3,500 from Greenberg Traurig, $3,450 from Reilly and $9,000 from a Staten Island businessman named John T. Petrozza - the PAC's single biggest contributor.

Petrozza was the chief executive officer of Mulvihill ICS, the company that originally landed the Parking Authority's red-light- camera contract. Subsequently, his company became a subsidiary of American Traffic Solutions, for which Petrozza is now listed as executive vice president.

Petrozza did not return calls from the Daily News asking about his support for the PLP PAC. His first $4,000 check was written in January 2005, while his company was installing the city's first red-light cameras.

From 2004 through 2006, PLP raised $42,200. Virtually all of it - $39,150 - went to Friends of John Perzel.

Expanding the program?

More recently, Reilly has broadened his personal contributions, to include major donations to Democrats.

More recently, Reilly has broadened his personal contributions, to include major donations to Democrats.

Through 2005, Reilly donated almost exclusively to Republicans. But in the past two years, while working for ATS, he has donated $37,450 to Democrats, including four of last year's mayoral candidates, five City Council members and state Sen. Vincent Fumo, to whom Reilly gave $15,000.

Under state law, Council must approve the specific locations for all red-light cameras. The Parking Authority hopes to expand the program beyond the 10 locations now included, so Democratic support will be needed.

Under an unusual provision in Geist's original red-light bill, the public has no right to see revenue and expense figures pertaining to the red-light program.

The Daily News obtained most of its revenue and expense data through two Democratic legislators: Rep. Michael McGeehan of Northeast Philadelphia and Rep. Joseph Markosek of suburban Pittsburgh, chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Over the first three years that the red-light cameras have been in place, the Parking Authority has spent about 66 cents of every dollar collected in fines. Linda Miller, the Parking Authority's spokeswoman, said that in the future, the proportion of expenses should go down.

The authority faced significant start-up costs and initially gave warning notices, not fines, when the red-light cameras were installed at new locations. In addition, she said, the authority is now negotiating with ATS for lower camera-rental fees.

Fenerty, the authority's executive director, turned down a request from the Daily News to talk about hiring and political contributions tied to the red-light program. *