Bob Edmiston, the multi-millionaire businessman sponsoring a city academy in Solihull, has lashed out at critics who he says cannot accept people doing something "out of the goodness of their heart".
Mr Edmiston spoke to The Birmingham Post in the wake of reports earlier this week suggesting the Grace Academy in Chelmsley Wood had awarded contracts of more than #300,000 to his West Bromwich-based firm, IM Group.
The National Union of Teachers branded the payments "immoral" and an example of how rich business figures are seeking to profit from sponsoring state schools.
However Mr Edmiston, an evangelical Christian and whose personal wealth of #520 million placed him seventh on The Birmingham Post Rich List last year, claimed the payments were merely salaries of school staff administered through his company before the academy’s systems were set up.
He insisted that far from profiteering, he had willingly lost money through the sponsorship and was purely motivated by a philanthropic desire to transform the lives of deprived youngsters.
Mr Edmiston – who has been questioned by police over the "cash for peerages" affair – has refused to speak to the national media.
However, in an exclusive interview with The Post, he rounded on his critics and those of the academy programme, claiming: "They are trashing people who are trying to do some good.
"They can’t believe that someone would be doing something out of the goodness of their heart. They say there must be some other agenda to it, that they are doing it because there is some commercial benefit.
"The reality is I get no financial reward. However, I do get a fantastic reward in seeing the transformation of those kids’ lives, which to me is my pay-off."
The city academy drive, where organisations or individuals gain control of failing schools in return for #2 million towards a rebuild, is arguably Tony Blair’s most controversial education policy. It involves schools and employment of staff being taken outside local authority control and transferred to the sponsor, along with the assets.
Birmingham City Council is planning to build seven academies and is seeking sponsors.
Roger King, head of the Birmingham branch of the NUT, said: "Once a school is outside local authority control with a sponsor, they can do whatever they want."
But Mr Edmiston claimed his sponsorship of the Grace Academy was based on a selfless Christian desire to help those less fortunate.
"When I look at our country and society, many things disturb me," he said. "They include the yob culture and teenage pregnancy. I can sit around complaining about it or say ‘here is an opportunity to do something’ and try and help.
"Even if you only change a few lives, that’s a few more than would otherwise be helped."
Mr Edmiston is the founder of Christian Vision, an evangelical charity to which he has donated #27 million of his own wealth. He has also given an estimated #1 million to the Conservative Party.
He said he was "angry" after a national newspaper report on Monday suggested contracts were improperly being awarded to his company by the Grace Academy, which opened last September.
"I have put #2 million into this. I have given people from my staff to be mentors in the school, I have not charged for that."
He refused to comment on the police investigations into the peerages row.