Birmingham business leaders last night dismissed allegations of super-casino favouritism after it emerged four NEC directors appointed by the Chamber of Commerce were paid a total of £113,000 to carry out their duties.
The Chamber, which has formally declared the NEC to be the best site for a super-casino, said it merely "acted as a go-between" by nominating board members with business acumen and had no control over the payments.
"Whatever arrangements they make with the NEC has nothing to do with the Chamber," a spokesman said.
The latest row followed the disclosure in The Birmingham Post yesterday that the Chamber has been paid more than £1 million by Birmingham City Council to promote the NEC Group in this country and abroad.
Chamber officials insisted that financial interests played no part in the decision to support the NEC bid.
However, Karren Brady, the managing director of Birmingham City FC, which is promoting its own super-casino and sports village plan, said the Chamber's position was unsustainable.
She called on Chamber policy director Jerry Blackett to resign.
The NEC has a nine-member board of directors, with four being appointed by the Chamber.
They are Central TV boss Ian Squires, ex-Chamber president John Pratt, businessman Gary Allen and ex-West Bromwich Building Society chairman Roger Dickens, who died last month.
One of the four received between £70,000 and £75,000 from the NEC, while another received between £50,000 and £60,000. Two of the four earned up to £5,000.
The aggregate paid to the four directors was £113,000.
The Chamber hit back with a concerted attempt to draw a line under the row.
Chief executive Sue Battle said Ms Brady's allegations were ridiculous.
Ms Battle added: "The Chamber has no direct financial stake in the NEC."
She insisted the Chamber had carried out a vote among its membership, which had decided to back the NEC casino bid.
"We stand by the results of that poll and take the greatest exception to the way in which the Chamber's involvement with the NEC has been misinterpreted to support the interests of others."