Dell pays $75K to group that awarded its CEO

Dell Inc. is now listed as a donor to a 62-year-old environmental group that honored CEO Michael Dell six months ago.

Round Rock-based Dell was added to Keep America Beautiful Inc.’s roster of “corporate sponsors” contributing $50,000 to $99,999.

In December, Michael Dell accepted the Connecticut-based group’s “Vision for America” award at a luncheon event in which Dell paid $75,000 to sponsor tables for customers, partners and employees.

Keep America Beautiful has been operating since 1953. The group’s spokesman, Larry Kaufman, said in December that Dell had previously only contributed to the group’s local affiliate instead of the national organization.

 The award was in recognition of Dell’s sustainability initiatives in communities nationally, according to a Dell news release.

Robin Schneider, executive director of the Texas Campaign for the Environment, said the pay-for-play arrangement is not unusual for such awards.

“Honorees are expected to give or find people to give when they’re being honored,” she said. “I don’t think that it’s ever stated, but it’s everyone’s assumption. It doesn’t smell good that’s for sure.”

Dell, the No. 3 computer maker in the world, employs 14,000 workers in Central Texas.

In late 2013, Michael Dell led an investor group that completed a $24.9 billion leveraged buyout of shareholders in an effort to enable the company to transition beyond personal computers to the higher profit margins provided by software, services and other networking tools.