By Marc Ackerman and Ben Burris

We discovered that the IRS requires 990 forms from the AAO, AAOF and the ABO annually and we have acquired copies. Since it’s very difficult to find out how member dues money is spent, we found the 990s interesting reading. We are hoping that the throngs of you who will pour over these forms will find even more insight among the pages of the complete documents included below but we wanted to point out a few things to start you off:


For the AAO 990, pages 7 & 8 list compensation to officers and directors. As well, there is something about first class travel and companion travel later in the document. Most people have no idea that board members are paid this much given all the whining about the “sacrifice” they make to be on the board for over a decade. But salary doesn’t tell the whole story, it would be much more interesting to see a “total compensation” number for expenses and salary on an annual basis for each board member and director. We don’t see why it’s unreasonable for the membership to ask for and receive that information annually. Also note that Chris “we are doing all that can be done” Vranas makes $438,029.00 annually and he’s been the Executive Director for what, 17 years?? We take it he’s not paid for results – well not the results we and the rest of the membership are looking for anyway. The other salary of particular note is our Legal Council, Kevin “you can’t do that or you’ll get sued” Dillard gets paid $182,232.00 to block any and all campaigns that would talk about why orthodontists are more qualified than dentists even though it’s the truth. Let’s say he is right (which he’s not). How awesome would it be to have a lawsuit where the nation’s orthodontists had to prove that they are superior in training and ability to PCDs and have the whole thing be made public record?? I’d pay for that stage! But we are shrinking violets…

On the AAOF 990, there is mention of a form 5471 that is referenced when they answered the questions relating to foreign investment and ownership. We are really curious to see what they own or have invested in outside the country. Maybe someone there or elsewhere can enlighten us?

The ABO 990 is pretty clean although it gives insight into how much
money the ABO collects each year and what would happen if they didn’t get the dues from diplomates. The money trail definitely gives an idea of the ABO leadership’s primary motivation.

It would be great if we could get a detailed accounting of what each of these groups do every year so that members who contribute money can see where it goes, but until then it may be a good idea to request and look at the annual 990 forms and ask questions based on what we see there. Hopefully the ABO, AAO and AAOF will give open and honest answers to these simple questions since members are the ones footing the bill after all.