The next time Scott and Kathleen Morgan declare St. Louis the most dangerous U.S. city, their research will be transmitted and distributed from the nation's capital, not a small storefront on East Ninth Street.
Morgan Quitno Press, the couple's database and statistical publishing operation in Lawrence, has been sold to CQ Press, a division of Congressional Quarterly Inc. The companies are scheduled to formally announce the deal Monday.
The sale - financial terms were not disclosed - comes more than a decade after CQ Press had considered offering Morgan Quitno titles through the CQ catalog, only to back out and start its own competing titles soon thereafter.
"We were angered and hurt by that, but we have since gotten over it," Scott Morgan said. "This has made us feel a lot better about the deal. We have our first child going to college next year, and we now know how we're going to pay for it."
The Morgans - Morgan Quitno's lone full-time employees - will continue to serve as editors of the publications they've become known for, a lineup that will replace CQ's own State Fact Finder book: State Rankings, Health Care State Rankings, Crime State Rankings, Education State Rankings, State Trends and City Crime Rankings.
The Morgans' annual list of America's Most Dangerous Cities draws worldwide attention, having spawned stories last year in Russia's Pravda, China's Beijing Daily News and hundreds of other publications, including one newspaper in Norway that used the headline "Places not to visit in America."
Topping the list, which drew 2 million hits to the Morgan Quitno Web site in a single day: St. Louis.
"We cleverly named them that the day after they won the World Series," Scott Morgan said. "They didn't take it well. They got really mad. The mayor - I guess it was his chief of staff, actually - said that 'Scott Morgan is just some guy in his mom's basement, barefoot in front of a computer.' "
Unlike the Morgans' ratings, which are calculated using databases of public records, the bureaucrat's assertion proved patently false.
"It's not true," said Scott Morgan, a former Lawrence school board member who returns to the board Monday. "I wear shoes and my mom's in Kansas City."