Kennedy has been a longtime business associate of Dennis P. Farrell.
Farrell is listed as the president of Freedom Industries on the company's website, but was called only an "executive" by a woman who answered the phone at the company.
The two met in college, at West Virginia Institute of Technology in Montgomery, and went on to own at least two restaurants together.
They co-owned The Bank Bar and Grill, in Montgomery, and Tomahawks, in Jefferson.
In 2009 Freedom Industries was at risk of either going out of business or leaving its location on the Elk River, Farrell told the Charleston Daily Mail.
Sand, silt and mud had built up in the river, making it difficult for barges to travel the 2.5 miles from the company's river terminal to the Elk's confluence with the Kanawha.
But the river was dredged in 2009 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, thanks to $400,000 from the federal stimulus.
"It could've put us out of business," Farrell told the Daily Mail about the undredged river. "At some point we wouldn't have been economically fit to run the facility. That's our claim to fame: the barges."
In 2008, Freedom Industries secured a contract to distribute a line of products called Talon that are used as a binder in coal processing, according to a news release issued at the time. Freedom distributed Talon to eight states, including West Virginia.
"We are excited to offer our customers inventive products like Talon that push past the status quo in coal recovery to bring profit and productivity benefits to mining preparation plants," Joshua Herzing, a Freedom executive, said in the press release.
Talon is made by Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC. Georgia-Pacific is owned by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.
The Koch brothers have, through a conservative group called Americans for Prosperity, spent millions of dollars campaigning against a wide array of environmental regulations.
On Saturday, Americans for Prosperity set up a water distribution site at Columbia Gas in Charleston.
Since Friday night's news conference, the only public statement from anyone connected with Freedom came from Kathy Stover-Kennedy, Farrell's fiancé.
On her personal Facebook page, Stover-Kennedy asked for empathy for Freedom executives, and said that she had showered and brushed her teeth with the contaminated water and she was "just fine."
Stover-Kennedy is Carl Kennedy's ex-wife, according to Gazette archives and a business associate of Kennedy's who asked not to be named.
Also associated with Freedom Industries, is J. Clifford Forrest, who is listed as "manager" of Etowah River Terminal and Poca Blending on the merger document submitted to the secretary of state.
Forrest is the president of Rosebud Mining, a Pennsylvania-based coal company.
In late 2010, Rosebud was sued by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration because they were allegedly providing advanced notice to miners of coming inspections, violating the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.
Forrest also owns The Lodge at Glendorn, a luxury resort in northern Pennsylvania.
Southern, Kennedy, Farrell and Forrest did not return requests for comment.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.