Southern also bought a house recently.
In March 2012, he bought a house in southern Florida, on Marco Island, for more than $1.2 million. Southern's house is on the Hideaway Beach Golf Course. It is surrounded by water -- about two blocks from Collier Bay on one side and about half a mile from the Gulf Coast on the other.
Southern paid $1.225 million for the four-bedroom home, which has a pool and an elevator, but it appears to have increased in value since then.
The real estate websites Zillow and Trulia value the property at $1.42 and $2.35 million, respectively.
The owner of Freedom Industries, J. Clifford Forrest, also owns property in Florida, about 65 miles from Southern's house.
Forrest, whose first home is in Pittsburgh, bought a three-bedroom beachfront condo on Sanibel Island, Fla., in 2006 for more than $1.3 million.
More recently, Forrest has been a prodigious political donor, primarily to Republicans.
Forrest founded Rosebud Mining in 1979. It now owns 28 coal mines, employs nearly 1,300 people and is the third largest coal producer in Pennsylvania. Forrest bought Freedom Industries through a subsidiary that he owns, Chemstream Holdings, sometime in December.
Rosebud executives and employees have given more than $350,000 in federal political donations since the 2010 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The majority of that, more than $270,000, has come from Forrest himself, according to FEC records.
Forrest has given more than $184,000 to Republican candidates and causes since the 2010 election cycle. During that time he has also given more than $38,000 to Democrats and $49,000 to unaffiliated political action committees, almost all of them related to mining.
Forrest, who did not respond to requests for comment, gave $2,250 to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in 2011 and 2012.
He gave $500 to Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in 2013. Capito's campaign manager told the Charleston Daily Mail last month that the congresswoman would donate that money to charity.
Forrest also gave $400 in 2011 to Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who chairs the House Transportation Committee that held an inquiry into the chemical leak in Charleston last week.
Forrest and Farrell have also both donated to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, according to state records. Farrell gave Tomblin $250 in 2011 and Forrest gave $500 in 2011.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.